Routine maintenance is an essential component of being a responsible vehicle owner. It not only extends the life of your vehicle and helps it to function efficiently, but it can also prevent serious accidents. After all, no matter how good or safe of a driver you are, improper vehicle maintenance can sabotage even your best efforts.
However, if you are traveling in an Uber vehicle, you are at the mercy of your driver, who may or may not be diligent about keeping his or her vehicle in its best shape. Unfortunately, lapses in vehicle maintenance can cause a variety of accidents. In this article, we will discuss a few types of accidents that can result from poor vehicle maintenance and what to do if this happens to you while you are an Uber passenger.
Accidents Caused by Poor Vehicle Maintenance
If you are unlucky enough to be riding with an Uber driver who has not kept his or her vehicle in tip-top shape, you could be in danger of getting into an accident. Depending on the severity of the maintenance issue, the consequences could range from shortening the useful life of the vehicle all the way up to causing major accidents. Some of the most common maintenance issues that can cause accidents include:
Over time, tires lose their tread, which can compromise the tire’s grip on the road. Worn tires are more likely to slip, take more distance to brake, and aren’t as responsive because of their weak grip on the road. Worn or bald tires can thus make it much harder to stop in time to avoid an accident. Tire blowouts are also a serious concern. Blowouts can happen for many reasons, including over- or under-inflated tires suddenly bursting under pressure. When a tire blows out, it drastically reduces the driver’s ability to control the vehicle and can very easily cause the car to veer off course and crash.
Bad brakes are a major contributing factor to rear-end accidents because they reduce the driver’s ability to stop in time to avoid a crash. Common reasons why brakes fail include:
- Worn out brake lines
- Malfunctioning anti-lock brake systems
- Worn out brake pads and discs
- Defective parking brakes
Depending on how fast a driver is going at the time of brake failure, defective brakes can lead to some of the deadliest of maintenance-related car accidents.
Power Steering Malfunction
Power steering is the feature that allows the driver of a car to direct the vehicle without exerting the amount of physical force it would require to actually turn the wheels. When power steering fails, it becomes considerably more difficult to turn the vehicle. If this happens while the vehicle is moving, it usually takes the driver by surprise, and an accident can result.
Worn-out Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers help clear rain, snow, and debris from the windshield so that the driver can see clearly. Worn out wiper blades are less effective at doing this and can leave streaks that continue to block the driver’s view. And even if a driver’s wipers are in good condition, the motors controlling them could also fail, causing a sudden loss of vision that could result in an accident.
Who Is Liable for Uber Accidents Caused by Poor Vehicle Maintenance?
All Uber drivers’ vehicles are subject to a yearly safety inspection at a pre-approved auto repair shop. This inspection covers general mechanical and safety features that all well-maintained cars should be able to pass, including tire tread and brake pad tests. Additionally, all Uber vehicles must be less than 10 years old.
However, even with the vehicle age and safety inspection requirements, accidents caused by poor maintenance can still occur. In those situations, Uber drivers and their riders are covered by Uber’s standard insurance policy, which provides Uber drivers and passengers with different coverage depending on which stage of the journey they are on.
- Phase 1: This is the period of time when the Uber driver is available and is waiting for a rideshare request. During this period, drivers are covered by Uber’s insurance policy for liability to a third party if they are at fault in an accident. This coverage is $50,000 in injury liability per person, $100,000 in total liability per accident, and $25,000 in property damage liability per accident.
- Phase 2: This is the period of time that the driver has received a request and is on their way to pick up the passenger. During this time, the driver is covered by $1 million in total third-party liability coverage, $1 million in uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage, and contingent collision and comprehensive coverage for the driver’s vehicle.
- Phase 3: The third and final phase of an Uber journey is the time that a rider is in the driver’s car. The coverage for this portion is the journey is the same as for Phase 2, except that the rider in the car is also covered.
If you are involved in an Uber accident, the steps you take are very similar to those you should take in any accident.
- First, check that all parties are safe
- Next, seek medical attention, if necessary, and
- Report the accident to Uber through the Uber smartphone app
Once you have reported the accident to Uber, you will be contacted by an Uber employee and a representative from their insurance company to determine what happened and how to proceed. If you are injured in an Uber accident, your injuries should be covered by Uber’s insurance policy.
Contact an Uber Accident Attorney
Even though you will be covered by Uber’s insurance if you are involved in an accident with an Uber driver or as a passenger in an Uber vehicle, complications can still arise. Uber and other ride-sharing companies also have a history of denying liability for accidents caused by their drivers. If you have been injured by an Uber driver as the result of poor vehicle maintenance, contact an attorney at Uber Car Accident Law at (305) 964-8806 or online today.