White car with the Uber logo on the side

Can I Sue an Uber Driver Directly for an Accident?

By Greg Kohn

Ridesharing drivers for Uber and Lyft often get in accidents. Can you sue Uber or Lyft, or should you sue their insurance companies? A New Jersey personal injury attorney can advise you of your legal rights and your options regarding automobile accidents like that.

An Overview of Suing a Rideshare Driver

Trying to understand who to sue if you are injured in an accident with an Uber or Lyft car can be confusing. At one time, it was common knowledge that Uber didn’t provide insurance coverage for drivers because they were considered independent contractors. 

In 2022, according to the Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Uber paid $100 million in a case involving misclassification of drivers as independent contractors. By classifying them as employees, the drivers became eligible for family leave insurance, unemployment compensation, and temporary disability.

What Determines Liability if You Get into an Accident?

Nowadays, the basic rule is that you can sue an Uber driver if they are at fault in an accident. Here are the three most common scenarios of what happens when you get into an accident with an Uber driver:

  • If the driver is using the Uber app and actively ‘on the clock’ with a passenger in the car, then Uber’s insurance will cover up to $1.5 million in damages
  • If the Uber driver is idling or driving around looking for a passenger and gets in an accident, then Uber insurance and the driver’s insurance apply. Uber will cover up to $50,000 in medical expenses for the injured or dead in the other car. After the driver’s insurance is exhausted, they may cover up to $100,000 in damages.
  • If the driver is operating with the app off, then the driver’s personal insurance applies. 

If the accident occurred when the Uber driver had a passenger, Uber’s insurance is supposed to cover $1.5 million for damage to property, injuries, or death resulting from the accident.

Can You Sue an Uber Driver in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, a no-fault state, all Uber drivers must maintain personal automobile insurance. Should you be involved in an accident with an Uber driver, your initial step is to submit a claim with your own insurance provider to cover medical expenses and lost earnings. 

Despite this no-fault system, situations may arise where pursuing legal action against the Uber driver becomes a viable option. This is particularly relevant if the Uber driver was predominantly responsible (exceeding 50% fault) for the accident, and you are seeking damages for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, which are not covered under your personal insurance policy.

Have You Been Injured in a Rideshare Accident in New Jersey? We Can Help.

Navigating the complexities of a rideshare accident in New Jersey, especially with companies like Uber and Lyft, can be daunting. The situation becomes even more complicated if the status of the rideshare app — whether it was active or not at the time of the accident — is uncertain. Coupled with the stress of mounting medical expenses and the financial strain from lost wages, the decision to pursue legal action against a rideshare company may seem overwhelming. The good news is that our firm wants to review your claim and help you understand your options. Contact us today and we can schedule a consultation.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.