Most Uber passengers are able to reach their destination safely and without any problem, but others are involved in accidents and sometimes sustain injuries when the cab gets hit by other vehicles. In 2017, there were 49 “Uber-related” accidents over 8.2 billion miles, while in 2018, there were over 1.3 billion fatalities per 100 miles traveled. This shows that Uber experiences about half as many accidents per mile overall as the total national fatalities
Uber Technologies is aware that such accidents happen, which explains why the company has huge insurance policies to settle Uber accident claims. If you get involved in an accident as an Uber passage, you need to understand how to file a claim for your Uber accident settlement.
In this article, we will take you through the main areas in Uber accident settlement to ensure that you get what you deserve in your claim.
What Are the Common Scenarios in Uber Accidents?
Like other car accident lawsuit cases, the victim who is filing a claim needs to prove two things to win the case. One is proving damages, the injuries sustained as a result of the accident and who was at fault (liability).
Let’s look at the two most likely scenarios in Uber accident cases when it comes to proving liability.
1. The Uber Driver Was Not At Fault for the Accident
In this case, you may file a claim against the driver of the other vehicle if he or she is at fault for the accident. Most states require drivers to carry insurance, but some of them violate this law and drive without insurance. Moreover, auto insurance policies for causing an injury or death could be as low as $15,000, which means that collecting damages from the at-fault driver may not be possible.
In California, the law requires rideshare companies like Uber to carry underinsured and uninsured insurance of up to $1 million. The insurance covers Uber passengers from the time they enter the cab until when they exit the car. This means that Uber must have $1 million insurance coverage to cover passengers when they sustain injuries from accidents caused by other motorists.
2. The Uber Driver Was At Fault
If the Uber driver caused the accident, you might also file a lawsuit against the cab driver. However, if the driver has a personal auto insurance policy, you may not be able to collect damages from the Uber driver. Auto insurance policies do not apply when the driver is involved in a commercial activity like carrying a passenger for a fee.
Luckily, in some states, the government requires rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to carry adequate drivers’ insurance. The Vehicle Code Section 5430 in California demands that rideshare firms must carry $1 million insurance to cover personal injury, death and property damage that result due to the drivers’ negligence.
Moreover, the law provides that the rideshare company’ insurance will be the primary insurance policy. This means that the injured passenger only needs to sue the rideshare company (Uber) and not the at-fault driver in most cases. The insurance coverage applies from the time when the Uber driver accepts a request for a ride on the application until when the ride is complete or the driver completes the transaction on the app, whichever comes later.
The Three Rideshare Periods
The other major scenario that influences matters of liability and insurance are related to rideshare periods. Some states like California separate the time of a rideshare driver behind the wheel into three different periods. These states set insurance coverage requirements applicable during each of the periods.
The three rideshare periods in California include:
Period one: The first period involves a scenario where the drive is active and logged into the app while waiting to get a request from a passenger. In this scenario, rideshare companies are required to carry a minimum of $200,000 as liability insurance coverage for their driver.
Moreover, they must also provide a primary coverage of at least $100,000 for personal injury and death per-incident and at least $50,000 for personal injury and death per victim. Rideshare businesses must also have up to $30,000 for property damage.
Period two: The second scenario in rideshare periods could be a case where a driver has accepted a passenger’s request but has not yet collected the passenger. This includes all the time that the driver spends driving to pick the passenger. If an accident happens during this period, rideshare companies are required to provide up to $1 million primary commercial insurance coverage.
Period three: The last period includes all the time that the rider spends on the cab, from when they get into the car to when they exit it. During this period, rideshare businesses are required to have up to $1 million as primary commercial insurance coverage. Additionally, these companies must also add $1 million to offer coverage against underinsured and uninsured motorists.
Other Common Scenarios in Uber Accident
Car accidents can take various forms. Here we look at the usual scenarios for Uber accidents. They include:
- An Uber driver hits another vehicle
If an Uber driver causes an accident by hitting another motor vehicle due to their negligence, the other driver is legally liable to seek compensation that must be provided by the individual driver’s insurance. However, if the insurance policy does not fully cover all their damages, these drivers can seek the difference from Uber’s insurance as compensation.
- An Uber driver hits a pedestrian.
Uber accidents involving pedestrians can be devastating as they usually lead to serious injuries and even death. Consequently, in states like California, pedestrians have the right of way in when they are on the roadway. This means that the pedestrians are legally liable to seek compensation from Uber and the individual driver in case an Uber driver hits them.
- An Uber passenger injured in an accident caused by another driver.
Fortunately, when passengers are injured in an accident that happens while in a cab, they do not have to chase the other driver. With the expectation that the rideshare company will offer safe transport, these passengers can turn to Uber and their driver to get what they deserve as compensation.
- An Uber passenger is injured in an accident caused by their driver.
If the passengers are injured in an accident that an Uber driver causes, the passengers are legally liable to seek compensation. In this case, the injured passengers have a right to ask for Uber and the driver’s compensation.
What are the Common Types of Damages in Uber Accidents?
If you get involved in an Uber accident, you should first seek medical attention even when you do not sustain any visible injuries. In some cases, victims find out that they have more serious injuries that didn’t show immediately. Just like other car accidents, Uber accidents might lead to severe injuries that could keep you out of work for some time and also other damages.
Being unable to work leaves you without any income to meet your medical bills or other expenses that relate to the accident. Usually, Uber accidents result from the negligence of a third party or your Uber driver, which means that you can get compensation. In case of an accident, you are entitled to seek compensation for various damages, which might include:
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Work benefits and lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Wrongful death
- Permanent or temporary disability
- Emergency room services
The list above gives you a general idea of the type of damages you can seek after an Uber accident, but each person’s experience is different.
What to Do if You’ve Been Injured in an Uber/Lyft Accident
You have been injured in an Uber/Lyft accident; what next? If you’ve been injured in an Uber accident, there are things that you need to do immediately to ensure that you do not suffer any complications, and most importantly, you get your compensation. These include:
- Seek medical attention- you should get medical attention immediately, even if you have not sustained any visible injuries. Remember, some complications or hidden trauma on your body can take a few days before they become noticeable.
- Ensure that you document every important detail, such as the weather conditions and the time when the accident took place.
- Note down your driver’s contacts (both the email and phone numbers), and if possible, take a photo of their insurance cards and driver’s licenses.
- Take photos of all the vehicles involved in the accident from all angles. Additionally, take photos of the accident scene to capture any skid marks or any pertinent signage.
- Remember, any insurance company will try to as little amount as possible as a settlement for your claim. Therefore, you should avoid accepting a quick insurance settlement. Once you do that, it is almost impossible to change your mind and demand more compensation after knowing the full extent of your damages.
If you accept a quick settlement and then realize that there is a complication that requires ongoing future treatments or you notice that an injury to any part is more severe than your doctor had thought, you will find it difficult to seek additional compensation for the additional medical expenses.
Who is Responsible for Paying for Damages?
When drivers are providing transport to passengers, Uber and Lyft provide them with a $1 million liability coverage. The coverage is meant to compensate for the injuries sustained by their passengers and claims from other motorists involved in the Uber accident.
Rideshare drivers are considered contractors rather than Lyft or Uber employees, which means that they are required to sign a contract that shows that they are independent contracts before they start working. With the contract, the driver is liable in case of an accident and not Uber or Lyft. However, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have clauses within their insurance policies that explain scenarios when an injured passenger can sue the company or seek compensation from the company.
Here we look at the scenarios when Uber and Lyft liability insurance coverage comes into effect:
- When motorists are injured in an accident where an Uber driver was at fault.
- Bicyclists and pedestrians or anyone suffer injuries through an accident caused by the ridesharing driver.
- Passengers in any of the vehicles involved in an accident are injured, and the Uber driver was at fault.
- Uber drivers are injured in a collision where the other driver was at fault.
However, there are cases when the passenger or any other victim cannot turn to Uber or any rideshare company to seek compensation. These phases represent liability insurance restrictions within the insurance policies of the rideshare company, and they include:
- If the driver had turned their app off at the time of the accident since in this case, they will not be considered to be working. Therefore, the driver’s personal auto insurance policy is legally liable to compensate the damages that the victim has suffered due to the accident.
- Uber can also avoid being sued or asked for compensation if the driver had their app on at the time of an accident but was not carrying any passenger.
Can You Sue a Negligent Uber Driver After Sustaining Injuries?
Yes, you have the right to sue your Uber driver if he was at fault for the accident that caused you to get injured. However, receiving an Uber accident settlement for your compensation will not be easy in some cases, especially if you try to pursue the matter alone. You should involve a reliable and experienced personal injury attorney in any car accident or a lawsuit against a huge company like Uber.
Such companies will try to give out as little compensation as possible to maintain a bottom line that is favorable to them. Moreover, the company will fight to ensure that each insurance company’s settlement is low since larger settlements would mean more liability leading to higher premiums. Experienced lawyers are well aware of this challenge, which means that they will be ready to engage Uber and the insurance companies to ensure that you get a fair settlement.
Remember, Uber drivers are considered independent contractors and not employees of the company. This is a difference that the rideshare company will always try to use to their benefit. Moreover, the at-fault drivers also have their personal insurance, which complicates their liability.
In most cases, personal insurance does not cover accidents that occur during commercial operations. If the accident occurs when the driver is on the way to collect the fare, the personal insurance may attempt to deny coverage. Consequently, you might find yourself in a tussle with multiple adjusters, all trying to deny coverage. Involving an experienced Uber accident attorney in your settlement case is thus very important.
What Is the Average Uber Accident Settlement?
Your Uber accident settlement amount will depend on a number of factors affecting your individual case, just like other personal injury settlements. Some of the factors that will determine the amount that you will receive in your settlement include:
1. The Severity of the Injuries
To receive a significant amount in your Uber accident settlement will mainly depend on your ability to prove the full extent of the injuries sustained. You need to commit yourself to seek medical treatment and determine whether the injuries will have a long-term impact. Some injuries can lead to other losses, such as increased medical bills and lost earnings in severe cases.
Usually, severe injuries will lead to higher settlement if you are able to prove them. Some injuries may not appear serious at first but may later cause more complications. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention immediately after the accident to get enough time to monitor your recovery before the case is settled.
2. Who is At Fault?
Usually, you are almost certain that you are not at fault for the accident as a passenger. However, the law requires you to prove who was at fault for causing the accident to hold them liable for your injuries.
If the Uber driver was at fault, the insurance company might take the responsibility and could even increase the amount in your settlement. However, if a third-party driver was at fault and hit your Uber carelessly, you might find yourself in a fight with them trying to prove whether the Uber driver was partially responsible.
3. The Amount Available for the Settlement
In some cases, Uber accident settlement results in an analysis of the amount available for your compensation. Personal auto insurance might provide coverage such as underinsured motorist coverage that would cover as a passenger until you recover. For instance, in Texas, the law requires Uber to provide some insurance policy coverage in case an underinsured or uninsured driver hits your Uber.
Fortunately, if the Uber driver was at fault for the crash, there are quite large insurance policies to compensate the damages, which can lead to a relatively higher settlement amount. On the other hand, if multiple people sustain injuries in the collision, it is highly likely that there will be a race for everyone to be first in line for compensation. If you are last in line, you are likely to receive lower settlement than it would be if you came first in line.
Are You Insured While Riding in Uber?
Yes, an Uber accident policy covers you if your driver gets involved in an accident that causes you to sustain injuries while riding in an Uber. The policy carries up to $1 million coverage in liability insurance, which means that they will be able to cover up to $1 million in damages related to your injuries provided that your driver is at fault or the other vehicle lacks sufficient bodily injury.
However, you should understand that the maximum bodily injury car insurance coverage is only available in the circumstances specified on the policy. For instance, if the driver is online and the accident happens before they connect with the rider, the insurance policy coverage is capped at $50,000. On the other hand, if it is a hit-and-run accident or you sustain injuries because of an underinsured or uninsured motorist, while in an Uber, the policy will cover up to $1 million.
In some states like Florida, coverage could be questionable due to their no-fault personal injury insurance laws. Uber states that they compensate passengers in case of damages that result from negligence, but negligence is only considered when you sustain severe, disfiguring, or permanent injuries in case of such laws.
What’s the difference between an Uber accident and a regular car accident?
Uber drivers are at a greater risk of being involved in an accident as they have to drive in the wee hours, but every time you are behind the wheel, even as a regular driver, there is a risk of a car accident. There are significant differences between Uber car accidents and regular accidents.
For instance, a driver in a regular car accident may have insurance with minimal coverage, which would limit the compensation to an injured party severely. On the other hand, Uber provides their drivers with $1 million insurance coverage while working since it is a multi-billion dollar business that has huge assets to protect. This means that the injured parties can receive relatively higher compensation for the time out, medical bills, and other damages compared to regular car accidents.
Why are Uber Cases More Difficult than a Regular Car Accident?
Uber cases are relatively more difficult to settle than regular car accident cases for various reasons. These include:
- Uber is a rideshare company, which means the driver is not considered to be an employee of the company, but an independent contractor. This means that Uber has limited liability if you get injured in an accident where the driver was at fault, which complicates things while proving liability.
- There are insurance coverage restrictions within the rideshare insurance policies that determine scenarios where Uber company is responsible.
- Uber usually tries to maintain a lower bottom line in their insurance coverage to avoid paying higher premiums, which makes it hard for you to get a fair settlement.
How Long Does Uber Accident Settlement Take?
It is difficult to provide a definite timeline since each case is different. However, Uber accident cases usually take longer to settle than other car accidents since Uber drivers are not employees but contractors. This means that the bigger part of the time will be spent in determining who between Uber, the driver, or both are responsible for the damages.
Here are some of the factors that can influence the time that your settlement may take.
1. The cooperation of the parties involved
The level of cooperation among the parties involved in these cases can greatly impact the length of your case. Moreover, the speed with which the parties involved respond to requests for meetings, information, and other important issues influence the time that your settlement takes.
2. The number of the parties involved
In most cases, these cases involve more parties, which makes them take longer to resolve. Parties involved may not include you, Uber, and the driver and drivers of other cars and other passengers. Negotiating and communicating with multiple parties can increase the length of your case.
3. The severity of the injuries
Usually, severe injuries may require lifetime care and are also more expensive to treat. The process of proving damages related to severe injuries and estimating the damages’ value may require more time than minor injuries. These injuries also take longer for their full extent to manifest and prove that you can recover and go on with your normal routine.
Moreover, at-fault parties are also likely to try to disprove your injuries any time more compensation is required. Such factors can extend the time that your case takes to settle.
4. What Uber driver was doing at the time of the accident
This directly affects Uber’s liability for the injuries that you have sustained in the accident. For example, Uber’s liability insurance covers a driver who is transferring passengers but does not cover a driver who is between fares. Proving if what the driver was doing at the time of the accident may need additional records requests, which can prolong the time taken to resolve your case.
Why Should You Consider Hiring an Attorney in an Uber Accident?
Choosing a personal injury lawyer to represent you in an Uber accident lawsuit or take you through the process of filing your claim is important. The assistance of a reliable and experienced attorney can go a long way in helping you secure fair compensation for your damages. Besides, the lawyer applies their knowledge and experience in handling such cases, which allows you to focus on healing.