Uber, the popular ridesharing service, has revolutionized transportation by providing accessible and affordable rides  across more than 84 countries and 732 cities. According to a recent study by researchers at Stone and Providence College’s, Uber is related to a 17% decrease in vehicular fatalities and 15-62% decrease in DUI’s. Despite these successes, accidents do happen – if you or someone you know are in an Uber accident, it’s important to understand the complex nature of their insurance policy.

Uber Drivers = Independent Contractors

Uber recognizes its drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. An independent contractor is separated from an employee based on the degree of control and independence in their work. As a general rule, employees are granted more rights and protection. Uber’s classification of its drivers as independent contractors allows them to evade expenses such as overtime pay, minimum-wage protections, unionization, and unemployment insurance.

While this classification undoubtedly benefits Uber’s bottom line, it can make understanding liability in Uber accidents confusing.

Uber’s $1 Million Insurance Policy

Uber has a $1 million insurance plan that breaks up into 3 scenarios. Uber requires are drivers to have their own personal insurance plans and often times Uber’s insurance policy is used a secondary form of coverage.

Not Available – This is when an Uber driver is operating their vehicle for personal use. They app is not on, and the driver is not carrying any passengers or accepting any rides. If you are in accident with an Uber driver during this time, the drivers personal insurance policy is in effect. Handle this situation as you would any accident with a regular vehicle.

Available, No Passengers – This is when an Uber driver has the app on and is seeking rides, but does not currently have any passengers in the car with them. In this case, the drivers personal insurance leads and Uber provides additional contingent liability coverage. The coverage only comes into effect if the driver requests it and if the driver’s personal liability coverage does not cover all of the damages. Coverage is up to $50,000 per injury with a $100,000 injury max and $25,000 in property damages.

Driving With Passengers – When an Uber driver is logged into the app and driving a passenger, the full $1 million insurance policy comes into effect. Both the driver and passenger are covered under this policy.

This is a particularly complex section of the law that will be an ongoing battle for years to come. Take the case of Syed Muzaffar, an Uber driver who hit and killed a 6 year-old girl on New Years 2014. Ultimately, Uber denied any liability in accordance with their insurance policy and Muzaffar was charged with manslaughter.

As with any case, the defendant must be able to prove negligence – liability (who is at fault) and damages (what happened as a result) are required to have a successful case.

Taking the few minutes to understand Uber’s insurance policy is well worth your time. If you’d like to get a free consultation for your Uber accident, contact Darrell Castle and Associates at 901-327-2100.

Disclaimer: Research, studies, and tips in the article are not meant to supplement the counsel of a lawyer. Claims are as accurate as possible, but policy frequently changes and many situations differ from one another. If you are in an Uber related accident, you should seek out a trained lawyer immediately.