Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I wait a few months to pursue a personal injury claim?”
Were you, or someone you know, in an accident that involved an Uber driver over Halloween? Ride sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft are extremely popular on holidays like Halloween and New Year’s Eve. These companies offer an effective and safe way to get home after a fun night out with friends. But what happens if you are in an accident while utilizing one of these ride-sharing services? What happens if you are in an accident while driving your own vehicle, but the accident is the fault of the Uber driver? Does it matter if the Uber driver is driving her car for personal or business reasons? These issues have been rapidly evolving in the insurance/legal world, but are still largely unknown to the general public.
The most obvious question is whether or not Uber provides coverage when you are in an accident while using the ridesharing app. The answer is yes. Uber’s policy provides comprehensive liability coverage with up to $1,000,000 limits. So, if you are injured while riding in an Uber car, and the injury is the Uber driver’s fault, it seems as though you have a liability claim against Uber’s insurer. That policy is implicated when you are riding in the Uber as a passenger and the Uber driver is operating the car for business purposes. If the fault is the other driver’s, it is likely that his or her insurance policy will cover up to their liability limits, then Uber’s insurance will cover up to its limits as set forth in its “underinsured motorist coverage.”
The second question is if there is coverage when you have an accident while driving your own vehicle with an Uber driver while the driver is operating the car for business purposes. Remember, these services allow “employees” to choose their own working schedules and, additionally, to drive personal vehicles. Therefore, in deciding whether coverage exists, it becomes crucial to determine if the Uber driver is technically using the vehicle for “business purposes.” The key consideration is whether the driver is “logged in” to the app. Whether the driver has a passenger in the car or is en route to a destination also will likely affect the amount of coverage under Uber’s insurance policy, but not whether coverage exists. If the driver is not “logged in,” a claimant will be left suing the driver’s personal auto insurer.
The final question is what happens when you have an accident while driving your own vehicle with an Uber/Lyft driver operating his vehicle for personal use. The simple and unsurprising answer is there is no coverage under Uber’s insurance policy. Uber’s insurance policy does not provide coverage to drivers not operating the vehicle for the company’s business purposes. As discussed, determining this generally involves determining whether the driver was “logged in.” Assuming the driver was not logged in, it will then likely be decided he or she was operating the vehicle in a personal capacity. The claimant would then be left pursuing a claim against the driver’s insurer.
Clearly, because Uber drivers drive their own personal vehicles, the question of whether Uber’s insurer may be on the hook after an accident is a bit more complicated than the average accident with a cab company or with a private individual. Because this is new legal territory that has been recently evolving, it is important to know your rights if you have been involved in an accident with an Uber driver. Whether you are a passenger in an Uber, or are involved in an accident with an Uber while driving your own car, it is, therefore, important to consult with a legal professional to ensure your legal rights are well represented. This is especially true since the majority of accidents and insurance contracts may be unique.
If you are injured contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you receive the compensation to which you may be entitled to. Feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.
About the Author
Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.
Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.
A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.
In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.
By Colin@TheTruthAbout [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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