Injured in an Uber Accident in Orange County? Determining Who is at Fault
Jumping in a car with a complete stranger is not only common now, but its commonplace and even expected when you are in a new city or need a ride to an airport. Millions of people utilize the services of Uber as a quick way to get to their destination. Other companies have now copied this business model, such as Lyft, allowing millions of people to obtain rides immediately from wherever they are located.
Potential liabilities exist for Uber drivers and their passengers. Uber drivers operate their own personal vehicles, and as such, are often driving cars that have the potential to be under a manufacturer’s recall notice. Additionally, car accidents can happen in any vehicle at any time.
If you have been in a car accident as an Uber passenger, knowing who is at fault, and knowing how to receive compensation for your injuries can be legally challenging. Contacting an experienced car attorney can help you understand your rights, and help you receive compensation for your injuries.
What is Uber?
Uber is by far the most popular “ride share” company, providing millions of rides a year to passengers. Uber drivers are independent contractors and not official employees of Uber. The drivers are technically a third-party provider that work under the Uber name. This classification is important because legally Uber can avoid some liability when accidents occur.
Unlike a taxi service, Uber drivers use their own vehicles to transport passengers and no commercial driver’s license is required. While Uber inspects each vehicle before approving them to operate and transport passengers, oftentimes safety issues can be overlooked.
Who Does a Passenger Sue After an Uber Accident?
As in the case in any car accident, the important determination regarding fault must be established by determining which driver caused the accident. Typically, the driver that caused the accident is considered to be “at-fault” and therefore responsible for any damages or injuries that occurred from the accident. Some insurance companies do offer auto insurance policy coverage for Uber drivers. Other insurance companies will not cover any type of “commercial driving,” including Uber drivers.
In California, fault in an automobile accident is based on a pure comparative negligence standard, which means that you can recover from any party who was negligent in causing the accident to the degree their actions directly caused your damages.
- Other Driver Causes the Crash. If it is determined that the other driver caused the car accident, an Uber passenger will file an injury claim against that driver’s insurance provider to obtain compensation for medical bills, financial losses, and any pain and suffering. Insurance providers, however, are often reticent to pay out large claims, and having an experienced Uber accident attorney can help you negotiate your settlement and obtain fair compensation for your injuries.
- Uber Driver Causes the Crash. If the Uber driver caused the car accident, your personal injury claim should be filed against the Uber driver’s insurance. In some cases, the driver’s personal insurance will not cover their actions as an Uber driver. In these circumstances, the Uber passenger will need to file a claim against Uber’s insurance policy that does cover its drivers. In these specific cases, Uber does identify its drivers as actual employees and they are covered by insurance.
It is important to note that even if the Uber driver did not cause the car accident if the other driver does not have insurance, an Uber passenger may still possibly receive compensation from Uber by filing an underinsurance insurance claim as an Uber passenger.
Determining which driver is at fault, or if both drivers were at fault can involve complex analysis, witness statements, police reports, and even crash expert witnesses. Before signing any settlement agreements with any insurance company, contact an experienced car accident attorney to learn about your rights and how to obtain compensation from the correct insurance company for your injuries.
Steps to Take after an Accident in an Uber in Orange County
- Call 911. Obtain an accident report or a copy of the accident report. Accept medical care if it is offered by medical experts in an ambulance. Never dismiss or minimize your injuries and allow a medical professional to make health determinations regarding your injuries.
- Obtain Documentation. Although you are not the driver, if you are able to obtain witness information or take photographs of the scene of the accident, they may prove useful to your personal injury claim at a later date. Keep thorough notes regarding the accident and any additional injuries that you notice after the incident.
- Do Not Take Blame. Under no circumstance should you offer any kind of information that you were to blame as a passenger in the Uber. Always be honest with the police but avoid unintentionally mentioning that you may be to blame in any way if that is not the clear truth.
- Seek Medical Treatment. One of the most important things you can do after an accident as an Uber passenger is to seek medical treatment as soon as possible, especially if you were not evaluated at the time of the accident. Even if you do not feel you have been injured severely, oftentimes serious medical conditions cannot be evaluated properly without the experience of a medical professional. Additionally, this official medical evaluation will become an essential part of your personal injury claim if you decide to seek legal recourse regarding your injuries.
Injured in an Uber? Consult an Experienced Lawyer Today
Automobile accidents can result in serious and permanent physical, emotional and financial damages. If you were in an automobile accident as an Uber passenger, it is important to consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. The total value of your personal injury case depends on the totality of the circumstances and your specific damages.
From negotiating with insurance companies, to filing a lawsuit, our legal team will work to get you the maximum amount for your injuries, expenses and financial losses. If you or a loved one have been injured in an Uber accident, contact Silverthorne Attorneys today. Our knowledgeable and skilled personal injury lawyers help countless car accident victims recover the compensation for their injuries. For a complimentary consultation of your case, contact us at (949) 234-6034 or online today.