Uber Driver Causes Accident: Who Is Liable?
When an Uber driver causes an accident and he or she is at-fault, then the rideshare driver will be liable for the pain and suffering compensation, excess medical expenses, excess lost wages and other economic damages owed to people who were injured in the crash.
These people may include Uber passengers, drivers and passengers of other vehicles, and pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists.
As more people are using Uber and, consequently, more people are being injured in Uber car crashes, the question of who is liable when an at-fault Uber driver causes an accident in Michigan is being asked with increasing frequency.
Fortunately, Michigan has very specific laws about how much liability insurance rideshare drivers are required to carry when they are driving for Uber.
What happens when an Uber driver is at fault an accident?
If an Uber is at fault in an accident in Michigan then the driver is going to be liable. The owner of the vehicle being driven by the Uber driver – if the owner is someone other than the Uber driver – will also be liable under Michigan’s owner liability law. (MCL 257.401(1))
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 which makes an employer liable for its employee’s negligence that occurs within the scope of the employee’s employment.
When an Uber driver causes an accident, what is he or she liable for?
When an at-fault Uber driver causes an accident, liability may extend to:
- Pain and suffering damages to victims of the crash
- Payment of “excess” medical benefits to victims of the crash
- Payment of “excess” wage loss benefits to the victims of the crash
- Other economic losses
Excess medical benefits cover medical bills and the cost of medical care that exceeds the No-Fault PIP medical benefits coverage level that was selected in the auto insurance policy through which an Uber car crash victim is claiming No-Fault benefits.
Excess lost wages cover an Uber crash victim’s wage loss that exceeds the monthly maximum and/or beyond the three-year limit on No-Fault wage loss benefits.
When a victim’s crash-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))
How much liability insurance coverage is available?
All Uber vehicles must be covered by liability insurance that provides liability coverage in the following amounts when an Uber driver causes an accident:
- 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?
If an Uber driver causes a car accident and is determined to be at-fault, then his or her liability insurance coverage will pay for the pain and suffering compensation, excess medical benefits and lost wages and other economic damages owed to victims of the car crash.
Those victims may include Uber passengers, drivers and passengers of other vehicles involved in the crash, bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists who were injured in the crash.
Need help? Call the attorneys at Michigan Auto Law
If an Uber driver causes an accident and you are injured and you would like to speak with an experienced attorney, call toll free anytime 24/7 at (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. Michigan Auto Law attorneys have spoken at seminars both in Michigan and in many other states on the subject of Uber car crashes and ride-share liability, teaching injury lawyers across the nation how to better handle these cases and better protect our clients. You can also get help from an experienced accident attorney by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website.