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Ridesharing has become extremely popular as of late. Most likely, you have heard of Uber even if you have never ridden in one. One of the most popular ridesharing companies in the United States and possibly the world, Uber is known for disrupting the taxicab industry by offering cleaner, safer, convenient, and affordable rides. However, Uber is not perfect, and its drivers are not perfect. Accidents happen.
If you or your loved one sustained an injury in an Uber accident, call (888) 314-6671 for a free consultation with one of our Uber accident lawyers today.
Who is Liable?
Depending on the specifics of your case, it may be another road user or your Uber driver that may be held liable for your accident and injuries:
One important fact that you must know is that Uber drivers are not actually Uber employees. Uber drivers are actually independent contractors. The main difference between an employee and an independent contractor is that a company is generally liable for its employee’s mistakes. However, a company that hires an independent contractor is not liable for the independent contractor’s mistake unless the work the independent contractor is hired to do is inherently dangerous. Though one may argue that driving is inherently dangerous, driving does not generally fall under the legal definition of inherently dangerous.
Nevertheless, Uber carries insurance. Furthermore, Colorado law requires that all drivers are insured. Therefore, you have two sources of potential compensation. However, in Uber accidents, there is an extra twist compared to regular car accidents. In a regular car accident, there is only the other party’s insurance company you have to deal with. However, in an Uber accident, there are two insurance companies. Uber will try to avoid liability for the accident by claiming that its driver is an independent contractor. On the other hand, the driver’s insurance company will claim that the driver was riding underneath Uber’s aegis, and thus try to deny you coverage.
If your Uber driver was driving recklessly, under the influence of alcohol or drugs or in some other way caused the accident, then you may be entitled to seek compensation from them.
If you get injured while riding in an Uber, and another road user caused the accident, you may be entitled to seek compensation from the other driver.
How to File a Claim
1. Report the Accident
If your Uber gets in an accident, it is important to report the accident as soon as possible. As you would in any car accident, be sure to call the police. The police will make an accident report that will be vital for your settlement or lawsuit.
2. Collect Evidence
Take photographs of the scene of the accident. Also, if you are able, take pictures of your injuries. If there were any witnesses, ask them for their names and contact information. It is also useful to get the contact details, insurance information, and license plate number of the person that caused the accident.
3. Report the Crash to Uber
You should also notify your accident to Uber. You can do so through your smartphone application or through Uber’s website. If you have trouble contacting Uber or if you get some hackneyed reply, you should contact an attorney.
4. Get Medical Attention
Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your health is your number one priority. Furthermore, receiving medical attention means your injuries will be officially recorded. Insurance companies are notorious for trying to give claimants as little compensation as possible. If you do not have your injuries recorded, the insurance company may try to say that your injuries were not as serious as you claimed. Without evidence of the extent of your injuries, you may lose out on compensation.
5. Get a Lawyer
Hiring an experienced lawyer can help to increase the amount of compensation you may seek. This is because a lawyer will conduct an investigation that may be more thorough and uncover aspects of your claim that the insurance company may miss.
A lawyer will be responsible for all the bureaucratic paperwork involved in an insurance claim and make sure that you do not lose out on any potential compensation because of technical errors. Your lawyer will also negotiate with insurance companies and properly value your claim in order for you to seek the maximum value for your claim.
Uber’s Insurance Policy
Uber has two different policies, depending on whether the Uber driver is in driving mode or matched with a passenger. Driving mode simply means that the Uber driver is just driving without a passenger, but is looking for a passenger.
If the driver gets in an accident while in driving mode, Uber is liable for up to $50,000 per person for bodily injury, up to $100,000 total for bodily injury, and up to $25,000 total for property damage caused in the accident. If the driver gets in an accident while matched with passenger, Uber is liable for up to $1 million for crashes caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, up to $1 million of total liability coverage, and the actual cash value or repair cost of the vehicle, whichever is less, with a $1,000 deductible.
Minimum Coverage Colorado Requires for Drivers
You may also seek compensation even if the Uber driver was not in driving mode or matched with a passenger. You simply file a claim through the driver’s personal insurance company. Under Colorado law, drivers must carry insurance that covers up to $25,000 for bodily injury per person, at least $50,000 in total for bodily injury per accident, and $15,000 for property damage per accident.
Common Causes of Uber Accidents
As Uber accidents are really car accidents, the causes of Uber accidents are the same as all other car accidents:
Recall that Uber does not hire employees to drive. It hires independent contractors. Independent contractors are not screened as carefully as employees, and therefore, Uber drivers may be less than professional. Thus, an Uber driver may text while driving, a prime cause of car accidents.
Sometimes, drivers have something other on their mind than driving. When this happens, the likelihood of an accident rises dramatically.
Failing to adhere to the speed limit may mean an accident, and in these cases, you may be entitled to seek compensation.
Though taxi drivers tend to be more professional and focus on driving, Uber drivers are not held to the same standard as taxi drivers and are more likely to engage in distracted driving. Distracted driving actually is estimated to cause 50% of all serious car accidents.
Injuries from Uber Accidents
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Bone fractures
- Internal injuries
- Permanent disfigurement
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Catastrophic injuries
How is compensation calculated?
Compensation is provided for economic losses and non-economic losses.
Economic losses include the following:
- past and future medical bills
- past and future lost wages
- damaged property
- past and future loss of earning capacity
Non-economic losses include the following:
- past and future emotional anguish
- loss of enjoyment of activities
Punitive Damages – You also may be able to seek punitive damages, which is an additional source of compensation. If the Uber driver or the driver that collided with your Uber intended to cause injury to you, you may be able to seek punitive damages. The actual legal threshold you must prove in order to pursue punitive damages is that the accident involved an act of malice, or willful conduct (a reckless disregard for the safety of others).
Be aware that Colorado courts use what is called comparative fault when it determines how much compensation a victim is entitled to. Comparative fault looks at all the parties involved in the accident and looks at how much fault each party had in contributing towards the accident. In a slip and fall accident, for instance, you could be considered at fault if you were being reckless when you fell. If in the grocery store, the floor was wet, but you were rollerblading along the floor when you fell, you will probably not likely seek full compensation if you win your case. For instance, imagine that you win your case, but you were found to be twenty-five percent at fault and the jury awards you $100,000 in damages. In such a case, you would only seek $75,000 in compensation rather than $100,000.
How long do I have to make a claim?
There are legal time limits associated with seeking compensation. These time limits are known as the statute of limitations. In Denver, the statute of limitations for a car accident is three years. This means that a person generally has three years from the date of the accident to file a claim. If you try to make a claim after these two years, you may not be allowed to move forward.
This is why speaking with a lawyer can be very beneficial to your case and help you ensure that you don’t miss any important deadlines.
Talk To Zinda Law Group
To get your questions answered, call Zinda Law Group at 303-225-9846 today for a free consultation with a Denver car accident attorney. We can help you understand the legal process and help fight to seek the compensation you may be entitled to. Our firm also operates on a contingency fee basis. That means if we don’t win your case, you don’t pay us anything.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.