Uber is one of the most popular ride-sharing services in many countries, moving millions of passengers daily, in large and small cities, including Corpus Christi. According to Bloomberg Second Measure, Uber holds the largest share of the market in Houston compared to another ride-sharing service, Lyft. If you have been in an Uber or Lyft accident contact our Corpus Christi car crash lawyer for a free consultation.
Due to the popularity of the service, it is unsurprising to see Uber service cars ply the streets and highways every day. Unfortunately, with these many vehicles on the road, accidents could and have happened. According to the yearly U.S. Safety Report, there have been a number of individuals who were seriously injured in accidents while using or operating Uber. There have also been fatalities reported that involved both Uber and Lyft all over the country, according to Rice University and the University of Chicago in Houston, Texas.
An Uber passenger who was involved in an Uber accident may want to know what their legal options are and who will be held responsible for expenses that result from the crash. With the type of service that Uber offers, these questions may have complicated answers. This is why victims of Uber-related accidents must have full understanding of their rights so they receive fair compensation for any injuries or damages they might suffer from.
A key factor that many accident victims fail to consider is this: it does matter whether or not the Uber driver was on duty when the accident occurred. If the driver were working when the crash happened, it will mean a significant difference in the type and amount of financial compensation you could receive.
If the driver happened to be on duty, it is possible that you may be compensated for expenses related to the accident from various sources. This is critical for the victim because expenses that result from accidents can go up to thousands of dollars. These can include medications, treatments, and therapies.
If you happened to be the passenger at the moment the Uber car had an accident, then there should be no question whether the driver was on-duty or not. To be clear, Uber drivers are on-duty if they are:
-Operating the vehicle to pick up a passenger
-Driving the vehicle with the Uber app turned on
-Checking directions for a specific Uber journey, regardless of whether the car is running or stopped
In many cases, an Uber driver will attempt to reject responsibility by claiming that they were not on duty when the accident occurred. This may not always be true. If you are faced with an Uber driver who may be denying his responsibility, it is important to talk to a lawyer who has the knowledge and experience regarding accidents involving ride-sharing services.
The best way to prove responsibility in an Uber accident is to secure evidence. This can be done by ensuring that the proper authorities are involved. These include your local or state police, followed by the insurance companies involved and their legal advisers.
Uber’s insurance company will ensure their involvement to determine who is at fault. This is because they have more to lose. As such, you can expect the insurance company of the party at-fault to perform a thorough investigation to try to avoid responsibility, or at least, minimize it.
With a legal professional at your side, you can ensure that any discussions that could undermine your claim will be avoided. A lawyer working for you will be able to present critical evidence to support your claims. This is why you should have the right legal team to work for you.
If you ever become involved in an Uber accident, there are steps you need to do to protect yourself.
Never take any chances when it comes to your health. Some injuries are not easily spotted or felt, which is why it is important to undergo a medical examination by a doctor as soon as possible. This will help determine if you have sustained any injuries and whether or not you need treatments. The doctor’s diagnosis will also serve as your evidence.
Make sure to obtain your Uber driver’s complete name, driver’s license information, current address, and contact number. If you cannot, have a trusted individual do it for you.
If you have been injured, make sure the incident is investigated thoroughly by the police. You should also obtain the investigating officer’s name and contact number. This is important when you need a copy of the accident report. In Texas, this document is known as the Peace Officer’s Crash Report.
Never discuss the details of the incident with anyone, especially the Uber driver. Talk only to the authorities, such as the investigating officer and your lawyer. Anything you say could be used against you to either deny or reduce your claims.
Uber’s insurance company may want to speak with you directly. What you should do is to politely refuse to talk to them or provide them with any information. Direct them to your lawyer instead.
Being involved in an Uber accident can be overwhelming and, in your confusion, it is not unlikely that you could do or say things that could be detrimental to your case. When you have a lawyer with you, you can be sure that your interests are protected and advanced.
In general, all accident-related expenses should be compensated financially. Keep in mind that these expenses do not only include short-term costs, but such also as treatments deemed necessary immediately after the incident. Any conditions and damages that may occur later as a result of the accident should be compensated as well, even if these happen years after. These expenses include:
-Emergency medical treatment and care right after the accident
-Follow-up procedures (including surgical treatments) for serious injuries that may have long-term effects on the health
-Prescription medications for the treatment of chronic pain due to accident-related injuries
-Compensation for lost income during the recovery period
-Compensation for any future income lost due to inability to work – usually the result of permanent disability
What makes Uber-related accidents complicated is that the drivers are considered as independent contractors. They do not hold the same status as traditional taxi drivers. As such, Uber drivers are not considered employees – full-time or part-time. Yet, they can still have a technical responsibility in compensating you financially.
Here is why knowing this is important. Uber has insurance. Every Uber driver is covered by commercial liability insurance that has a value of up to $1 million for each accident they may become involved in. This compensation is meant to cover injury-related expenses and property damage. There are, however, certain qualifications that must be in place. For example, your Uber driver has to be on-duty when the accident occurred.
There are parties who may be considered responsible for compensation, depending on certain circumstances involving the accident. These include:
-the Uber driver
-the rideshare service’s insurance company
This will not be a surprise, if ever. As mentioned earlier, a company or its insurance entity will try to get out of paying accident-related expenses. Expect the insurance representative to make claims of their own just to minimize or even eliminate the driver’s responsibility.
Do not let this affect you. Do not talk to the company, their representative, or their insurance provider directly. Have your lawyer deal with them instead. With an experienced attorney helping you out, you have a better chance of negotiating terms that are more beneficial to you.
If you have been injured while a passenger in an Uber vehicle, you have several options that are available. You could:
-agree to the settlement offered by Uber or the insurance company of the at-fault party
-negotiate a more beneficial settlement
-file a legal claim against Uber or the insurance company of the at-fault party
Whatever your action may be, keep in mind that you are more likely to receive the best possible results if you have the support of an experienced and skilled lawyer. At The Burkett Law Firm, we make sure our clients receive accurate and timely information and legal assistance that will give them the most beneficial results for their case. Call us today and schedule your consultation with our attorneys at no obligation to you.