There is no question that ride sharing has changed the way we drive. As airport parking approaches $20 a day, it makes sense to get a ride to the airport. In its first eighteen months in Houston, Uber reported providing 3.5 million rides to more than half a million users. Chances are, if you live in Houston, you’re going to encounter an Uber, whether it is from the back seat or in your rear view mirror. But what happens when you get into an Uber accident?
Obtaining an Uber License
One of the biggest differences between ride sharing and a taxi service is the type of license required. UberX, the most popular option offered by Uber, does not require a commercial driver’s license. To make matters worse, Uber doesn’t require any special training to begin driving. Here are Uber’s requirements for drivers, taken directly from Uber’s website:
[su_box title=”Uber Driver Requirements” box_color=”#4975ac” class=”article-table”]
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Have at least one year of driving experience in the U.S. (3 years if you are under 23 years old)
- Have a valid U.S. driver’s license
- Use an eligible 4-door vehicle
What Should I Do After and Injury
It may be surprising to learn that Uber only requires a year of driving experience before you can hit the road as an Uber driver. A lack of experience combined with Houston traffic can create a dangerous situation for everyone on the road, whether you are a passenger, driver or pedestrian.
Passengers. Typically, a passenger cannot be responsible for an accident. Because insurance claims and lawsuits focus on liability, or “fault,” an Uber passenger is typically not going to be found to be at fault, without some reckless or unreasonable behavior. However, insurance companies often attempt to shortchange passengers for their injuries, in spite of the fact that even modern cars often lack side and rear airbags to protect passengers. If you were injured as a passenger in an Uber, don’t accept an unfair settlement from Uber’s insurance company without talking to a lawyer first.
Drivers. One of the problems that arises after being involved in an accident with an Uber driver is that Uber may try to force you to submit a claim against the driver’s insurance policy instead of Uber’s. While Uber has slowly changed this policy, be aware that most personal auto policies do not cover driving for business, which includes ride sharing. As a result, your only option may be to pursue Uber’s insurance policy, rather than the Uber driver’s.
Uber Drivers. Just because you were driving for Uber doesn’t mean that you caused the accident. If you were injured because of the negligence of another driver, you may be able to pursue a claim against the at fault driver’s insurance policy.
Just as with any insurance claim, be aware that you will be contacted by insurance adjusters working for Uber.
They will try to take your statement and they will try to get you to commit to minimizing your injuries on the record. Before you speak to any insurance adjuster, make sure you consult with a lawyer first. If you call us, it won’t cost you a penny.