In today’s world, the idea of hailing a cab almost seems quaint. Taxis used to be the only way to get a ride if a loved one couldn’t take you somewhere. Now, millions of Americans rely on rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to get them to where they need to go. On average, Uber drivers complete 14 million trips every day.
The process couldn’t be simpler: just download the app, input your information, then order and pay for a ride with just a few clicks. But just because it is easy to order an Uber doesn’t mean that it is safe.
To start, Uber doesn’t perform an extensive screening of their drivers or train them. The requirements for drivers are pretty minimal: be a certain age, have a driver’s license for at least one year, and have an eligible 4 door vehicle.
While getting an Uber is certainly convenient, it comes with certain risks. There are few restrictions on who can drive for Uber: you just need a driver’s license, meet the minimum age to drive in your city, have an eligible 4 door vehicle, and have had your license for at least one year. The company doesn’t inspect the cars or ensure that they are properly maintained.
To complicate matters further, Uber drivers are independent contractors in Missouri — not employees. This can make it a challenge to figure out who exactly is responsible for an Uber crash in Kansas City or the surrounding areas.
If you have been hurt in an Uber accident, you may be eligible for compensation. A KC Uber accident attorney will fight for your rights and help you get the maximum recovery under the law.
Who Was at Fault for Your KC Uber Crash?
In Missouri, personal injury lawsuits are based on a theory of negligence, which is the failure to use the care that a reasonable person would in a similar situation. Generally, drivers have a duty to use reasonable care while operating a motor vehicle. This duty includes following traffic laws, not driving under the influence, and paying attention while driving.
To win a car accident claim, you will need to prove that the Uber driver was negligent. This is demonstrated by showing 4 elements:
- Duty: the driver (defendant) had a duty to use reasonable care while driving.
- Breach: the driver breached (violated) that duty.
- Causation: the driver’s violation caused injuries to someone else (the victim or plaintiff).
- Damages: the victim suffered losses in the collision.
When it comes to proving fault, Uber accidents are like any other motor vehicle accident claim. A lawyer will examine the facts of the case to figure out who was negligent — and who can be held financially responsible as a result.
For example, you are riding in an Uber when the vehicle rear-ends another car at a red light. It turns out that the Uber driver was texting instead of watching the road. You suffer whiplash and are treated at the hospital.
Here, the Uber driver was at fault for the accident because they had a duty to use reasonable care while driving, and they violated that duty by texting and driving. Their distracted driving caused the crash, and you suffered injuries as a result.
While determining fault can be more complicated, in Uber accidents, the difficulty often lies in whose insurance will cover your losses. Depending on what your driver was doing at the time of the crash, you may be able to file a claim under the driver’s personal auto insurance policy or Uber’s commercial liability policy.
Which Insurance Policy Applies in an Uber Collision?
Rideshare companies like Uber are required to carry commercial liability insurance for their drivers. This policy will typically have a much higher limit than a personal car insurance policy will. However, access to this policy is based on whether your driver was on the clock and what they were doing when the crash happened.
When an Uber driver is not working or the app is off, then their own insurance policy will cover any losses from a crash. In Missouri, drivers are only required to carry $25,000 in coverage for liability per person, $50,000 for liability per accident, and $10,000 in property damage per accident. If a driver only has the minimum level of insurance, then their insurance policy may not cover the full extent of your damages.
In this situation, you may be able to access coverage through your own insurance policy. All drivers in Missouri must have an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy (UM/UIM coverage). You can then file a claim against your own policy for losses that exceed the Uber driver’s personal insurance limits.
When a driver has the Uber app on and is waiting for a passenger to book them for a trip when an accident happens, then Uber’s insurance policy will cover the crash. However, in these cases, the limits are low: up to $50,000 in bodily injury per person, up to $100,000 in bodily injury per accident, and up to $25,000 in proper damage per accident. You may also be able to file a claim against the driver’s personal insurance and/or your UM/UIM policy if this happens to you.
If a driver is working, and either has a passenger or en route to pick up a passenger when the crash occurs, then injury victims can access the full $1,000,000 policy limit. Anyone who is hurt by an Uber driver’s negligence in this scenario can file a claim against this policy — passengers, pedestrians or bicyclists, and drivers and passengers of other vehicles.
It can be difficult to determine what insurance policy will apply in a KC Uber accident case. In some cases, a third party (like a local government that failed to properly maintain a road) may also be at fault. Because these cases can be incredibly complex, it is important to work with a personal injury law firm that has the knowledge and experience to achieve the best possible outcome.
Injured in an Uber Accident? Reach Out Today.
Any type of car accident can lead to devastating or even fatal injuries. When you’re hurt in an Uber wreck, it may be difficult to even contemplate going up against a massive corporation and their insurance company. We can help.
Wagstaff & Cartmell is a midwestern law firm with a national reach. We aggressively advocate for each of our clients, working hard to get them the money that they deserve. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a KC Uber accident attorney, call us at (816) 701-1100 or email us.