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Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are more and more common as the businesses continue to grow. So, what happens if you are injured in an Uber or Lyft as a passenger? If you incurred a faultless injury from a rideshare company, for which you are not liable, then consider speaking to an Uber accident lawyer.
Uber is one of the preeminent rideshare companies for customers seeking affordable, seamless modes of transportation around town. While this company has earned critical acclaim in recent years, it has also garnered its share of criticism, pertaining to driver-related accidents. Passengers who have been subject to an Uber-related accident may qualify for compensation, with the help of a seasoned, Uber car accident attorney.
Contacting a knowledgeable Uber accident attorney like those at Avrek Law after a rideshare accident is always in your best interest. You likely have many questions, and an experienced Lyft or Uber personal injury lawyer can assist you with your inquiries and thoroughly debrief you on the legal process.
What is Uber?
The Uber Company was launched in San Francisco, California in 2009. Its business model was founded on the idea that networking could facilitate transportation. Prior to earning its global success, it operated under the business name UberCab and delivered cab-like services. Today, Uber drivers use their own vehicles instead of rentals through the company.
Uber’s network-based approach made ride requests effortless and easy for customers. With smartphones and other compatible devices, customers can simply submit a request to a driver in the Uber network. Once the driver arrives, the passenger is transported to his or her location. This company permits electronic payments only via credit or debit.
Customers can select one of many Uber car models, all of which are specific to a given location:
- Black Car – One of Uber’s standard models, which can seat a maximum of four customers.
- Uber X – A cost-effective option that seats up to four passengers.
- Uber XL – A cost effective option that seats up to six passengers.
- Uber SUV – A costly alternative for six passengers.
- Uber LUX – The most expensive car option and seats up to four passengers.
- Uber Taxi – An Uber compatible taxi service.
As of May 2016, Uber has proliferated through the globe, serving customers in more than 66 countries and 481 cities. In December 2015, Uber released a startling statement: They had officially completed their billionth ride, which they achieved with the aid of their vast network of 400,000 drivers per month. This company has become a fierce competitor for taxis and other forms of public transportation.
Uber and Other Rideshare Drivers
Uber and other rideshare companies, like Lyft, undergo a formal hiring process to select its drivers. All prospective drivers must meet a prescribed set of criteria to offer this service. Specifically, an Uber driver must be at least 21 years of age, own a car model produced in 2005 or later, undergo and pass a background investigation, and have a valid license and registration.
These drivers are imparted the liberty of flexible hours. As self-employed, independent contractors, they can work whenever they deem convenient. However, some drivers have reported that they were not compensated for overtime driving. For this reason, they filed lawsuits against the Uber company.
Uber Insurance Coverage for Passengers
For optimal protection from liability, Uber drivers are required to have car insurance. However, the car insurance policy will hinge on the vehicle the driver operates and the service they wish to provide. Check out details on Uber related accidents.
Uber car insurance, in the United States and Puerto Rico, offers the following ridesharing coverage options:
- $1 million of liability coverage for every car related accident, collision, or incident
- $1 million of coverage for underinsured/uninsured motorists and bodily injury
- Contingent comprehensive and collision insurance
- No fault coverage is offered on a state-by-state basis
- Bodily injury coverage may reach a maximum of $50,000 per individual and accident, not exceeding $100,000. A maximum of $25,000 may be allocated for property damage.
Uber and Lyft Accidents
Accidents stem from a variety of causes. In the United States, accident fatalities most often arise from mistakes on part of the motorist, such as the inability to remain in one’s lane and failure to use right of way, as well as recklessness or poorly coordinated driving. Additionally, the prevalent use of mobile devices on the road has merely complicated this issue. All diversions or digressive activities radically increase the chances of a car collision.
This includes electronics, GPS systems, smartphones and similar devices, Uber and Lyft software included.
The most frequently sustained auto accident injuries include:
- Spinal Injury or Trauma
- Head or Brain Injuries
- Neck Injuries
- Bone Fractures
- Internal Injuries
- Detached Limbs or Amputations
Car collisions involving pedestrians may damage the extremities and other areas of the body. Motorcyclists may also sustain catastrophic injuries upon colliding with an automobile. Those who survive automobile accidents may experience bouts of emotional and psychology unrest, and related issues, such as PTSD, the loss of a loved one and other psychological challenges.
Has Anyone Ever Sued Uber Over an Accident?
In January 2014, a family filed a legal claim against Uber. Regrettably, their 6-year-old daughter was killed by an Uber vehicle as she used the crosswalk, the day before New Years in 2013. The suit and ultimate Uber accident settlement sought compensatory damages from the horrendous fatality sustained from this accident. As they crossed the street, an Uber driver unwittingly made a turn, hitting the family, thus triggering the wrongful death of their 6-year-old and emotional distress for her loved ones.
Drivers are required to operate Uber software during commutes, and this lawsuit contends that the software distracted the driver from the road, thus culminating in the collision. It is, therefore, argued that this software was used in such a way that it violated the law. The was the first official case in which a family sued Uber for wrongful death or injuries resulting from an otherwise preventable incident.
NBCnews.com released an exclusive report, detailing the settlement details of the case. The family of the 6-year-old settled for an unknown amount with the Uber company. Uber’s defense concluded that the driver was not transporting any passengers during this time of the incident, and thus, the company should not be deemed liable for the accident. The lawsuit, however, debunked this defense, noting that due to a pressing flaw in the development, implementation and operational use of the app during Uber commute, the family of the 6-year-old suffered a tremendous loss, distress, harm, and the strain of burial and funeral expenses.
Who is Responsible in an Uber Accident Claim?
Uber drivers are categorized as independent contractors. As a result, it is difficult to assign blame or liability when one or more passengers is injured during an Uber car ride. In relation to the case of the 6-year-old girl, Uber denied responsibility for this incident, noting that the Uber driver was not operating the vehicle for Uber related purposes at the time that this fatality occurred.
In April 2016, the San Francisco Chronicle published an article to reflect on the lawsuit settlement and its subsequent impact on California law. As a result of this settlement, rideshare companies must now accommodate insurance costs and coverage for drivers. While California law does not explicitly assign liability to Uber drivers involved in accidents, there is a latent possibility that a California court would deem an Uber driver negligent and liable for an incident, according to this article.
Know When to Call an Uber Accident Lawyer
Uber and Lyft as a companies and Uber and Lyft drivers are obligated to safeguard their passengers, adhering to safety guidelines and providing a secure environment, not merely for the passengers, but for other motorists, passengers, and pedestrians as well. If specific drivers are more vulnerable to risk or danger, the company must make concerted efforts to mitigate those risks. An Uber or Lyft driver who deviates from his/her duties render him/herself and the company liable.
Victims of Uber-related car accidents may qualify for compensation to cover:
- Medical expenses
- Compromised or lost wages, if the accident hindered the ability to work
- Pain and suffering for all mental, psychological and emotional distress incurred from the accident or the consequences of the accident
- Family members of fatalities in an Uber-related incident may qualify for funeral expenses, as well as the compensation for pain and suffering.
Remember, this is a time sensitive issue and every second matters – time limits are imposed on all claims, and you have a limited duration of time during which you can file a claim. The qualified Uber accident attorneys at Avrek Law can assist you in all relevant legal matters and questions, and will work with you every step of the way toward the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages.
The Avrek team has more than 50 years of combined experience resolving cases in favor of clients who were wrongfully injured, and has recovered more than $1 billion in compensation for victims in over 45,000 cases. We’re here to help – browse our locations or contact us for a free consultation on your case. We’re here to help!