I’ve written a great deal about Uber accident settlements and claims. Here, I’ll focus on uninsured motorist insurance for Uber accidents.
First, a quick recap on uninsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you’re in an accident with an at-fault driver who doesn’t carry liability insurance.
Underinsured motorist coverage, on the other hand, steps in when you’re in an accident with an at-fault driver whose liability limits are too low to cover your damages. Damages are medical bills, pain, suffering and lost wages.
Here, when I use the term “uninsured motorist”, I am also referring to “underinsured motorist” coverage.
Uber Has Uninsured Motorist Coverage (When Driver is Engaged in a Ride)
In some states, Uber is not required to have any uninsured motorist insurance (UM) coverage. For example, in Florida, Uber isn’t required to have uninsured motorist insurance.
I have to give credit to Uber here. As a comparison, Lyft lowered its uninsured motorist coverage to $250,000 when its driver is engaged in a ride. (I settled a Lyft accident case for $70,000.)
Thankfully, Uber has kept its uninsured motorist coverage at $1 million.
In Florida, Progressive insures Uber.
The bad news?
Progressive is really cheap when making offers to settle injury claims. For example, Progressive is much worse at paying injury claims than USAA.
Uber’s insurance policy expires on March 1, 2019.
Uber passengers and drivers can claim up to $1 million in uninsured motorist insurance benefits. This assumes that the other driver caused the crash.
The most that everyone in the Uber vehicle can get (combined) is $1 million.
Given its high limit, don’t expect Uber’s insurance to be in a rush to pay you for most injuries. For example, if you have a broken leg or herniated disc, Progressive won’t be in a rush to quickly settle.
This is because the uninsured motorist (UM) insurance limits are so high. (All things equal, lower UM limits often lead to a faster settlement.)
A broken leg or herniated disc is usually worth much less than $1 million.
No Uber Uninsured Motorist Coverage (When Driver is Not Engaged in a Ride)
Uber doesn’t have uninsured motorist insurance if the Uber driver has the app on, but is not engaged in a ride. Florida law doesn’t require it.
And, unlike Lyft, Uber doesn’t go above and beyond. At least not in this aspect.
On the other hand, Lyft has $50,000 per person ($100,000 per accident) in uninsured motorist coverage when the Lyft driver isn’t engaged in a ride. The Lyft driver must have the app on for this coverage to apply.
As you can see, Uber rejected uninsured motorist coverage when the Uber driver isn’t engaged in a ride.
Can an Uber Passenger Get Paid Under Both Uber’s Bodily Injury Liability Insurance, and Uber’s UM Insurance?
Yes, but only if the other driver was negligent and uninsured or underinsured. I’m referring to Florida cases. The cases that say this are Armstrong v. Allstate Ins. Co., 712 So.2d 788 (Fla. 2d DCA 1998).
Another case that says this is Woodard v. Pennsylvania National Mutual Insurance Co., 534 So.2d 716 (Fla. 1st DCA 1988)
Are Ubereats Drivers Covered With Uninsured Motorist Insurance?
The Ubereats driver and Ubereats (known as “Portier, LLC”) contract says that Ubereats may have auto insurance coverage that covers the Ubereats driver. (Paragraph 8.4)
However, it does not require Ubereats to provide its drivers with auto insurance.
Unlike with Uber’s rideshare service, Uber doesn’t say (on its website) that it covers its Ubereats drivers with insurance.
However, the Rideshare Guy claims that Uber told him that Ubereats drivers are covered as follows:
Thus, if an Ubereats driver is actively delivering food, he or she will be covered up to $1 million for uninsured motorist insurance.
On the other hand, if the Ubereats driver is logged in and waiting for a delivery, he or she will not be entitled to uninsured motorist insurance.
Progressive May Try to Remove an Uninsured Motorist Insurance Lawsuit to Federal Court
Many insurance companies prefer to defend a personal injury case in federal court than in state court. For example, GEICO, State Farm, Allstate, Progressive and many other insurers have removed uninsured motorist insurance cases to federal court (from state in court).
If a defendant removes a case from state court to federal court, they have to pay a $400.00 fee. Thus, one can assume that a defendant typically remove a case to federal court if they feel that the benefit of having the case in federal court (as opposed to state court) is more than $400.00.
Typically, if a defendant tries to remove a case to federal court, the injured person’s attorney tries to remand (send it back) to state court. Thus, injured victims’ lawyers usually prefer state court over federal court in most auto accident cases.
In federal court, it’s tougher for the injured person to recover their costs. Costs quickly add up in a personal injury case. Costs include paying doctors for their testimony. Yes, even treating doctors charge a lot to testify.
There are differences between the substantially similar sets of federal and state rules and in the practice and procedure under them. There are also extensive local rules in the three federal districts in Florida.
Progressive can remove a case to federal court if the:
- injured person and Progressive aren’t citizens of the same state, and
- the lawsuit is asking for over $75,000.
Progressive’s principal place of business is in Ohio and its state of incorporation is Ohio. Andreasen v. Progressive Exp. Ins. Co., 276 F. Supp. 3d 1317 – Dist. Court, SD Florida 2017.
Accordingly, for purposes of citizenship, Progressive is a citizen of only Ohio. However, the injured person can always keep the case in state court if he sues a driver who is a Florida “citizen” for diversity purposes. The lawsuit must be in good faith.
James River May Try to Remove an Uninsured Motorist Insurance Lawsuit to Federal Court
James River Insurance Company is an Ohio corporation with its principal place of business in Virginia. Accordingly, for purposes of citizenship, James River is a citizen of Ohio and Virginia.
I got this information from a hotel corporation’s lawsuit against James River. Here is a screenshot from that court order.
Uber Passengers Who Settle a Case with the Other Driver, May Wind Up in Federal Court
However, once the injured person settles with a careless driver who is a Florida citizen, he can’t sue that driver.
This may allow diversity of citizenship and, thus, allow James River to remove the case to federal court. I’ll explain a little further.
To do so, I’ll use a real case where the Uber passengers were from South Carolina. Mr. and Mrs. Day were from South Carolina. They were passengers in an Uber car.
Here is an illustration of the crash, which isn’t exact.
The Days sued the Uber driver, Ingrid Parra, and Uber. They didn’t sue the driver of the other car. In this case, the Uber driver was a Florida citizen (for purposes of diversity). Thus, the Uber driver was a Florida defendant. A Florida defendant cannot remove a case to federal court.
In this case, the Days placed complete blame on Uber and the Uber driver.
Ohio or Virginia Citizens Who’re Hurt While Uber Passengers Can Keep Case in State Court
Uber passengers who’re citizens of Ohio or Virginia can always keep their uninsured motorist insurance case against James River Insurance Company in state court. This is because they are citizens of the same state as James River. Earlier, I showed you that James River is a citizen of Ohio and Virginia.
Some accident victim attorneys aren’t licensed in federal court. (I am licensed in federal court in the Southern District and Middle District of Florida.)
Uber’s insurer, James River Insurance Company, has tried to remove an Uber car accident case from state court to federal court. Lee v. Progressive Select Insurance Company., Dist. Court, ED Louisiana 2017. Uber (its business name is Rasier, LLC) also tried removing a case to federal court. Williams v. Bolotovsky, Dist. Court, ED Louisiana 2017.
Both federal courts denied the removal. The cases were sent back to state court. These were not Florida cases. However, they show that James River and Uber have tried to remove cases to federal court.
Let me represent you if you’re hurt in an Uber accident anywhere in Florida. I’ve settled many uninsured motorist insurance injury claims.
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