When you are injured in an Uber vehicle
Last week, we updated you on legislation intended to promote safety in vehicles operated by Uber drivers. In response to the proposed regulations, Uber claims to be merely a match up service for individuals who want to carpool with others. In reality, they connect passengers with drivers who use their own personal cars. What happens if you are injured in an Uber-driven vehicle?
Uber drivers are not subject to the same rules and regulations as taxi and limousine services. Notwithstanding, some communities have outlawed the use of ride-sharing vehicles. In nearby Hoboken, a police officer directed a ride-sharing passenger to vacate an Uber car and call for a taxi. The city ordinance states that anyone who operates a car for hire must have a fire extinguisher and first aid kit available for use. The Uber driver did not have the required equipment in his car.
Both taxi and limousine services are required to hold commercial automobile policies. As an injured passenger in either of these vehicles, you may be eligible for remuneration under their policies. Uber claims that all of its drivers show proof of insurance. However, we could find no indication of how the insurance is documented or the minimal requirements. Obviously, these drivers are insuring their vehicles as private passenger cars. What happens when they use their cars for hire? There is the possibility that their personal automobile carriers may deny coverage.
Although an Uber driver may only transport others on occasion, their car may be considered a commercial vehicle when picking up and dropping off passengers. The driver’s own personal automobile insurance most likely has specific exclusionary clauses related to using the car for hire. In short, you may not be able to recover benefits.
Uber itself carries a policy that affords $1 million in excess coverage. This policy only comes into effect after the driver’s coverage has extended all available recovery. There are open issues as far as the excess coverage. The driver may have discontinued their own insurance. The driver’s policy may have excluded the use of vehicles for hire. Would the Uber coverage then apply? These may be matters for judicial interpretation.
Injuries of any type can be catastrophic. Our primary concern is that you receive medical treatment and are on the road to recovery. Let us sort out the details with the ride-sharing service and the insurance company. The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone has many years of personal injury experience. Contact us for an appointment to discuss your case.