Can Uber Be Sued for Their Driver’s Car Accident in NC?
Thanks to Uber, it’s possible to hail a ride from almost anywhere to almost anywhere, at nearly any time. Uber and other rideshare apps have become extremely popular, but with so many Uber drivers on the road, accidents are bound to happen.
If your Uber driver was involved in a Raleigh car accident, you might wonder if you can sue them or Uber itself for your damages. Unlike regular car accidents, an Uber driver accident case is a little more complex. Here’s what you need to know.
Can You Sue Uber if Their Driver Causes an Accident?
Normally, when a negligent employee harms you, it’s possible to sue their employer for the damages they’ve caused. That’s because the law holds employers responsible for the actions of their employees.
Before you start seeing dollar signs, it’s important to know that Uber classifies drivers as independent contractors, not employees. Because the drivers don’t work for Uber as employees, you can’t sue the company for their reckless driving.
There have been efforts to change this law, and Uber is seeing challenges both from accident victims and from some state authorities who urge that Uber drivers should be treated as typical employees, with rights to benefits like sick time and health insurance coverage.
Currently, Uber has continued to prevail against these challenges, and thus the error of an Uber driver does not translate to a right of legal action directly against Uber as a separate business entity. However, if it can be shown that Uber was independently negligent and that their careless conduct contributed to causing a crash, then the possibility remains that at some point Uber may be held independently liable for the results of a collision involving an Uber driver.
Uber’s Insurance May Cover Your Damages
Even though you can’t sue Uber, its insurance coverage may pay for your damages in certain circumstances. If you were riding as a passenger in an Uber driver accident, you can file a claim with Uber’s insurance. Uber insurance coverage starts from the moment the driver picks you up and ends when you reach your destination. The good news is, there is $1 million in coverage while an Uber trip is underway. Also, this coverage applies to passengers whether the Uber driver was at fault (under the Uber liability insurance coverage) or if another driver caused an accident with the Uber vehicle (under the Uber uninsured motorist coverage).
Uber only offers limited insurance coverage to drivers who haven’t yet connected with a passenger. If the driver is on the Uber App and is available to accept a ride, the liability coverage is $50,000.00. This coverage applies instead of the at-fault driver’s personal auto policy covering the Uber vehicle whenever the driver is not on Uber business. If the Uber driver hit you when they were off-duty and not on the Uber App, you’d have to file a claim against the driver’s insurance company instead. This will be the policy identified on the Police Report.
Uber may require you to file a claim with the driver’s personal insurance company before its insurance will pay for any damages. If you’re not sure who to file a claim with, call an experienced Uber accident lawyer for advice.
Can You Sue the At-Fault Uber Driver?
Sometimes, Uber insurance or the driver’s personal insurance may not cover all of your medical bills. It’s also challenging to prove non-tangible damages, such as emotional distress and pain and suffering, to the insurance company. You may have to fight to convince the insurance company to pay you anything at all.
If the insurance company won’t compensate you properly for your Uber driver accident, it’s possible to sue the Uber driver in a personal injury lawsuit. You can sue an Uber driver just as you would any other driver in a car accident.
What if the Uber driver hit you while you were driving? In this situation, North Carolina’s pure contributory negligence doctrine comes into play.
Under this doctrine, you can’t collect damages if you were even 1% at fault for the accident. That means if the driver hit you because you didn’t use your turn signal, the court won’t award you anything.
Uber drivers and their attorneys will probably try to take advantage of this by blaming you for the accident however they can. This is why you should not risk representing yourself in a lawsuit.
An attorney’s job is to prove who is truly liable in your Uber accident case, and we also focus on the medical evidence to present the strongest personal injury case. These efforts convince the Uber driver’s insurance adjuster that you will win in court and, in most cases, Uber accident injury claims settle without court involvement.
If you were involved in an accident involving an Uber driver, car accident lawyers offer free legal consultations and we can typically provide a detailed legal consultation with a single phone call. We recommend that you speak with several lawyers before choosing the attorney who represents you and, once you hire an attorney, you can focus on your medical recovery and leave all other legal concerns with your lawyer.
Contact an Uber Accident Attorney for Help With Your Case
If you’ve been involved in an accident, contact an Uber driver accident attorney without delay. The clock on North Carolina’s statute of limitations starts ticking as soon as your accident happens. It can take time to build a strong case for you, so if you’re considering a lawsuit, don’t wait.
Most cases settle privately, with no lawsuit filings and no court involvement. However, to make sure your settlement reflects the full value of your injury claims, retain an experienced car accident lawyer. We validate your threat of suit filing and litigation, we gather and present all evidence in the most favorable light, and we negotiate until the Uber driver’s insurance carrier pays the full value of your accident claims.
Contact Nagle & Associates, P.A. at (800) 411-1583 for a free consultation on your Uber driver accident case today.