​Injured in an Uber Accident—Who Is Liable?

Rideshare services have become a blessing and a curse. While these services make public transportation much more convenient, they also lead to the rise of car accidents. Having the renowned Uber sticker on a vehicle does not prevent a driver from causing or getting into an accident. The reality is that you are placing tremendous trust in the Uber driver for your safety. The responsible party must be accountable when you are involved in an Uber accident.

However, that is the biggest mystery in an Uber accident—who should be liable? Many people assume that the Uber driver is to blame for injuries to passengers or other motorists, but that is not always the case.

The best way to know who is liable for your Uber accident is to allow an uber accident attorney to evaluate your rights.

Uber’s Accident History

Since its inception, Uber has received national attention for the actions of its drivers as much as its convenience. From 2014 to now, Uber drivers have been part of severe accidents that have resulted in serious injuries and loss of life.

These accidents might involve:

  • The Uber vehicle alone
  • The Uber vehicle and one or more other cars
  • The Uber and a commercial truck
  • Pedestrians
  • Cyclists
  • Motorcycles

You can suffer injuries in Uber accidents as an Uber passenger, an occupant of another vehicle while walking or riding your bike, and in other scenarios. No matter where you were at the time of the accident, you should know who is liable for your injuries.

Causes of Uber accidents

To identify liability, you need to determine the cause of your accident. There might be one or multiple causes.

Some of the common causes of Uber accidents involve:

  • Fatigue. While Uber drivers have limits on how many consecutive hours they can be active on the app, they might work more hours for Lyft or another employer. Working multiple jobs for long hours can easily lead to fatigue, which can cause crashes.
  • Speeding. Uber drivers also cause accidents when they engage in dangerous behaviors like speeding. Speeding is the primary factor for all car accidents, and Uber accidents are no exception. Uber drivers may choose to speed up to complete a ride request in a faster time. However, they seriously reduce their ability to react safely to the changes in traffic when they speed.
  • Distracted driving. Another common cause of Uber accidents is distracted driving. Unfortunately, it is very easy for an Uber driver to become distracted on the roads. Whether they are checking or refreshing their app for a new ride request or responding to the demands of the passenger, various distractions can divert an Uber driver’s attention from the road.
  • Deliberately disobeying traffic laws. Uber drivers might break traffic laws when trying to complete a ride request. Some deliberate actions Uber drivers can take are failing to yield the right of way, running a red light or stop sign, and following too closely behind another vehicle.

These are only examples of how Uber drivers might cause a crash. Other drivers might also engage in negligent conduct and crash into the Uber vehicle. They might also be distracted, impaired, speeding, or violating other laws.

Who is Liable for Uber Accidents?

Like there are multiple causes of accidents, multiple parties might be liable or share liability. Not only do you need to determine who was negligent, but also the nature of their negligence. This is a job for a skilled car accident lawyer.​

When are Uber Drivers and Uber Liable?

Even though Uber drivers transport people for money, they are not commercial drivers. They do not undergo any special training and do not need a special license to become an Uber driver. Uber drivers regularly make mistakes behind the wheel like any other driver – often when they have a passenger in their vehicle.

When an Uber driver is to blame for an accident, you can seek compensation from their insurance coverage. They must carry coverage like anyone else on the road, though they usually do not have commercial coverage. This means their policy limits might be inadequate to cover losses from severe injuries. When an Uber driver’s coverage is not enough for your claim, your lawyer can examine whether Uber’s insurer should share liability.

Under various state laws, Uber must carry insurance to cover certain accidents involving its drivers. This coverage does not always apply, and it depends on the driver’s status at the time of the crash.

For example:

  • If the Uber driver is not logged into the app as active, Uber’s policy does not apply.
  • If the Uber driver is showing as active but has not accepted a ride request, you might have limited Uber coverage.
  • If the Uber driver has accepted a ride or has a passenger in the car, Uber’s coverage will apply.

Uber provides up to $1 million per accident in coverage when the full policy applies, so it is beneficial for your lawyer to take advantage of this coverage when possible.

Deciphering the various stages of Uber coverage can be complex, as can dealing with various insurance companies. Let your car accident attorney handle all of this for you.

What if The Other Driver Is At-Fault?

Another liable party you can hold responsible for your Uber accident is a third-party driver who caused the crash. The Uber driver is not the only driver capable of causing an accident. The Uber driver might have been driving safely and defensively, and the other driver’s reckless actions led to the crash.

You must file a claim under the other driver’s insurance company when that happens. Several other drivers might share responsibility if it was a multi-car pileup, and you will need to file multiple claims. Have your attorney handle every step of the claim process and all communications with various insurance companies.

Hit-And-Runs and Uninsured Drivers

Sometimes, other drivers cause accidents and flee the scene. Other drivers might not have the minimum insurance the law requires. When this happens, who is responsible?

You should never pay for your own losses just because someone else does not obey the law. Only about half of the states require Uber to provide uninsured motorist coverage for its passengers. You might be responsible for covering your losses if you are not in one of these states. Your lawyer can identify the best course of action in this case, which might involve filing a claim with your own uninsured motorist policy.

Even if you are filing an uninsured motorist claim under your insurance, many things can go wrong, and you can face many obstacles to compensation. You still need a car accident lawyer to handle this process for you to ensure you get everything you deserve.

Other Parties That Can Be Held Liable

Drivers are not the only ones responsible for accidents.

Some other parties that might share liability include:

  • Companies that employ liable drivers (if they are working when they cause the crash)
  • Pedestrians who might walk in front of an Uber when they do not have the right of way
  • Cyclists or motorcyclists who are negligent and cause an Uber driver to crash
  • Car manufacturers who sold defective vehicles that malfunctioned and caused your Uber driver to lose control

After an Uber crash, a thorough investigation is necessary to ensure you identify every liable party and hold them accountable. Your attorney will have the resources and experience to conduct this investigation to begin your claim.

Damages from Accidents

Your Uber accident can lead to several costly damages. Damages refer to the compensation you seek for your losses from liable parties.

Some common damages from an Uber accident include:

  • Medical costs. To fully treat your injuries, you may have bills for emergency treatment, hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, multiple surgeries, pain medications, in-home medical assistance, and the installation of medical devices, among many other things.
  • Lost income. Recovering from your injuries can mean you must miss time from work, and this can cause you to lose income and affect your finances. Your physical injuries can also be so severe that they forever compromise your ability to perform your job duties, causing you significant future lost earnings.
  • Property damage. You can also seek compensation for any property that sustained damage from the Uber accident. Examples might include your cell phone, luggage, laptops, and other portable devices if you were an Uber passenger. If you were in another vehicle, property damage claims can involve vehicle repair or replacement costs.
  • Pain and suffering. Many injuries cause debilitating pain, and this pain can continue throughout or even after treatment. Depending on how traumatizing the Uber accident or resulting injuries are, you can also suffer from depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder for years.

Never assume you know how much your damages are. Instead, let your lawyer calculate the value of your losses before you file your claim. Underestimating damages is one of the biggest mistakes people make in car accident claims.

Settlement Offers

Because Uber does not want to risk the negative press that comes with a lawsuit, they may opt to resolve your claim through a settlement offer. In a settlement offer, you receive a lump sum payment that should cover your damages. In exchange, you forfeit your right to sue in the future. That means that once you accept the settlement offer, you can no longer pursue any further legal action against the Uber driver or Uber itself.

The initial settlement offer is usually far too low to cover your losses. Uber and its insurers know that you want to resolve your claim as soon as possible. They will throw out a low offer immediately, hoping you will take it and the claim will go away.

Never accept a settlement offer from Uber or any insurance company without first discussing your claim and options with a car accident attorney. Doing so can jeopardize your entire financial future. Instead, allow a lawyer to handle your claim from beginning to end.

Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer for Your Uber Accident

The single most important thing you can do to protect yourself after an Uber accident is to hire the right attorney. You need to seek out a lawyer who regularly handles Uber accident claims. The right attorney can take care of the following and more.

Reviewing Uber’s Policies

One way that Uber avoids liability for accidents is through the complicated language in its policies. A lawyer skilled in rideshare accidents can explain the company’s policies and how you can navigate through them to obtain your compensation. A lawyer can also explain the company’s different insurance policies and the amount of coverage available for your damages.

Proving Negligence

Your lawyer can also prove the liable party’s negligence. Insurance companies will not take your word that someone caused your accident. They need evidence before they provide coverage under a driver’s or Uber’s policy.

To prove negligence, a lawyer must demonstrate four key elements:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care
  • The defendant’s actions or deliberate lack of action breached that duty of care owed to you
  • The defendant’s actions or lack of action directly led to your accident
  • There were significant damages that you suffered as a result of that accident

If non-negligent parties share liability, your lawyer can prove that, as well. This might involve proving the vicarious liability of an employer or that Uber should provide coverage due to the driver’s status.

Consult a Car Accident Lawyer

After you have suffered an injury in an Uber accident, you deserve to hold the company responsible for your injuries. Uber might move quickly to investigate an accident and gather evidence to protect itself, so you also need to move quickly to hire your own legal advocate.

Consulting with an experienced lawyer right away can help strengthen your chances of receiving the total compensation you and your family deserve. Uber makes a lot of money from its rideshare services, and you can hold it liable for harm that stems from its operations. Contact us to seek legal help today.

September 30, 2022
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