Transportation network companies (TNCs) are also known as ridesharing companies, and they’re incredibly popular throughout San Francisco and California. Uber is probably the most widely used TNC in the world. Many Californians choose ridesharing transportation when going to and from airports or a night out for dinner and drinks. Customers say that grabbing a ride from an Uber driver is more convenient and less costly than taking a taxi, but whenever traffic is on the road, safety isn’t guaranteed, especially if you’re on a bicycle.
Other than maybe a helmet, bicyclists are virtually unprotected when they’re the victims of careless and negligent drivers. As opposed to passenger cars and other vehicles, bicyclists have no steel body around them with crumple zones to mitigate an impact. They don’t have engineered safety devices like restraint systems or air bags either. They’re terribly vulnerable to serious injuries or even death when they’re hit by a motor vehicle.
The Driver’s Insurance
An Uber driver might have his or her own personal auto insurance, but if that person is driving for hire, a personal auto insurer is likely to deny coverage. In fact, in many cases any insurer may attempt to delay or deny coverage and even blame the bicyclist for their injuries.
Uber has insurance coverage for its drivers, but it’s only applicable under certain circumstances. Here’s how it works.
During stage one, the Uber driver isn’t logged into Uber’s app. The vehicle is either parked, or it’s being used for personal purposes like going to the supermarket or out to dinner. The driver’s own personal insurance is in effect.
Now the driver has logged into the Uber app, and he or she is available for hire. Uber covers the driver with 50/100 liability insurance, but that’s secondary to the driver’s own coverage. Once a driver accepts a fare, Uber provides $1 million of liability coverage for bodily injury or property damage. This doesn’t cover any injuries to the driver or property damage to his or her vehicle, but there’s likely coverage if you’re hit by a careless Uber driver during this stage.
The driver is on the way to pick up a passenger or has picked up a passenger. The $1 million of liability coverage remains in effect until the passenger leaves the vehicle. Again, there’s probably coverage if you’re hit by a negligent Uber driver while you’re on a bicycle.
Your own insurance
Most bicyclists own cars. If the Uber driver turns our to be negligent but they weren’t working for Uber at the time of the crash, and they do not have adequate insurance to cover your injuries and/or damages, your own UM or UIM coverage from your own auto insurance policy can help. Unless you waived the insurance, if you live in California you are very likely to have UM or UIM coverage. Depending on how much UM/UIM coverage you have, you could get tens of thousands of dollars in compensation for your injuries.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Now
Uber has experienced incredible growth over the last 10 years. The California legislature only recently caught up with it. We’re on top of those laws as they evolve. Don’t be in the middle of two or more insurance companies who are pointing their fingers at each other while you’re representing yourself and being ignored. These cases require detailed knowledge of the rules of evidence and civil procedure along with insurance and personal injury law.
If you or a loved one was involved in a bicycle accident in San Francisco or any part of Northern California involving an Uber vehicle, contact us today for a free consultation. Bay Area Bicycle Law is the only firm in Northern California to specialize exclusively in representing cyclists.