Yes, Uber can be held liable for its driver’s negligent actions in certain situations. Uber provides liability insurance for its drivers, but the collision’s circumstances dictate the primary or contingent policy. Specifically, this determination depends on whether the driver was logged into the app at the time of the crash.
Rideshare accidents can get complicated since the liable insurer varies on how the driver used the app. For example, if the driver did not actively use the app, their insurance would cover the accident instead of Uber. Instead of figuring this out yourself, a car accident attorney from our firm can help you determine whether you can hold Uber liable for your accident and then file a claim on your behalf.
As Independent Contractors, Vicarious Liability Does Not Apply to Uber Drivers
The Uber Technologies, Inc., website describes the rideshare service as “the best way to get around” and stresses the importance of finding “a reliable ride to a safe destination.”
Therefore, you might think Uber goes to great lengths to ensure the safety of its passengers and will assume liability if one of its drivers causes a car accident. However, that’s not always the case. Uber has taken several steps to make it difficult for courts to impose traditional respondeat superior concepts of liability encapsulated in CC Art. 2320 and RS 9:3921. For example, Uber classifies its drivers as independent contractors, not employees.
Uber Drivers Must Carry Auto Insurance to Cover Accidents
Per Uber’s driver requirements, all drivers must have a valid driver’s license and legal documents that permit them to work in the United States and undergo an online screening. Drivers must also follow local laws such as having auto insurance for their vehicles. Because Uber classifies drivers as independent contractors:
- Car accident victims cannot hold the company liable for its driver’s negligent actions when they are not actively on the Uber app, meaning they are not working.
- If the driver gives another passenger a ride and logs off during the process or gives the ride privately, Uber will not cover the accident.
- If the driver logged into the app but was parked while waiting for a ride when the accident occurred, Uber will only cover the accident if the driver’s auto insurance denies coverage.
Our legal team can investigate whether you can hold the individual rideshare driver or Uber liable for your injuries and damages.
Uber’s Policy Kicks in When App in Use
Uber provides auto insurance coverage for accidents where drivers were actively logged into the app, roaming to find a ride request, or giving passengers rides. According to Uber’s insurance policy terms on its website:
- If the driver is waiting for a ride request while using the app: Uber may step in to provide third-party liability coverage if the rideshare driver’s auto insurance does not apply to the accident. This coverage may vary by state minimum requirements but generally includes bodily injury coverage per person and accident as well as property damage coverage.
- If the driver was giving a passenger a ride or picking them up/dropping them off: Uber offers insurance options to cover the accident, such as $1,000,000 third-party liability, uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, and contingent comprehensive and collision coverage.
Despite classifying drivers as independent contractors, Uber holds liability when passengers use the app’s services for transportation and suffer injuries in a crash.
For a free legal consultation, call (337) 777-7777
Should Uber Drivers Be Considered Independent Contractors?
While courts have been receptive to Uber’s argument that it just provides an app and is not an employer, a closer look at its policies and procedures may contradict this claim.
Some accident lawyers point out that Uber’s process of hiring and terminating drivers demonstrates that the company exerts control over its drivers at a level that goes beyond what is typical for an independent contractor.
In response, the rideshare service compares itself to a trucking company, pointing to similarities in average earnings, driver requirements, and licensing. However, the truth is that a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is not required to become an Uber driver. More importantly, Uber drivers transport people rather than goods.
Uber’s Safety Report Reveals Sexual Assault and Other Violence Also an Issue
In 2018, Uber released its first US Safety Report to disclose claims of traffic accidents, sexual assault, and other forms of violence allegedly committed by its drivers. Uber released the report in response to criticism about the company’s attempts to keep these matters private and avoid liability in courts.
Some major points made in the report include that between 2017 and 2018:
- 97 rideshare accidents involving Uber resulted in 107 fatalities
- 19 cases involved fatalities caused by physical violence (8 Uber passengers, 7 Uber drivers, and 4 third-party individuals)
- 1 million applicants do not pass Uber’s screening process
- Uber removed 40,000 drivers after reports regarding their behavior and performance
This data shows Uber could hold some liability and must continue to monitor its drivers to ensure the safety of its customers. If you were involved in an Uber accident, you might have grounds to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the rideshare company.
What to Do If You Suffered Injuries in an Uber Accident
If you suffered injuries in a crash involving an Uber vehicle – whether as a passenger, pedestrian, or another driver – the process of determining insurance liability is much more complicated than in many other car accident cases. Our team wants to help.
You Can Discuss Your Case With Our Team
Depending on the circumstances, you could hold Uber liable for its driver’s actions or directly file a claim against the driver. A detail as seemingly minor as whether the driver had matched with a rider could dramatically alter liability and your financial recovery. When we represent you, our team will investigate to determine the driver’s status at the time of the crash to know which party (or parties) to hold responsible.
You can discuss your legal options and the facts of your case with a personal injury attorney from our team before deciding what to do. Our team provides free case consultations for injured parties so that you can connect with us at no cost to you. We also manage these cases based on contingency fees.
Talk to a Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Team Member for Free Today
To discuss your case with a member of our personal injury collision team, contact our office today for a free initial consultation. Call (337) 777-7777 to speak with a Louisiana rideshare accident team member from Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers. We can assess your case, determine liability, and outline your next steps.