“Catching a ride” with someone is much easier with ridesharing services like Uber. Using an app, you can summon someone to pick you up and drop you off wherever you like. The driver makes money with his or her own car, and you have the freedom to go where you need to go and not worry about finding a taxicab.
It sounds great, but there is a downside. Every year there are more than 200,000 car accidents in the NYC area, and about a quarter involve fatalities. So if you didn’t have an accident this time, there’s always next time.
What You Need To Know
An Uber driver is not an employee, but an independent contractor to the company. Because Uber is a private company, the drivers and their cars may not be pre-screened as well as a taxi driver licensed by NYC. Uber drivers must have a TLC, or Taxi and Limousine Commission License in order to drive, but they’re not regulated in the same way.
Unlike a hailing a taxi, everything is handled through the Uber app, from requesting a ride to paying. The driver makes him or herself available through the app as well.
The driver must also have his or her own car insurance for when the driver uses their vehicle for personal transportation, or when the driver is marked as “active” on the app but has not yet picked up a passenger and accepted a fare. Many have additional coverage on top of their own. Uber’s $1M insurance coverage starts once the driver has accepted a fare and begins transporting the passenger.
An Uber Accident
With more and more vehicles on the road, an accident is inevitable. Uber now has more than 23,000 vehicles on the road in New York City, and the drivers have been in three well-known crashes in the last few years. Earlier this year, an Uber driver with a suspended license crashed into a storefront in Chelsea when his passenger became ill during the ride. Four people were injured, including two pedestrians.
No safety or accident data is available from Uber or from New York, who apparently only keeps track of licensed cab drivers and their records. (Uber doesn’t make this information publicly available.)
The reasons for an Uber accident are similar to other types of car accidents:
- Drunk driving
- Driver fatigue
- Texting while driving
- Not paying attention
If you’ve ever had an accident and experienced an insurance company trying not to pay you, Uber is a big company in the business of making money, and will avoid paying or settle for as little as they can. That’s where a New York City accident attorney can help.
What To Do
As with any car accident, you should always get medical attention for your injuries. Use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, and get witness contact information from everyone you can. You must give a statement to the police, but avoid saying anything to them or the other party that might be considered or interpreted as admitting fault.
As soon as you’re able, contact an accident attorney to help with filing your claim.
Uber’s process for handling a ridesharing accident is available here, and their instructions for drivers in an accident are available here.
Your Consultation Is Free
If you’ve been in an Uber accident and aren’t sure what to do, call Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier at (212) 777-9400 or contact us online. We’re a family-owned personal injury law firm in New York City with more than 26 year experience helping people just like you after a car accident. Our contingency fee arrangement means we won’t get paid until you do, whether we settle your case in or out of court.