Uber has become one of the top names in public transportation. With millions of people using their services every day, there is always a chance that they may be involved in an accident. Being injured in an accident can be stressful enough and adding a major corporation into the mix can complicate things if you’re not well informed.
Things Passengers Injured in an Uber Accident Should Know
There are a few main important things to remember if you are ever injured in an Uber driver accident.
- The first thing is that an Uber passenger is almost never liable for an accident. There are some rare instances with odd circumstances, but so long as you are not deliberately covering the driver’s eyes or yanking at the wheel, you will most likely not be held liable for the accident.
- The next is that some injuries are not immediately evident. Even if you feel okay, you should still get checked out by a medical professional.
- And finally, as a passenger, it is important to file a third-person personal injury and/or property damage claim with the insurance company of whoever was at fault for the accident.
Steps to Take After an Uber Accident
After an accident, there are steps that a person should take regardless of the situation, but especially when a company like Uber is involved.
- Document everything. Take photos of the scene and any injuries you have. Get everyone’s names, drivers’ licenses, and insurance information. Get the contact info of any witnesses. Write down exactly what happened with as much detail as possible.
- Report everything. Get a police report; it won’t be admissible in court, but it can be helpful in negotiations with the insurance company. Contact Uber and report the accident to them. Do both of these things immediately. Don’t forget to file an insurance claim.
- Go to the doctor. Even if you don’t think you’re hurt. Even if you’re not hurt at all. Even if the paramedics at the scene checked you over. Go to the doctor and get thoroughly checked out as soon as possible. If you are injured, keep following up with your doctors. If you pursue a claim, you’ll want to have all relevant medical records.
- Get a lawyer. Never underestimate the importance and benefit of having someone with the knowledge and experience to guide you through a stressful and complex situation. Their experience will help an Uber accident victim receive the maximum compensation they deserve for any injuries sustained in the accident.
- Do not settle right away. Insurance companies will try to offer a small amount of money right away to avoid the cost and hassle of paying out what you actually deserve. The problem with accepting an initial offer is, once it is accepted there is no legal recourse to get recover additional damages if future problems or injuries arise from the accident. It is best to wait and speak to an Uber accident attorney first to determine how to proceed. They will advise you to wait for a thorough medical examination and assist in negotiations.
- Avoid the internet. Do not post anything online. Anything you post can and will be used against you. Even things that have nothing to do with the accident can still be manipulated to refute your claims.
Will Uber’s Insurance Cover Damages in an Uber Accident?
Uber’s insurance may cover other drivers as well as passengers for up to $1 million, but only under specific circumstances.
- The driver must have accepted a rider and is on the way to pick up a passenger
- The driver has a passenger in the car and is somewhere between scheduled pick up and drop off locations
Uber drivers are considered independent contractors, and so the driver has to be actively working at the time of the accident for passengers to be covered. However, the same rules do not always cover other motorists or pedestrians if they are hit by an Uber driver. If an accident is not covered by Uber, then it is the Uber driver who is responsible for the insurance coverage. Uber does not require its drivers to carry any special coverage, and the minimum state requirements in California cover:
- $15k in bodily injury per person
- $30k in bodily injury per accident
- $5k in property damage per accident
If the driver’s personal insurance does not cover the full cost of the other person’s damages, Uber does have a policy to cover a bit more:
- $50 in bodily injury per person
- 100k in bodily injury per accident
- $25k in property damage per accident
This is helpful in smaller accidents with minor injuries, but not enough in more extreme cases with catastrophic injuries. If the injuries are severe, medical bills can quickly eat up the compensation offered.
Can You Sue if You Have Been Injured in an Uber Accident?
Suing a major corporation is often easier said than done. Generally speaking, those with the most money are the least willing to part with it. When insurance companies have to pay up, they increase the premiums for their clients, and so both companies will do everything they can to minimize payouts.
This is one of the reasons why Uber drivers are classified as independent contractors rather than employees. This means that drivers must also have their own insurance coverage, which results in even the most clear-cut cases being drawn out and over complicated due to multiple insurance companies being involved. A driver’s independent collision coverage is important because Uber insurance will not cover accidents that occur while the car is not being used for work. This means that if a driver is logged into the app but does not have a passenger in the car or waiting, Uber’s policy is not activated. This often times causes complication because if an accident occurs between fares, both Uber’s insurance and the driver’s personal insurance may try to deny coverage.
You can absolutely sue for damages caused by an Uber driver accident, but how far that case goes depends on how you handle it. As with many things, it often comes down to having good Uber accident lawyers to help navigate the complex process of trying to recover damages in a rideshare accident.
How Is Liability Assigned in an Uber Accident?
Liability limits are determined by what the Uber driver was doing at the time of the accident. When Uber drivers are in their car, they are doing one of three things:
- Picking up or transporting a passenger
- Waiting for a new passenger while logged into the Uber app
- Driving for personal reasons while not logged into the Uber app.
Each of these three scenarios have their own parameters for liability.
- If an accident occurs while a driver is picking up or transporting passengers, Uber may cover up to $1 million in damages.
- If an accident occurs while a driver is waiting for a new passenger while logged into the app, Uber may cover up to $50-100k in bodily injury damages and up to $25-30k in property damage.
- If an accident occurs while a driver is driving on their own time, then it falls to that driver’s personal car insurance coverage.
Who is Negligent in an Uber Accident?
Negligence in California is centered around the concept of ‘duty of care’. When someone is operating an automobile, they have a responsibility to the people around them to drive safely and carefully.
Sometimes, a breach of that duty can lead to serious injury for the people around them. In these instances, the injured party may be able to recover for damages due to the driver’s negligence, if they can prove:
- The defendant had a responsibility of duty of care to the plaintiff
- That duty of care was breached via the defendant’s negligence
- That negligence was a substantiating cause of the plaintiff’s injuries
Ways in which people breach that duty of care involve doing things like:
- Ignoring traffic signs and lights
- Driving while distracted or intoxicated
How Does Shared Fault Work in an Uber Accident?
Sometimes, more than one party is responsible for an accident. A person’s culpability can reduce the amount they are able to recover. There are three ways in which this can happen:
- Pure Comparative Negligence. In California, the amount that a person’s damages are reduced is proportionate to the percentage that they were at fault. If your damages amounted to $100k and you were found to be 20% at fault for the accident, you would only receive $80k.
- Modified Comparative Negligence. In other states, they deny recovery if you are more than 50 percent at fault.
- Contributory Negligence. In some states, if a person is any percentage at fault for the accident, they cannot recover anything.
In Uber accident claims, passengers don’t generally have to worry about this, as they are almost never considered at fault in an Uber car accident. It is other motorists and pedestrians that have to worry about the percentage of their culpability.
What if I Wasn’t Wearing a Seatbelt During an Uber Accident?
For reasons unknown, many people don’t seem to think that seat belt laws apply to public transportation. But whether or not you are wearing a seat belt is one of the very few ways Uber passengers can be considered partially at fault for their injuries. You can’t be held liable for the accident, but the insurance company could argue that you were negligent in your duty of care to yourself. Under pure comparative negligence, not wearing a seat belt could reduce the amount of damages a victim can recover.
How Long Do Uber Accident Settlements Take?
There are many factors involved in the length of a case. Every situation is different, but Uber accident claims have an added complication due to drivers being classified as independent contractors and not employees. This results in having to spend time determining whether Uber, the driver, or both are responsible for damages. The other main factors in determining the length of a case include:
- Liability. Uber car accidents have their own challenges in determining who is at fault and whether the driver or the company is liable. It may take time to provide proof of these factors, such as producing the records from the app to show exactly what the driver was doing at the time of the accident.
- Parties involved. Another determining factor is how many people are involved. The time it takes to settle a case will be much different for an accident that involves an Uber driver hitting another vehicle vs being involved in a multi-car pileup.
- Cooperation. This leads into how well everyone works with each other. Personal injury cases involve a lot of communication, cooperation, and exchange of information from all parties involved.
- Injuries. The nature of the injuries themselves are another variable in how long as case can last. The more severe the injuries and more involved the treatment, the more there is to go over and consider. These injuries can also be worth a lot more, and the insurance companies may fight harder to avoid paying.
How Much Should I Expect from an Uber Accident?
Uber accident claims can settle for a wide range. Every case is different and has different variables that change the outcome. It is impossible to know exactly how much your claim will be worth, and it’s important to wait until all the factors have been assessed before agreeing to a settlement. What it mostly comes down to is:
- Fault. As a plaintiff, you have to prove who was at fault for the accident. If the driver was at fault, then you might be able to get Uber to pay out which could result in a higher settlement. If another driver was at fault, you would have to go through their insurance. Of course, in these situations, people tend to start pointing fingers at everyone else, and it can take time to figure out who exactly owes how much.
- Funds. If you are a passenger and your Uber driver causes an accident, Uber advertises up to $1 million in insurance coverage. If someone else causes the accident, you have to rely on how much their insurance policy is worth. In some states, Uber will provide additional coverage if you are hit by an uninsured driver. And of course, if there are multiple people injured in a single Uber accident, the money may be divided up amongst the plaintiffs.
- Injuries. The extent and severity of your injuries are a primary factor in how much a settlement could be worth. It is important to have as much official documentation as possible, such as medical records and proof of loss of income. Injuries that are more severe and/or more long-lasting result in higher expenses which may result in a higher settlement.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in an Uber Accident?
There are certain damages that an individual injured in an uber accident can be compensated for:
- Healthcare costs related to injuries caused the accident
- Medical bills in the future due to the accident
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Physical impairment
- Loss of current and future income due to disability
- Reduced earning capacity
- Property damage
- Punitive damages
- Reduced quality of life
- Wrongful death
Though it can happen, it is rare for punitive damages to be awarded for a car accident, as they are meant as a punishment for particularly severe wrongdoing.
There are many variables that go into what a person recovers for and how much they receive. The extent of the injuries plays a main role in determining their compensation. Non-economic damages like pain and suffering are harder to quantify and can sometimes be higher than the economic damages. Of course, just because a policy has a particular maximum payout amount, that doesn’t mean that they will always pay that much.
Contact an Experienced Uber Accident Lawyer
Being injured in an Uber accident can be a harrowing ordeal. Dealing with a major corporation like Uber can make an already stressful situation even more complicated. After an accident you only have two years in which to file a personal injury claim from the date of the accident; if the injury is discovered later than that, you have a year from the discovery of the injuries. Everyone deserves someone who can guide them through that situation and help them receive fair compensation. If you are in need of an Uber accident attorney, call Mesriani Law Group today for a free consultation.
Uber Accident FAQs
What happens if Uber gets in an accident?
When an Uber vehicle is involved in an accident, the passengers may be covered by Uber’s $1million insurance coverage. If you’ve been involved in an accident, it is important to document everything, report the accident, see a doctor, talk to a lawyer, and file a claim, all as soon as possible. Also remember to never accept immediate settlement offers.
Who Is Responsible in an Uber Accident?
Determining liability in an Uber accident is often times much more complicated due to the status of the driver when the accident occurs. If a driver has a passenger at the time of an accident or is waiting for a passenger while logged into the app, Uber will most likely provide coverage. However, if an driver that works for Uber is driving of their own accord and not logged into the app, then they are liable for their own accident.