Apps like Uber have become increasingly popular in Rhode Island. The convenience and affordability of rideshare apps make them an attractive option for riders travelling to the airport or to places with limited parking, such as downtown Providence. However, when an Uber vehicle is involved in a serious collision, determining liability can be difficult. If you have been injured in an accident involving a rideshare service-- as a driver, rider, or third party--you should contact a Rhode Island car accident lawyer immediately. Seasoned attorney David Tapalian of Tapalian Law, helps victims who have been wrongfully hurt in Uber accidents all over Rhode Island. With more than 20 years of experience with car accident and personal injury cases, Attorney Tapalian can help you recover the compensation that you deserve.Determining Liability in a Rhode Island Uber Accident
Uber is considered a software company and not a taxi service; there are different rules and regulations that apply to app users compared to taxi riders. Uber drivers are considered “freelance drivers” and are not legally considered employees of Uber. Due to this classification, Uber is not responsible for many accidents involving Uber drivers, because they are private contractors operating their own vehicles. Uber claims that they simply facilitate transactions between individuals, and thus the company is usually protected in lawsuits. However, with recent Rhode Island legislation, Uber will now have to comply with stricter insurance regulations. The Rhode Island Division of Insurance is now directed to determine whether the level of insurance coverage provided by Uber is appropriate. Still, Uber escapes liability in the overwhelming majority of cases, and responsibility often falls on the operator.Uber Riders
As a passenger of Uber, you are completely covered throughout your trip, either by Uber, the Uber driver, or the at-fault vehicle. Even if the driver at fault does not have insurance, Uber has to provide third-party liability insurance to some extent. This means you will definitively be entitled to compensation if you are hurt in the accident. You could even be eligible to initiate a civil action against Uber or the responsible driver, depending on the circumstances of the accident. However, before proceeding with any legal actions it is imperative that you consult a Rhode Island Uber accident attorney, like David Tapalian. The legality of the situation is complex and often requires a legal expert’s evaluation.Uber Drivers
If you are an Uber driver hurt in a car accident, it is important to distinguish if you have an Uber passenger with you at the time of the collision. If you have the app running while waiting for someone to request a ride, Uber’s insurance policy is active, but coverage is very limited. Uber’s coverage cannot exceed $50,000 for injuries involving just the driver. However, if you have a rider in the car with you, Uber’s insurance coverages change. You are now covered by Uber’s $1,000,000 policy. Even if an uninsured driver hits your car, Uber’s insurance policy could cover you, depending upon the circumstances. Unfortunately, Uber often avoids accepting claims or responsibility for accidents involving their drivers. In these situations, Uber’s insurance is secondary to your personal insurance. Keep in mind, if you are driving on your own personal time and do not have the app open, you are only covered by your own personal insurance in the event of an accident.Other Victims Injured by an Uber Driver
Third parties such as pedestrians, cyclists, or other drivers may be covered by Uber’s insurance policy in the event that they are injured in an accident involving an Uber driver. However, your options for compensation from Uber may be extremely limited. Uber continuously denies liability toward third parties because of their “independent contractor” driver claim. Due to this aforementioned reason, seeking expert advice from a Rhode Island Uber accident lawyer is most important when third party victims are involved. Attorney David Tapalian can help you make the strongest decision in determining which type of legal action to pursue.Proceeding with an Uber Accident Claim
After an accident involving Uber, it is critical that you take specific steps to protect your legal rights.
- Call the police immediately and stay at the scene of the Uber accident
- Call 911 to treat injuries sustained in the accident and keep records of all hospital visits
- Collect evidence by taking photos of the damages, collecting the names of witnesses, and obtaining a police report if possible
- If you are a driver, take a screenshot of your app to prove you were operating with Uber during the accident
- Contact Uber on their company line and inform them of the accident
- Don’t communicate with Uber’s representatives other than for this initial report without consulting an Uber Accident Lawyer
Recovering losses from an Uber accident is an especially difficult process because Uber’s insurance often rejects accident claims. It may seem impossible to file a claim against such a large company like Uber. To ensure that you have the strongest legal representation on your side, you should contact R.I. Uber accident attorney David Tapalian today. Conveniently located at 350 S. Main St., Providence, RI, Tapalian Law is easily accessible for anyone in Rhode Island. Our dedicated team of legal experts will help create a legal plan to strengthen your claim and guide you through the steps to receive the compensation you deserve. However, there is a 3-year statute of limitations on filing a car accident claim in Rhode Island, so it is important that you consult us immediately. Call Tapalian Law today at 401-552-5000 or contact us to set up a free consultation.