Ubers are similar to taxi cabs, but they are not regulated in the same way that taxi cabs are. Generally, taxi cab companies screen taxi cab drivers and perform background checks. They also routinely inspect and maintain the cabs. In contrast, an Uber vehicle is owned, maintained, and driven by an individual driver. Uber claims that its model is innovative because it provides a platform to connect customers with drivers. It does not consider itself the employer of the driver. Thus, when an Uber accident occurs, whom can you hold accountable for your injuries and damages? At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our Syracuse Uber accident lawyers may be able to represent you in a lawsuit for damages.The Complexities Surrounding Uber Accidents
Many people in New York State call an Uber rather than call a cab. This means that they do not get a ride from a driver employed by a company that conducts background checks and performs car maintenance. In 2014, Uber's attorneys argued that since its drivers were independent contractors, the company was not liable for a fatal car accident. New rules were adopted in some cities and states to regulate rideshare companies. However, it can be unclear after an Uber accident whether the driver, the driver's insurance, Uber, or Uber's insurance can be held accountable.
If you are in a different car and get into an accident with an Uber driver who was distracted, for instance, you will first need to turn to your own no-fault insurance. You can only recover damages from the Uber driver or Uber if you meet the threshold for a serious injury. Whether you can recover your damages for a serious injury from the Uber driver or Uber is a more complicated analysis that depends partially on whether the Uber driver is "online" and either available for rides or providing a ride, or is "offline."
When an at-fault Uber driver is offline, an Uber accident attorney in the Syracuse area could help you pursue damages from the driver and their insurance in the same way as you would any other driver not involved in ridesharing. To recover from the driver, you would need to prove negligence by showing duty, breach, causation, and damages. When a driver is using the car for their own purposes and is not available to provide a ride, only their own vehicle insurance policy would provide coverage.
According to its website, as of mid-2017, Uber has an insurance policy that provides liability coverage based on the activity that the Uber driver is performing at the time of an accident. If you are involved in an Uber accident, either as someone in another car or as a rider, you may be able to recover from Uber's policy if you can establish the Uber driver's negligence. Uber has $1.25 million in liability coverage per accident, and this policy covers the Uber driver's liability to third parties from the moment that they accept a prearranged trip until the trip is over. It is primary to any personal auto coverage.
For example, if you are a passenger in an Uber, and the Uber driver is eating a sandwich, sails through a red light, and strikes your vehicle in a side-impact crash, a Syracuse Uber accident attorney may be able to help you recover compensation for your injuries through this policy.
If another driver causes an accident with an Uber in which you are a passenger, and the other motorist does not carry sufficient insurance or is uninsured, Uber has bodily injury coverage to protect all of the occupants of the Uber vehicle. Additionally, Uber has no-fault coverage to protect injured occupants of an Uber vehicle for their medical expenses, lost earnings, and other necessary economic expenses up to $50,000.
When an Uber driver is available but is not transporting passengers, and they cause an accident, there is a policy that provides liability coverage of $75,000 per injury, up to $150,000 per accident, on a group ridesharing policy. This policy would only pay out if you could prove that the Uber driver was negligent or otherwise at fault.
Although there is insurance in place, it can be challenging to actually secure compensation from Uber and its insurer. Often, legitimate claims are fought, and a strategy of avoidance is deployed. It is important to have an experienced attorney by your side.Retain an Experienced Uber Accident Lawyer in Syracuse or Surrounding Cities
If you were harmed in an Uber accident, our law firm may be able to file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf. We represent motor vehicle accident victims in communities such as Syracuse, Rochester, Lyons, Ithaca, Cooperstown, Canandaigua, Utica, Wampsville, Oneida, Lowville, Watertown, Herkimer, Delhi, Cortland, Norwich, Elmira, Auburn, and Binghamton. Call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.