Rideshare companies have become more and more popular in recent years. According to Pew Research Center, more than one-third of Americans had used a rideshare service as of 2018. With the increasing number of rideshare drivers on the road, serious accidents involving rideshare drivers driving for apps such as Uber are bound to happen. Are you protected while riding in an Uber?
The good news is that Uber rideshare drivers have plenty of insurance, as mandated by Georgia laws and regulations. If an Uber driver has the application activated, there is a $50,000/100,000 bodily injury policy in effect. That means if an Uber driver causes a crash with the app activated (but does not have a rider), there is at least $50,000 per injured person and $100,000 in total.
If the Uber driver is actively transporting a passenger, there is a $1,000,000 bodily injury policy in effect, which protects other persons if the Uber driver causes a crash (this includes passengers). Additionally, there is $1,000,000 in “reduced-by” Underinsured Motorist coverage, which applies to all passengers being transported through the Uber app. This means if you are riding in an Uber, you are protected even if the Uber driver is not at fault for the crash.
How Does Underinsured Motorist Coverage Work?
Underinsured Motorist Coverage steps in if the at-fault driver’s insurance limits are not high enough to fully compensate you for any injuries suffered because of the at-fault driver’s negligence. However, you must exhaust the limits of the bodily injury policy before you can recover from Underinsured Motorist coverage.
Let us explore the following scenario: you are heading to a night out with your friends and decide to be responsible and take an Uber because you may have an alcoholic beverage or six. While in the Uber, a reckless driver runs a red light, smashes into the side of the vehicle, and you suffer serious injuries. The reckless driver only has $25,000 in insurance coverage (the minimum in Georgia), and the cost of your medical bills alone exceeds that amount. What happens?
Uber’s insurance will step in after the at-fault driver’s insurance limits are exhausted. That means the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay $25,000 under their policy, and then Uber’s insurance will step in to cover the rest, up to an additional $975,000 ($1,000,000 minus the $25,000 the at-fault driver’s insurance paid).
Can I Sue Uber?
The answer to this question is: maybe. Under the doctrine of respondeat superior (“let the employer answer”), an employer can become liable for the negligence of its employee if the employee is negligent while performing work for the employer. Uber’s position is that their drivers are not employees but independent contractors. Thus, Uber argues the doctrine does not apply to them.
Georgia appellate courts have not yet ruled on this issue, so whether Uber can be sued directly for the negligence of a driver operating through the Uber platform is not a settled question.
The good news is that the insurance outlined applies regardless of whether Uber is directly held liable or if the driver alone is held liable for negligence acts while driving for Uber.
You can put your mind at ease about riding in rideshares from an insurance perspective: if the rideshare driver is using the app, there is plenty of coverage to ensure you are taken care of in the event of an accident.
Contact an Attorney
Regardless of how much insurance coverage is available to injured persons, insurance companies want to pay as little as possible to compensate injured victims. Thus, they often make unfair offers to unrepresented parties because they can. Therefore, if you are injured while riding in an Uber, to ensure that you are treated fairly, it is important to contact an experienced injury attorney.
The lawyers at the Rafi Law Firm are experienced in handling all aspects of motor vehicle accidents. Rafi Law Firm has achieved significant financial results on behalf of its clients. If you or someone you know was injured in an accident involving a drunk driver, call 404-800-1156 for a free consultation.