Ride-hailing is a popular trend that offers easy and affordable transportation simply by using an app on your cell phone. Uber is among the most popular of the ride-sharing apps, with 14 million trips completed a day. The Uber app is available in 65 countries and more than 600 cities worldwide. The surge of popularity is not without controversy as news reports of assaults, kidnappings, and imposters continue to emerge. Uber drivers are at the center of these cases, leaving South Carolina residents eager to learn more before they hail their next Uber ride.
What Is Uber?
Most Americans have heard of Uber yet many don’t understand exactly how it works. Uber is a ride-hailing app that provides income for independent drivers and rides for people seeking transportation. Uber launched in 2009 and continues to gain momentum, despite competition from Lyft, another popular ride-hailing app.
According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 36 percent of those surveyed use Uber. Sixty-one percent admitted to knowing of Uber but have not used the service yet.
Many consider Uber a safe choice for those who drink too much to drive or for someone unfamiliar with a city. The cost is often more affordable than that of a taxi. Uber is not without risks, however, due to drivers who are reckless behind the wheel while transporting passengers.
Does Uber Conduct Background Checks on their Drivers?
Uber recently expanded background checks so that they occur on a continuous basis. Initially, Uber only conducted a background check on a driver at the start of the hiring process. This left Uber in the dark regarding any changes or charges to a driver’s criminal or driving record after their approval.
Drivers can now face suspension if a continuous background check indicates a new felony or a charge relating to a violent crime or sex offense. It is important to note that no part of the Uber background check process includes fingerprinting drivers. Uber argues that fingerprint checks are an unnecessary cost for the company.
The Taxicab, Limousine, and Paratransit Association (TLPA) remain critical of the background check system and processes used by most ride-hailing companies. TLPA started an aggressive “Who’s Driving You“ campaign to alert ride-hailing users to the less-stringent background checks of Uber drivers compared to industry requirements for members of the TLPA.
When Uber, or a third-party company on behalf of Uber, conduct a background check on a driver, they pull the driver’s motor vehicle record and check for the following:
- No more than three minor moving violations within the last three years
- No major moving violations within the last seven years, such as a DUI
- No violent crimes, felonies, or cases involving sex offenses within the last seven years
Uber does not conduct a credit check on their drivers. The continuous background checks are a positive step for Uber, however, dangerous drivers can still slip through the system, placing passengers at risk for serious harm.
Who Is Responsible if I’m in an Accident?
Insurance coverage and responsibility for accidents depend on when an accident occurs. If a driver is available and their app is on, Uber provides the following coverage:
Third-party liability if your personal auto insurance doesn’t apply
- $50,000 in bodily injury per person
- $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 in property damage per accident
Uber provides the coverage listed below when an accident occurs while a driver is en route to pick up a passenger or during the passenger’s trip:
- $1,000,000 third-party liability
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury
- Contingent comprehensive and collision
- Up to the actual cash value of the car ($1,000 deductible)
Many auto insurance companies offer rideshare insurance endorsements that provide extended coverage for drivers. The endorsements are not required by Uber, meaning your driver may drive with only the minimum coverage required.
Is Uber Insurance Enough to Cover My Medical Expenses?
If you are seriously injured due to a reckless or negligent Uber driver, chances are their insurance will not cover all of your medical expenses. A serious car accident can have catastrophic and sometimes deadly, consequences. Traumatic injuries that are common in violent car crashes include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury
- Neck and back injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
Experiencing one or more of these types of serious injuries can delay or possibly end your career or employment. Your initial hospital stay may result in future surgeries, expensive medical equipment, and long-term therapies.
An Uber ride may seem like a quick solution to your need for transportation, however, it can have severe consequences for your life. While an insurance company may offer you what seems like a significant sum of money, they do so to settle the case quickly.
The initial settlement offer from an insurance company most likely will not sustain your future medical needs and care. At Hughey Law Firm, we know the tactics insurance companies use to get victims to settle for less than they deserve. Don’t let this happen to you. Contact us as soon as possible after the accident to discuss your options for pursuing fair compensation.
Whom Do I Call to Discuss My Uber Case?
What most Uber app users don’t realize is that by downloading the app, they agree to the terms and conditions. A closer look at the fine print makes the terms confusing when it comes to possible litigation. Then there’s the fact that Uber drivers are independent contractors. Combine the terms and conditions—along with the independent contractor status—and you have a situation that requires a knowledgeable law firm.
While a car accident is a traumatic and overwhelming experience, don’t delay in reaching out to our legal team. The sooner we evaluate your case, the sooner we can decide the best course of action for you and your family.
The growing popularity of ridesharing and ride-hailing is a modern day convenience that includes opportunities for serious harm. Hughey Law Firm is proud to serve residents in Charleston and beyond when it comes to Uber car accidents.