The increasing popularity of the rideshare concept has more people wondering “How does Uber work?” It isn’t just the potential new passengers who want in on the action. Uber presents flexible work opportunities for candidates who meet the criteria. Uber has become so popular in large cities that it’s become the ride choice for characters in some of your favorite TV shows. Instead of hailing a taxi, many people in the real world are taking to Uber instead.
Uber is similar to a taxi service, except that the drivers use their personal vehicles. According to the rideshare company, their drivers are independent contractors, not employees of the company. Several cases disputing this claim have gone to court with various outcomes. The reason that the classification matters is that it removes liability whenever an Uber crash results in injuries and property loss.
Uber operates on a location-based smartphone app. Once a driver is approved, they become active on the Uber app and have the option to pick up rides during the hours they want to work. The flexibility of driving hours makes it appealing to people who have other jobs or other obligations. It’s up to them when they are on duty and when they aren’t. Many drivers use the income to supplement their payday. Some make it into a full-time career.
For riders, Uber is more affordable and convenient than a taxi service. Since a driver who is near your destination usually picks you up, someone often responds to a ride request within minutes. You have the option to share the ride for an even lesser amount or take a private ride to your destination.
Types of Uber Rides
Uber offers a range of services to fit your needs for rider space, cost, and for a specific event. The most common types are:
When you sign up as an Uber rider, you provide your payment of method of choice. When you request a ride, the app lets you know how much it will cost and the driver’s first name, license plate number, type of vehicle, and the estimated time of arrival. When the ride arrives, you greet the driver and enter the vehicle. Once you reach your destination, the app bills your preferred billing method for the total fare. In some cities, you can pay withcash if you select this method prior to the ride request.
In some areas, passengers can use the app to schedule a ride in advance. This is especially beneficial for those wanting a luxury ride to a special event.
After your trip, the app will ask you to rate your driver on a scale of one to five stars. The driver also gets to rate you as a passenger. The system is meant to hold drivers and passengers accountable. It also helps ensure your safety.
Another way Uber works to make rideshare travel safe is with the screening process for their drivers. Although minimum requirements varysomewhat in different cities, minimum requirements for drivers are:
- Must be at least 21 years old
- Have a minimum of 1 year of licensed driving experience for drivers 23 and older, and 3 years for drivers under 23 years old
- Possess a valid driver’s license for your state
- Submit proof of residence
- An accurate, forward-facing photo
- Complete a driver screening process including a driving record and criminal history. Uber won’t hire drivers with a previous DUI conviction or any criminal history
In spite of their care in hiring drivers, Uber has received some reports of assault and breached privacy by passengers. In response, the company has introduced some additional safety features meant to protect passengers and drivers. One is a new feature called Ride Check. It flags long, unexpected stops during a ride. When Uber receives the signal, the company contacts the driver and passenger to ensure the stop was requested. There’s an emergency button in the app in case either the passenger or driver feels concerned.
The feature may also automatically detect a crash. If the app senses a sudden acceleration, it sends a notification to the driver and passenger to make sure they’re okay. If they aren’t, the app summons 911assistance. If the wreck is minor, the app can contact another Uber driver to pick the passenger up and transport them free of charge.
Uber is also expanding the number of cities the driver or rider can use the emergency button on the app to dispatch the vehicle’s location, license plate, and a description of the vehicle to 911. The company is still testing a feature that allows drivers to share their location with someone close to them while keeping passenger pick-up and drop-off information private.
Uber might boast of these services as a voluntary increase in safety for their drivers and passengers, but the growing number of accidents and injuries involving Uber vehicles makes it a necessity. The more Uber vehicles there are on the roads and the longer hours the driver puts in, the higher the risk of having an accident.
Being in an Uber wreck is a lot like any other car wreck in many ways. Someone is at fault and it may be the Uber driver or another driver. The person who is liable for your injuries from the accident depends on who is at fault.
In some ways, a wreck with an Uber differs from other wrecks. In some cases, passengers have filed lawsuits against Uber for hiringunqualified drivers.
In spite of Uber’s insistence that their drivers aren’t employees, they do provide insurance coverage. Their policy covers up to $1million in damages for their passengers’ injuries. But the only time the coverage kicks in is when the Uber driver or another driver is at fault and doesn’t have sufficient bodily injury coverage. The insurance also pays less when a driver is waiting for a ride and has the app on.
The insurance coverage does apply to accidents with underinsured or uninsured drivers. It also covers damages from hit-and-run drivers. If the Uber driver has a special rideshare insurance policy that covers your injuries, you will deal with their insurance company. Most personal insurance policies don’t cover accidents that happen while providing rides. The differences in wrecks involving Uber vehicles are enough to make it difficult to get compensation when you are the injured party.
Since Uber drivers are considered independent contractors, most passengers don’t sue Uber directly. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t file a personal injury lawsuit against the company. Although the company usually denies liability, there are some circumstances where they’ve been held accountable.
There’s also the issue of collecting compensation from Uber’s insurance. Even if your injuries fit into the covered damages in Uber’spolicies, it doesn’t mean the insurance company will pay. Insurance companies employ a number of tactics to prevent paying out more money than they have to. With two or more drivers involved, they may try to point the finger at someone else.
The best approach is to get a personal injury attorney immediately after the wreck to learn your rights. You might not need to file a lawsuit. But an attorney knows how insurance companies work and how to beat them at their own game!
Your other options for filing a lawsuit depend on the state where the wreck occurred. If the driver doesn’t have adequate coverage, you probably won’t get enough money from them to pay for your medical bills.
Even if the Uber driver has coverage and/or the Uber policy pays, it might not be enough to cover your expenses. In a normal accident, the insurance company of the at-fault driver pays the injuries and damages. As you can see, getting adequate compensation requires a knowledgeable attorney to know where to look and how to get your best settlement.
The most appealing aspects of working for Uber are the flexible hours and good pay. Uber claims their drivers take home $25 per hour, but the company takes a commission for each ride. Passengers pay for the minutes and miles they ride and then Uber pays the driver the majority of the fare, minus the Service Fee.
Drivers believe the commission is 25%, but that doesn’t include additional fees including “safe rides fees” and “booking fees.” The dollar amount of these fees depends on the location, but all are added to the passenger’s fare. One reason you could end up getting paid less than expected is that all rides don’t cost the same. Based on one study, the real fees and commission can add up to as much as 42.75% of the total fare.
Some drivers earned less than $10 on some rides. In addition, they have to pay for their fuel, maintenance on their vehicle, tolls, fees for getting to the pickup point, and car washes and interior detailing. Add to that the cost of an Uber insurance policy to protect them in case of an accident. The policy could cost a great deal if it’s for a respectable amount and it also covers the driver’s damages. Otherwise, they could end up with injuries and a damaged vehicle they can’t pay for. That’s a high price to pay if you end up making less than $7 per hour like some drivers do.
Uber is the most popular rideshare company, but it isn’t the only one. Lyft is another leading company that sometimes pays better rates than Uber. Drivers who rely on the wages from driving often drive for both companies.
Once drivers become familiar with peak hours in their neighborhood can choose their hours for making the most money. The peak hours in any area depends on the types of events and times they usually occur. Joining a local Facebook group can also help create more business. Even with your best efforts, being an Uber driver probably isn’t adequate as your main source of income.
People are still asking “How does Uber work?” It’s a novel idea that doesn’t have all the bugs worked out. After decades of handling compensation for accident-related injuries, the answers aren’t always black and white. When all the details fall into place, everyone who needs compensation might get it. When it doesn’t, everyone involved has the potential to lose.
The amount of compensation you can get depends on your injuries. Different injuries require different levels of medical care. Some have a wide-ranging impact on your life, while others take some time to heal.
Sometimes injuries aren’t apparent immediately after the accident. If you are in an accident with an Uber, take steps to preserve evidence such as witness names and the contact information for all drivers involved. Many people who search for “How does Uber work” care more about the details of the service than the liability in case of an accident. Everyone who uses these services or who works for a rideshare company should understand the seriousness of liability.
If you were injured in an Uber accident, contact Batta Fulkerson for a free consultation. Learn your rights and get the aggressive representation you need to fight for them.