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Raleigh Uber Accident Lawyer Warns Against Private Off-the-Books Uber Rides

Uber accidents are quite common, in part because there are so many Uber drivers on the road. A recent trend to reduce ride costs has resulted in disastrous financial results for Uber accident victims. Many passengers have started to request private rides, offering to pay the Uber driver privately to take them to their destination. By scheduling a private ride, the passenger gets a better price and the Uber driver gets full payment since they don’t have to share the ride fee with Uber.

Danger In Private Rides Not Commissioned Through Uber App

Uber passengers should never agree to private rides that are not commissioned through the Uber App. The reason is there are many circumstances where, if the ride ends in an accident, the passenger end up having no insurance to cover their medical needs and their Uber accident injury claims.

When a passenger is on board during a paid Uber ride, Uber provides $1 million in bodily injury insurance coverage which covers the injured passenger for any accident – whether the Uber driver is at fault or innocent. If the Uber driver causes an accident, the Uber passenger’s injury claims are covered by Uber’s $1 million bodily injury liability coverage. If the Uber driver is innocent and another driver causes the Uber wreck, the Uber passenger is first covered by the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. Once that coverage is paid out, Uber has $1 million in underinsured motorist coverage to fund the injury claims of all occupants of the Uber vehicle.

Exclusions On Liability Coverage

Many people do not know that when we buy a North Carolina car insurance policy, our liability coverage (which pays victims’ claims for any accident we cause) has a specific exclusion which bars/negates coverage whenever the insured vehicle is being used to carry people or property for a fee. Since an Uber ride is essentially a taxi service, this exclusion applies and the guest passenger in the Uber cannot bring claims against the Uber driver’s personal auto policy. If the Uber driver is working “off the books”, the Uber App is not engaged and thus Uber’s coverage does not apply to cover victims’ claims. Further, because the driver was accepting a fee to transport the injured passenger, the driver’s personal auto insurance also does not apply. Simply put, the injured victim in an accident caused by an off the books Uber driver has no insurance coverage to fund their medical bills, lost wages or their claims for pain and suffering.

These rules also apply to Lyft accidents, because Lyft and Uber both operate in the same way. In fact, Lyft also provides the same $1 million coverage for their drivers, and for all Lyft passengers. If the Lyft driver agrees to a private ride, this coverage is not in place and pays nothing to the injured passenger.

While you may have a chance to save a small amount of money by commissioning a private ride, you should never agree to pay for a ride outside of the Uber or Lyft Apps. Uber and Lyft drivers are governed by rules and policies that protect paying passengers, and Uber and Lyft also provide an unusually large insurance policy to pay the claims of paying passengers whenever a crash occurs.