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In a Rideshare Accident? You Need an Uber Accident Lawyer

Uber drivers are independent contractors working on behalf of a publicly-traded corporation, and when an accident occurs, difficult legal issues can arise. In the event of an car accident, It’s crucial that Uber drivers and passengers alike understand their rights and take the appropriate steps to be compensated for their injuries and expenses. Whether you’re an Uber driver, passenger or pedestrian involved in an accident, make sure you understand how to move forward. Working with an Uber accident lawyer can ensure your claims are handled efficiently and effectively. 

Passenger talking to Uber driver

Why is Ridesharing So Popular in California?

Uber and competitors like Lyft have made ridesharing a way of life for people across the country and around the world based on a promise of convenience. The companies tell drivers they can work where they want when they want, while riders can hail a car from just about anywhere with a few taps of a phone.

For riders, the advantages of ridesharing include:

  • A cheaper option than traditional taxis
  • Present payment options
  • No need to wait outside in inclement weather for a ride
  • Carpool and other sharing options

The companies often also pitch their services as the safe option, especially for people who have been or plan to be drinking. Whether that is actually true depends on which study you look at and skeptics have pointed out that having the rideshare option may increase excessive drinking among riders. Any Uber accident lawyer will tell you that rideshare crashes can and do happen.

Data show, however, that Uber and Lyft see about half as many fatal accidents as the national average. That is likely in part because rideshare trips tend to be shorter and in urban areas where speed limits are lower.

In California, Uber Passengers Also Have Rights 

Although car accidents happen regularly, they can be unexpected, terrifying, painful and stressful experiences in which it is not immediately clear what happened and how it happened. 

Unfortunately, rideshare and insurance companies may look to take advantage of these situations by pushing low ball settlement offers for pennies on the dollar. It is essential that anyone involved in a rideshare or other car accident seek the advice and counsel of a seasoned Uber accident lawyer before accepting any deal.

Anyone injured in a rideshare accident has the right to seek compensation from those responsible, whether it is an Uber driver, a rideshare company, another motorist or a defective car manufacturer. Typically, you need to be able to prove legal liability in order to obtain that compensation.

Passengers are also protected and can make a claim against the responsible party. The responsible party can either be Uber or anyone responsible for causing the accident. Negligence is a legal theory often used in car accident cases to prove liability. Drivers are required to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner, including by obeying traffic signs and complying with the laws of the road. They are also expected to refrain from dangerous behavior like aggressive driving, texting behind the wheel or operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A driver who does not live up to this responsibility is likely to be found negligent and liable for any accidents that happen as a result. Although Uber drivers are generally not considered the company’s employees in California, Uber may be legally responsible for negligence by rideshare drivers in certain situations. 

Similarly, car manufacturers have a legal responsibility to make vehicles that are safe for their intended use. These companies are also required to warn owners and lessors about safety defects and other risks.

Uber passengers involved in an accident may experience substantial physical and emotional damage after the incident. Accidents are stressful, traumatizing events, and it’s imperative to seek medical help immediately after an accident occurs. Understanding who is responsible for the accident will help you better determine your path to financial recovery. If an accident occurs while you’re using Uber’s services, be sure to reach out to an attorney that can assist you along the process. 

An Uber accident lawyer at Banafshe Law Firm, PLC can help you fully understand your rights after a crash. Our firm can also investigate the collision to determine who is at fault, explore legal liability and build the strongest possible case for compensation for your injuries.

What are the Requirements to Becoming a Driver for Uber?

To cut down on accidents and protect riders’ safety, Uber imposes a number of requirements on drivers. Drivers must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Pass a background check
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have a clean driving record
  • Have at least three years of experience behind the wheel
  • Ensure that their cars are registered and have in-state plates
  • Pass a vehicle inspection

The companies also reserve the right to deactivate drivers based on poor feedback from drivers.

Your Rights as an Uber Driver

While most Uber and Lyft drivers report positive experiences, many complex legal issues can arise when an accident occurs. While Uber offers a flexible stream of income, expenses can mount quickly if you’re involved in an accident. Understanding your role, your rights, and your responsibilities after the accident is crucial to minimize your risk of liability.

What is Considered a Rideshare Accident? 

There are four main categories of ridesharing accidents, and the type of Uber accident you’re involved in will very much determine your ability to recover damages for your losses. These accidents include:

  • Scenario 1: A passenger was injured in a ridesharing vehicle during a ride
  • Scenario 2: The Uber driver was injured while picking up, driving, or dropping off passengers
  • Scenario 3: A driver of another vehicle was injured in an accident with a vehicle performing ridesharing services
  • Scenario 4: Passengers were injured in a crash with a rideshare vehicle as the rideshare driver was on its way to pick up a passenger 

In the last scenario, it’s important to note that drivers can be held liable for negligence if they were engaging with the ridesharing app instead of paying attention to the road. Given what we know about ridesharing apps and how they operate, would a driver be held liable for an accident, or would the ridesharing company have to foot the bill? Your Uber accident lawyer will examine the evidence surrounding your accident and help you target all of the liable parties. 

Understanding Fault in Uber Accidents 

Who is at fault for an accident is not always clear-cut. Blame doesn’t always fall squarely on someone, and in many cases, one or several parties can be at fault when an accident occurs. After an Uber accident, law enforcement professionals will evaluate the incident and assist with assigning fault to the appropriate parties. If you’re an Uber driver involved in an accident, be sure to call the police immediately to sort out the facts. File a police report immediately on the scene, and take pictures of the damage caused to your vehicle. 

If you’re a passenger involved in an Uber accident, make sure you treat your injuries immediately and do not hesitate to reach out to an attorney who can guide you through the recovery process for any costs incurred. 

Our Uber Accident Lawyer Explains When Uber Drivers (Instead of the Company) are Liable

Rideshare drivers are classified as independent contractors, which means they work under a contract and not as an employee of the company. They are required to maintain their vehicles themselves, and are generally not covered under an employer’s worker’s compensation program. Under this framework, the driver would be responsible for their own general liability insurance coverage; however, the state of California requires rideshare companies to provide additional insurance for drivers. There are a variety of different policies and coverage available, depending on the severity of the accident. 

As such, if it's shown that an Uber driver was wholly responsible for causing an accident, it's likely the rideshare company that will ultimately cover the driver’s liability through their insurance policy if the damages are extensive.

Our Uber Accident Lawyer Explains the Risks of Ridesharing

Despite the benefits, there are also some risks that come with ridesharing. It is important to fully understand these risks before hailing a rideshare and to consult an Uber accident lawyer in the event that you are injured in a crash.

The companies do not appear to put a cap on how much time drivers can spend behind the wheel in a given day or week. That raises the risk that fatigued or distracted drivers will push their own personal limits, increasing the risk of an accident. 

Uber and Lyft have largely resisted nationwide fingerprinting for drivers, a step that advocates say would allow for more in-depth driver background checks. That includes checking criminal and driving records not only in California, but across the country.

Drivers in California and elsewhere have been accused of assaulting and even raping passengers, prompting calls for stronger reviews of potential drivers before they are allowed to start operating on the app. That is not to mention accusations of theft and other crimes against passengers.

These accusations continue to raise complicated questions about rideshare company’s responsibility for vetting and monitoring drivers, as well as their responsibility when drivers cause accidents or commit crimes.

Our Uber Accident Attorneys Can Also Help Pedestrians and Bicyclists 

While much of the focus in rideshare accidents is deservedly on the people in the cars involved in a collision, these crashes can also put pedestrians and bicyclists at risk. Because there is little protecting people outside of cars from the vehicles near them, pedestrian and bicycle accidents often come with serious and even fatal injuries.

Rideshare operators pose a particular risk to pedestrians and bikers because of the opportunity for distractions behind the wheel. So much of the job requires interacting with the Uber app to communicate with passengers and ensure that drivers minimize the time between drop offs and pickups. That can take the focus off of the road, making it more difficult to remain aware of people on two feet or a pair of wheels.

A pedestrian or bicyclist injured in a collision with a rideshare vehicle has the right to seek compensation from those responsible for the crash. The negligence standard is the same as that for multi-car crashes, but the unique factual circumstances may require additional investigation into the cause of the accident. An Uber accident lawyer at Banafshe Law Firm, PLC can help you get back on your feet after an accident with the compensation that you deserve. In the tragic event that a person dies in a crash, our firm can help his or her loved ones ensure that those responsible and made fully accountable for their actions.

A Skilled Uber Accident Lawyer Will Fight for Compensation and Discuss Your Case With the Insurance Company 

It’s important to understand that many insurance companies require timely notice of an accident in order to pay out any claims. It is important that you speak with a qualified accident attorney prior to speaking with any insurance company, especially the adverse insurance company. Once you retain an attorney, the insurance company is not permitted to contact you and all communications will go through your attorney. This is crucial because an experienced Uber accident attorney will present your case to the adverse insurance company in a manner to maximize your recovery. You will be required to make a statement to your own insurance company. An experienced accident attorney will guide you as to how you should present your claim and speak to the adjuster to ensure you will not be held responsible or make an incorrect statement.

Compensation For Your Losses

Uber accidents can cause substantial physical and emotional pain, and result in significant expenses to manage your injuries and repair your vehicle. Uber drivers and passengers alike may be able to receive compensation for their injuries and economic losses. Uber drivers, for example, may be entitled to lost wages if they are unable to work due to substantial physical or vehicular damage. Drivers may additionally receive compensation to cover the cost of repairs to their vehicles and their medical expenses. Uber passengers who experience physical or emotional trauma may also be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, should their injuries prevent them from returning to work safely. Whether you’re an Uber driver or passenger, your attorney can guide you through the recovery process.

Insurance Coverage

Uber has insurance policies to protect their drivers and riders. Drivers are covered if they are not at fault and either waiting for a ride request, in route to pick up a rider or during trips. A rider is covered irrespective of who it at fault as long as they are in the Uber and on a Uber trip.

What Steps Should You Take After an Uber Accident?

If you are a passenger involved in a rideshare accident, then your actionable steps should mirror those you would take after a normal car accident. After calling emergency services and ensuring your health is intact, call law enforcement immediately so they can begin gathering evidence around the facts of the accident. The rideshare company will have a record of your driver’s pertinent information and the location where the accident occurred. You will also need to ensure that you’ve gathered the driver’s insurance information, because that will be the first option for the driver when attempting to settle any claims. Also make sure you obtain their full name, license number, and license plate number for your records.

Let Us Be Your Uber Accident Lawyer. Contact Our Office Today

After an Uber accident, you’ll want to work with a team of attorneys who have substantial experience navigating legal claims against Uber. Our law firm routinely handles Uber accident lawsuits, working alongside our clients to file complex paperwork, deal with law enforcement agencies and insurance companies, and secure your rights under the law. If you’ve been involved in an Uber accident, contact an Uber accident lawyer at our firm immediately to secure guidance, assistance, and advice throughout the recovery process.

Don’t wait to get the help you need. Reach out today at 1-800-789-8840 and schedule your FREE consultation.