Uber Accident Lawyer in Elgin, SC

What To Do If You Were Involved in an Uber Accident in Elgin

Ridesharing with Uber
Uber started its operations in South Carolina in 2015. The major concentration of Uber services is in big cities of the state including Columbia, Myrtle Beach, Greenville, and Charleston. Uber is a ride-sharing company that provides transportation for passengers. However, Uber does not consider itself a taxi service but in fact, a service provider that offers the tools to independent drivers who offer ridesharing services.

In simple terms, Uber licenses software to drivers who use this software to get passengers. Passengers, on the other hand, have to download an app, which allows them to request a ride, state their pickup point and drop-off area, pay through the app and then simply wait for the Uber driver to arrive. The ridesharing model is simple, convenient and affordable. The popularity of ridesharing is consistently increasing mainly because taxi services have become much more expensive and also because many people would prefer to use an Uber car rather than run around after buses and streetcars.

Uber is officially classified as a Transportation Network Company. As far as ridesharing companies like Uber are concerned, the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff holds the responsibility to monitor and regulate the companies and the drivers. These regulations include mandatory insurance coverage and annual vehicle inspections. Also, all TNC drivers have to abide by local traffic and parking regulations as well as any other municipal laws that apply.

Road Accidents and Uber

Road accidents are fairly common in South Carolina. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety reports that an accident which results in injuries happens in South Carolina every 13.9 minutes. There is always a chance that these accidents may include an Uber driver and an Uber passenger.

It is important to remember that bodily injury in such accidents takes precedence over everything else. If a passenger or the driver is injured, the first thing to focus on is getting medical treatment. If the other driver and/or their passenger are injured, the same consideration applies. However, an Uber passenger needs to understand that they are entitled to damages for both bodily injury and property damage. However, since the regulatory framework for companies like Uber is still evolving, there can be situations where the passenger may have to go through some difficult times getting the compensation they deserve.

Accidents and Insurance Coverage

All drivers in South Carolina are required to carry personal auto insurance. This mandatory insurance includes:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person
  • $50,000 total for bodily injury or death per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage

In South Carolina, drivers are also required to carry minimum uninsured motorist coverage as per the following requirements:

  • $25,000 for property damage
  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

Drivers can elect to purchase additional coverage such as collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, medical payments coverage, rental reimbursement coverage and towing and labor coverage but this is not mandatory.
Uber holds a $1 million insurance coverage. However, there are many associated factors that have to be taken into account before determining who is held liable under what circumstances. There are several scenarios to consider:

  • If an Uber driver is in an accident in Elgin, SC with a third-party driver and if the Uber driver is carrying a passenger and is found to be at fault, then theoretically it will be Uber who will be held responsible for paying damages. If the third party driver is at fault, then that driver’s insurance carrier has the responsibility to cover any damages.
  • If an Uber driver gets into an accident with a third party driver, but this occurs when the Uber driver is off-duty, then Uber is not responsible for any damages that may be incurred. It will be the Uber driver’s personal insurance policy that will be held liable for any damages. If the third party driver is at fault, their insurance carrier will be held responsible. However, if the third party driver does not have insurance or is underinsured, then the Uber driver may be in for a bit of a challenge getting compensation. If both the third party driver and the Uber driver turn out to be uninsured or underinsured, both parties will find it difficult to seek damages. Both parties may also be in legal trouble for driving without insurance.
  • If an Uber driver is in an accident and there is a passenger involved, Uber is held liable. However, there are several additional factors that need to be considered. If the Uber driver was drunk or intoxicated, Uber is likely to put up a fight before handing out any compensation. Similarly, if the Uber driver was speeding, Uber will likely not pay. That is mainly because Uber drivers operate as independent contractors. The company clearly states that it is not liable for any negligence on the part of the drivers since they are working independently.

In all these scenarios, the Uber passenger is the one who may end up suffering the most. Not only will they have to deal with the physical injuries and the emotional trauma of being in an accident, but they may also have to struggle to get the compensation they deserve for medical bills, rehabilitation, property damage, etc. Ridesharing may be an excellent option for people who do not own cars or have access to transportation, but at the same time, ridesharing companies like Uber still need to be more thoroughly regulated. They also need to have a better system for managing their drivers, to ensuring the quality of these drivers as well as protecting their customers.

The primary issue here is that Uber does not consider Uber passengers as the clients but instead, claims that it is the drivers who are their key customers as they are the ones who are using the Uber software. What they do from that point on is between the driver and the rider. This gap in who is serving who has created problems for many Uber passengers who have been in accidents. A good legal team is always your best option if you are in such a situation.

If you were involved in an Uber accident in Elgin, SC, contact one of the experienced accident attorneys at Connell Law Firm at (803) 310-5700. An attorney will assist with the case to help make sure that you get the compensation you deserve.

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