Have you or a loved one been injured in an Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare accident? You may need an Uber accident lawyer.
Whether you were an Uber driver, a Lyft passenger, or a third-party driver, passenger, or pedestrian who was hit by an a rideshare vehicle, TorkLaw is here to help.
Have You Been in an Uber or Rideshare Accident?
Uber was founded in 2009 as UberCab, but the service as we know it now, with a mobile app was launched in 2011 in San Francisco. Today, Uber operates worldwide in 785 metropolitan areas, with assets around $24 billion, and hundreds of thousands of drivers in dozens of countries.
Socially, we know these types of operations as “ridesharing.” In terms of legislation, the government refers to these companies as Transportation Network Companies (TNC). These companies connect passengers with independent drivers via an online platform.
Uber and other TNCs have brought many advantages to the areas in which they operate. In many areas, an Uber or Lyft is far easier and more convenient than trying to find a taxi cab. Rideshare has created thousands of new jobs, and because of the low cost and ease of use, has decreased rates of drunk driving. But despite these benefits, Uber can also be problematic, particularly regarding how it handles car accidents.
Using Uber Services Can Be Risky
TNC drivers spend long hours on the road, frequently driving in unfamiliar areas, sometimes dealing with distracting passengers, and often having to check their phone while driving.
Unfortunately, TNC drivers are not the only ones who face risk. Ostensibly, these companies screen their drivers before hiring them, and most are safe and responsible.
However, our firm has handled cases in which Uber passengers have been assaulted by drivers whose criminal backgrounds should have made them ineligible to work for the company. When this happens, the company must be held responsible for placing its customers in danger.
Uber Insurance Coverage May Not Pay: What Drivers Need to Know
If you are an Uber or Lyft driver, you are insured in the event of an accident — but only if it happens during a certain period. Once a driver turns on the TNC app, the level of eligible coverage depends on their situation. There are three different situations:
- The app is on and you are waiting for a request. In this situation, the company insures you for liability coverage only, and only if your own insurance policy does not cover you in this situation. You may be able to fill the gap by purchasing supplemental rideshare insurance.
- You have accepted a ride request and are on your way to pick up a passenger.
- The passenger is in your car and you are headed to the destination.
During these the second and third situations, Uber and Lyft fully cover you with up to $1 million in liability, as well as comprehensive and collision coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
One important note here: if the accident happens during the second period, then Uber may try to deny that you had accepted the rideshare request. You should take a screenshot of the accepted request immediately after an accident, if you are in an accident on your way to pick up a passenger.
No matter what period you were in when the accident happened, TorkLaw will fight to ensure that you are compensated to the limits of any and all insurance policies available to you, and that Uber fulfills its stated obligations.
What an Uber Passenger Needs to Know
Uber fully insures all its passengers. If you were injured as a passenger in an Uber vehicle, you are entitled to compensation. Passengers who ride in Uber vehicles have every right to expect that they will arrive at their destination safely. If Uber cannot provide this level of service to them, then these passengers can and should exercise their right to seek damages.
If you experience any difficulty in receiving the compensation you are rightfully owed, it is important that you hire a lawyer to ensure that Uber follows through on its commitments.
“Independent Contractors”: What Third Parties Need to Know
Because Uber and other rideshare companies market themselves as technology companies rather than taxi services, their drivers are “independent contractors” rather than employees.
This distinction serves as a legal sleight-of-hand that protects the companies in the event of a lawsuit, because, under the law, employers are less responsible for the actions of independent contractors than the actions of employees.
If you are a third-party driver, passenger, or pedestrian, who has been in an accident with an Uber driver, your options for seeking compensation may be limited. Uber has denied liability toward third party plaintiffs many times, including in a lawsuit filed by the family of a six-year-old girl who was killed by an Uber driver while crossing the street, claiming the accident did not occur during an “official” Uber ride.
However, this issue is still a legally hazy one. Strong legal precedent has not yet been established, and different courts have come to different conclusions. Right now, the status quo seems to be that Uber drivers are considered employees in some areas, and independent contractors in others. In these situations, a personal injury attorney is more important than ever, and one with experiences in Uber cases is a definite plus.
Winning Uber Accident Cases
If you are in an Uber or Lyft accident, take the same steps you would take after any automobile accident:
- Protect your own safety, and move out of traffic
- Call 911 for injuries
- Remain at the scene and share insurance and contact information with others involved
- Call the police if the accident is serious
- Report the incident to your insurance company
In addition, you should begin to collect evidence at the scene. Take photographs of the scene and damages, collect the names and contact information of witnesses, and order a copy of the police accident report (if an officer responded to the scene). If you were an Uber driver and you were in Period 2 (mentioned above), then take a screenshot to prove that you were on the way to pick up a passenger.
With Uber or Lyft accidents, there is an extra step: you must contact the company and inform them that an accident has happened. Other than the initial report, don’t talk to Uber or their insurance agents without a lawyer present! Don’t accept any offers, even if they seem generous.
To ensure you receive fair and adequate compensation, contact an Uber accident lawyer. Even if you don’t hire an attorney, it can be good to hear a professional opinion before making any decisions. TorkLaw‘s lawyers have extensive experience in dealing with Uber accident cases, and offer FREE initial consultations.
If you do choose to hire us, you won’t pay a fee unless we win your case. Call us today at 888.845.9696.