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Drunk Uber Drivers – Who Can Be Held Responsible?

drunk uber driver - uber car accident lawyer - abels and annesWere you injured in an Uber while the driver was drunk?

Under Illinois law, it is against the law to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more. In fact, it is against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol generally, so it is possible to face DUI charges with a BAC of less than .08. Of course, these limits apply everyone on the road – including people who drive others for money.

What is Uber and Lyft and How are they Affecting Society?

Uber and Lyft are two of the most popular ridesharing companies around. These companies have virtually cornered the market when it comes to inexpensive, reliable, and safe transportation. This is especially true for individuals who are traveling to and from airports, train stations, and other transportation centers.

Uber riders can download an app onto their iPhones and other smart devices and when using the Uber app, a rider can request and pay for rides and keep track of a driver’s physical location at all times. Riders are also told the amount of their fare and can store their payment information online for added convenience.

Despite the advantages and convenience that ridesharing companies like Uber have offered consumers, there are always risks associated with getting from place to place – such as drunk or drugged drivers. Impaired drivers are at an increased risk of involvement in motor vehicle accidents, and, in the event that they are, serious injuries and damages may result to everyone in the vehicle.

In these cases, several individuals, companies, and/or insurance companies may share in the potential liability to the injured passenger or passengers. This is known as a third-party injury claim

If you have sustained injuries as a result of an Uber drunk driving accident, you may be eligible to pursue monetary compensation. The personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. can investigate your case and name all necessary (and potentially responsible) parties in a claim or lawsuit. By filing the necessary claims, you will maximize your chances of recovering monetary compensation for the injuries and damages which you sustained in your accident.

Rideshare Drivers in Chicago are Independent Contractors

To drive for Uber, the company requires all prospective drivers to complete a background check. Drivers are also responsible for maintaining and paying their own motor vehicle insurance when they are not on the clock. While en route to a far or transporting a far, Uber provides the active insurance.

Even though drivers “work” for Uber, they are not employees in the strictest sense. Rather, they are independent contractors. The main difference between an employee and an independent contractor is that employees receive a W-2 at the end of the tax year, while independent contractors receive a Form-1099. Moreover, independent contractors usually set their own hours and schedules.

When it comes to personal injury lawsuits, the distinction between employees and independent contractors becomes very important. In prior years, Uber has tried to distance itself from problem drivers who cause accidents. However, more recently, Uber has been known to share in the liability – at least partly.

Uber’s Company Policies

Individuals who drive for ridesharing companies are independent contractors, rather than company employees. However, these companies still have some control over their drivers’ activities. When it comes to drunk driving, Uber has a zerotolerance policy. Uber does not, under any circumstances, permit alcohol or drug use by individuals who use the Uber app and who driver under the Uber name.

Uber’s company website even encourages riders to share their experiences publicly online, in order to keep the ridesharing community safe. Specifically, the Uber site states that if you believe your driver is operating his or her vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should immediately terminate your trip.

Moreover, you should report any feedback in the app by clicking on the Help Menu and selecting your issue. The website also encourages riders to email Uber’s customer complaint department at

Liability for Drunk Uber Drivers

If you have been injured in an Uber accident, several individuals or entities may share in the potential liability. The most obvious at-fault party is the drunk or negligent Uber driver.

As a prerequisite to driving with Uber, applicants must have and maintain their own motor vehicle insurance. Generally speaking, insurance coverage follows a vehicle, rather than the driver. Consequently, if a drunk Uber driver causes an accident while on the clock, Uber’s insurance policy will be available to provide some or all of the necessary insurance coverage.

Taking Legal Action Against Uber

Taking legal action against Uber directly can be complicated. In many cases, ridesharing companies like Uber will try and make you sign an agreement which limits your settlement or which precludes you from filing a claim or lawsuit directly against the company. You should never sign one of these agreements – under any circumstances – without first consulting with a personal injury lawyer. By signing one of these agreements, you can potentially lose out on recovering a large amount of compensation.

Uber’s liability policy limits for accidents which are caused by the driver of a ridesharing vehicle include:

  • $50,000/$100,000/$25,000 worth of contingent coverage by Uber in-between fares (i.e. contingent to a driver’s personal automobile insurance policy). Uber will only pay this amount if the Uber driver’s personal automobile insurance policy refuses to pay anything to satisfy an injured passenger’s damage claim.
  • $1,000,000 of uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits per accident (rather than per person). This amount only provides insurance coverage for Uber passengers and drivers who are injured when another driver (i.e. not the Uber driver) causes the collision.
  • $1,000,000 of liability coverage per accident, divided into liability for bodily injuries and property damage.

Call a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case

If you have been injured in an Uber car accident which was caused by a drunk driver, you may be able to recover monetary compensation for all of your medical and physical therapy bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and mental anguish damages which directly result from the accident.

The personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. can review your case and make the necessary legal claims against all potentially responsible parties. To schedule a free legal consultation and case evaluation with a Chicago, Illinois personal injury lawyer, please call us today at (312) 924-7575 or contact us online.