Can You Sue Uber if You Were Injured in a Car Accident?
With Uber, you can catch a ride just about anywhere in the Raleigh-Durham area. But what happens if you are injured during the ride? Can you sue Uber?
Uber is a company that uses contractors, not employees, to provide a ride-sharing service. Ride-sharing with Uber means you can select your driver by reading reviews written by other riders, in advance. The idea is that ratings and driver reviews give you some idea about who is at the wheel before you step into their car. As a method of quality control, both drivers for Uber and passengers are rated and reviewed by one another after a ride takes place. Drivers with low ratings due to dangerous driving style, unacceptable vehicle condition, or other factors may be dismissed by Uber. Riders rated poorly because they are rude or otherwise disrespectful may have a hard time finding a driver wiling to pick them up, or they may even be banned altogether.
Uber drivers, rather than the company, typically own their vehicles. So what happens if there is a car crash? Who is liable?
Sorting out liability and damages for automobile wrecks is complicated, even when Uber is not involved. After any accident that results in serious personal injury or property damage in North Carolina, authorities must determine who is liable (which driver was at fault) and the extent of the damages they caused. Injury victims often turn to personal injury attorneys to help establish fault and determine losses after a car accident because the legal steps are so difficult to navigate for anyone who is not a professional. And when the accident involves an Uber driver, the circumstances become even more complicated.
How is an Uber driver different?
Because Uber does not employ drivers, the company is not responsible for actions by drivers that cause injury or damage to people or property. Uber has grown rapidly, and with that expansion have come legal cases that help define what happens (and who pays) when an Uber driver or passenger is injured. Here are important points to consider if you are injured in a car accident involving Uber:
- Uber provides insurance that covers riders while they are being driven by an Uber driver. When you are in the car of an Uber driver, they are covered by a third-party insurance policy provided by Uber that pays “at least $1 million” in liability coverage.
- If you are being driven by an Uber driver, and are injured by another motorist who is driving without insurance, Uber also provides insurance coverage.
- If you are an Uber driver, the amount of insurance provided for you by Uber varies from partial to full coverage to no coverage, depending on whether you are using the app, carrying a rider, or not using the app.
There are other factors to consider when an injury occurs during an Uber ride. Uber uses a third-party vendor, Checkr, Inc., to perform background checks on potential Uber drivers. It makes sense that a reckless driver or a driver with a conviction for impaired driving would not pass the background check. Nevertheless, a driver with three moving violations, such as speeding or failing to obey other traffic laws, could be approved as an Uber driver. While failing to observe a stop sign is not a major moving violation, it can easily lead to a serious injury or death.
If you are a motorist interested in driving for Uber, speak with your personal automobile insurance company prior to working with Uber. In North Carolina, insurers usually exclude claims that occur as a result of using your care for hire.
If you are seriously injured in a car collision in Raleigh and someone else is at fault, you have the right to seek fair compensation for the damages you suffer. Whether your automobile accident involved Uber, another motorist, or even multiple parties, call us at 919.848.2000 or contact the Lanier Law Group, P.A. for a free consultation.