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Uber Driver Causes Accident: Who Is Liable?

March 17, 2020 by Steven M. Gursten

Uber Driver Causes Accident in Michigan Who Is Liable

Attorney who helps victims of ride-sharing crashes discusses liability and insurance coverage when an Uber driver causes an accident

The question of who is liable when an Uber driver causes an accident in Michigan is being asked with increasing frequency as Uber continues to become more popular. For many, Uber is now the main form of transportation.

With more people using Uber, there are more Uber accidents. Michigan has very specific laws for crashes that involve Uber that determine statutorily required insurance coverage amounts and that change the order of priority for auto No-Fault benefits.

Importantly, Uber passengers, drivers and passengers of other vehicles, and pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists need to know who is going to be liable to pay for injuries and pain and suffering compensation and under Michigan law, any “excess” No-Fault PIP medical benefits, and economic loss damages that a person will be entitled to after having been injured in a crash caused by an Uber driver.

What happens when an Uber driver causes an accident, who is liable?

If an Uber driver causes an accident in Michigan and they are at-fault, then the driver is going to be liable. If the at-fault driver is determined to be an Uber employee, then Uber would be liable – along with the driver – under the “respondeat superior” doctrine.

The “respondeat superior” doctrine makes an employer liable for its employee’s negligence that occurs within the scope of the employee’s employment.

What would an Uber employee and/or Uber be liable for after an at-fault accident?

Assuming the at-fault Uber driver causes an accident and the employee and/or the company or both were determined to be liable, then liability would extend to:

  • Pain and suffering compensation to victims of the accident
  • Payment of “excess” No-Fault PIP medical benefits to victims of the accident
  • Other economic losses, including all wage loss over the first three years covered by No-Fault

The “excess” medical benefits component becomes an issue in July 2020 once the new No-Fault PIP medical benefits coverage levels become available in auto insurance policies issued or renewed after July 1, 2020.

When a victim’s accident-related medical expenses exceed the coverage level in the policy under which he or she is claiming No-Fault benefits, the victim has the legal right to sue the at-fault driver for those “excess” medical expense costs. (MCL 500.3135(3)(c))

What is the extent of liability when an Uber driver causes an accident?

All Uber vehicles must be covered by liability insurance that provides liability coverage in the following amounts, depending on whether the at-fault driver was on-duty and available for passengers or actively transporting Uber passengers:

  • On-duty liability ($50,000/$100,000) – There must be liability coverage “in the amount of at least $50,000.00 per person for death or bodily injury” and “$100,000.00 per incident for death or bodily injury . . .” (MCL 257.2123(2)(a); 257.518b(1)(a)(i))
  • Liability while transporting passengers ($1 million) – There must be liability coverage “with a minimum combined single limit of $1,000,000.00 for all bodily injury or property damage.” (MCL 257.2123(3)(a); 257.518b(1)(b)(i))

This liability coverage may be provided by auto insurance liability policies maintained by the Uber driver, Uber or a combination of both. (MCL 257.2123(5) and (6))

Who benefits from liability coverage after an at-fault Uber accident?

If an Uber driver causes an accident then the people who were injured as a result of the crash benefit from the liability coverage that Uber vehicles are required to have.

This could include: Uber passengers; drivers and passengers of other vehicles involved in the accident; bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists who are injured in the accident.

Need help after an Uber accident?

If you, a loved one or someone you know has been injured in an Uber accident in Michigan and you want to know if you have a case or what your legal rights are, our auto accident attorneys can help. Michigan Auto Law attorneys have spoken at seminars both in Michigan and in many other states on the subject of Uber accidents and ride-share liability, teaching injury lawyers across the nation how to better handle these cases and better protect our clients. Call us at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with an experienced Uber accident lawyer.

Uber Driver Causes Accident: Who Is Liable?

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