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Since its founding in 2009, Uber has grown to become the largest ridesharing company in the world and has transformed the transportation landscape. Many people use the Uber app to hail rides to quickly get to where they need to go at a more affordable cost than taking a taxi. While the Uber app provides convenience to its customers, using the service involves different implications for other motorists and passengers who are injured in accidents with Uber drivers than for those who are injured by taxi drivers. If you are injured in an Uber accident, retaining the experienced Uber accident attorneys at Lamber Goodnow might help you to navigate the complex insurance and legal issues that might be involved.
Uber is a platform that connects drivers and passengers. People can download the app to their smartphones and quickly order rides. Drivers who are approved to drive for Uber who have their apps turned on receive alerts when someone has requested a ride. People who have ordered rides can see nearby drivers and are alerted when a driver has accepted their ride requests. The driver who is matched with a passenger then picks the passenger up and takes him or her to the desired destination. Unlike a taxi, an Uber passenger does not pay the driver directly and instead pays for the ride through the app. Once the passenger reaches his or her destination, both the driver and the passenger can leave reviews and ratings for each other on the app.
One distinction between Uber and taxi companies is that Uber drivers are considered to be independent contractors instead of employees. This distinction is important because when an accident occurs, Uber typically disclaims any potential vicarious liability for the actions of its driver since the driver is an independent contractor instead of an employee. By contrast, if you are injured in an accident caused by a taxi driver, you can pursue compensation from the taxi company under a theory called respondeat superior. This legal principle holds employers vicariously liable for the negligent actions of their employees when they are operating within the scope and course of employment. Since Uber drivers are independent contractors instead of employees, however, Uber will argue that it is not vicariously liable for its contractors’ negligence when they cause accidents.
However, Uber does provide some insurance coverage, but it only applies under specific circumstances. If you are injured in an accident caused by an Uber driver as a passenger or another motorist, Uber’s and the driver’s coverage limits could both impact the value of your claim and the amount of compensation you might recover.
The Uber accident law firm of Lamber Goodnow understands the various insurance requirements for Uber drivers in Arizona and how Uber’s insurance might also come into play in different scenarios. our Uber accident lawyers can review your case and help you understand your legal options and rights while helping you to pursue full compensation for the losses you have suffered.
Arizona Insurance Requirements for Rideshare Drivers
Under A.R.S. §28-4009, all drivers in Arizona must maintain a minimum amount of automobile liability coverage, including $25,000 for bodily injury to one person, $50,000 for bodily injury to two or more people, and $15,000 for property damage. Drivers can also choose to purchase liability coverage with higher limits.
Automobile liability insurance reimburses others who are injured in accidents caused by the insured motorist for their losses up to the policy limits. While this is the minimum state requirement for motorists in general, rideshare drivers and transportation network companies like Uber must have liability insurance in place when the app is turned on in the following minimum amounts under A.R.S. §28-4038:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person
- $50,000 bodily injury per accident for two or more injured people
- $20,000 property damage coverage
Some drivers might not inform their insurance companies that they are driving for Uber. Many insurance companies also exclude coverage when drivers use their vehicles for business purposes. Uber drivers can and should purchase a separate endorsement on their existing automobile liability policies to provide coverage when they are driving their vehicles for Uber. Without the endorsement, the driver’s liability carrier might not cover accidents in which the insured was using his or her vehicle to drive for Uber without having a rideshare endorsement on his or her policy.
Uber’s Insurance Policy
In addition to the driver’s auto liability coverage, Uber also provides coverage under set scenarios. When an Uber driver is waiting for a ride but is not transporting passengers or traveling to pick them up, the Uber driver’s rideshare endorsement might cover accidents that might occur. Uber’s coverage is tied to the driver’s activity on the Uber app at the time the accident occurs. The Uber accident attorneys at Lamber Goodnow can review the driver’s history on the app to help determine which insurance company should be responsible to cover the injured victim’s losses.
Uber’s insurance coverage depends on the period of driving as follows:
Period 0: Period zero is when the Uber driver has the app turned off. During this period, Uber will not provide any coverage if the Uber driver causes an accident. Instead, the available coverage will be limited to the motorist’s personal auto liability insurance policy limits.
Period 1: Period one occurs when the driver logs into the app and is waiting for a ride but has not yet accepted a request. During this period, Uber offers liability coverage for any accident the driver causes of up to $50,000 per injured victim or $100,000 total per accident as well as $25,000 in property damage coverage.
Period 2: Period two occurs after a driver has accepted a ride and is traveling to pick up the passenger. If the Uber driver causes an accident during period two, Uber’s liability coverage is available for up to $1 million.
Period 3: Period three occurs when the Uber driver has picked up a passenger and is transporting him or her in the Uber vehicle. Uber’s coverage during period three includes liability coverage of a maximum of $1 million, uninsured motorists’ coverage, and limited property damage coverage for the Uber driver’s vehicle. If an Uber driver is involved in an accident when the other driver is at fault, Uber’s insurance policy will cover both the passenger’s and the driver’s losses if the at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance.
Additional Insurance Requirements for Uber Black Drivers
Drivers who drive for Uber Black or Uber Black SUV must purchase commercial driver’s insurance. Under A.R.S. §28-4038, the liability requirements for commercial drivers with vehicles that seat up to eight passengers are $250,000 per accident and $250,000 of UM/UIM coverage. Drivers who drive vehicles that can transport from 8 to 16 passengers must have commercial insurance coverage of at least $750,000 per accident and $300,000 of UM/UIM coverage.
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FAQs: Uber Accident Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions the attorneys at the Uber accident law firm of Lamber Goodnow receive from Uber accident victims.
Q: What Should I Do After an Uber Accident?
A: Just like any other type of motor vehicle accident, you should immediately call the police from the scene and wait there until the police arrive. While you are waiting for help, check yourself and others for injuries and provide first aid if needed. Collect the names, insurance information, and contact details of each involved driver, including your Uber driver and the other motorist(s).
If any witnesses saw what happened, ask for their names and contact information. Take photographs of the accident scene, the damage to each involved vehicle, their positions, and other important details such as the weather and road conditions, nearby traffic control devices, tire skid marks, and others. After the police arrive, tell them what happened, and then seek immediate medical attention.
Q: Can I File a Lawsuit Against Uber?
A: As previously mentioned, Uber claims that its drivers are independent contractors. This means that it frequently argues that it is not vicariously liable for its drivers’ negligence when they cause accidents while using the Uber app. If your Uber driver caused the accident, you could try to argue that Uber shares a degree of blame for the wreck. However, this strategy can be difficult since Uber continues to argue that its drivers are independent contractors to avoid vicarious liability.
In some cases, it might be possible to hold Uber directly liable for an Uber accident under a theory of negligent hiring or retention. For example, if Uber hired your Uber driver despite his or her history of major traffic offenses or criminal convictions, you might be able to argue that the driver was incompetent and that Uber knew or should have known that it should not have approved the driver to drive for the app. Similarly, if Uber allowed your driver to continue driving for the app even though he or she was convicted of a major traffic offense such as a DUI after being initially approved to drive for the app, you might argue that Uber is directly liable for negligently retaining him or her.
Regardless of whether or not you might be able to sue Uber directly, keep in mind that you should still be able to recover damages in an Uber accident as a passenger through Uber’s $1 million liability or $1 million UM/UIM coverage when your Uber driver was at fault. This means that in most cases, suing Uber directly is likely an unnecessary step.
Q: Do I Need an Attorney for an Uber Accident?
A: When you are injured in an Uber accident, it is always a good idea to retain an experienced Uber accident lawyer at Lamber Goodnow. Figuring out which insurance applies can be tricky. Insurance companies also typically try to minimize how much they might have to pay out in claims. The experienced Uber accident lawyers at Lamber Goodnow understand the tactics that insurance companies use to try to defend against claims and how to gather evidence to counter their arguments. When you have an attorney’s help, you are much likelier to recover all of the compensation to which you should be entitled to receive for your losses following your Uber accident.
Q: What if the Other Driver Shared Fault for My Uber Accident?
A: If you were a passenger who was injured in an Uber accident with another vehicle when both your Uber driver and the other motorist shared fault, both drivers will be responsible for your losses under A.R.S. §12-2501. Under this statute, when two or more parties are at fault for causing your injuries, they will share the responsibility of paying for your losses. In your claim, you would name both drivers as defendants.
Q: What if I was Driving a Different Car and an Uber Driver Hit Me?
A: If you were driving or riding in a different vehicle when an Uber driver caused your accident, the responsible insurance company will depend on the period in which the Uber driver was in at the time of your collision. If the Uber driver did not have the app turned on, his or her auto insurance policy will apply, but Uber’s insurance will not. If the driver’s insurance was insufficient to cover your losses, you can also file a claim with your personal UM/UIM coverage on your auto liability policy if you have this type of coverage to make up the difference.
If the Uber driver was in period one with the app turned on but was not traveling to pick up a passenger after accepting a ride, the claim will be filed first with the Uber driver’s policy and then Uber’s period one liability coverage of $50,000 bodily injury for one injured person, $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage.
If the driver was en route to pick up a passenger, Uber’s liability coverage provides up to $1 million in liability coverage. Finally, if the Uber driver was transporting a passenger at the time of your accident, Uber’s coverage will kick in for up to $1 million in coverage for you as a third-party motorist.
Talk to Our Uber Accident Attorneys
If you have been injured in an accident caused by an Uber driver as a passenger, pedestrian, or occupant of another vehicle, you should talk to the experienced team of Uber accident lawyers at Lamber Goodnow. We have years of experience helping negligence victims recover compensation for their losses. Contact us today to request a free consultation to learn about your rights.
 A.R.S. §28-4009.
 A.R.S. §28-4038.
 A.R.S. §12-2501.
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