Seeking Personal Injury Compensation after an Uber Accident
Uber and other rideshare apps have changed the transportation landscape over the past decade. People can easily order rides from their smartphones to quickly reach their destinations at an affordable price. While the availability of Uber and Lyft has helped to reduce the rates of drunk driving, riding in an Uber or Lyft vehicle comes with the same accident risks as riding in any other vehicle. Rideshare drivers are just as likely to be involved in motor vehicle collisions, and in some cases, they are at fault.
If you were injured in an accident while riding in an Uber, figuring out how to recover compensation for your injuries and other losses can feel daunting. Here is an overview of the Uber accident claims process from the experienced Uber accident injury attorneys at the law firm of Steven M. Sweat, Personal Injury Lawyers, APC.
Steps to Take Immediately After an Uber Accident
Immediately after being injured in an Uber accident as a passenger, it’s important to take the following steps to facilitate your physical recovery and preserve your compensation rights:
- Check for Injuries
Right after your accident, you should carefully check yourself and anyone else involved for injuries. If anyone is injured, provide basic help until emergency responders arrive and can take over.
- Call for Help
One of the drivers should have called 911 to summon help. However, if they haven’t, you should call and ask for the police and other first responders to come to the accident scene. Provide as much detail about the collision as possible, and give the dispatcher the location by referencing nearby street signs and landmarks.
- Collect Information From Both Drivers
Ask both the Uber driver and the other driver for the following information, and use your smartphone to take photos of it:
- Driver’s license with name and address
- Each driver’s contact information
- Insurance card
- Registration information
Take pictures of the license plate of each vehicle, and write down each vehicle’s make and model.
- Take Photographs
If you are physically able, use your smartphone to take pictures of the damage to each vehicle and the wider accident scene. Photograph the angles of how the vehicles are positioned in relation to each other, nearby stop signs or traffic lights, accident debris, road conditions, weather conditions, tire skid marks, and other relevant details.
- Talk to the Police
Once the police arrive, tell them what happened before, during, and right after the accident. Avoid speculating about anything, and stick to the facts. Ask the officer how you can get a copy of the accident report, and write the information down.
- See a Doctor
Go to the hospital or an urgent care facility as soon as possible. Even if you are initially unsure whether you have been injured, you should still see a doctor to check for injuries. Some injuries may have delayed symptoms but could be serious. Seeing a doctor quickly helps to facilitate a faster physical recovery and can show the insurance company that your injuries were caused by the Uber accident instead of a different event.
- Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were injured in an Uber accident, it’s important to seek legal representation as quickly as possible. While you aren’t required to hire a lawyer to represent you in a claim against Uber, you’ll have a better chance of recovering fair compensation for your injuries if you are represented by a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer. Uber and its insurance company have teams of defense lawyers who are prepared to vigorously defend against claims. If you try to represent yourself, you will be going up against a large corporation with aggressive attorneys. Hiring a lawyer helps to even the playing field and allows you to focus on physically recovering while your attorney advocates for your interests in your claim.
Who Will Pay for Your Injuries?
In an Uber accident as a passenger, a few parties might be responsible for paying for your injuries, including Uber, the other driver, and other third parties. Which parties might be responsible will vary based on the facts and circumstances of what occurred and might include any of the following:
- Uber’s insurance
- The other involved motorist
- Parties that maintain the roads
- Defective parts manufacturers
Your Uber accident attorney will carefully investigate to determine what happened and which parties might be liable. If your Uber driver was at fault, Uber’s insurance should cover your losses up to the Uber insurance policy limits of $1 million.
When an Uber driver has the app turned on and is actively transporting a passenger at the time an accident occurs, Uber provides coverage of up to $1 million in liability plus up to $1 million in underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage(UM/UIM). If the other motorist caused your accident, the motorist’s insurance policy will cover your injuries and other losses up to the policy limits. If your losses exceed the policy limits, Uber’s UM/UIM coverage will kick in and cover your losses up to Uber’s UM/UIM policy limits.
Stages of the Claims Process
While Uber accident claims widely differ, they generally follow the same steps in the claims process as detailed below.
- Retain a Lawyer
After you have sought medical treatment and have consulted with a few personal injury lawyers, the next step will be to retain a lawyer. Most personal injury attorneys offer contingency fee arrangements. Under this type of pay agreement, you will not have to pay your lawyer anything until and unless they successfully recover compensation for you. If your attorney recovers a settlement or verdict award, they will then take a percentage of what they recover as their fee. Your attorney will go over their fees with you so that you understand how they work before you retain them.
Once you retain your attorney, they will begin investigating your claim. Your attorney might work with an accident reconstruction expert to reconstruct the accident scene and determine what happened just before, during, and after the accident. Accident reconstruction experts use scientific measurements and calculations to determine what happened and can help determine liability for an accident.
Your attorney will also gather as much evidence to support your claim as possible, including the following:
- Photographs from the accident scene
- Police reports
- Your medical records
- Witness statements
- Video from nearby businesses or traffic cameras
- Accident debris
- Uber driver’s driving record
- Other evidence
- Demand Letter
Once your attorney has investigated your accident, gathered evidence, and determined which parties are potentially liable, they will then draft a demand letter. This letter will include a statement of your potential claims, a description of your injuries, a factual background, and a demand for compensation. The demand will be for an amount your lawyer has calculated that would fairly compensate you for your losses. They will send your demand letter to Uber’s insurance company and any other defendants. The defendants can then agree to pay your claim, deny it, or come back with a counteroffer.
- Negotiations and Possible Settlement
If the insurance company comes back with a counteroffer, your attorney will engage in negotiations with it to try to secure a fair settlement agreement. In many cases, it’s possible to settle a claim outside of the court process without ever filing a lawsuit. If your attorney negotiates a fair settlement agreement, and you accept it, your case will be over. The insurance company will send a check to your attorney, and your lawyer will pay you what you are owed minus their fees.
- Filing a Lawsuit
In some cases, it will be necessary to pursue formal litigation against Uber to win your claim. If that happens, your attorney will draft a civil complaint and file it with the appropriate court. Once the civil complaint is filed, your lawyer will ensure it is properly served on each defendant. The defendants will then be given time to file their responses. Once those have been filed, your lawsuit will enter into the discovery phase.
The discovery phase of a lawsuit involves both sides exchanging evidence and information. This means your attorney will exchange the evidence you have gathered, and Uber’s insurance company will exchange the information it has gathered. Discovery can last for months and might involve several tools designed to facilitate the exchange of evidence, including depositions of witnesses and interrogatories. Throughout the discovery process, your attorney will continue working to resolve your claim through a settlement in your favor.
If your case isn’t resolved before trial through a settlement, your case will go to trial before a jury or judge. Both sides will present evidence, call witnesses, and cross-examine the other party’s witnesses. Once both sides rest, the jury will then deliberate and return a verdict.
Contact an Uber Accident Passenger Injury Lawyer
If you were injured while riding in an Uber, you should reach out to the experienced attorneys at the law firm of Steven M. Sweat, Personal Injury Lawyers, APC. Call us today for a free case evaluation at 866.966.5240.