Uber accident insurance protection laws
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and were a passenger in a rideshare vehicle such as Lyft or Uber, it is important that you become familiar with your rights and remedies. The primary question most people ask is which insurance company bears responsibility for payment of their medical expenses. The answer is that the offending vehicle should be notified in writing of your intention to make a claim for medical benefits and compensation for personal injuries.
The vehicle in which you were traveling (the rideshare vehicle) is known as the "host" vehicle. Assuming the host vehicle was not responsible, the offending vehicle that caused your accident maintains insurance coverage that will pay for your medical expenses. Additionally, the offending vehicle also maintains liability coverage that will compensate you for your personal injuries in the event they are serious in nature.
However, in the event that the offending vehicle did not carry sufficient coverage to pay for your medical expenses, you are entitled to file a claim against the host rideshare vehicle in that they are required by law to maintain $1 million in coverage in contemplation of this particular circumstance. The applicable coverage depends on what the driver was doing at the time the accident took place.
The Uber policy does not apply if the driver was using his or her vehicle for personal business at the time of the accident. The driver would have to make use of their own personal coverage in this circumstance. This is known as the driver being "not available".
The second scenario is where the driver is carrying a rideshare passenger. If the accident takes place when an Uber passenger is in the rideshare vehicle, the rideshare insurance policy applies.
The third scenario is where the offending vehicle does not have enough insurance and the rideshare policy is used under the "uninsured motorist" provision. This provision can apply in two separate scenarios. The first is where the offending vehicle maintained no coverage whatsoever. You would then file an uninsured motorist claim against the host vehicle. The second scenario is where the offending vehicle did not maintain enough insurance to pay for your medical expenses or your injuries. In that circumstance, you would file an underinsured motorist claim.
All of the above assumes that the host vehicle is not at fault for the accident and that the offending vehicle was legally responsible. If that is the case, then all of the aforementioned applies. However, in the event that the vehicle in which you were traveling caused the accident, you would be left with no alternative but to file a claim against the host vehicle to pay for your medical expenses and for any serious personal injuries you sustained.
It is important to note that if you maintain any personal motor vehicle insurance on any vehicles that were in your household, you may be caused to file a claim against them under certain very unlikely circumstances. One of those unlikely circumstances would be where the offending vehicle maintained no coverage and your host vehicle did not have enough coverage to pay for your injuries and medical expenses. However, your policy would need to exceed the host vehicle's coverage for you to recover. For example, if the rideshare vehicle maintained $1 million in insurance and for some reason your injuries and expenses exceeded that amount, you would need to have over $1 million in coverage on the vehicle that was under your policy at the time of the accident in order to recover. This is a very unlikely scenario.
It is more likely that your claim will be made against the offending vehicle to pay for your medical expenses and personal injuries. A claim against the host vehicle will also be made just in case there’s not enough coverage available to pay for your injuries and expenses as maintained by the offending vehicle. Keep in mind that rideshare drivers are considered independent contractors and not employees of the rideshare company. This is critical since the rideshare company will deny any claims made against it since employers are not responsible for the actions of independent contractors.
It is important that you contact an experienced Uber accident lawyer if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident as a passenger in a rideshare situation. Personal injury attorneys have the knowledge and understanding to deal with such circumstances and they do on a regular basis. Uber accounts for 68% of all consumer trips, so if you have been injured in an Uber vehicle, contact a personal injury attorney today.