Will Uber pay for my car accident?
As a general matter, Uber will not be liable for your car accident. However, its commercial insurance policy may cover your losses if (1) you were riding in the vehicle through the app; (2) if the driver was picking you up for an Uber ride; or (3) the driver had the app on and was waiting for a passenger. If the driver was not using the app in any way at the time of the collision, then their personal insurance policy will likely cover your losses.
If your Uber driver was at fault for the accident, then Uber may be held responsible under the doctrine of “respondeat superior.” This legal concept means that employers are generally liable for their employee’s negligence. However, Uber classifies its drivers as independent contractors — not employees. As a result, the doctrine of respondeat superior will not apply.
This reality may change. California recently enacted AB-5, which would re-classify many independent contractors, such as Uber drivers, as employees. There are a number of lawsuits over AB-5, and Uber, Lyft and DoorDash launched a campaign in support of a ballot measure that would overturn AB-5. Because the situation is still evolving, you should contact a Southern California car accident attorney for advice on who can be sued for an Uber wreck.