Do You Know What to Do in Case of an Accident with Uber or Lyft?

By Mala Sharma

With the advent of popular aps like uber and Lyft, there are more and more non-traditional drivers on the road. Not quite a taxi, but not an ordinary driver, these shared ride apps have created an entirely new category of commercial driving. So, what do you do when you have been in an accident wither an uber, Lyft, or another shared ride app vehicle?

Before getting to that answer, it is important to know a few basics. Under the Uber insurance policy, required by all Uber drivers, there is liability coverage up to $1 million if the Uber driver is found at fault for an accident or $250,000.00 uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UM/UIM) with a $1,000.00 comprehensive and collision deductible for property damage.

However, if an Uber driver and passenger are hit by a negligent or at-fault driver that has insurance, then the at fault driver’s auto insurance policy would be the first to look at in claiming all damages incurred. This includes damages for injuries to both the Uber driver and passenger, as well as property damage to the Uber vehicle. If the at fault driver was driving a vehicle owned by another and that auto policy does not provide any coverage for accidents caused by the at fault driver, then the at fault driver’s own insurance policy most likely will provide coverage for the damages caused. Once policy limits are reached through the at-fault driver’s insurance, then Uber’s underinsured motorist coverage (UIM coverage) will kick in to help cover any additional medical expenses incurred, so that those injured by a negligent driver may receive the maximum compensation possible. What if the at-fault driver that hit the Uber driver and passenger did not have insurance? If an uninsured vehicle negligently hits the Uber vehicle causing damages, then both Uber driver and passenger may recover under the Uber Uninsured coverage policy (UM coverage) for both personal injuries and the property damage.

Now what if the Uber driver was using the vehicle not for ride share purposes but for personal use? The Uber policy will not be effective as the policy only provides coverage while the Uber driver is using the vehicle for Uber drive purposes and does not cover any accidents occurring when the vehicle is being used for personal use.

Thus, when an Uber driver is injured in an accident during personal use, their personal insurance policy will control, not Uber. Additionally, if the uber driver injures another while using the vehicle for personal use, the personal auto policy will be used to pay any resulting damages or injuries. Always discuss with an attorney if there is a question as to when an uber driver is using their vehicle for personal vs work and which insurance policy controls. It is also important to have the attorney review the terms of the personal insurance policy, as sometimes there are no restrictions for ride-share purposes and therefore that policy may cover accidents during both personal and during ride shares.

Thus, whether you are an Uber driver or passenger injured in an auto accident with an at-fault party, you must first call the police to write a police report and always gather the following: (1) names and contact information for all driver’s/vehicles involved in the accident,(2) insurance policy for the at-fault driver, (3) Uber insurance policy, (4) Uber driver’s personal insurance policy, (5) all vehicle license plates, (6) pictures of all vehicles including their license plate, (7) pictures from the scene of the accident, (8) pictures of all bodily injuries including abrasions and more, (9) pictures of all property damage, (10) names and contacts for any witnesses, (11) any ambulance bill, hospital records, hospital bills, physicians bills, police reports, and any other treatment. In certain situations and with the right attorney, it is possible to recover from all three insurance plans: the Uber policy, Uber driver’s personal policy, and the at-fault driver’s policy. Therefore, do not hesitate to contact a qualified personal injury attorney to pursue your right to recover maximum compensation including medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, physical pain, mental anguish, and more! It is crucial to have an attorney fight on your behalf against the insurance companies for your fair and just damages.

About the Author: Mala Sharma has been practicing family law and personal injury with her family at the Law Offices of Sharma & Associates, founded in 1997. Mala has been appointed leadership roles for the American Bar Association GP Solo and GP Solo YLD division, is Board member of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association, Past President of the Houston Northwest Bar Association, and prior board member of the South Asian Bar Association. She is also a member of the Houston Bar Association. Mala Sharma has been selected to the 2019 Texas Rising Stars by Super Lawyers. Mala has also been selected as 10 Best Attorneys by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorney for 2018-2019, Top 40 Under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers for 2018-2019, and Texas Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney by Attorney and Practice Magazine for 2019.