Uber and other ridesharing platforms have revolutionized the way people across the USA reach their destinations on time without having to worry about waiting in queues or finding a cab. While the utility and effectiveness of Uber cannot be overstated (its record of success in the business speaks for itself), this mode of transportation has some limitations.
Most notably, the safety of passengers is not guaranteed. While Uber has taken several solid steps at improving worker behavior and has attempted, to some extent, to keep checks on drivers, things are still far from being perfect. Uber accidents can and do happen, and they may cause serious damages to the people involved.
If you were involved in an Uber accident, or if someone you know had to go through this ordeal, you can seek financial compensation for your losses. However, things can get complicated because Uber and Lyft drivers are not technically employees but rather contractors for their companies.
Be it as it may, you can still push for your legal rights, and having a competent personal injury attorney with you will make all the difference.
Uber Accident Settlements – What To Expect?
So what can you get for your Uber accident settlement?
As with any other traffic accident case, the specific details of the crash such as how it happened, when it happened, who was involved, the damages incurred, and so on will affect the settlement sum or whether you can get Uber's commercial insurance policy involved in the matter.
The biggest factor will be the parties involved, if the Uber Company is pulled into the mix, you can expect a much bigger payout than otherwise.
Of course, this part is not so easy to go through because Uber has the edge when it comes to distancing itself from any damages incurred upon you by an accident. However, based on the situation, you may be able to get them to offer fair compensation in your Uber accident claim.
Here are the determining factors:
The At-Fault Party/Parties
The million-dollar question (literally, more on this later) here is: who caused the rideshare accident? Of course, you can't have any percentage of fault because you were a passenger who's always exempt from the blame.
If the Uber vehicle driver was at-fault for being distracted or having violated some traffic laws, you can expect to make the company a party in your case. This only applies if the driver was logged into the Uber app.
If the driver was actively engaged on the Uber network, then any carelessness or negligence on their part will be considered partly Uber's fault as well.
However, if the accident happened at a time when the driver was off the Uber grid, this will not be the case anymore. Similarly, you can't expect the company to pay up if the at-fault driver was someone else, i.e. if another reckless driver crashed into your Uber ride.
Thus, determining the at-fault parties is highly important for getting a fair estimate of your compensation sum from the insurance companies. Of course, the degree of damage and several other factors also come into play here and they have been discussed in considerable detail in the following sections.
The Damages Incurred
How bad was the accident? The only way to judge the intensity of the accident is by checking out the extent of damages caused by the crash. How bad were you hurt? Was there any severe injury? Of course, you can't answer this question vaguely by something like “pretty bad” or “just a little hurt” (just a PS, never understate your sufferings, ever, this is a grave mistake).
Instead, you'll have to get medically diagnosed and wait for the doctor's findings. Car accidents, even minor ones, can cause some serious physical trauma such as whiplash, neck injury, blow to the head, spinal cord injury, bone fracture, and so on thus giving you bodily injury liability as an injured person.
Thus it is very much possible that you suffered severe due to an accident. Intense accidents can even leave the victims with permanent bodily injuries and disfigurations as painful reminders of that fateful moment.
The more you had to suffer, the more you can expect to get in compensation for your losses. We are not just referring to the medical bills associated with your personal injuries, but also mean to point you towards other financial drains created by the Uber/Taxi accident and the non-economic damages.
Lost wages, loss of earning potential (even if partially, i.e. due to lingering back pain), property damage, and out-of-pocket expenses are some of the most common examples of financial drains created by car accidents. Then there is the physical and mental anguish associated with such an event; this is covered by non-economic losses.
You will need to have your personal injury lawyer check the reports, bills, and receipts to see how much you can demand in compensation, based on your short-term and long-term losses.
Intense accidents can even cause a wrongful death of one of the Uber passengers thus necessitating a much bigger payout.
The Financial Standing Of The At-Fault Party
If the rideshare driver was at fault and the accident happened while logged into the Uber app, you can pull the company into the personal injury settlement as well, but beware that Uber auto insurance policies are not in your favor. If the ridesharing company is forced to share the blame for the crash, it will have to compensate all victims – therein lies the other problem: this sum will be shared by all the victims (if you were not the only one).
Note that in cases where they are multiple victims, you can't delay matters. Instead, you'll have to rush through everything and have your lawyers work at top speed if you want a fair settlement. If you're the last one to seek a settlement, your sum will be much smaller than otherwise.
Let's assume that the Uber driver was not at fault, then what? You can sue the other driver, but of course, for them to pay you anything, they must be insured. While it is a legal requirement for drivers to have personal auto insurance coverage, many people ignore this duty.
If you come across such a situation where the offender is an uninsured driver and can't pay you anything, you have other options (the same with underinsured motorists). The first place to turn to would be your own automobile insurance provider. You can seek out compensation via the personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage which exists for such scenarios.
You can also dig into the coverage of your health insurance company for this matter.
Alternatively, your rideshare accident lawyer can investigate the matter and explore other liable parties – perhaps there were multiple at-fault parties and if that is the case, you can sue them for compensation according to their liability insurance limit. The point is that you should not give up, instead, explore your legal rights and then act accordingly.
Don't delay matters because a two-year statute of limitations (in Texas) comes into action from the moment this accident happens. Get in touch with experienced lawyers right from the moment an Uber or Lyft accident happens because you will probably have other people vying for the Lion's share in the compensation.
Holding The Liable Parties Accountable
So how do you drag the responsible parties to the negotiations table?
Ensuring that all the liable parties are accounted for is important when trying to secure maximum compensation. As noted earlier, there are a couple of complications that can give the Uber company a backdoor escape from this mess.
That's why you need to keep the accident details in mind at all costs:
If the Uber driver was not logged into the app and simply driving around town for personal reasons instead of finding passengers (for Uber, not personally), then any accident caused will not be Uber's fault. For instance, if the driver gets involved in a crash with a pedestrian or another driver, they'll have to deal with the matter themselves with the accident injury claims.
What if the driver was logged into the app but not carrying any passengers? If an accident happens under such circumstances then once again the fault will primarily fall upon the shoulders of the driver. They will have to compensate the victims for their losses, however, if their insurance policy limit fails to equal the damages, then Uber will provide extra coverage to fill the gap.
If the driver has a passenger on-board (via ride request), then Uber's insurance coverage will compensate the passenger and the driver in case of an accident. The huge insurance policy caps a $1 million, so even in severe cases, the company will be able to pay for your economic and non-economic losses.
If the at-fault party was another driver who crashed into the Uber ride with no fault of your driver whatsoever, then that party will be held liable. Uber's liability insurance policy may offer a minor sum for help but you can't expect much from them in this regard.
Even though it may appear that Uber will act responsibly and cover you for your losses due to the accident (if you were a pre-arranged ride), things rarely work out this way, and the same applies to other rideshare companies. Uber defines its drivers as independent contractors instead of employees and uses all means at its disposal to escape the responsibility.
There have been cases where the Uber drivers were clearly distracted or even drunk, but the company avoided the blame; in fact, Uber insurance policies are designed to save their interests even at the expense of the accident victims.
The best way to ensure justice is to hook up with competent lawyers from day one and let them take charge.
What To Do After An Uber Accident
If you were involved in an Uber accident, you'll have to act fast to secure your compensation. The reason for this rush is that in the case of multiple victims, you're kind of in a race to secure a decent-sized compensation (if you're late, you'll get a much smaller sum).
So here's what you need to do:
Get medical care as soon as you can. This is important because not only will you be in a world of hurt, but will also need a proper diagnosis to understand the full extent of the damages you sustained. Once you have all the reports and hospital bills, you'll be in a much better position to demand fair compensation (if the accident was severe and things go to court, you may even get awarded with some punitive damages).
If you get a call from the insurance company with a settlement offer, don't accept it right away. Don't make statements right away either. Instead, you should wait for a while, explore all the details of your accident case and then act accordingly. Just remember, the first offer is far from the best they can give you for your injuries, economic losses, and property damage liability.
Don't post anything about your auto accident on social media. Your words can be used against you. Even the slightest detail can be manipulated by insurance adjusters and used as evidence to show that you're not suffering as badly as you claim (even if you are); this is pretty common with personal injury claims. It is best to give your social media accounts a rest for a while.
Lastly, you should never delay calling an Uber accident lawyer. An experienced attorney will not only investigate your case and unveil valuable information but also offer representation at all levels. This way, you can ensure that the insurance company does not bully you into accepting an inadequate settlement.
The Glenn Law Firm Can Help You Claim A Fair Settlement
Uber accidents are emotionally distressing because people don't expect them – passengers generally presume that they are perfectly safe when seated in an Uber. The company itself makes it a point to advertise their service as such. However, the frequency with which Uber accidents have shot up shows that these rides are not immune to traffic risks.
If you were hurt by such a crash, seeking a financial reimbursement is not only well within your legal rights but will be much-needed for you to regain your financial stability.
Having a legal team of professional lawyers to offer legal advice and take charge of the action by your side, will make all the difference here.
However, the injured party is usually hesitant in this regard because they're not sure if they can afford an Uber accident attorney. You don't have to worry about a thing here because we, at the Glenn Law Firm, offer our services without any advance on our fees.
Wait no further, call us today!