Were You Injured by a Drunk Uber Driver?
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 to 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 virtually have the whole 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. Further, 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. For example, drunk or drugged drivers. Impaired drivers are at an increased risk of involvement in motor vehicle accidents. Further, serious injuries and damages may result to everyone in the vehicle(s).
In these cases, several individuals, companies, and/or insurance carriers may share in the potential liability to the injured passenger or passengers. This is known as a third-party injury claim.
If you sustain 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. If necessary, we can name all necessary (and potentially responsible) parties in a claim or lawsuit. By working with a rideshare accident lawyer, you will maximize your chances of recovering monetary compensation for your injuries in the accident.
Are Rideshare Drivers in Chicago Employees or 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, there is a debate over whether they are employees in the strictest sense. Uber tries to argue that they are independent contractors. Chicago Uber accident lawyers argue that they are employees due to all the rideshare rules and regulations that drivers must follow, and the way Uber controls the payments.
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. They attempt to avoid being considered an employer to avoid responsibility for larger cases with values in excess of $1 million.
Uber’s Company Policies
Uber tries to claim their drivers are independent contractors, rather than company employees. However, these companies still have considerable control over their drivers’ activities. When it comes to drunk driving, Uber has a zero–tolerance policy. Uber does not permit alcohol or drug use by individuals who use the Uber app and who drive under the Uber name.
Uber’s company website even encourages riders to share their experiences publicly online. They do this in order to keep the ridesharing community safe. Specifically, the Uber site states that if you believe your driver is 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Liability for Drunk Uber Drivers
If you have injuries from 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. 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 liability coverage per accident when the Uber driver is on a ride or going to pick up a fare and is the cause of an accident.
- $1,000,000 of uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits. This amount only provides insurance coverage for Uber passengers and drivers who sustain injury when another driver (i.e. not the Uber driver) causes the collision. Further, the at-fault driver must be uninsured or underinsured for the coverage to apply.
- Finally, if the app is not in use at the time of the accident, Uber will not provide coverage. A party with injuries would have to pursue the at-fault driver’s personal auto policy.
Call a Chicago Uber Accident Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
If you suffer an injury in an Uber car accident where the driver was DUI, you may be able to recover monetary compensation. This money is for all of your damages from the accident, including:
- medical and physical therapy bills
- lost wages
- pain and suffering
- loss of enjoyment of life
- emotional distress and mental anguish
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.