In the past several years, ridesharing phone apps like Uber have exploded onto the scene and dominated the rides-on-demand market that was once monopolized by New York City cab drivers. Now, a driver without a taxi license can sign up to become a driver with the app, register his vehicle in the system, and start picking up riders. While the apps provide an easier mechanism for both hailing and paying for a ride, the company has come under fire recently for dodging liability in dangerous New York Uber accidents that result in injuries to passengers and drivers.
At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, because several of our clients have been injured at the hands of reckless taxi drivers, we decided to conduct a comparison of liability for Uber drivers versus NYC taxi drivers to figure out which entity provides more protection to passengers and pedestrians.
Uber was notorious in the past for labeling its drivers as independent contractors and thereby avoiding any liability for accidents that occurred during trips. However, after receiving bad press following a fatal Uber accident, the rideshare app began experiencing pressure from passengers, lawmakers, and New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission. Thereafter, Uber revamped its insurance policy nationwide to bring it in compliance with changing state and local laws. Currently, Uber will accept liability in only certain circumstances.
- If the Uber driver is driving Uber passengers when the accident occurs, Uber’s one million dollar liability policy will kick in to cover damages and injuries to both passengers and the driver.
- If the Uber driver is logged into the app, awaiting a ride, but does not have any passengers, the driver’s car insurance will be on the hook for the majority of damages that arise from an accident. However, Uber will contribute up to $25,000 for property damage and up to $100,000 for injuries but only if the driver is underinsured.
- If the Uber driver is not driving for Uber and not logged into the app, the driver must rely on his own insurance to cover the damages.
Taxis are actually required by the Taxi and Limousine Commission to carry LESS coverage than Uber’s one million dollar liability policy. The minimum amount required for liability coverage is $100,000 per person or $300,000 for all passengers. This means that if you are injured in a car accident as a passenger, you would likely receive more protection under Uber’s policy.
However, if you are injured as a pedestrian or your car is hit by an Uber driver who is off the clock, you may be better off being hit by a taxi driver as an off-the-clock Uber driver is only required to carry the state minimum for personal insurance ($25,000/$50,000). A taxi driver, regardless of whether he is carrying passengers or is off-the-clock, must carry the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s mandatory minimum if behind the wheel of a cab.
Seek Compensation Against Uber
The rules regarding when Uber’s insurance policy will admit liability are tricky. As such, if you were injured in an accident by an Uber driver, you should contact the experienced New York Uber injury attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP. To schedule a free consultation, call (212) 986-7353 now.