Whether it’s riding home safely after a night out with friends, getting a lift to the airport or avoiding parking hassles at a busy venue, taking an Uber is a popular way to get around Southern California.
However, just like any other mode of transportation, sometimes accidents happen. If you have been a passenger in an Uber accident, you may not be sure what to do. Our Riverside car accident lawyers at The JLF Firm can help.
What Should a Passenger in an Uber Accident Do First?
If you have an accident while in an Uber, you must take many of the same steps as you would after any other car accident.
Check for injuries
The first thing to do after an Uber passenger accident is to check yourself and anyone else in the car for injuries. Some injuries, such as cuts, scrapes, and broken bones, may be immediately obvious. However, adrenaline or shock in the immediate aftermath of an accident can mask pain and soft tissue injuries often don’t cause symptoms until 24-48 hours after the injury.
Even if you don’t think anyone has a serious injury, it is a good idea to contact emergency services. Paramedics can treat any injuries that were not immediately apparent or were more severe than initially believed.
Additionally, you need to file a police report. If you use the in-app emergency button in the Uber Safety Toolkit, the app will provide you with your location and the Uber driver’s vehicle information, which you can relay to the dispatcher to help the first responders find you.
If you aren’t seriously injured, gather evidence that will help you file a claim against the responsible party as a passenger in an Uber accident. Take photos of the crash scene, all involved vehicles and your injuries.
Ask the Uber driver and the driver of any other vehicles involved for contact and insurance information. Write down the make, model, color and license plate numbers of the vehicles.
Get contact information for any other passengers in the vehicles and any witnesses. Get the responding officer’s name and badge number and ask for the police report number so you can get a copy.
Get medical treatment
If you have serious injuries, go to the emergency room. Otherwise, schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor or go to an urgent care clinic.
See a doctor even if you don’t think your injuries are serious. Your medical care provider may find injuries that you missed, and medical records are important documentation for your claim.
Hire an Uber accident lawyer
Uber passenger accident claims can be more complex than a typical auto accident. Trying to deal with multiple insurance companies on your own could damage your case.
Because anything you say to an insurance adjuster, Uber or the other party’s attorney could damage your claim, it is a good idea to talk to a lawyer before you talk to anyone else about your accident. An Uber accident attorney can help you determine who is liable for your injuries and how to get compensation.
Whose Insurance Should a Passenger in an Uber Accident File a Claim With?
The insurance company or companies you must file a claim with depends on who caused the accident. Passengers are rarely at fault for an accident, so your own insurance will likely not cover the accident.
However, if you have medical payments coverage on your policy, it may apply to your medical bills. To determine who covers the rest, you must first determine who is at fault.
Uber driver at fault
If the driver of the Uber you were riding in caused the accident, you can sue the driver. However, personal auto insurance typically does not cover rideshare drivers while they are working.
California law requires Uber to provide a minimum of $1 million in liability coverage for injuries, deaths and property damage its drivers cause while transporting passengers. Additionally, the law makes Uber’s coverage primary, so even if the driver has applicable coverage, Uber’s insurance will pay first in most cases.
Uber driver not at fault
If someone else caused the accident, you can sue them or file a claim against their insurance in the same way you would if someone caused an accident while you were driving your own vehicle. However, California law only requires drivers to carry $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident in liability coverage. This may not be enough if the accident caused serious injuries.
Additionally, almost 17% of California drivers do not have insurance. Fortunately, California law requires Uber to provide $1 million in uninsured and underinsured liability coverage. As a result, if the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance coverage to pay your damages, you can file a claim against Uber for the remainder.
Multiple drivers share some fault
Except for rear-end accidents, all drivers involved in an accident usually share some portion of the blame.
California’s pure comparative negligence laws make all drivers responsible for damages proportionate to their share of the fault. For example, if your Uber driver is 50% at fault and another driver is 50% at fault, you would need to file a claim against both drivers for 50% of your damages.
What Damages Can a Passenger in an Uber Accident Recover?
You can recover your economic losses, such as the cost of your medical bills, lost wages, reduced future earnings and property damage. You can also recover compensation for pain and suffering, permanent disability, disfigurement, mental anguish and other non-economic losses.
If a loved one died because of an accident that happened while riding as a passenger in an Uber, you can pursue a wrongful death claim. In rare cases, the court may also impose punitive damages to punish the at-fault driver for outrageous or wrongful conduct.
Where Can a Passenger in an Uber Accident Get Help?
If you were a passenger in an Uber accident, the experienced personal injury lawyers at The JLF Firm can help. We will investigate your accident, gather evidence, prepare your claim or lawsuit, estimate your damages and help you pursue recovery from the at-fault party or Uber. Contact us today, at 888-341-3071 or online to schedule a free initial consultation.