Do you Uber? Lyft? Something to think about...
Do you take Uber?
Many of our clients do, or Lyft, or RideShare, or some other app-based ride-sharing service. These services are a great resources in the community, and help many avoid what would otherwise be expensive cab-fares. But what happens if an Uber driver gets in an accident, and the passenger - you - get hurt?
Uber drivers are generally not considered to be employees of Uber, at least according to the Uber company itself. This means that in the event of an accident where the Uber driver is at fault that you as the injured passenger must look to the driver’s regular automobile insurance policy to help you pay mounting medical bills, and lost wages from work - to say nothing of pain and suffering.
Riding in a person’s personal vehicle, when that person is driving that vehicle as a regular part of his employment (especially if the driver has not informed his/her insurance company!!!), might give an insurance company something to think about, like disclaiming and/or denying coverage. Some insurance companies take a hard line, stating that a person using his personal vehicle for work purposes must purchase a commercial insurance policy or a “rider.”
This puts you the passenger in a bad situation: injured, and uncovered (by insurance). While a dedicated attorney will fight that coverage denial, there is another route, and it is the one less traveled. Attorneys may make a claim for you under the Uninsured Motorist Coverage of your own policy. The very reason for Uninsured Motorist Coverage (what the industry and lawyers call “UIM”) is to protect an insured when whatever regular coverage is available is insufficient in the light of the insured’s total damages.
What are damages? “Damages” is the legal term for the expenses, inconvenience, and costs incurred by a person as the result of a tort or injury. In Virginia, for example, a person’s damages can be: time lost from work (or will lose); medical bills (and future medical bills); property repair and/or replacement costs, and “pain and suffering.”
No matter how you are injured as the result of an accident, it is very important to speak with a trained and experienced attorney.