By Pendergast Law on September 16, 2016
Uber, an app-based taxi service that connects Seattle residents with local drivers, has been an increasingly popular transportation option in the state of Washington over the past few years. Passengers have utilized Uber for rides to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, work, school, and even home from the bars. Uber was started as a way of conveniently hailing a taxi, sharing your pickup and destination locations, and seamlessly paying with a credit card. Unlike traditional taxi companies, Uber drivers do not work on a set schedule and do not lease their vehicles from Uber. Rather, they drive their own personal vehicles, can log into the app whenever they want to work, and must carry their own car insurance, and Uber defines them as independent contractors.
Insurance Requirements for Uber Drivers
Recently, many states and municipalities have pushed back against Uber regarding liability for car accidents. In Seattle, a new law went into effect in 2015 covering insurance coverage for Uber drivers. Uber drivers, as drivers of a ridesharing service, are required to maintain minimum commercial vehicle insurance. The commercial coverage covers the vehicle the second they log into the app, even if they haven’t even accepted a fare yet. However, the amounts required vary on what stage the driver is at. The coverage does not cover Uber drivers who are off-the-clock.
Before a driver accepts a fare, the commercial coverage must be at least $50,000/person and $100,000/accident for liability, $30,000 for property damage, uninsured motorist coverage that matches liability, and $10,000 for personal injury protection.
Once the driver accepts a fare and until the passenger is dropped off, the coverage must increase to $1,000,000 for liability, $1,000,000 for uninsured motorists, and personal injury protection in compliance with the law.
Uber provides coverage of up to $1,000,000 on behalf of all drivers and passengers when a ride is ongoing. However, the drivers themselves are responsible for the commercial coverage prior to accepting a fare.
In addition, under the new law, Uber is required to cooperate with all authorities involving accidents that occur when an Uber driver is logged into the app, including providing data from the app to investigators.
Despite these regulations, many Uber drivers do not carry the required commercial insurance, resulting in coverage denial by their personal insurance providers when they cause accidents while not driving a passenger.
Consult with Seattle’s Knowledgeable Uber Accident Lawyers Today
If you were a passenger in an Uber related accident or if you were injured by an Uber driver, call the Seattle Uber accident lawyers at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. today to schedule a free consultation at 888-539-9211.