If you’ve just been in an Uber accident, take these immediate steps:
- Check yourself, other passengers and the Uber driver for injuries.
- Call 911 and the police immediately after the accident.
- Seek medical attention immediately — even if you don’t think you have injuries.
- Collect the contact information and insurance of the Uber driver and other drivers involved in the accident.
- Collect the contact information of any witnesses (If any).
- Collect the information of any affected party or bystander who saw the accident.
- Contact a lawyer.
- Take photos of the accident.
Uber and other ride-sharing programs have gained popularity through the years. Uber offers private car owners a chance to make money using their vehicle and offers the public alternative paid transportation services.
Co-founded in 2009 by Travis Kalanick, Uber currently operates in over 500 cities worldwide, providing a range of services such as an affordable ride program, rides in black or luxury cars and meal delivery service. This ride-sharing giant has over 40 million riders monthly worldwide and over 160,000 drivers.
Many customers say they choose Uber because it provides them with an on-demand transportation service of high quality. The drivers have all been trained to be friendly and easy to work with. They know the local area well and can get you where you need to go quickly and efficiently. They also live in your community. Therefore, you may know them, which can bring about a feeling of safety and comfort.
The drivers’ cars are comfortable and clean, and since it’s the driver’s private vehicle, you know they’ve done everything they can to keep it cozy for you, so you enjoy your ride. They want you to feel like you’re riding in style. Their pricing system is even reasonable when compared to a taxi service.
But what about their safety record?
Uber and Driving Safety
What type of drivers are Uber drivers? Just because a driver has an impeccable driving record doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t get into a car accident. Even though Uber has been beneficial to those who participate, there’s still a passenger safety concern.
Uber’s spokespeople claim that all their drivers are required to submit a background check to become a driver, and if they show any patterns of unsafe driving behavior like being involved in crashes and car accidents, they won’t be able to drive for the company any longer.
However, this doesn’t change the fact that Uber accidents are a reality and can happen. If you use Uber — or other ride-share program — it’s important to know what you should do as an Uber car accident passenger, and this includes how to receive compensation for any losses or injuries sustained.
As a ride-share customer, you have to install an app on your phone to use the Uber service. When you need to get a ride somewhere, you can request Uber transportation through this app. You’re then connected to a nearby Uber driver. Although Uber signs up the driver and manages the app, the driver is not considered an agent or employee of the company. And this is where Uber crashes become an underlying legal issue.
Therefore, if you use this ride-sharing program, you should know what to do if your driver gets into an accident and you sustain an Uber accident injury. You should have the steps of what to do in the back of your mind and at your fingertips before stepping into an Uber.
But first, let’s look at some of the common causes of Uber crashes.
Common Causes of Uber Accidents
Some common causes of an accident involving a rideshare company like Uber include:
- Lack of sleep. Many taxicab and bus transportation companies have an eight-hour work shift time limit for each 24-hour shift. Uber drivers desiring to increase their income may attempt to drive longer periods of time, which can result in driver fatigue and car accidents. Luckily, Uber has changed this rule to a 12-hour work shift cap per 24 hours. It’s also pilot testing sending out alert reminders to drivers to take breaks and rest.
- Poor vehicle maintenance. The vehicle may not be maintained properly, so it’s not in drivable condition. Improperly inflated tires, cars with thread-bear tires and worn brakes are just some examples of poor vehicle maintenance that can result in an accident.
- Negligent drivers. This occurs when drivers are careless with their driving behavior — speeding, not following roadway signs, etc.
- Drivers who are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. Drinking or using drugs while driving is a dangerous combination.
You are entitled to monetary compensation for all damages you sustain due to the harmful or negligent behavior of your driver.
We’ve provided you with an overview of what to do if you’re in a car crash in an Uber at the start of this guide. Below is more in-depth information relating to each step.
Check for Injuries
The first thing you should do if you are involved in an accident as a passenger of an Uber is to evaluate the extent of your injuries, if there are any. For example, if you’re bleeding, you’ll likely want to apply a tourniquet to manage the bleeding. Next, check on the extent of injuries to any other passengers and the Uber driver.
If the Uber driver or another passenger has a back or neck injury or is unconscious, refrain from moving them until qualified medical personnel arrives. Only move a person if there is a dangerous hazard, such as a fire.
Call Emergency Services
After checking for injuries, call 911 — even if you don’t think your Uber accident injury is severe.
Contact your local police department. They will come to the scene of the crash, compile data relating to the accident and file a police report. These reports are known as Traffic Collision Reports (TCRs). While TCRs are only a hearsay testimony of the accident and are inadmissible in court, they can still be a helpful tool for gathering evidentiary information to build and maximize the value of your claim.
Also, collect the names and badge numbers of all police officers that arrived at the scene.
Seek Medical Attention
Don’t wait to seek medical care. Depending on the severity of the injuries, either, request an ambulance service or if possible, take yourself to get a medical checkup for possible bodily damages you might have suffered. Seeking immediate medical attention following your Uber accident is recommended for your case, and will likely even increase your monetary settlement since your health report will prove any injuries sustained in the accident.
When your body goes through trauma, it releases adrenaline. Even though this adrenaline doesn’t reduce or mask your pain, it does increase your mental concentration, thereby distracting you from the pain. You may not feel any pain — or very little — for days after the accident, and therefore, you’ll feel like you don’t need medical attention. Whiplash, for example, is common in car crashes, and its resulting pain doesn’t appear until 24 hours or several days following the accident.
Should you start feeling your injuries later on down the road, because you didn’t get medical attention immediately after the accident, insurance companies can and most likely will try to deny you compensation for your damages because of this gap.
If you are filing a claim and issues should arise, any information you gather at the accident scene can prove to be helpful in your case. If you have your phone on you during the accident, be sure to take some pictures or videos of the scene of the accident and the damaged vehicles. Collect as much information as you can from the Uber driver and other victims of the accident, including:
- Name and information
- Insurance information
- Involved parties’ names, insurance information and contact information
- Contact information of any witnesses to the crash
Don’t talk to the driver’s insurance carrier about your potential injuries. Anything you say to them can be used against you and may diminish your reimbursement considerably.
Who Pays When an Uber Crashes?
Uber drivers are independent contractors, not employees. Uber isn’t their employer — only the technology company that offers the platform. Therefore, they’re expected to have their own auto insurance.
However, Uber does manage an insurance policy for its drivers to complement their personal protection. This is good news for you, the Uber passenger. Minimum coverage per accident under the Uber insurance policy might vary depending on your State, often includes:
- Injury liability: $50,000
- Total liability: $100,000
- Property damage: $25,000
- Third-party total liability: $1,000,000
- Uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage: $1,000
You may find it difficult to make a claim if you’re an Uber car accident passenger. Even being able to get in touch with the company directly can be challenging. But even before you get to Uber directly, you may still encounter troubles making claims under the driver’s insurance policy, since most insurers don’t cover “driving for profit.” It’s best that you hire the help of a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer to get the compensation you’re entitled to.
Uber May Resist Compensating You
Now, although Uber carries extra liability coverage for its drivers, that doesn’t mean it’s going to necessarily be easy to get compensated for your Uber accident injury.
Bear in mind that Uber and its insurance company are businesses, and getting compensated when you’re injured in a crash caused by a driver or Uber isn’t going to be simple. Uber will likely try to fight your claim at first. And in past claims, the company has used the excuse that its drivers aren’t employees but rather independent contractors to get out of the liability, like with the San Francisco case.
Reasons Uber May Reject Covering Your Accident
There are some reasons why Uber could deny coverage for your accident:
- The Uber driver’s insurer doesn’t cover “driving for profit.” As mentioned, most insurance companies have the ‘driving for profit’ exclusion on their policies, which means if you seek compensation for your losses or injuries related to the accident, you could be denied.
- Your insurance might not cover the cost of the crash. If the Uber driver has a minimal amount of insurance coverage, you may consider contacting your own insurer to cover the costs of your injuries. However, your insurance coverage might be too minimal to cover your injuries.
- In-between fares might not be covered. As mentioned above in the 2014 San Francisco tragedy, the Uber driver claimed he wasn’t carrying a passenger when the accident occurred and was therefore not on Uber’s watch. This policy has since changed, however, but other ride-sharing companies might not be following suit.
Can You Sue Uber?
If you’ve been injured in an Uber accident, even if the driver wasn’t at fault, you could be entitled to sue Uber and claim monetary compensation for your injuries.
Types of Damages You May Be Entitled To
Some common types of damages you may be entitled to compensation for include:
- All health care and medical costs
- All future rehabilitation and medical costs
- Nursing home care and disability care costs
- Loss of income or property damage
- Loss of future income due to permanent disability or long-term injuries
- Mental anguish, pain and suffering and other non-economic damages
Why You Should Call an Uber Accident Attorney
If you are involved in a car accident with an Uber driver, there are some prudent reasons to contact an Uber accident attorney. These reasons include:
- The experience of a personal injury attorney. An accident attorney can sue Uber as well as any other liable parties on your behalf for your injuries and losses. If you attempt to settle your case with Uber without consulting with an attorney first, this could be a big mistake. Even smaller cases like concussions, fractures or other injuries can be settled more efficiently.
- Attorneys are experienced in ridesharing litigation. Attorneys are experienced with litigating against Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing programs. It’s the goal of the insurance company to pay as little as possible. They may tell you the medical care you received was unnecessary, that you don’t require any future physical therapy or additional medical care and that you were responsible for your injuries sustained.
- Attorneys will work with third parties. After your Uber accident, an insurance agent who works for Uber will likely be calling you. It’s important that you don’t speak with them until you have consulted with an attorney. An experienced Uber lawyer will ensure you get the full compensation you are entitled to.
- Uber insurance is secondary insurance. Although Uber does provide some insurance coverage to its drivers for passengers who are injured in an accident, this insurance is usually secondary to the driver’s own insurance. It can be a sticky and complicated area of the law, particularly because ridesharing is a new type of transportation service.
So, to get the settlement you deserve from your Uber accident, it’s best that you have an experienced and well-qualified Uber attorney handling your case. Also, it’s important that you’re prepared in case you are ever in an Uber accident or similar situation.
Uber can be a great alternative transportation mode when you don’t want to drive your personal vehicle or take public transportation. But an accident can happen at any time, and being a passenger in an Uber vehicle, you need to be prepared and know what you have to do after an accident.
At Dallas Horton & Associates, we hope you are never involved in a car accident with an Uber driver. But if you are, know that we’re experienced in ride-sharing accident law to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.