In recent years, ride-hailing services have become increasingly popular and the demand appears to continue to rise. In densely populated cities such as Toronto and in the GTA in general, owning a car can be prohibitively expensive, making the ride-sharing concept a great convenience. Toronto’s licensing department has issued almost 70,000 private transportation company licenses to drivers for ride-hailing companies such as Uber. With such congestion, it is almost inevitable that you or a loved one may be involved in a collision or accident with an Uber car at some point. Should this happen, legal issues often arise and contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer will help improve your odds of getting the treatment and compensation you deserve.
Can I Claim Compensation from Uber Directly, After a Crash?
The difference between calling a conventional taxi and an Uber, is that an Uber driver uses their personal vehicle to pick you up, as opposed to a taxi service which uses commercial vehicles for the sole purpose of carrying passengers. Essentially, Uber drivers are considered independent contractors. That being said, insurance claims involving an Uber vehicle are typically treated in the same way as other car accident claims.
Any driver has the legal obligation in an accident is to remain at the scene of the accident, and where the property damages are more than trivial or someone is injured, to call the police and any emergency medical services, in instanced where required. As an Uber passenger, there is little legal obligation on you in an accident. If you witnessed the accident, you may give your name and number to the people involved in the accident and speak to the police if they are called to the scene. If you are injured, you should be taking steps to help yourself right away. Seeking medical help for your injuries and contacting a personal injury lawyer will help protect the integrity of your claim and ensure your claim is successful.
In the midst of the chaos surrounding the aftermath of an accident, it is difficult to keep information straight. If you have a cell phone and can physically and safely move around, take video footage of the scene of the accident. Include the licence plates of the cars involved, the positioning of the cars, the damages to the vehicles and the street signs or addresses. You can describe what you see. Keep in mind that other people may end up seeing this video so keep it as accurate as possible. Your recollection of how the accident occurred may also be described. If you can’t record a video, take photos of the accident scene including the cars and make notes as soon as possible. Take photos of the Uber driver’s licence and insurance pink slip and licence plate. Take the same photos of the licences and insurance of all of the other vehicles involved.
If you don’t have a camera phone, write down all the details you can get: the driver’s licence numbers from all drivers involved: the licence plates of the Uber and other car(s) involved; the name and policy number from each of the drivers; and the contact details for any witnesses to the incident. In the event that you do not have your own car insurance, you may claim benefits from the insurer of the Uber vehicle. These benefits may include your medical and rehabilitation treatment, possible attendant care assistance and weekly income replacement benefits.
In July 2016, the Ontario government approved a regulatory change under the Insurance Act to allow commercial fleet insurance to be offered to vehicles that can be hired through an online application. For Uber drivers with appropriate ride sharing insurance, the insurance policy applies from the moment the driver logs into the ride sharing app and is available to accept passengers, until the last passenger exits the vehicle and the app is closed. At all other times, the driver’s personal insurance policy may respond, usually with a denial as most personal auto policies have specific exclusions for ride sharing use. There are presently only two auto insurers offering ride sharing insurance. Unfortunately, not all Uber drivers have the appropriate insurance.
While is it almost impossible to know the exact outcome of a claim, an experienced personal injury lawyer will always be able to guide you through this difficult and often confusing time.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident involving a ride hailing service such as Uber, contact experienced Toronto, Whitby and Barrie based personal injury lawyer Marc Spivak of Devry Smith Frank LLP at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-446-5855.
A consultation is free with no obligations.
“This article is intended to inform. Its content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon by readers as such. If you require legal assistance, please see a lawyer. Each case is unique and a lawyer with good training and sound judgment can provide you with advice tailored to your specific situation and needs.”