Are You UBER Safe?

Photo: The Straits Times


The safety of private-hire car services has been thrown into the spotlight in the wake of a fatal accident along Xilin Avenue involving an Uber vehicle.


So are you as a passenger, are you liable when your Uber driver had caused an accident or if you are caught in one? This guide is intended to help you understand what you should do if you are involved in a motor accident while riding in an Uber vehicle.


The Law in Singapore surrounding Private Car Hires

In Singapore, the Motor Vehicles Act makes it compulsory for privately owned vehicle owners to insure liability to their passengers and this includes passengers of Uber.


As such, all Uber drivers are required to be insured under a commercial insurance policy before they can work as an Uber driver. This insurance policy would cover the driver’s legal liability for the death of or bodily injury to passengers and other third parties such as pedestrians. It also provides cover for liability resulting from damage to property belonging to other people such as cars, traffic lights, etc.


Furthermore, as of 30th June 2017, all private hire car drivers are required to own a Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational Licence (PDVL) before being allowed to drive for Uber. Applicants will also be required to attend a 10-hour course before they can be certified with a PDVL. The drivers will have to display their identification prominently in the car as currently, passengers will not be able to view the driver’s full identification through the Uber mobile application.


What do I do if I get into an accident in an Uber vehicle?

If you do get into an accident as a passenger in an Uber vehicle, do not panic. Ensure that no one is gravely injured. If someone is found to be in need of urgent medical attention, do not hesitate to call 995 immediately.


You should try to get as much information from all the parties involved. Information like the time and location of the incident, pictures of any damage, as well as the particulars of all involved parties. Information such as their full name, NRIC, vehicle license plate number, contact number, address and the name of their insurance companies are some of the things you should note down as a passenger. Do not leave the scene unless you have obtained this information.


What you should do next is report the incident to Uber, claiming that your driver had gotten into an accident. Under ‘Trip Details’ of the mobile application, you can report the incident, and an Uber staff will check up with you on the details of the incident.


What happens if I have an injury from an accident in an Uber vehicle?

As mentioned before, all Uber drivers in Singapore are required to have a commercial insurance policy that meets the requirements for all vehicles in Singapore under the Motor Vehicles (Third-Party Risks and Compensation) Act before they are allowed to drive under Uber.


What this means is that you as an injured passenger can make a direct claim against the Uber driver’s insurance. You will of course have to get a medical certificate detailing the injuries and retain any medical costs required to claim insurance coverage for the injury.


If you have personal injury insurance, you should also make a report with your insurance company as you may be able to receive compensation first from your insurer, who will then claim it back from Uber.


Do I need to pay as a passenger if there was an accident?

Unless the incident was caused by a negligent act by the passenger, you as a passenger are not liable to pay for any damages that had occurred. The driver’s commercial insurance should cover any damages caused by the accident.


A recent case, however, was where a passenger had opened the rear door of the cab to alight had hit an oncoming vehicle instead. She then became a third party to the case, meaning she became liable to pay a portion of the damages to the damaged vehicle.


How this relates back to you and a private hire car service such as Uber is that you as a passenger, could be liable to pay for damages if your Uber driver alighted you and you as a passenger had negligently caused an accident to someone else as seen from the case above.


What if I am injured by my Uber driver before I board the Uber vehicle?

What happens then if you were to get into an accident by your Uber driver before you could board the vehicle? Depending on the coverage of the commercial insurance that the Uber driver has, you may or may not be covered.


Regardless, an accident did occur so that you can sue the driver for their negligent driving. As long as you can prove that the accident was the driver’s fault and that you had not run across the road to get hit, for example, you are entitled to compensation by the driver.


The Courts will decide how much compensation you will receive based on the facts of the case. If you had a part to play in receiving the injury such as standing on the edge of the road, or was dashing across the road, for example, the compensation received may be significantly reduced.


Can I sue Uber if i am late for an important event?

It is unlikely that you can sue Uber if you were late to an important event which led to a lost a sum of money or opportunity due to Uber’s services.


In Singapore, unless you can prove that Uber has breached the contract between you and them, meaning that the money or opportunity that you lost could have been foreseen due to this breach, it would be unlikely that you can claim for damages. Things like traffic jams or due to poor weather are weak arguments to use in Court to show that Uber had caused you significant loss.


Furthermore, due to the terms and conditions on their website, updated as of March 16th, 2017, Uber has excluded all liability on the part of the company towards users of Uber’s services.


Specifically, Uber’s terms and conditions exclude all liability on the part of the company on any;


“Indirect, incidental, special, exemplary, punitive or consequential damages, including lost profits, lost data, personal injury or property damage related to, in connection with, or otherwise resulting from any use of the services, even if Uber has been advised of the possibility of such damages.”


What can I do then?

Uber’s terms and conditions have agreements that prohibit class action lawsuits which instead push people into private arbitration.


What happens in arbitration is that instead of going to court, you as a consumer will resolve your complaints in front of an arbitrator in private proceeding. Uber’s terms and regulations state that any arbitration will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of The Netherlands under the Rules of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce.


These processes may be too tedious for you to go through alone and as such, it would be in your best interest to hire a good Singapore personal injury lawyer to assist in your case.


How can we help you?

If you are involved in a case of negligence or personal injury, you will need legal advice and assistance. Worry not, at I.R.B. Law; we have negligence and personal injury trained lawyers who are well versed in assessing your situation and protecting what is rightfully yours. Even if the matter comes to trial, our lawyers are experienced litigators. We will ensure your case will be fought for to the best of our abilities and that you receive the best compensation possible. We will also guide you through the process and explain to you each stage of your case.


So do contact us to receive advice on how matters with regards to your will can be best handled. Our first consultation is usually free as we wish to focus on you and not on your wallet. Do not hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected] or call us at 6589 8913 to and schedule an appointment with one of our experienced lawyers today.


The information contained in this article is provided for general information only and may not reflect current status about applicable law, cases, settlements or judgements. Nothing contained on this website or article is intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be construed as I.R.B Law LLP agreeing to provide legal services to you. You acknowledge and agree that your use of this website shall not create a lawyer-client relationship with I.R.B Law LLP.