Monterey Uber Accident Lawyer
A California entrepreneur started a revolution in 2010 when he launched a ridesharing app called Uber. That company today generates well over $15 billion a year, and over 100 million people use Uber or the food delivery service Uber Eats every month. Whether delivering food or transporting passengers, Uber drivers complete over six billion trips a year. That’s a lot of driving. The success of Uber has been a convenient option for customers and a welcome source of income for drivers in today’s gig company, but it has also meant a lot more cars on the road, operated by drivers spending far more hours on the road than the average driver. This raises the risk of accidents involving Ubers and the risk of injury to Uber drivers, their passengers, and others on the road. Uber accident claims must be handled differently than claims involving other drivers, and it takes an experienced car accident attorney to know the important distinctions that must be addressed.
With over 20 years of experience handling car accident claims in Monterey, Santa Cruz, Salinas, and throughout Monterey Bay, attorney Scott J. Allen of the Allen Law Firm has the knowledge and skills you need if you’ve been injured in an accident involving an Uber. Contact our experienced Monterey Uber accident lawyer today for a free consultation.
California Rideshare Laws and Uber Car Accidents
California’s rideshare laws can be found in sections 5430-5450 of the California Public Utilities Code. These laws govern transportation network companies, which are defined as companies that provide prearranged transportation services for compensation using an online-enabled application or platform to connect passengers with drivers using a personal vehicle. Uber’s business model is the very definition of a transportation network company (TNC) and is clearly meant to be covered under these laws. Taxicabs and limousines are specifically exempted from the rideshare law.
Several sections of the law deal extensively with auto insurance requirements. The law requires that Uber discloses to drivers the insurance coverage and liability limits it provides. Uber must also advise its drivers in writing that the driver’s personal auto policy won’t cover them while they are using their vehicles in connection with the TNC’s app. Uber must also let its drivers know that their personal policies won’t provide collision or comprehensive coverage while the drivers are logged on to the app.
California law does set out hefty insurance coverage that must be provided by the TNC, the driver, or the two in some combination. These policies must provide one million dollars in coverage for personal injury, property damage or death in a car accident. This coverage applies from the moment a driver accepts a ride request until the completion of the ride. If the driver is carrying personal insurance during this period, it needs to be specifically written to cover the driver’s activity as an Uber driver.
The policy must also include a million dollars in uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, in case the driver is involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver while transporting a passenger or en route to pick up a matched fare.
Suppose the Uber driver is logged into the app but hasn’t yet accepted a ride request. In this case, Uber must provide primary liability insurance in the amounts of 50/100/30; in other words, the policy must cover $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $100,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $30,000 for property damage, as well as $200,000 in excess coverage. In contrast, California only requires other drivers to carry much lower 15/30/5 liability limits. As the primary insurer, a person hit by an Uber driver during this period would look first to Uber to cover the damages, which is more beneficial to the crash victim. It takes a savvy and experienced auto accident attorney to know about this difference in coverage and to know to check whether the negligent driver was an Uber driver who was logged into the app at the time of the crash.
Uber Drivers Can Be as Safe or as Negligent as Other Drivers
Uber is required by law to conduct a local and national criminal background check of prospective drivers and participate in the pull-notice system to check diving records. Uber cannot contract with a registered sex offender, a violent offender as defined under California law, or a person convicted of violating certain offenses outlined in the California Penal Code regarding human trafficking or terrorism. Uber also can’t pick someone convicted in the last seven years of misdemeanor assault or battery, domestic violence, a DUI for alcohol or drugs, and certain listed felonies ranging from intimidating voters to identity theft.
Uber drivers must also have a valid California driver’s license or a license from another state if they are military members or dependents. Other than this requirement and the DUI restriction, there is nothing in the law about checking whether an Uber driver is a skilled, safe driver. All Uber requires is a valid license, an eligible vehicle, and at least one year of licensed driving experience (three years for drivers under 25 years old). Uber does conduct a driving record review during an online screening.
Contact the Allen Law Firm Today
Since just about anybody can drive for Uber, it makes sense that some Uber drivers are better than average while others are worse. Since they are on the road more often, they are more likely to cause accidents due to driver fatigue or other mistakes as well as to get into more crashes simply by virtue of being on the road longer. The Allen Law Firm can help. If you are involved in an accident as an Uber driver, passenger, or driver of another vehicle that collides with an Uber in the Monterey Bay area, call our experienced Monterey Uber accidents lawyer for a free consultation.