Washington, DC

By Personal Injury Attorney Bennett Schiller of Schiller & Hamilton Law Firm

In April 2017, Bonni Genzer was driving for a popular ride-sharing company, Uber.

She picked up an Uber passenger and drove them to their destination over 130 miles away. Ms. Genzer delivered the Uber passenger safely to their destination and then began the long journey home solo. During this drive home, a metal object crashed through her windshield after being ejected from a semitrailer truck, and she sustained injuries when the object hit her in the face.

In the case Bonni J. Genzer v. James River Insurance Co. the court stated in its decision that Uber’s insurance does not cover Uber drivers when they are returning from delivering an Uber passenger to the passenger’s destination. This means that if the injury has occurred en route to the passenger’s destination, that Uber’s insurance likely would have covered the driver’s injuries, however, because it was on the return trip after the passenger arrived at their destination, the Uber driver was no longer covered by their policy.

The court ruled that Uber’s insurance only covers accidents that occur while the Uber driver is transporting an Uber passenger, before the passenger has been dropped off at their destination. However, just because an injured driver or passenger is denied coverage by one insurance policy, that does not mean they are stuck holding the bill. They may be able to sue the at-fault driver to recover damages.

Although Uber’s insurance policy did not cover the driver’s injuries in this instance, this does not mean the driver is completely barred from recovering damages. If the semitrailer truck’s driver acted negligently, or their truck’s equipment was not correctly maintained and caused injury, then the Uber driver could potentially recover damages from the truck driver, or that driver’s insurance.

If one insurance company fails to provide coverage for a driver or passenger injured in a vehicle-related accident, that does not mean the injured party cannot recover any compensation for damages. If an accident was caused by someone else’s negligent actions, that person might be personally liable, or their insurance may extend coverage to the injured party to pay damages.

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