As ridesharing services have exploded in popularity, more Uber drivers are on the road. An accident with an Uber driver can leave you with a lot of questions, as well as serious injuries.
Injured in an accident with an Uber driver in New Jersey? Here’s what you need to know.
Motorists who get into an accident with Uber vehicles in NJ are entitled to coverage of their medical bills. They can also seek compensation for damages like lost wages and pain and suffering from the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
Although Uber and other ridesharing companies are required by law to provide insurance coverage under certain conditions in New Jersey, a car accident with an Uber driver makes for a complicated legal claim. Whose insurance coverage applies and how much is available depends on whether the Uber driver was actively transporting a passenger, waiting for ride requests, or inactive in the Uber Driver app.
Getting to the bottom of this situation requires a great deal of legal knowledge and, often, a thorough investigation of the collision and the events leading up to it.
Every time you get behind the wheel, you’re sharing the road with others who, unfortunately, may not be as conscientious or cautious as you are. However, there are key differences between Uber drivers and others who drive for a living that can make a car accident with an Uber driver more likely.
Uber drivers aren’t required to have a great deal of driving experience, with the minimum requirement being just one year. They don’t undergo formal training and aren’t required to attain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Uber drivers can even have a history of driving violations, up to three speeding tickets within a span of three years.
It isn’t only their qualifications (or lack thereof) that can mean that Uber drivers pose additional risks. The necessity of using the Uber Driver app and navigation apps for their work may increase the likelihood of the rideshare driver getting distracted. Unlike commercial truck drivers, Uber drivers don’t undergo routine drug and alcohol testing to make sure they aren’t driving while impaired. Although drowsy driving and fatigued driving are very dangerous, Uber drivers aren’t subject to the legal restrictions that keep commercial truck drivers from driving too many hours in a week or going too long without a break.
How often do Uber drivers get in accidents? In the company’s 2019-2020 Safety Report, Uber put the number of fatal crashes involving Uber vehicles during this period at 91, the Executive Summary reported. All told, 101 people lost their lives in these collisions.
We are here to help.
Collisions involving Uber vehicles are complicated legal matters.
Immediately following an accident with an Uber driver, make sure you are in a safe place where you’re not at risk of sustaining any further injury. This may mean moving your vehicle (or asking someone else on the scene to do so) or exiting the vehicle carefully and moving to the side of the road. If needed, ask any bystanders for assistance getting to safety.
If possible, assist any other injured parties or ask bystanders to attend to them, as well.
Call 911 to report the accident, and remain at the scene until help arrives. Cooperate with the authorities and briefly explain what happened. Don’t apologize, take the blame (“I shouldn’t have stopped short”), or minimize your injuries and symptoms. Get evaluated by emergency medical personnel on the scene.
Seek further medical attention right away. If your injuries are not severe enough that you need to go straight to the hospital in an ambulance, you should still consider going to the emergency room, an urgent care facility, or a doctor’s office as soon as possible. Waiting to get care will only delay your recovery and may even make your injuries worse.
While the police are on the scene, make sure you get the Uber driver’s (and any other motorist’s) auto insurance policy details.
Although you are required to notify at least your own insurance company of the accident promptly, use caution. Don’t engage in small talk, say that you’re “fine” or “okay,” or minimize any injuries or symptoms you have. Simply notify the insurance company representative that you were in an accident, that you plan to seek medical treatment, and that you can’t speak to the extent of your injuries at this time.
Better yet, make it a priority to speak to an attorney early on, and let us handle communications with the insurance company for you. This allows you to avoid making any of the common mistakes that can undermine your claim. Instead of dealing with the hassle of communicating with the insurance companies, you can focus on taking care of yourself and working toward recovery.
Accidents with Uber drivers are particularly complicated because they may involve numerous insurance policies, including:
There may also be multiple defendants involved in the case. Finding out the status of the Uber driver at the time of the collision may be critical to determining what coverage applies.
Know your legal options.
No matter how serious your injuries are or how clear it may be that the other driver (the Uber driver) is at fault, you can’t count on Uber to just give you the financial compensation you deserve. You’re going to have to pursue a car accident claim to get the money damages you’re entitled to.
The first step in the car accident claims process is to investigate the crash. This step is particularly important in the case of a collision with an Uber driver. Whether the driver was actively working for the rideshare company at the time and what exactly they were doing affects the source and amount of insurance coverage available to you.
It’s best to have an experienced Uber accident attorney in NJ handle this investigation for you.
Once your attorney has completed the investigation into the accident and identified all possible defendants and applicable sources of insurance coverage, the process of filing a claim can begin. Your lawyer will handle all interactions with the insurance companies from here.
To begin settlement negotiations, your attorney will put together a demand package that includes documentation of the cause of the accident, your injuries, any wage loss for which you are claiming compensation, and any other damages. Your lawyer will work to negotiate a settlement that covers the full extent of your economic and non-economic damages.
If the case can’t be settled quickly through negotiations, your attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf. The lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations—the legal deadline that applies to your right to seek compensation for your injuries—passes. Through the discovery phase of litigation, you and all defendants will provide more information. Your attorney will guide you in putting together answers to written interrogatories and represent you in legal proceedings like depositions.
Your case may be resolved through settlement negotiations, arbitration, mediation, or trial. Throughout it all, your attorney will be by your side, navigating the legal process for you and representing your interests.
If the Uber driver is found to be at fault for the collision, you will be able to seek compensation from the rideshare driver’s personal auto insurance policy or Uber’s insurance policy. Which coverage will apply to your case depends on the facts of your case.
The insurance coverage that covers an Uber vehicle and driver and any victims injured in an Uber accident is affected by the status of the rideshare driver.
When the driver is not actively driving for Uber—that is, offline or not using the Uber Driver app—that motorist’s personal auto insurance policy applies. The fact that they drive for Uber at other times (even shortly before the crash occurred) does not apply if they were not using the vehicle in the capacity of a rideshare driver at the time of the collision.
If the Uber driver’s status is considered “available” or they are waiting to receive a ride request (but haven’t yet accepted such a request), Uber’s insurance coverage applies, but only in more limited coverage amounts. This policy includes third-party bodily injury coverage in the amount of $50,000 per person (limited to $100,000 per accident). This coverage is consistent with the requirements established by New Jersey law (N.J. Stat. § 39:5H-10).
After the Uber driver has accepted a ride request and is either transporting a passenger or en route to the passenger’s location, a higher level of coverage through Uber’s auto insurance policy applies. While Uber’s national policy is to provide $1,000,000 of third-party liability coverage in this situation, the company’s insurance coverage obligations are somewhat higher in NJ. N.J. Stat. § 39:5H-10 requires rideshare companies to maintain “liability insurance in the amount of at least $1,500,000 for death, bodily injury, and property damage” in this instance. Uber’s 2023 Certificate of Liability Insurance demonstrates the company’s compliance with this NJ state law.
Under New Jersey’s no-fault laws, your own auto insurance policy covers the medical bills you incur in a collision, even if someone else was at fault for the accident. When a motorist gets into an accident with an Uber Driver in New Jersey, Uber doesn’t pay their medical bills—the injured driver’s own auto insurance company does, up to the limits of their personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage.
Under PIP, you will have to pay a deductible that may range from $250 to $2,500, depending on the selections you made when you purchased your insurance policy. You will also be responsible for copayments in the amount of 20% of the first $5,000 of medical bills, minus the deductible. Depending on what deductible you have chosen, you will have to pay somewhere in the range of $1,200 to $3,000 out of pocket toward your medical care. Your auto insurer will pay the rest up to the limits of the PIP coverage you have selected. Unlike a health insurance company, an auto insurance carrier can’t restrict you to certain networks of providers or facilities.
If you have made the selection to use your health insurance policy in place of PIP benefits as the primary form of coverage for your medical bills, be aware that you may face higher deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance obligations. You may also have to stay within your health insurance network for treatment.
In a car accident with an Uber driver, you will most likely be claiming PIP benefits through your own auto insurance company and filing a claim for compensation with either Uber’s insurance policy or the Uber driver’s personal auto insurance policy. However, other defendants may also be involved in your lawsuit. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, other potential defendants might include the following:
It’s important that your claim for compensation include all potential defendants. Your attorney will meticulously review all facts involved in the case to make sure no party that played a part in the collision is missing from your claim.
When your NJ car accident claim involves an Uber driver, the legal process gets more complicated. Simplify things by putting your case in the hands of experienced legal professionals from the start.
At Console & Associates, P.C., we have practiced personal injury law for decades and assisted thousands of clients in situations like yours. We know the financial burden an accident can pose, which is why our NJ Uber accident attorneys represent all of our clients on a no-win, no-fee basis. You’ll have a full legal team on your side throughout your claim, and you’ll pay nothing unless and until we successfully get compensation for you.
Your claim starts with a free, no-obligation consultation. We will listen to your account of the accident, gather the information we need to start our investigation, explain the legal process to you, and answer any questions you have. There’s no charge, and you can decide whether or not you want to move forward with a lawsuit.