It’s been a long week. The good news? It’s finally the weekend, and you’ve hired a sitter to watch the kids so you and your partner can go out for a nice dinner. You enjoy yourselves (and a bottle of wine) a little too much, so you decide to call an Uber for a ride home. Your driver is very personable and you are happy with your decision. It’s the responsible thing to do.
But on the way home, the Uber driver misses a curve on the highway, violently striking the median. You and your partner are taken by ambulance to the hospital.
There are five things you need to know if you’ve been in an accident with an Uber driver in Connecticut.
Laws protect you if you are in an uber car accident in Connecticut. But you have to make sure you properly preserve your rights or they can be lost forever. The same laws also apply to Lyft.
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1) Uber drivers in Connecticut have to follow Connecticut law.
Transportation network companies (Uber, Lyft, etc.) are allowed to operate in Connecticut pursuant to Public Act 17-140. This law requires the companies to register with the Connecticut Commissioner of Transportation each year. If they fail to follow the law, then they will no longer be permitted to operate in the state. If they operate in the state without a valid registration, they can be fined up to fifty thousand dollars.
2) Uber is required to conduct background checks on their drivers.
Legally, your Uber driver is supposed to have a clean driving record and a clean background check before Uber can hire him or her. This means that any Uber driver who works in Connecticut has submitted to a criminal background check that includes submitting fingerprints to the FBI. Once hired, this process is repeated every three years. Among other things, Uber must verify that your driver has not been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs within the last seven years.
If you observe anything suspicious about a driver, you should report it to Uber through the policy it is required to post on its website. (www.uber.com)
3) Your Uber driver is supposed to be a good driver.
Uber cannot hire any driver who, in the last three years, has (1) committed more than three moving violations in the previous three years, or (2) committed one serious traffic violation. Under Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 14-1, “serious traffic violation” means a conviction of any of the following offenses:
- Excessive speeding, involving a single offense in which the speed is fifteen miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit, in violation of section 14-218a or 14-219;
- Reckless driving in violation of section 14-222;
- Following too closely in violation of section 14-240 or 14-240a;
- Improper or erratic lane changes, in violation of section 14-236;
- Using a hand-held mobile telephone or other electronic device or typing, reading or sending text or a text message with or from a mobile telephone or mobile electronic device in violation of subsection (e) of section 14-296aa while operating a commercial motor vehicle;
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle without a valid commercial driver’s license in violation of section 14-36a or 14-44a;
- Failure to carry a commercial driver’s license in violation of section 14-44a;
- Failure to have the proper class of license or endorsement, or violation of a license restriction in violation of section 14-44a; or
- A violation of any provision of chapter 248, by an operator who holds a commercial driver’s license or instruction permit that results in the death of another person.
That said, Connecticut does allow Uber drivers to work long hours: up to fourteen consecutive hours, and up to sixteen hours in a twenty-four hour period. That’s potentially a lot of driving, and even the best drivers can make mistakes when they’re tired. It is worth noting that Uber is required to have policies prohibiting any driver from operating a vehicle when that driver is likely to be impaired by illness or fatigue.
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4) Any vehicle used by an Uber driver is required to be in good condition.
Any Uber driver is required to certify to Uber that his or her vehicle is in good working condition. For example, brakes, tail lights, and seatbelts must work and the tires must be safe. Your Uber vehicle must have four doors and it must not be designed to transport more than eight people, including the driver.
5) Uber is required to insure its drivers.
Uber is required to insure its drivers when they’re working. If a driver is shown on the transportation network as available to give rides, then that driver must be covered by a fifty thousand dollar per person bodily injury policy (one hundred thousand per accident). If the Uber driver is “engaged in the provision of a prearranged ride,” then that insurance policy increases to one million dollars per accident.
It’s important to note that a driver’s personal car insurance policy may not be available when that driver is driving for Uber. It’s likely that anyone injured by a working Uber driver will only be able to pursue Uber’s insurance policy.
If you’ve been injured by an Uber driver in Connecticut, please give us a call. Someone will answer your call 24/7/365.