In Uber’s 2019 U.S. Safety Report, it was shown that the company logged a staggering 3.1 million trips each day and 2.3 billion trips overall in 2017 and 2018. While the vast majority of trips went off without a hitch, basic statistics tell us that travel numbers that high mean accidents and injuries.
The safety report included data on 107 fatalities that involved Uber drivers and passengers in 2017 and 2018. However, it excluded any mention of injuries that occurred in Uber vehicles, which is estimated to be much higher than the number of fatalities. Whether you are a driver or a passenger for Uber, it is important that you know what to do if you are injured in an accident involving Uber.
Check the Safety of All Occupants
Uber’s first piece of advice to drivers involved in a motor vehicle accident that occurs on the job is to check that all parties involved in the accident are safe, and on that all other authorities agree. Parties should generally remain at the scene of the accident and not move the vehicles unless it is unsafe to leave them where they are. If anyone is injured, call 9-1-1 and request an ambulance.
Notify Law Enforcement
It is important to notify law enforcement of a traffic accident. California law requires that any car accidents resulting in injury or death be reported within 24 hours. However, if law enforcement responds immediately to the scene, there may be additional benefits, such as getting an objective person to review the circumstances that contributed to the accident. The law enforcement officer might state his or her opinion about how the accident happened and include any information about whether the other driver was cited for a traffic violation.
While the Uber driver or other at-fault driver may try to insist that the accident was “minor” or try to convince you that he or she will handle the damages, it is often unknown at the early stages of a car accident claim what the full extent of your damages may be, so it is best to contact law enforcement about the accident to preserve your rights.
Document the Scene of the Accident
The scene of the accident will likely only be in place for a small amount of time before it is cleaned up, so it is important that you preserve evidence as much as possible. Take pictures or ask someone else to take the following pictures:
- Damage to each vehicle
- Debris on the roadway, including broken car parts
- Any skid marks
- The accident scene from different angles
- Any traffic signals or signs that may be relevant
Seek Medical Attention
If you experience pain or any other symptoms of an injury, it is important that you seek medical attention. Keep all medical records and bills you receive and follow your doctor’s orders so you can recover as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Uber drivers are instructed to notify the company about any accident. They receive an Incident Report Form to their email address on record. The company states that it provides this form to the appropriate insurance carrier. The driver should receive more information within two to three business days about whether insurance will cover the accident. Drivers should have the personal insurance declarations page available to review. If coverage applies, the driver may be required to pay a deductible
Uber also asks that injured passengers notify the company of the accident by clicking on “Trip and Fare Review” on the Uber app and reporting the accident under the appropriate trip. The company says this is to “confirm everyone’s safety and gather any other required information,” but you should be aware that the company may retain this information and use it as part of their investigation if you provide it.
File a Claim
The insurance that applies depends on where in the trip the accident occurs. Understanding this structure can help you determine where to file your insurance claim.
While the App Is Off
If the app is off, the rideshare driver is treated as any other driver on the roadway. His or her own personal insurance applies.
Waiting for a Ride Request
If the driver has the app on and is actively waiting for a ride request at the time an accident occurs, third-party liability insurance may apply. This insurance covers:
- $50,000 in bodily injury per person
- $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 in property damage per accident
Before this policy applies, it may be necessary for the driver to first submit the claim to his or her personal liability insurance carrier and have the claim denied.
En Route to Pick Up a Passenger Until the Passenger Exits the Vehicle
When a driver has received a ride request and is en route to pick up a driver, has a passenger in the vehicle, is transporting the passenger per the app, or is dropping off a passenger, Uber maintains auto insurance on behalf of drivers in the following amounts:
- $1 million in third-party liability
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury
- Contingent comprehensive and collision insurance
Uber may provide information to you about third-party insurance that covers the driver.
Keep Track of All Your Documents and Damages
During the course of your claim, you may accumulate many documents. Try to keep all of these documents organized. Create folders or sections for the following forms of evidence in your claim:
- Medical records
- Medical bills
- Accident report
- Employment records
- Vehicle repair records
- Communications with the insurance company
You may also want to keep a pain journal in which you describe your physical pain, mental effects, and other information about how your injuries affect your life to help support this aspect of your claim.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were involved in an Uber accident it is important that you work with a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with the company, its guidelines, and insurance claims involving its drivers. Uber was established in San Francisco, as was our firm, so we are intimately familiar with this company as well as personal injury law in California. Contact us to learn more about your legal rights and options.