Uber Car Accidents and Insurance

In Boston, and other large metropolitan areas throughout the United States, rideshare services are becoming more and more popular.  These companies offer consumers the convenience of having access to a vehicle without the hassle of car payments, paying costs such as gas, and the difficulty of city parking.

Some folks hire taxis.  They may be more expensive and, in Boston, are woefully underinsured.

Uber, a California-based company, markets itself as an alternative to ride share and hiring taxis.  However, with the increasing popularity comes increasing scrutiny and concern over their payment, licensing, and insurance policies.

Do you know about the insurance in the vehicle you and your family are riding in?  Do you understand their labor policies?

How Uber Insurance Policies Affect You

UberX is one of the more widely available services Uber offers and is when the driver uses their own personal vehicle to transport passengers. According to UberX, when their drivers are unavailable, meaning they are not logged in to the Uber App, they are covered by their own personal auto insurance.  When they become available for hire but are not yet on a paid trip, they are covered by their own personal auto insurance plus contingent liability coverage that provides additional coverage in case the driver’s personal auto insurance denies a claim.  Finally, when they are on a trip with a paying Uber passenger, they are covered under a commercial insurance policy that provides $1,000,000 in third-party liability, $1,000,000 in underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, and $50,000 in collision and comprehensive insurance when the UberX driver’s insurance policy denies the claim. This is significantly more than Boston taxis and most private vehicle’s insurance.

As a passenger or victim in another vehicle, you may be entitled to seek the full commercial coverage if you are injured, or your loved one is killed, by the negligence of an Uber driver.

Uber Lawsuit May Receive Class-Action Status

Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, a lawyer with a successful record of labor lawsuits, filed a case in June on behalf of a Brookline-based Uber driver Hakan Yucesory.  Attorney Liss-Riordan alleges that Uber incorrectly classifies drivers as independent contractors in an effort to avoid paying them the same wages an employee with benefits might receive.  Ms. Liss-Riordan has also accused Uber of passing on the cost of running a business to their drivers by labeling them under such classification.  Attorney Liss-Riordan has also filed a similar law suit on behalf of six Uber drivers in Uber’s home state of California.

If either of these two cases are successful, a judgment may require Uber to change how their drivers are classified in the business model, which may change how they are paid, which in turn may alter how Uber insurance coverage is maintained.

Underinsurance is the Most Misunderstood Insurance

If you are injured by a vehicle that is underinsured, having sufficient underinsured insurance can be critical.  Taxis are traditionally underinsured.  Are Uber vehicles next?  We have reminded our current and potential clients multiple times over the years to seek out underinsurance coverage on their own automobile insurance policies.  These policies protect their insured from being short-changed in the settlement process.  If a negligent driver, in any scenario, has the minimum coverage of $20,000 required by Massachusetts law, that is the maximum amount of money an injured party may receive, no matter the cost of their medical bills, lost earning capacity, or pain and suffering.  If, however, you have sufficient underinsurance coverage, you can seek recovery from your own insurance carrier.

Hire an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one are injured while being a passenger, call Attorney Neil Burns today.  He has been a caring and aggressive advocate in car accident cases since 1985 and the consultation is always free.  There is no cost unless your case is successful!  Call 617-227-7423 today!!

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