Uber is one of the most popular rideshare services in the world. And because of the popularity of ridesharing programs, it’s a good idea to inform yourself on what to do should you be in a car accident while using a rideshare service or if you are injured by the driver of a rideshare service. Who is liable? Is it the driver or Uber? You may not have thought about these things before, but if you have already been injured while in an Uber, you’re looking for the answers now.
Who is at Fault for the Crash?
The protocol will likely differ depending on where the fault lies and on the state where the accident occurred. Uber drivers tend to be a little more distracted than your typical driver. Oftentimes they are looking out for the person they are picking up. They have to look at their phones while they are driving for directions as well as to select their next pickup. These are just a couple distractions that are added to the more typical driving distractions like adjusting the radio and holding a conversation.
In the case that your Uber driver was the cause of the crash, you can sue Uber. According to Money, rideshare companies are required by law to have a $1 million liability policy that ensures you from the moment the driver accepts your ride request to the moment your driver marks your ride as completed.
If you are a driver or passenger injured by an Uber driver, and you are not an Uber passenger, Uber is not likely to play a significant role in your suit. Here is where the driver’s personal insurance will most likely be involved. This may become more complex if the Uber driver was not on-duty at the time of the accident or was en route to picking up a passenger. In the states of California and Washington, Uber insurance policies apply from the time the Uber driver logs into the system to the time the driver logs out of the system.
If the accident was the fault of another driver, you file your claim against the driver of the other vehicle. As long as the driver at fault is an insured driver, you will likely be able to get compensation for expenses and losses.
What You Should Do in the Event of an Accident
The most obvious first step is to call 9-1-1 if necessary. Even if there are no serious injuries visible, you still need to go to an emergency room or urgent care facility to rule out any delayed-onset injuries or internal trauma. In order to pursue legal compensation, you will need detailed and complete documentation from your medical care provider along with any x-rays or other radiographic images. You also want to consult an accident attorney to determine whether or not you need to seek damages and the best way to move forward.
Be sure to call the police so that there can be a report on file. Witness information can be obtained and recorded and they can clear the road or order a tow truck if necessary. When speaking to the officer on the scene make sure you only give the facts pertaining to the accident. This makes for a clearer and more concise police report that can be used in court.
Document the accident scene. This means to take photographs of the vehicles involved, the damage to the vehicles, any visible injuries, the roadway or intersection and anything else you think might be helpful. Talk to any witnesses or bystanders and get their contact information. If you are the Uber passenger, take a screenshot of your receipt and ride.
Having these three pieces of the puzzle in place can make seeking legal compensation for injuries or trauma resulting from an accident with an Uber driver. Try to stay calm and think rationally. If you require immediate medical attention, some of this will be handled by the local authorities, but you should still take as many mental notes as you are able to.
What Can I Recover By Filing a Suit?
When you file a personal injury suit resulting from a motor vehicle accident, there are certain monies that you can recoup. This includes:
- Loss of wages.
- Medical expenses, past and present.
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Loss of future income.
- Physical impairment.
Keep in mind that suing the company for the negligence of one of its independent contractors isn’t as cut and dry as filing a suit against the independent contractor. But that does not mean it’s a pointless pursuit. Once your legal representation contacts Uber and requests that it make available and preserve any and all information regarding your incident, many state laws will hold them responsible for their failure to do so.
If you suffer serious injuries and require lengthy and extensive medical care, the driver at fault may not have enough insurance to cover all of those costs. In addition to Uber’s liability policy, they also have a $1 million underinsured motorist policy for these instances.
You should be prepared for an Uber legal representative or insurance agent to contact you. It is their job to encourage you to take a settlement that allows them to pay you as little as possible and prevent them from having to make any future payouts regarding your particular claim. It is best not to engage in any negotiations or contracts without having had legal counsel or an attorney present. Oftentimes, these settlements are in the best interest of the company, not you.
Be advised that your state’s laws will determine exactly what Uber and the driver are liable for. And if you are involved in a wreck where you are injured by an Uber driver, seek medical attention and contact an accident attorney. These two tasks should be at the top of your list whether you are an injured driver, passenger or pedestrian. Have a safe ride everyone.