While ridesharing has helped millions across the globe streamline their traveling and reach their destinations on time minus all the hassle, they are not immune to the risks of auto accidents on the road. A fair share of accident damages are claimed by rideshare vehicles from Lyft or Uber in the USA where every state witnesses thousands of accidents per year.
Rideshare companies usually market their services as completely safe, however, this is not even close to the truth. Lyft and Uber accidents are quite frequent and have resulted in devastating economic and non-economic damages, injured passengers are not only at risk of facing serious injuries but also losing their financial security amid such challenging economic times.
If you were involved in a rideshare accident, you’re probably confused and have no idea about what you should do next, who’s at fault, how can you forward your claim for compensation, and so on.
Well, worry no more, because we’ll explain it all in this article, hang tight, and read on to explore Uber accident injury claims in detail.
Accidents involving rideshare rides like Uber and Lyft, if they happen while the driver was logged into the ridesharing app, will also involve the rideshare company as a party. However, depending on the details of the accident, the company, through some technicalities in their personal insurance policy, may succeed in evading any share of the blame.
Okay, so how do they happen?
Most often than not, if the accident happened while a passenger (via ride request) was inside the vehicle and the driver was at fault, then the crash resulted due to distractions. Since most Uber vehicle drivers rely on instructions from the navigation app, they have to divide their attention between the road and their mobile screens.
This creates a problem: distracted driving is a leading cause of automobile accidents.
And if the driver is busy fumbling with their rideshare app (negligence of duty of care) and a collision happens, then they’d be at fault. You being the passenger will have no share in the blame. Of course, in some cases, where the passengers may have created disturbance and thus distracted the driver, the fault will not fall solely on the shoulder of the driver.
But that’s not the end of it.
Rideshare accidents can also happen due to speeding, which is a direct consequence of the fast-paced environment created by all transportation businesses. Drowsiness, driving under influence, road rush, aggressive driving, and violating traffic laws are also common causes of accidents.
Some cases, more than others, will put you in a much clearer and higher point in the Uber accident settlement negotiations. If the driver showed gross misconduct or negligence during the active ride leading to the accident, then the company will also have to compensate you for your losses.
Your accident claim for compensation will become much stronger if you can somehow prove combined negligence from both the individual driver and the company. Of course, this is easier said than done, because the company has laid down its web of legal countermeasures to secure itself against such associations.
You will have to seek legal representation from skilled lawyers to get them to respect their duty in this regard.
Don’t sit idly and let the situation and the moment slip out of your hand if you’re ever involved in a rideshare accident. Yes, your Uber/Lyft driver will do most of the communication and everything, but you have to gather evidence on your end as well.
Unless you’re seriously hurt and in intense agony, you should get up (even if it means gathering your entire strength), leave the Uber ride, and look at the extent of the damage yourself. After all, it’s your personal injury case and no one else can secure your position here as you can.
So here’s what you have to do:
All states in the USA require that you inform law enforcement immediately after an accident. If you can’t call 911 yourself, ask someone else on the accident scene to do so. When the officers show up, you should be at the crash scene and tell them all that you can remember.
Once they’re done with the questioning and have filled in all the accident details, ask for a copy of their police report. Keep a hold onto this report because it is the first in a set of documented proofs of the accident, you can prove that the crash actually happened.
In intense cases, the accident victims are often rushed to the hospital, in which case, they aren’t able to follow any of the following steps, or this one. But even in such conditions, they can ask their lawyer to fill in the gaps with their investigative efforts, and then there’s the police as well.
You should always seek legal consultation from expert Uber accident attorneys in any situation because you may have a fighting chance even if you couldn’t follow through with this protocol.
Take out your phone and photograph every inch of the Uber or Lyft accident scene.
Your photographs and videos will help you base your narrative on observable piece of evidence.
The photos should show everything: your injuries, those of any other Uber passengers who were accompanying you (if they’re with you), the accident scene, damage taken by the vehicles (which will reflect the severity of the accident and your pains), and so on.
These photos will be firsthand evidence from your side, i.e. they will show the liability insurance adjuster all that you saw and had to go through because of the accident.
Video evidence is even more compelling as that offers a live, more thorough picture of the accident scene. In case you saw some surveillance cameras in the area, you can request the owner for a copy of the footage because that will also help you make your point.
You also have to gather eyewitness testimonies supporting your claim. For instance, you know that the rideshare driver was speeding or distracted when the accident happened but you can’t expect the personal auto insurance company to take your word for it.
Instead, you’ll have to talk to everyone present on the scene. If they saw the accident happen then they might be able to help you construct a much clearer picture. With more voices in your favor, your case will be stronger than otherwise, much stronger.
You also have to seek the contact details and other information from the at-fault driver, i.e. their auto insurance coverage.
This is important because they may also be partly at fault and if that is the case, you can sue them as well for the damages. In some states, a comparative negligence law is in practice which will allow you to do so if both drivers share equal fractions of the blame.
Don’t delay informing the company of all that happened. Of course, they’ll find out about it themselves but the complaint must be registered on your behalf as well, and this is important. You can use the complaint as another piece of evidence to further strengthen your case.
You will also have a much better moral position to pursue a lawsuit against the company if they fail to resolve the matter fairly under the personal policy for liability insurance limit.
All records of your losses such as the medical bills, receipts for extra expenses, lost income, and so on are important for your case. These will help you justify your claim for compensation, at least for the economic damages, i.e. medical care, property damage.
Of course, you also have to factor in the long-term damages (physical impairment) associated with the accident, i.e. if your injuries were severe, you may need prolonged therapy sessions before your life returns to normalcy. And then there are non-economic damages.
In some rideshare accident injury cases, things may be much worse, i.e. a wrongful death due to drunk driving (even if below the legal blood alcohol limit).
Just don’t lose any of the records and bills, you’ll need them to confront the insurers.
Your Uber accident lawyer will be your biggest asset in the legal tussle of this type of accident. Not only will you stand in a stronger position in the case, but also be able to avoid the pitfalls of dealing with the personal car insurance adjuster on your own which is the same as sawing off chunks from your compensation.
Moreover, since Uber and Lyft consider their drivers as independent contractors (since they drive private vehicles) rather than employees which further complicates their auto insurance policies, thus you should seek the help of experienced car accident lawyers for such complicated personal injury claims.
The legal framework of your state will also factor in here, such as whether the state is an at-fault state or a no-fault state. Similarly, the statute of limitations will be a factor: if there is no time to waste, better get going with accident lawsuits in courts rather than pursuing futile negotiations.
Moreover, if there were multiple persons involved in the accident, i.e. if you were sharing the ride with other passengers, then you'll be competing with them for the Lion's share of the compensation.
Bottom line: Do as the lawyers say!
Lastly, you will also have to confront the rideshare insurance adjuster, with your personal injury lawyer by your side. You can seek compensation for bodily injury liability and other damages such as prolonged periods of physical therapy, emotional distress, lost wages, property damages (if your phone or laptop got damaged), and so on.
In case, the Uber driver was not at fault and the responsible party was an uninsured driver (not an insurance carrier), you can turn to the uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection insurance of your insurance policy (third-party liability coverage).
This is also true in the absence of adequate insurance coverage from the liable party, in which case you'll have to visit your own insurance agent.
You may also need additional insurance coverage if the insurance policy limit fails to cover your losses, in which case you will need to explore other levels of insurance (underinsured motorist insurance) in your Uber car accident insurance claim; having experienced attorneys on your side will make all the difference.
Underinsured coverage exists only to cover up the inadequacies of the compensation coverage of the liable party, thus, if nothing works, fall back to the underinsured motorist coverage. Instances of limited coverage in the liability policy of responsible parties are not as rare as you may presume.
But don't rush it, be sure to explore all avenues of property damage coverage and the liability coverage limits of all parties involved before deciding what road you wish to choose. You may have to go for supplemental insurance from your health insurance company as well if your losses exceed the bodily and property damage liability coverage of a single option.
Fighting for your legal rights is not easy.
The automobile insurance company will try all the tactics at their disposal can cut down your compensation sum. Don’t lose your cool over it, it's business, nothing personal. The last thing you’d want to do is to settle matters with a nominal sum for compensation.
Instead, you should be very careful about what you say and do, because both of these can and will be used against you. Never open the negotiation table without knowing the full extent of your case and seeking legal consultation from experienced lawyers.
If you’re planning on securing maximum compensation, then our team of personal injury attorneys with decades of experience will be all the legal muscle you need to deal with the ride-sharing companies and other liable parties as per the practices of proper car insurance.
And don’t worry about paying us any consultation fees or advances on our accident injury attorney fees, because we won’t ask for either.
You’ll only have to pay if and when you win your Uber accident claim.
Contact us now to get started with your case!