Firouzbakht Law Firm | Colorado Personal Injury Law Firm
Firouzbakth Law Firm Logo
Firouzbakth Law Firm Logo

Can I Sue My Uber Driver After an Accident?

03/05/2021

In Colorado, can I sue my Uber driver After an Accident? Victims of Uber car accidents are entitled to financial compensation for their crash injuries. But most people are not aware of this or the rules that apply if they hope to win their personal injury lawsuit. 

Firouzbakht Law Firm has experience helping victims get the compensation they deserve. This article looks at when you can sue Uber drivers after an accident, facts to prove, and the victim's compensation

What Are the Elements of an Accident Involving an Uber Driver?

Several factors come into play when trying to establish the liable party in an Uber accident settlement. In Colorado, the courts and insurance companies look at three key things to determine if the driver is liable. 

They are: 

  • Whether the driver was driving on their time and not logged into the app
  • If the driver was logged in but waiting for a passenger to request a ride.
  • Whether the driver had a passenger in the vehicle or was on the way to pick up an accepted ride

The above determines who Uber passengers and other road users can sue in an accident. If it's the Uber driver and not the company, victims can go after the motorist's motor vehicle insurance. All Uber drivers must have this coverage, whether they are currently working.

What To Do Immediately After an Uber Accident?

Like in all motor vehicle collisions, the actions you take immediately after an Uber accident determines who your lawsuit against the driver will pan out. Following a traffic accident of this nature, do the following: 

Lady holding her phone waiting for her Uber

1. Check for Injuries 

Depending on the type of accident, you can suffer minor or severe injuries. Thus, immediately after the shock of the occurrence wears off, check yourself for any wound. Even if it's a minor crash, and you feel okay, check yourself, as you may have internal injuries. You could also have a concussion if your head struck a part of the vehicle during the accident. 

2. Seek Medical Assistance

Whether you can confirm physical injuries, you should seek the assistance of a medical practitioner. A doctor will take care of your wounds if it is severe or perform a full medical checkup if you appear unscathed. Your medical record is one of the pieces of evidence you need to claim against the Uber driver's auto insurance policy. You will also need to present it to your Uber accident lawyer. 

3. Report the Crash to the Police 

Colorado is like most states in the U.S. in motor accident procedures. Following an auto collision of any nature, those involved must file a police report immediately. As a driver involved in a crash with Uber, you must report it to the appropriate authority. As a passenger, it is in your best interest to ensure proper documentation of the occurrence. It also helps both parties when claiming their personal auto insurance. 

4. Report the Crash to Uber

This is vital in accidents of this nature. You must report the crash to Uber and do the same if you used other Rideshare companies. You can make the report either using the mobile app or by visiting the company's website. If, after doing the preceding, you don't get an appropriate response, contact an Uber accident lawyer as soon as possible. 

Most people wait until they are in over their heads before seeking legal representation after a traffic accident. Others believe that only at-fault drivers require legal assistance, but that's not true. You should consult an Uber accident attorney immediately after the crash, especially if you want to make Uber accident claims. The sooner you do this, the better, and the faster you'll receive a settlement.  

When Can You Hold Uber Liable for a Car Accident? 

Under the Colorado Revised Statutes section 13-21-111, liability for an auto accident is predicated on the doctrine of negligence. Negligence means that the at-fault driver shared a fiduciary relationship with the victim. The motorist owed the victim a duty of care, breached the duty, caused an injury, and the victim suffered damages as a result. 

It simply means that if you suffered an injury, you could get Uber to pay once you can prove that their unsafe actions caused the accident. Note that the preceding is possible because Uber bears responsibility for its drivers' actions. 

However, there are instances when Uber won't be liable for the injuries you suffer in an accident. One of such instances is when you share the fault in the cause of your injuries. For example, if you fail to wear a seatbelt and suffer an injury because of it, Uber won't pay you compensation. 

Failing to wear a seatbelt is a definitive defense in Uber accident lawsuits. This is because Colorado uses comparative negligence laws. The rule states that if a person shares up to 50% or more liability in a crash, they cannot recover damages. But if the individual has less than that percentage number, they can still get an Uber accident settlement. The money they'll get will be equivalent to the degree of liability they share. 

What You Need To Know About Uber's Insurance Policies

Although you can file a personal injury claim against an Uber driver's personal insurance policy, there are times when a victim must claim against the company. This happens when the driver is at-fault and was working on the company's behalf. The latter means being logged into the app. 

In such an instance, Uber's liability insurance policy will be the primary insurance policy. Below, we listed the situations that determine if the Rideshare driver or Uber will pay the insurance claims.. 

1. Was the Driver Logged Into the App When the Accident Occurred? 

Whether or not your Uber driver was logged into the app at the time of the accident determines if the company will pay you.. It means they were working for the company; if not, they worked on their time. 

If the latter is the case, you can file a personal injury claim against the driver's personal auto insurance liability. Under Colorado law, drivers must have the following minimum liability insurance: 

  • $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injuries
  • $15,000 per accident for property damage

If the driver does not have auto insurance coverage, they will have to pay out-of-pocket, that is, from their asset. As an alternative, if the victim has underinsured motorist insurance, they can be paid from it. But, you can still bring a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. 

2. Was the Driver Logged in But Waiting for a Passenger to Request a Ride?

If a driver has logged into the Uber app and is waiting for a ride request, the company's insurance policy will cover any liability to a certain amount. It includes: 

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $100,000 for bodily injury per accident for all persons involved
  • $25,000 for property damage coverage per person

It is better to hire a Rideshare accident lawyer in cases like this.. The attorney will help you figure out the right person to sue. 

3. Was the Driver With a Passenger or on Their Way To Pick One Up?

When an Uber driver has a passenger or will pick up one after accepting a ride, the company's full liability coverage falls. This means that the motorist policies coverage of the company will handle the settlement paid to the victim. Uber and Lyft cover their drivers to the tune of a $1 million per accident limit. The coverage extends to injured passengers, another driver involved and their passenger, and a pedestrian. 

Finally, Uber's liability falls under the doctrine of Respondeat Superior. It means that a person is responsible for the actions of their agents or employees. But first, there must be a legal relationship between both parties. 

Can I Sue My Uber Driver? 

The simple answer to this question is YES. As an injured party, you can sue an Uber driver and the company for injuries sustained after a car accident.. But before commencing an action in court, you must claim Uber's insurance policy. Do this immediately after the incident with the help of an experienced attorney. 

Once you've reported the accident to Uber, write a formal claims letter. The correspondence should contain:

  • Details of the accident scene
  • The date and time of the accident
  • The type of accident and the injuries suffered
  • The medical expenses and receipts of payment
  • The amount of property damage, if any.

If the Uber driver behaved negligently, include it in the claims letter. After Uber gets the letter, they will forward it to their insurance company. Ordinarily, you should get a settlement within three weeks. But since insurers prefer not to pay, they will launch an investigation to determine if things happened the way you claim. 

The insurance company will bring in an insurance adjuster to determine the fault party. Insurance adjusters usually visit the accident scene, if possible, speak to witnesses, and look at the police report. If they find that the Uber driver had the highest liability, they will pay the compensation or offer what they consider to be substantial. 

However, if the money offered is less than what the victim spent, especially on medical care, they will reject the offer. This is the beginning of negotiations. If both parties cannot agree after the back and forth, the victim can bring a personal injury claim in a claims court.. If the victim died, their representative could commence a wrongful death claim on their estate's behalf.

What Are the Steps Involved in a Lawsuit Against an Uber Driver? 

The steps to bringing a lawsuit against an Uber driver are the same with every other car accident action.. The steps are divided into three: the pre-litigation stage, the litigation stage, and trial and appeal. We'll take them one after the other. 

The Pre-Litigation Stage

At this stage, your personal injury attorney will conduct all investigations required to gather evidence. It starts with the initial evaluation, where the attorney will determine if the Uber driver is the negligent party. Next, they will inform you of all your legal options,  then document and calculate the accident damages. For example, if you suffered a traumatic brain injury from the crash, they will note it. 

Afterward, the personal injury lawyers will talk with experts before beginning the negotiation with the insurance company. Here, they'll look at the Uber driver's personal car insurance policy and other motorist insurance policies they might have. They will calculate the damage per accident before arriving at what you're entitled to. 

Litigation Phase

Here, your Rideshare accident attorney officially files a lawsuit against the responsible party. It usually involves three states. 

  • Discovery of evidence
  • Deposition of witness testimony
  • Mediation and settlement negotiations

Once you go through all the above and still can't settle with the negligent driver's attorneys, you proceed to trial. 

Lady waving at his Uber driver in Denver

Trial and Appeal

At this stage, your attorney and that of the Uber vehicle driver argue before the court and present evidence to prove their case. At the close of arguments, the court will decide who wins on a preponderance of the evidence. If you do, you will get the judgment sum, which can include punitive damages. If you lose, your Uber accident attorney can file an appeal. If you lose at the appellate court, you can take your claim to the supreme court. Whatever the supreme court decides is final.

Firouzbakht Law Firm Can Help You Sue an Uber Driver

In as much as no one plans for an accident, they do happen, which is why most people take out an individual insurance policy. However, even if you have thousands of dollars on your coverage, you still require an experienced attorney's help. 

At Firouzbakht Law Firm, we have a team of legal experts dedicated to getting victims like you what they deserve. Whether it's from Uber's insurance policy or that of the driver, we will get you the maximum compensation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and case review. 

Free Case Review
crossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram