Within the last few years, massive ride-hailing company, Uber, has grown exponentially in popularity. Uber has become most people's favorite mode of transportation, completely trumping taxi cab companies due to its convenience and relatively cheaper prices. Although there are many upsides for choosing to ride with Uber, have you ever thought about what would happen if you got in an accident while taking an Uber?
Who would be responsible? Could I sue the company or the driver for damages? What would my insurance cover? These are common questions that the average person would likely ask themselves once they are involved in an accident. However, the answers to these questions may not be similar to other ride-sharing companies, or any other company for that matter.
Uber has made a point to repeatedly emphasize that their drivers are independent contractors rather than employees of the company. This means that they can outright deny liability for crashes that involve their drivers. This happened in 2013 when a 6-year-old little girl was struck and killed by a California Uber driver who was checking for clients on the Uber app while driving.
The family of Sofia Muzaffar filed a lawsuit claiming that the company was responsible for her death, and should be responsible for paying all of her medical expenses. But Uber rebutted that the man driving the Uber was a “former licensee of Uber's software application,” not an employee, and that therefore, they were not responsible. Ultimately, the company was not ordered by the courts to pay the family.
In cases when a driver is injured while inside of an Uber, the company prides itself on having a $1 million insurance policy that covers both a driver and passenger in company vehicles. Even if an at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, Uber still covers drivers and passengers. But of course, there's a catch. If Uber feels it is necessary (usually if medical expenses are high), it could cite a driver as an independent contractor, completely stripping liability from the company. The option to sue the independent contractor for your injuries is on the table, but chances are they won't be able to afford all of your medical expenses.
Uber can only be successfully sued in extreme cases. For example, if Uber hired a person that was on the state sexual offender registry, and they harmed a passenger, a viable claim may be filed. But it's safe to say that Uber won't be ordered to make a payout to a plaintiff for an auto collision anytime soon.
Illinois Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, you need the help of a knowledgeable attorney. The legal professionals at Benassi & Benassi have successfully represented people who have sustained debilitating injuries. Let us handle the legal obligations while you recover. Contact us today for a free consultation.