Uber has established a strong presence in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania, as travelers choose the rideshare service over more traditional forms of transportation. However, the popularity of the program has raised questions of liability, particularly with the rise in fatalities and serious accidents. If you or a loved one were injured in an uber accident, you may be wondering what your rights are.
You need the aggressive automobile accident attorneys of Cooper Schall & Levy. Our team gets to the bottom of accidents and makes sure responsible parties, including Uber drivers, are held liable.
What Is Uber?
Uber is a technology platform that helps people find rides. A user downloads the Uber app onto his or her smartphone and uses it in cities, such as Philadelphia, where the rideshare service is available. Uber is on-demand, meaning that you don’t have to wait at a bus stop or for a taxi to show up. When you need a ride, you simply open the app and request one. The app then forwards the request to the nearest available driver. You can also use the app to track where your driver is and to tell you useful information such as the driver’s name and the type of vehicle he or she is driving.
Uber Compared To Other Forms Of Transportation
Uber vehicles don’t exist, at least not in the same sense as buses, taxi cabs, trains, and other forms of public transportation. The latter are commercial or government vehicles. On the other hand, Uber drivers are private vehicle owners who simply use their automobiles for the rideshare service.
Regulations govern public transportation entities with the goal of promoting passenger safety. But Uber is a technology platform, not a transportation system. Different rules and regulations govern it along with other rideshare programs. For example, in Philadelphia, drivers are required to maintain their own insurance policies apart from the coverage provided by Uber. Drivers’ vehicles also must pass an inspection along with other requirements.
While taxi and bus drivers have been specially trained to operate their vehicles, Uber drivers have no unique training. They’re just private citizens with driver’s licenses. You should also know that Uber considers their drivers to be independent contractors, which can make it challenging (though not impossible) to hold the company liable after an accident.
Common Uber Accident Injuries
There are a number of reasons that an automobile accident can occur, and the same is true with respect to Uber accidents. Distracted, tired, overworked, and intoxicated drivers are not uncommon, and they can cause serious and sometimes fatal crashes. But some accidents are the fault of third parties, not the Uber driver. Regardless, these are a few of the injuries that Uber accident victims suffer:
- Whiplash, herniated discs, and other neck and spinal injuries
- Concussions, skull fractures, and other head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken arms and legs and other bone fractures
- Muscle strains
- Back injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Deep bruising
- Paralysis and disability
Many of these injuries are irreversible. Tragically, some accidents are fatal. If you or a loved one have been hurt, your first priority is to get medical attention for your injuries. This is true even if the injuries seem minor, since it often takes time for more serious complications to emerge. Failure to get medical attention, or unreasonable delay in doing so, could make it much more difficult to get the compensation you need later.
What Is Uber’s Insurance Policy?
Uber requires that drivers carry liability insurance. The company also provides some limited coverage, but the rules are complicated. The exact coverage available at the time of an accident depends on whether the Uber app is being used, whether an Uber driver is en route to pick up a passenger, or whether a passenger is already in the vehicle.
If the driver is offline or the Uber app is turned off, his or her personal insurance policy will apply. If the driver is waiting for a ride request, Uber provides third-party liability insurance if the driver’s policy does not apply. This covers:
- $50,000 in bodily injury per person
- $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 in property damage per accident
If the driver is en route to pick up a passenger, or an accident happens during the ride, Uber provides the following insurance coverage:
- $1,000,000 third-party liability
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury
- Contingent comprehensive and collision, up to actual cash value of car ($1,000 deductible)
Can I Sue Uber?
Because Uber considers its drivers to be independent contractors, it is difficult to hold the company liable after an accident. There are circumstances, however, in which the company cannot use this legal relationship with its drivers to avoid responsibility. For example, Uber could be liable if it negligently failed to keep an unsafe driver from participating in its service. The specific facts in your case will help answer this question, so speak with a skilled Philadelphia automobile accident lawyer.
How Can An Attorney Help Me After an Uber Accident?
Accidents often turn into blame games between Uber and its drivers – or, more particularly, between their respective insurance companies. Uber may dispute whether its driver was on-duty or using the app at the time of the accident. There may also be times when Uber itself is responsible, despite its independent contractor relationship with drivers. Your attorney can make sure the at-fault party covers your injuries.
After an accident, get the medical treatment you need. Then, start gathering medical records and document your time missed from work. To the extent you can, collect information about the wreck, including the identifies of any witnesses.
Contact Our Philadelphia Uber Accident Attorney
Rideshare liability is an area of law that is still developing, so it’s essential that you contact an experienced Philadelphia Uber accident attorney if you were hurt in a wreck. You can count on Cooper Schall & Levy to fight for the compensation you deserve. Call us today to schedule your consultation.