The Insurance Information Institute defines ridesharing as a company that provides taxi-like services by connecting passengers to drivers via a smartphone app. As ridesharing grows in popularity, so too does the number of ridesharing accidents in California. Although ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have withheld many statistics from public view, we know that more than 1,100 ridesharing accidents in California are reported each month to the California Public Utilities Commission. Drivers, passengers, and pedestrians injured in accidents with Uber vehicles may be entitled to large amounts of compensation, but only if their claims are handled properly.
If you have recently been involved in a Uber accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an Orange County Uber accident attorney at the Crockett Law Group to learn about how we can help you maximize your settlement. Call (800) 900-9393 for a free consultation with our Orange County personal injury lawyers.
What Steps Should You Take After an Uber Accident?
It’s normal to be in shock after being involved in a Uber accident. You’ve put your trust in a stranger and now you’ve been hurt. You probably also have somewhere else to be. But don’t rush from the scene. Take the same precautions you would normally take as a passenger who has been involved in an accident.
Here’s a series of things you should do while you’re still at the scene of a Uber accident:
- Call law enforcement.
- Take photos and videos of the scene of the accident, including any property damage, driver’s licenses, license plates, and insurance cards.
- Talk to witnesses and obtain their contact information.
- Write down the name and contact information of your Uber driver.
- Screenshot your Uber app and receipt.
- Go to the emergency room or urgent care immediately after the accident to get checked out.
- Contact the Uber company to let them know you were involved in an accident as a passenger in one of their driver’s vehicles.
Who Pays for My Injuries If I’m in a Uber Accident?
Uber accident claims can be complicated. Situations showing who can be held liable include:
- If you’re a passenger when your Uber driver gets into an accident, then who you’ll pursue will depend on who was at fault for the accident.
- If your Uber driver was not at fault for the accident, then you’ll pursue a bodily injury claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- If the at-fault driver didn’t have insurance or had insufficient insurance coverage to fully compensate you for your injuries, then you’ll pursue an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim through the Uber company’s insurance carrier.
- If your Uber driver was at fault for the accident, then you’ll pursue a bodily injury claim through the Uber company’s insurance carrier.
- If you’re in a car that was hit by a Uber driver who was at fault for the accident, then you’ll open up a bodily injury claim with either:
- The Uber driver’s personal insurance carrier if their app was closed.
- With the Uber company’s insurance carrier if their app was on.
This brings us to our next topic below.
What Insurance Coverage Does Uber Have for Accidents?
Uber companies in Orange County, California, are required to provide insurance coverage for their drivers. However, whose insurance will apply (the driver’s or the Uber company’s) and for what amount will depend on your answer to these three questions:
Was the App On?
If the Uber app was closed at the time the driver was involved in an accident, then the driver’s personal auto insurance policy applies.
If the Uber app was on at the time the driver caused an accident, then the Uber company has to provide at least $50,000 of liability coverage for each person who is injured, $100,000 in total for everyone who is injured, and $30,000 for property damage that the driver caused.
Was the Uber Driver Traveling to Pick Up a Passenger?
If the driver is involved in an accident while traveling to pick up a passenger, then the Uber company has to provide $1 million of liability coverage.
Was a Passenger Being Transported?
If the driver is involved in an accident while transporting a passenger, then the Uber company has to provide $1 million of liability coverage and $1 million of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
You can find more about California’s insurance requirements for Uber drivers at Value Penguin’s website.
What Compensation Can You Receive After an Uber Accident?
Monetary settlements and awards for victims injured in Uber accidents are based on California law that allows people to sue negligent drivers for compensatory damages. There are two types of compensatory damages:
- Economic damages are reimbursement for provable expenses and monetary losses for the medical care you received, medical care you’re reasonably certain to require in the future, loss of wages, and lost earning capacity.
- Non-economic damages are compensation for your physical pain, fright, nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, mortification shock, humiliation, indignity, embarrassment, apprehension, terror, or ordeal.
California does not have any caps on the amount of compensatory damages you’re entitled to receive, making it possible to collect very large amounts of money in cases that involve severe or catastrophic injuries.
What Are Common Injuries Caused by Uber Accidents?
Some of the most severe and catastrophic injuries our Orange County injury firm sees come from Uber vehicle accidents. A big reason for that is the fact that Uber passengers tend to not wear their seatbelt and seat belt use significantly reduces the risk of any injury.
A 2019 National Occupant Protection Use Surveys (NOPUS) study found that 96 percent of Californians report using their seatbelt. This is actually great news; California’s seat belt use rate is well above the nationwide average of 90.7 percent and only second behind Hawaii (97.1 percent). With that being said, Uber passenger seat belt use rates are much lower. We know that because a majority of Uber passengers hop in the backseat and the seat belt use rate for backseat passengers is only 76.1 percent. According to one Uber driver interviewed by the Washington Post, 70 to 80 percent of his Uber passengers don’t put on a seatbelt in the backseat.
This is alarming because it means that Uber passengers tend to be at a greater risk for sustaining the following injuries:
- Facial injuries
- Abdominal injuries
- Spinal injuries
Believe it or not, unbelted Uber passengers are at no greater risk of sustaining head injuries, neck injuries, thoracic injuries, upper limb injuries, or lower limb injuries as compared to belted passengers according to a study by BMC Public Health. But by no means does that mean they’re immune from these types of injuries. Uber passengers, belted or unbelted, are susceptible to major road traffic injuries just like any vehicle occupant would be.
Contact an Orange County Uber Accident Attorney With Crockett Law Group
Ridesharing is often touted as improving traffic safety by removing drunk drivers from the road. However, according to research conducted by professors from Rice University and the University of Chicago in a working paper titled “The Cost of Convenience: Ridehailing and Traffic Fatalities,” ridesharing services are actually responsible for a 3 percent annual increase in traffic fatalities. This is due to a number of factors, such as backseat passengers not wearing seatbelts, distracted Uber and Lyft drivers looking at their GPS, and people that would have otherwise walked or bicycled are now in Uber vehicles.
As Orange County car accident lawyers with experience in rideshare injuries, we regularly represent the interests of victims who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. The Crockett Law Group is committed to handling your injury claim from start to finish and will fight to make sure that you receive the money you deserve. If you’ve been injured as a result of a Uber accident, contact the Crockett Law Group at (800) 900-9393 for a free consultation.