Is the Driver or Uber Responsible in a Ride-Share Accident?

Driver transporting a woman in a car while talking to her - transportation concepts

Ride-sharing apps can be a convenient and affordable way to get around Austin. Unfortunately, as ride-sharing increases, the number of Uber accidents has increased as well. Ride-share collisions are more complicated than standard car accidents because more parties may be involved. When a ride-share driver is using an Uber app, the company may have liability for passenger injuries.

As ride-share accident attorneys, we are often asked whether the driver or Uber is responsible for injuries in a ride-share accident. The answer is… it depends. They may both have some liability along with a third party in some cases. Since each claim is different, it’s important to consult with an Uber accident attorney as soon as possible to preserve your rights.

How Can an Uber Car Accident Happen?

Using a motor vehicle is the most common mode of transportation in the United States. Statistically, cars are also the second most dangerous way to get around town after motorcycles. A typical car collision can happen in many ways, but an Uber car accident can involve additional factors.

Because of the nature of the ride-share industry, an Uber accident can be caused by:

  • A distracted driver looking at their phone app or following GPS directions,
  • Unexpected stopping for passengers to enter or exit the vehicle,
  • A sleepy driver behind the wheel for too long,
  • Stopping in restricted or unauthorized areas,
  • An aggressive or speeding driver trying to squeeze in one last fare,
  • Unsafe driving such as improper passing, tailgating, or lane changes, and
  • Poor vehicle maintenance or defective safety equipment.

Previously, Uber has tried to avoid liability for accidents by claiming the drivers were independent contractors and not employees. This argument failed and Uber now has to provide liability insurance coverage under certain circumstances.

Who May Be Responsible in a Ride-Share Accident

If you are injured in an Uber accident you may be able to seek compensation from several parties. If you are an Uber passenger in a two-car accident, the Uber driver may be at fault or the other driver may be to blame. The responsible driver’s insurance coverage is primarily responsible for your injury-related losses, also known as “legal damages.”

If an Uber driver injures you but you are not a passenger, Uber may have some responsibility depending on the driver’s “status.” An Uber driver is considered “under dispatch” if the driver has an Uber passenger in the car or is en route to pick up a passenger. If the driver is simply “logged in” to the Uber app but without a passenger in the vehicle or waiting for pickup, the potential liability coverage changes.

Potential Uber Liability for a Driver “Under Dispatch”

When an Uber vehicle has an accident, insurance coverage depends on who caused the crash. If the Uber driver was at fault, their personal insurance policy is the primary coverage for accident-related damages. If you are a passenger in an Uber accident where your driver caused the crash, you need to file a claim against your driver’s insurer. If that policy is insufficient to pay for your losses, Uber must provide a $1 million policy to help pay your expenses.

If you are a passenger in an Uber vehicle, but your driver is not responsible for the crash, the other person who caused the accident would provide primary insurance coverage. Again, if that policy is too little, or if the third party did not have insurance, Uber must offer a million dollars of coverage to make up for any deficiencies.

Potential Uber Liability for a Driver Who is Only “Logged In”

If you are a pedestrian or in another vehicle at the time of the collision, the person responsible for your injuries should provide primary insurance coverage. If the Uber driver caused the accident, their personal insurance policy must pay your losses first. If that policy is insufficient, Uber provides secondary coverage for your injuries up to a maximum of $100,000.

Uber will not cover an Uber driver that causes an accident while only logged in for work. Also, if someone other than the Uber driver was at fault, Uber does not provide coverage for non-Uber passengers’ injuries. As you can see, it is very complicated to determine who may be liable for your injuries.

You may need to deal with several insurance companies when multiple parties are involved. Usually, they will all try to place responsibility on another insurer to avoid paying for your damages. This is one reason why it’s crucial to consult with an Uber accident attorney as soon as possible. At McKinney Vos, we can help determine who is responsible and help you recover the maximum amount of compensation.

Injuries Caused by Ride-Share Accidents

As a passenger in an Uber ride-share accident, you may suffer many injuries depending on how the crash occurs. Some common Uber car accident injuries include:

  • Whiplash and other neck damage,
  • Traumatic brain injury and concussion, especially in rear-end collisions,
  • Broken bones and sprains,
  • Back injury and spinal cord damage,
  • Seat belt cuts or bruising,
  • Organ damage and internal bleeding,
  • Paralysis, and even
  • Wrongful death of a loved one.

The value of your case largely depends on the type of injury you suffered and the medical care needed to treat your current and future issues.

How to Sue Uber for Accident Compensation

Under Texas law, you have two years from the date of your accident to bring a lawsuit against Uber or any other responsible party. If you miss this deadline, you cannot recover compensation for your losses. Those two years will pass quickly so you should start working with an Uber accident attorney as soon as possible.

According to Texas personal injury laws, injury victims can request two types of legal damages from whoever caused their accident.

Economic damages include expenses and losses that you can prove with a bill or receipt such as:

  • Medical expenses including future anticipated costs,
  • Lost wages including the wages you are expected to lose in the future,
  • Expenses for physical therapy, out-patient treatment, and rehabilitation costs, and
  • Property losses.

Non-economic damages are more complicated to value and prove. These may include:

  • Mental stress and anguish including PTSD,
  • Physical pain and suffering,
  • Disfigurement, scarring, and other appearance changes,
  • Loss of life enjoyment and personal relationships, and
  • Other crash-related conditions.

Benefits of Working With an Uber Accident Attorney at McKinney Vos

Depending on your injuries, you may need weeks or even years to recover from your Uber accident. During that time, you will be contacted by insurance adjusters trying to resolve your claims as quickly as possible for as little money as possible. These insurance representatives are not working for you. They want to settle your claim and save the company money.

You need and deserve an advocate who will fight for you. A dedicated Uber attorney at McKinney Vos will thoroughly investigate your situation, gather the necessary evidence to support your claims, and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. If a settlement is not possible, we can file a lawsuit to pursue the compensation you deserve.

Trust McKinney Vos to Fight for You

The McKinney Vos team works with ride-share accident victims and other personal injury clients every day. We understand the trauma you have experienced and the difficult future you face. While you focus on your medical and emotional recovery, we fight for your right to compensation. As soon as you are able, schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and learn more about how we can help.

Call (512) 714-9373 anytime or fill out our simple contact form to schedule a no-obligation consultation with a compassionate and tenacious Uber accident attorney.