Can I Sue Uber for a Car Accident?
With the recent passage of Prop 22 in California, many motorists are concerned that they will be left without recourse in the event of an Uber or Lyft accident. If you are hit by an Uber, or if you are a passenger in an Uber and they get into a crash, what are your legal options? Can you sue Uber directly? Are you limited to filing against the individual driver, who might not have sufficient capital or insurance coverage to fully compensate your medical expenses and other damages? Continue reading for a discussion of your options after an Uber accident, and call a dedicated Pasadena car crash attorney after a rideshare accident in Southern California.
Uber Drivers Are Independent Contractors
When you sue a company because of the actions of an employee, you are declaring that the company is either directly responsible for those actions (for example, because the company itself was involved in a breach of contract) or that the company is liable for the actions of its agents under a doctrine known as vicarious liability. Typically, however, liability attaches only to the conduct of employees. By contract, businesses are not meant to be liable for the conduct of independent contractors.
In November 2020, California voted to pass Proposition 22. Prop 22 officially declares rideshare drivers to be independent contractors, not employees. If you were to try to sue Uber directly for the conduct of an Uber driver, you might face an uphill battle because of the driver’s classification. Thankfully, under direction from the State of California, Uber provides insurance coverage for drivers intended to compensate accident victims.
Uber Carries Insurance for Drivers
If you were hurt in an Uber accident as a passenger or as someone else on the road, you may be able to recover compensation without wading into the difficult issue of independent contractor liability. Uber maintains insurance policies for all of its drivers. Whether the insurance applies depends on when precisely the accident occurred. Uber splits insurance coverage into three time periods:
- App is off. If a driver drives for Uber but gets into an accident while the accident is off, then Uber disclaims all liability. That is considered the driver’s personal time, and you will be limited to pursuing claims against the driver individually and against the driver’s own insurance.
- App is on; driver has not accepted a fare. Uber provides a smaller insurance policy for drivers who are active on the app but have not yet accepted a ride request. Uber provides third-party liability of $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $100,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident. This policy only kicks in if the driver does not have their own insurance covering at least these amounts; if the driver does have sufficient insurance, then an injured accident victim would pursue claims against the driver and their insurance directly.
- App is on; driver is en route to pick up or drop off a passenger. From the time a driver accepts a fare until they drop off their passengers, they are covered by the full Uber insurance policy. Uber provides drivers with $1,000,000 in third-party liability (for personal injury, property damage, etc.) as well as other coverage. Whether you were injured as an Uber passenger or injured while in another vehicle, so long as the Uber driver was at fault, you could collect up to the $1,000,000 policy limit from Uber.
Call for Legal Help After a Pasadena Car Crash
If a negligent rideshare driver has hurt you or someone you love in southern California, reach out to an attorney who understands your concerns and can protect your interests with passion and professionalism. Call Pasadena car accident lawyer Andrew Ritholz for a free case evaluation at 626-844-7102.