Uber’s troubles are continuing today as a former UberX driver has decided to take legal action against the company with a view to winning a $1 million damages pay-out.
Alam was working for UberX, which is the basic Uber package that includes a driver using an everyday car that seats four and was made after the year 2000. With a single passenger on board, his Toyota Sienna was sideswiped by a motorist who had skipped a red light along Queen Street East in the city of Toronto.
The accident was severe enough that both on board had to be rushed to hospital, but while Alam was not at fault he was still not eligible on his own personal insurance coverage because he had not declared that his vehicle would be used for commercial use.
He now admits that he had not read the fine print of his own insurance policy and made the common mistake of thinking his own plan had him covered. With no other avenues, Tawfiq Alam turned to Uber and was sure of receiving coverage as he had made a point of asking about it when he signed up to be a driver for the ride-sharing company.
“They said we are billion dollar company, we have $5 million dollars or so in insurance protection so you don’t have to worry about that, in case you get ticket or accident you just come to us and we take care of the issue,” he remembered.
However, the company did not provide that coverage, something Alam’s lawyer Isaac Zisckind of Diamond & Diamond said was against an earlier promise. Zisckind says while this is his first case dealing with Uber, he suspects there are numerous other drivers in Canada who think their own insurance will cover them, and if it does not Uber will help. It is a sentiment shared by his client:
“I believe thousands of people are driving Uber here and they don’t know — in case god forbid anything happens to them — how exposed they are to the vulnerability,” said Tawfiq Alam.
Uber says it will not comment on specific cases, but did ensure that its drivers on the UberX program are covered and that the company is committed to the interests of its drivers.
Mr. Alam would disagree and he says the main purpose of his action against the company is to raise awareness for other drivers, while he is seeking $1 million in damages and loss of income.