Uber accidents introduce complex legal scenarios by adding more parties to the usual two-car collision. Ordinarily, an average car accident involves two vehicles, each with its own driver and corresponding insurance company. However, in an Uber accident, even if only two vehicles are involved, a major corporation—Uber—is also a party, along with the passenger. The inclusion of these two additional parties complicates the legal claim, leading to a more unique process and raising further legal questions regarding compensation recovery.
Georgia Has Designed Insurance Coverage Laws for Uber Car Accidents
Recognizing the complexity of Uber accidents, Georgia has implemented laws to safeguard its citizens who use ride-sharing services. These regulations, which concentrate on insurance requirements, offer protection for riders in these vehicles. For specifics, one can refer to O.C.G.A. § 33-1-24(b)(3).
Definitions for Georgia’s Transportation Network Law
To understand how to read the law, knowing the definitions are important:
- Personal Vehicle: This is the car owned by an individual that is used to provide services for a Transportation Network Company (TNC) like Uber. It’s a private car that has been registered according to state vehicle registration laws.
- Transportation Network Company (TNC): A TNC is a business that connects paying passengers with drivers who provide transportation services. This is done through a digital platform like a mobile app. TNCs are not traditional taxi or limousine services and don’t include emergency or nonemergency medical transport services.
- Transportation Network Company Customer (TNC Customer): This refers to an individual who uses the digital platform provided by a TNC to arrange transportation from one place to another in a driver’s personal vehicle.
- Transportation Network Company Driver (TNC Driver): This is a person who uses their personal vehicle to offer transportation services through a TNC. It’s important to note that the law specifies such a driver does not need to be an employee of the TNC, recognizing the common independent contractor status of these drivers.
- Transportation Network Company Services (TNC Services): The law breaks down TNC services into two parts: First, the period when a TNC driver is logged into the TNC’s digital network and is available to accept ride requests. Second, the period when the TNC driver has accepted a ride request and continues until the ride is completed or the transaction is over, whichever is later. It specifically excludes times when the vehicle is used as a taxi or when the vehicle and driver are commercially registered and licensed for other commercial transport services.
These definitions are crucial for understanding who is covered under UM/UIM policies and under what circumstances these coverages apply in the event of an accident involving a TNC vehicle.
Does Georgia Law Require Uber to Offer Insurance for its Passengers?
The insurance coverage requirements specified in Georgia’s law, O.C.G.A. § 33-1-24(b)(3), for transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber, focus on providing financial protection for passengers, drivers, and third parties in the event of an accident. Here’s a summary of the demands:
- Insurance While Drivers are Available for Ride Requests: When TNC drivers are logged into the digital network and available to accept ride requests but have not yet accepted a ride, TNCs are required to provide a primary motor vehicle insurance policy. This policy must offer a minimum of $100,000 for bodily injuries or death per accident, with a limit of $50,000 per person, and $50,000 for property damage.
- Insurance After Ride Acceptance: The insurance coverage ramps up significantly once a TNC driver accepts a ride request and remains in place until the ride is completed. During this period, the TNC must maintain a policy that provides a minimum of $1 million for death, personal injury, and property damage per occurrence. Additionally, this policy must include uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage of at least $1 million per incident to protect against damages caused by drivers with insufficient or no insurance.
These requirements ensure that TNC passengers, as well as other affected parties in an accident, have access to sufficient coverage limits to address potential damages and injuries resulting from a vehicle collision involving a TNC service vehicle.
Are Uber Passengers Entitled to Compensation?
Typically, the passenger is not at fault, effectively removing them from responsibility for the incident. As such, if the passenger is injured or suffers any loss of personal belongings during the accident, they may be entitled to compensation, despite not being a driver in either vehicle.
Does Uber Offer Any UIM or Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage for Passengers?
Georgia’s state minimum insurance requirements are relatively low, which makes the availability of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UIM/UM) coverage crucial. If you are a passenger injured in an Uber accident and the at-fault driver lacks adequate insurance, or has none at all, you may wonder whether Uber’s coverage will compensate for the deficit. The answer is affirmative: Uber does provide this coverage to passengers, ensuring they are protected financially in such situations.
How Much UIM/UM Coverage Does Uber Offer?
Georgia law mandates that Uber carry a $1 million policy for underinsured (UIM) and uninsured (UM) motorist coverage, benefiting both passengers and drivers during a paid ride. This ensures that if an uninsured driver collides with your Uber, you, as a passenger, are still covered by insurance.
How Does a Passenger Qualify for Underinsurance Motorist (UIM) Coverage from Uber?
For an Uber passenger to access Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage after an accident, two main requirements need to be met. First, the person responsible for the accident must have insurance, but not enough to cover all the damages caused by the crash. Second, the total cost of the damages from the accident has to be more than the insurance can pay for. To prove you’re eligible for UIM, the injured person and the person who caused the accident have to agree on how much the accident should cost, supported by proof and bills. Once it’s clear that these costs are more than the insurance can handle, your car accident lawyer can let Uber know what’s still owed. If your expense evidence is solid, Uber will probably agree to pay what’s left after the other person’s insurance has paid its share.
Does Your Uber Account Impact Compensation Claims Against Uber?
To secure compensation from Uber for an accident, a passenger must demonstrate they were a fare-paying customer during the incident. Uber acknowledges that its drivers may transport friends or family without charge during off-hours. Without this proof, it would be easy for non-paying passengers to falsely claim they were customers to benefit from Uber’s more substantial coverage in the event of an accident. Therefore, Uber conducts a verification process, checking that both the driver’s and the passenger’s Uber apps confirm a ride was requested and paid for at the time of the accident. Hence, the status of your Uber account and app usage is crucial in determining your eligibility for compensation.