Rideshare operations such as Uber and Lyft have become extremely popular in Chicago and other cities throughout the United States–and it is easy to see why. Ordering a ride through your smartphone is faster, easier, and often less expensive than hailing a cab. In addition, many people believe that rideshare services are safer. Unfortunately, Uber accidents still often happen in the Chicago area.
Uber does insure drivers and passengers involved in car crashes. However, when drivers are using their vehicles for personal use, they are covered under their personal auto insurance policy. If a driver is using the app but has yet to start a trip, they are covered under their personal insurance policy and Uber’s contingent liability policy, which provides up to $50,000 per injury for a total of $100,000 and up to $25,000 in property damage in the event the driver’s personal insurance does not cover the issue. If an Uber driver has accepted a fare or is on a trip with a passenger, they are are covered by a one million dollar liability policy and a one million dollar uninsured/underinsured policy. The UM/UIM coverage protects drivers and passengers in event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
In theory, all passengers are covered under Uber’s insurance policy, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. However, Uber classifies its drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, which allows them to claim that they are not liable for the actions of their drivers. Therefore, if a case has damages that exceed Uber’s one million dollar policy limit, an injured party may face some difficulty in pursuing a claim.
If you are a third party, such as a pedestrian or the driver or occupant of another vehicle, you may only claim compensation from Uber if the driver was carrying a passenger at the time of the crash or in route to pick up a fare. If the driver was between fares or using his or her car as a personal vehicle, you must file a claim with the driver’s personal insurance company or your own insurance company if the driver had no personal coverage.
While Uber does have a significant insurance policy, you have to keep in mind that its insurance carrier is a business, and like any other insurance carrier they are going to look to limit their liability and pay you as little as possible for your injuries. Therefore, it is important that you seek out an experienced personal injury attorney for advice on your specific situation.
Prior Blog Entry:
Wrongful Death Claims after an Illinois Car Accident, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published March 15, 2017.
Insurance: How you’re covered, Uber.com.