Mobile AL Attorney for Uber Accidents
Uber is a Transportation Network Company (TNC) that is engaged in providing ridesharing services. The company offers its services not only in the U.S. but globally. Over the years, ridesharing has shown rapid growth, and today, Uber operates in most American cities. In 2016, it was permitted to operate in the state of Alabama.
Uber is essentially a referral service. People can download the Uber app which allows them to connect to an Uber driver. For example, if someone living in Mobile, AL wants to go to the airport, they can simply download the Uber app, specify where they want to go and the time they want to be there. The nearest Uber driver will contact the rider and pick them and drive them to their intended destination.
Uber riders do not pay the driver, but instead, the Uber app already has a built-in payment method. Passengers can simply make the payment online using a valid credit card. Uber takes a cut of 5-15%, and the driver keeps the remaining balance. There is no exchange of cash.
Uber offers convenience, easy access, and affordability. You don’t have to make any phone calls; the service is available 24/7, and there is no long waiting time. You can even rate your experience and the Uber driver once you have arrived at your destination.
Uber offers several types of service which include basic to luxury cars, and the price varies accordingly. Overall, Uber is much cheaper than regular taxis, and while rates can sometimes be high during peak times, they are still comparable, if not lower, than taxis.
All Uber drivers are independent contractors and until recently did not have to undergo a background check. This has changed recently, but the driving screening process still has a long way to go.
Uber and Car Insurance
Every driver who works as an independent contractor for Uber is required to have a valid third-party insurance policy that covers bodily injury and third party property damage insurance. As a company, Uber also has a $1 million insurance policy that provides coverage for bodily injury and property damage during an Uber ride. However, this insurance is only applicable if there is an Uber passenger in the car and if there is an Uber transaction taking place. If the driver is not using the Uber app and is not engaged in picking or dropping an Uber passenger, this coverage will not be applicable. If an accident occurs at this time, it will be the driver’s insurance policy that will be used to cover any damages. If the driver does not have insurance or is underinsured, there can be serious complications for those injured in such an accident.
A major issue with Uber and Uber drivers is this particular insurance gap. Uber may have a million dollar policy, but the company also tends to put most of the burden of accidental damages on its drivers. Uber claims that these drivers are not company employees and if an accident occurs, the company can easily turn around and say whatever the driver does is not the company’s fault. In addition, there is always a risk that the Uber driver in question is underinsured or not insured at all. Obviously, in case of an accident, the driver cannot pay for the damages out of their pocket. In such situations, the injured party can face significant challenges trying to recover the financial damages they have incurred.
Uber in Mobile, Alabama
There is a serious lack of data on accidents caused by Uber drivers, not only in Alabama but throughout the nation. The key reason is that Uber has just started to operate and data have not been collected from law enforcement and insurance companies. In almost every state there are anecdotal reports of car accidents caused by Uber drivers, but the exact cause is again not known because some cases have settled out of court and others are still pending. Insurance experts feel that the rates of Uber accidents may be higher than usual because Uber drivers have no special training, have prolonged working hours and are rarely held accountable. Uber’s driver screening process is very basic, and there is no way of knowing that these drivers are reliable or safe. There is also no guarantee that the driver behind the wheel is sober and decent.
Uber accidents in Mobile, AL
As of 2017, Uber was not licensed to operate in Orange Beach and the Gulf Shores. In fact, one cannot even download the Uber app in Mobile. Uber was welcomed in June of 2016 because it was felt that this ride-sharing program would benefit the community and offer a cheaper way of travel. However, after reviewing data from other states and cities, the politicians and regulators in Mobile no longer feel that Uber is safe. They recently asked Uber to cease operations in Alabama’s Gulf Coast. So for most of 2017, Uber has not operated in Mobile, and thus there are no statistics on accidents.
In fact, law enforcement in Mobile and the Gulf shores have been asked to take appropriate action against anyone who operates under Uber. The legislators in Mobile feel that Uber is basically an unregulated taxi and could be a risky venture for passengers. There are also concerns that the people who drive for Uber do not undergo a proper background and criminal check.
Uber has taken a stand against the legislators. Uber has stated that it requires all its drivers to undergo an extensive background check and uses the services of the accredited body called the National Association of Professional Background Screeners. They claim that this same type of screening process is also used by many other companies including WalMart, Starbucks, Care.com, Amazon, UPS, and FedEx to name a few. However, the legislators in Mobile want to conduct more investigations before they offer a license to Uber.
The general public in Mobile has indicated support for Uber. That may be because traditional taxis and cab services have always charged exorbitant rates to travel even small distances and the public feels that Uber would be a more affordable alternative for them. Many people in Mobile who have already used Uber services have indicated that they had no issues with Uber and that any safety concerns they might have are the same that they would feel regular and unknown taxi drivers. There is also the fact that Uber is likely to create more jobs which is always a welcome change for people in any region. Legislators are aware of the public sentiments but have decided to prevent Uber operations for now. Uber has started a public campaign to get the public to ask their leaders to re-start the ride-sharing services.
No one can state it as a fact that Uber is a risky operation. The company has shown rapid growth, but ridesharing is still a fairly new market. There are always people who claim that riding with unknown drivers who haven’t had any proper training or background check could be very risky while there are others who feel that there isn’t much difference between a taxi driver and an Uber driver as far as the passenger is concerned. In both cases, drivers are virtual strangers for the riders. However, there have been incidents involving Uber drivers in many cities in the United States, and since this entire segment is still so new, there is a need for more data, more regulation, and more monitoring.
What You Should Do If You’re Involved in an Uber Accident
Keeping in mind all the controversy and criticism that Uber has faced recently, the company has made an effort to improve its reputation. Uber has taken many steps forward to improve the safety of passengers including it total accountability built into the app. Once you get in the car, you are connected at all times with your family in real time. As to road safety, there are no data to support that Uber has run wild in Mobile or even in the state of Alabama.
However, the fact is that accidents can happen anywhere and to anyone. If you have been in an Uber-related accident, and are unsure of what you should do next, contact Charles McCorquodale Law Firm. Since Uber drivers are all independent contractors, it is very easy for Uber, as a company, to shake off their responsibility and to simply turn around and say that any damage is the driver’s responsibility. These things have happened before, and the injured parties have had to face a significant headache when dealing with insurance companies. When it comes to regulation, many people feel Uber is under-regulated.
In any case, getting compensation in an Uber-related accident can be complex. Talk to our lawyers today, and they will ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. Call Charles McCorquodale Law today, and our experienced Uber accident lawyers will fight for your rights. Contact us in Mobile at (251) 220-2790.