It seems like every aspect of our culture is changing radically, from the way we get our entertainment to the way that we communicate with others. So it should come as no surprise that transportation has changed substantially as well. We may still be only a few years away from completely automated cars that drive you everywhere, but the field of taxi driving has meshed with the possibilities of the smartphone in the form of Uber. But, like many aspects of technology, the law is quickly catching up with these new advances. For instance, what happens if you are involved in a wreck with an Uber driver? Here is what you need to know from a legal standpoint if this happens to you.
What exactly is Uber?
For the uninitiated, Uber is a taxi service that allows users to order a cab ride on their smartphone or tablet. A freelance driver who uses his or her own car then answers the call and picks you up. Uber is not a taxi-service as such. It allows private drivers to act as cabbies and pick up the fares, for a cut of the fee. Instead of a single taxi cab company, Uber “employs” multiple free-lancers who set their own hours and handle their own pick-ups from the app. Because of this “freelance” status, the law may be a bit murky for some trying to determine who is ultimately responsible for an accident involving an Uber driver.
Who pays in the event of an accident?
As with other types of car accidents, who pays all comes down to who is found to be at fault in the accident. If you are driving your car and are involved in an accident with an Uber driver, then your insurance company will be liable if you are found to be at fault in the accident. Depending on your particular insurance coverage, your insurance company may be on the hook for the damages to the other person’s car, damages to your car, and medical expenses. If the other driver is at fault, then your insurance will probably have to pay out for these areas in the short-term until they can recoup the money from the other driver’s insurance company. It is possible, however, to go to court to obtain a payout above the basics handled by insurance. If you are not at fault and you bring such a suit against an Uber driver for negligence, then you may be able to recoup medical expenses, damages, lost wages and earning potential, and compensation for pain and suffering.
What should you do if you are involved in an accident with an Uber driver?
As with any type of automobile accident, the key is to not panic and act out of anger. Instead, the first thing you need to do is notify the authorities and, if necessary, an ambulance. The police will be necessary to make an official report and determine who is at fault in the accident. You should also make sure to get the license plate of the car that has hit you on the off chance that they decide to flee the scene. In addition, you should exchange your information with the other driver including your driver’s license info and your insurance info. Next, be sure to get pictures of the cars to document the damage as well as the location of the vehicles in relation to each other. This may be necessary to determine who is at fault in t he accident. Additionally, speak with any witnesses to the wreck and get their contact information as well since their testimony may be necessary if the case goes to trial at a later date. Last but most certainly not least, you should never admit that you are at fault. This can be used against you at a later date.
One of the main differences between being involved with an Uber driver in an accident and a regular driver is that the Uber driver will probably carry more insurance coverage than the average driver on the road. This is because the company will require them to have extra insurance in case of such an event. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving an Uber driver, then it is imperative that you speak with a skilled attorney who understands the new implications of this type of car service. The attorneys at Wolf & Pravato have this experience and can provide you with a free appraisal of your case so that you can learn about your rights in such a situation.