It’s hard to believe that Americans have hitched rides with Uber drivers for over a decade. The rise in the use of Uber services is no surprise considering that ridesharing apps offer consumers a quick and convenient way to get to where they are going. Many prefer them over hailing a taxi. Some use it as their designated driver, others as a way to get to and from the airport, and still others for their daily commute. Although these services are quite helpful, they aren’t without their downfalls.
Even though Uber is highly convenient, good for the environment, reduces the temptation to drink and drive, and has many other benefits, it also has its drawbacks. One of these drawbacks is accidents.
If you were in an accident while riding with an Uber driver or with an Uber driver in another vehicle, speak with an experienced Uber accident attorney about your claim.
Causes of Uber Accidents
Uber saw $57 billion in gross bookings in one recent year (even with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic) across 93 million users. Uber had nearly five billion trips and a $46 billion company value in 2020 alone.
Over 35 percent of Americans have used a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft, up from only 15 percent in previous years.
The sheer volume of rides means accidents will follow.
For example, one study from the University of Chicago and Rice University found that since 2011, ridesharing services have increased road traffic deaths by as much as two to three percent in the U.S. Rideshare accidents cause an average of 1,100 mortalities each year and cost between $5.33 billion to $13.24 billion.
Uber accidents can arise from many of the same causes as other motor vehicle accidents; distracted driving, reckless driving, speeding, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and not obeying traffic lights and signs. However, rideshare drivers are at greater risk of causing or being involved in crashes due to some specific job duties.
- They use their smartphone more for instance, to look at maps or determine if they can pick up more passengers
- They drive in unfamiliar locations
- They drive drowsy or tired as Uber is their moonlighting job
- Talking to their passengers distracts them
- They think about the next passengers they will pick up or what location they will drive to, and what route to take
Do You Have a Valid Rideshare Injury Accident Claim?
You might have a valid rideshare injury accident claim if you or your attorney can prove:
- Duty: Another party (such as the driver who caused the crash) owed you a duty of care
- Breach of duty: The driver breached the duty they owed you
- Cause in fact: The driver’s actions caused your injury, also known as “but-for” causation, meaning if it weren’t for the driver’s actions, you wouldn’t have suffered an injury
- Proximate cause: Your injuries happened as a result of the accident
- Damages: You have compensable damages
If you think you have a valid claim, get in touch with a knowledgeable rideshare accident attorney as soon as possible. Waiting too long can cause you to miss the filing deadline (known as the statute of limitations), evidence to be lost or damaged, and bills to stack up.
Who Pays for Your Injuries in an Uber Accident?
Determining liability can be quite challenging in any car accident. Often, rideshare accidents can be even more difficult when it comes to identifying the liable parties. You have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person or party who caused your injuries. However, Uber may or may not be that party.
Uber’s insurance company will pay for your damages if the Uber driver caused the accident and they were using the platform to provide rides at that time. Uber provides the following coverages to its drivers as follows.
If the Uber driver is available or waiting for a ride request— third-party liability coverage (if the Uber driver’s own auto insurance doesn’t apply) in the amounts of:
- $50,000 in bodily injury per person
- $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 in property damage per accident
If the Uber driver is en route to pick up passengers and actively on a trip, Uber maintains these auto insurance policies for its drivers:
- $1,000,000 third-party liability
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury
- Contingent comprehensive and collision
- Up to the actual cash value of the car with a $2,500 deductible
If you were a motorist or passenger in another vehicle and the driver wasn’t working for Uber at that time, their private insurance policy should cover your damages according to their policy limits. When they are not actively using the platform, Uber insurance coverage doesn’t apply.
It’s also possible that there are third parties liable for the accident, and you can seek compensation from their insurance coverage.
Other liable parties might include:
- The employers of other vehicles (such as delivery or commercial truck drivers)
- Owners of other vehicles
- Government entities
- Third-party contractors to government entities—such as road construction companies
- Vehicle or vehicle parts manufacturers
One significant benefit of having legal representation after an Uber accident is that they will maximize your compensation by utilizing all applicable insurance policies. Suppose the applicable insurance companies fail to offer you a fair settlement for your damages. In that case, your attorney can file a lawsuit to pursue the full and fair compensation you deserve.
How Do I Know if I Can Hold the Rideshare Driver Liable?
The good news is that it’s not on you to determine if the rideshare driver is liable for the accident. Instead, your job is to focus on your physical healing and recovery after a rideshare accident. Your attorney’s job is to determine exactly how your accident happened and what parties might be to blame for it. Once they determine this, they can pursue fair compensation on your behalf.
Sometimes you can hold the rideshare driver liable. Other times, you can hold another driver or party liable, such as the municipality responsible for maintaining certain roads or intersections. Still, in other circumstances you can hold both the rideshare driver and another party liable.
Should You Hire a Rideshare Accident Lawyer?
You don’t have to hire a rideshare accident attorney. In fact, insurance companies prefer injured claimants who don’t have legal representation. However, it’s in your best interest to hire a lawyer. Motor vehicle accident claims often become complicated fast, especially ones involving Uber vehicles. What might seem like a simple case with apparent liability most of the time is not. With so many parties involved and multiple potential insurance policies to rely on, rideshare accidents are more likely to be complicated than others. Handling your claim or litigation independently of an experienced legal team is typically not only a significant challenge but can also be counterproductive to getting the financial recovery you need and deserve. Without professional legal help, you likely won’t achieve the best outcome possible in your claim.
There are several benefits to hiring an attorney after a car accident, the most obvious being increased compensation for your damages. Car accident victims with the right legal representation regularly obtain higher settlements than injured parties who don’t hire a lawyer.
Other benefits of having legal representation after an Uber accident include that car accident attorneys:
- Are skilled negotiators
- Can maximize your compensation
- Can help you get the medical care you need
- Can provide peace of mind
- Help provide objectivity and aid in decision making
- Can protect you from insurance company tactics
Insurance claims arise out of the damages that injured individuals face after an injury accident. If you suffer losses and inconveniences due to another party’s negligence, such as a rideshare driver or another motorist, you deserve compensation for them. The amount of compensation you request depends upon the types and severity of your compensable damages. These damages can be divided into two categories; economic and non-economic. Both categories can include the past and future damages you will suffer from your injuries.
Economic damages represent your financial losses. The most common economic damages in rideshare accident claims are medical expenses and lost wages. Other economic damages include property damage, legal fees, and travel costs. You can also recover for childcare expenses or household services you needed due to your injuries.
Non-economic damages are less concrete and, as such, more difficult to value. They don’t have an already assigned price tag.
Your non-economic damages might include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Scarring and disfigurement
Your rideshare accident attorney will help you identify the damages that apply to your case. They will determine how much your case should be worth based on the types of damages you incur due to your injuries.
What Are Punitive Damages?
State laws allow for the courts to award punitive damages if the liable party acted egregiously, for example, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Rideshare drivers who knowingly drive a defective vehicle can also be liable for paying the victim punitive damages.
Punitive damages only apply in cases where the at-fault party’s actions show willful misconduct, malice, fraud, or wantonness, revealing a conscious indifference to consequences. As opposed to compensable damages that compensate victims for their damages, punitive damages aim to punish, penalize, or deter the at-fault party.
Maximizing Your Rideshare Injury Compensation
Many individuals injured in an Uber accident don’t realize they can take steps to help maximize their compensation. The first and probably most critical step is to hire a well-versed rideshare accident lawyer. Legal representation has many benefits during this time.
Your lawyer can take these steps to boost your financial recovery:
- Seek medical treatment so that you can begin immediate treatment and have documentation of your injuries
- Follow your healthcare provider’s treatment advice
- Follow the advice and instructions given to you by your rideshare lawyer
- Document your out-of-pocket expenses, medical bills, and lost income and wages
- Don’t speak to anyone from insurance companies- if they call, inform them that an attorney represents you
- Don’t accept any settlements the insurance company offers before talking to an attorney
- Be honest about your injuries and damages
- Be patient—a fair settlement frequently takes time to negotiate
How Long Does an Uber Accident Claim Take?
As most rideshare accident attorneys can attest, receiving fair compensation for your damages requires patience. Although many insurance companies are willing to settle almost immediately, these offers will likely never be anywhere near what you deserve for your injuries.
Unfortunately, most injury claims can take at least a few months to settle if you want to recover your claim’s full value. More complicated claims can take a year or two to settle. Your rideshare accident lawyer can do everything possible to keep your claim moving so that you don’t have to wait any longer than necessary to receive the money you need.
What Makes Uber Accident Cases Complicated?
More often than not, rideshare accident cases involve three separate insurance groups; the other driver’s private insurance, the rideshare company’s insurance, and the Uber driver’s own auto insurance.
All of the insurance policies and multiple corporations involved in any accident claim can quickly confuse you. The result can bring an unfavorable settlement or multiple entities attempting to give you a low settlement offer.
The best way to avoid this is to hire a skilled rideshare accident attorney. Your attorney will represent you and do everything they can to get you a favorable settlement, no matter how complex your case is.
Call an Experienced Uber Accident Attorney Today
Uber accident liability and insurance coverage can be quite complex. When you hire an experienced Uber accident attorney, you can rest assured that you will receive the best outcome possible in your case.
The sooner you reach out to a good Denver personal injury law firm for help, the better your chances of receiving full compensation.