Who is Liable in an Uber Car Accident?

Liability issues continue to plague Uber, the smartphone-based transportation company. Controversy over insurance coverage has become a sort of Achilles’ heel for the fast-growing ride-service industry as it fights numerous regulatory battles in multiple cities and states.

At the center of the storm, a recent investigative report which says Uber may be instructing its drivers that purchasing personal insurance is sufficient to cover them in the event of a loss.

Question of Liability

This question of liability sits at the heart of how we define the new transportation alternatives that are often known as “ride-sharing” or “car-sharing.”

The taxi industry says ride-share companies get an unfair competitive advantage because their drivers are not subject to the same insurance, safety, and licensing requirements as taxis and limousines. Uber and Lyft, however, say they operate differently so shouldn’t be subject to the same rules.

This then begs the question, “Should Uber have to insure its contracted drivers?” While it seems like a no-brainer to some, when you’re hitching a ride with Uber and you are involved in an accident, it’s not always clear who’s liable.

Another concern among critics: in several instances where an Uber-contracted vehicle was involved in a collision, attorneys have claimed to get the runaround when it comes to getting insurance information from the transportation giant.

But as Uber tells it, it’s not a taxi service, it’s a technology platform that connects riders and drivers. So what does this mean for the future of car insurance? Time will tell, but critics will tell you when it comes to services like Uber, ride at your own risk.