Can You Sue an Uber Driver if You are Injured in an Accident?

Man using Uber app before car accident.

This article was last updated: November 28th, 2022

If you or your loved one has been seriously injured in a Uber accident, you may have a right to sue the Uber driver for your damages. You will need to bring a lawsuit within the statute of limitations in the state where the car accident occurred. You also need to obtain medical attention as soon as possible after the accident to protect your legal right to recover damages. Victims of Uber accidents can pursue compensation for their past and future medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages they have incurred because of their injuries. This is true whether or not the Uber driver caused the accident. Other liable parties could be financially responsible for the victim’s injuries. 

Suing an Uber driver is more difficult than many people realize. Proving liability and pursuing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit can be challenging. Working with an experienced attorney can help you preserve your legal rights and obtain the most amount of compensation possible for your injuries. The attorneys at Stanley Law Offices are prepared to thoroughly investigate your Uber accident case, determine who is at fault, and aggressively pursue the full and fair amount of compensation to which you are entitled. 

 

Determining Who is at Fault

As a passenger injured in an Uber accident, you have the right to pursue a lawsuit against the Uber driver and potentially the company itself. If another third party contributed to or caused the accident, you also have a right to pursue compensation from the third-party driver. For example, if a third-party driver was speeding and your Uber driver was texting when the accident occurred, they are both at fault for the accident. You have a right to pursue compensation from both of them for your damages. Determining who is at fault is the crucial first step in developing an effective legal strategy to recover compensation. 

 

The Uber Driver Was at Fault for the Accident

If the Uber driver caused the accident, you could begin starting a legal claim against the Uber driver. However, recovering the full amount of your damages may be challenging if the Uber driver only kept their private car insurance policy. Personal auto insurance policies are not applicable when a driver is involved in a commercial purpose under most insurance policies. Driving for Uber is considered a commercial purpose and may invalidate the driver’s personal insurance policy. However, Uber’s insurance coverage will generally cover passengers who become injured because of negligent Uber drivers. As a result, the rideshare insurance company is usually the best option for pursuing compensation for your injuries.  

 

The Uber Driver Was Not at Fault for the Accident

If you were injured in an Uber accident and your Uber driver was not at fault, you can pursue a claim against the operator of the third-party vehicle who was at fault. New York and many other states require all drivers to maintain a certain level of insurance in case accidents occur. Uber is legally required to have a certain amount of insurance coverage to protect the rights of passengers injured in accidents caused by third-party drivers.

 

Understanding How Uber’s Insurance Policy Works

Whether or not an insurance policy will cover your damages depends on the stage of the Uber ride at which the accident occurs. One of the most confusing aspects of uber car accident cases involved deciphering Uber’s insurance policy. Uber has three different amounts of insurance coverage. The amount to which you may be entitled depends on the point at which the accident occurred during the rideshare.

 

The Uber Driver Was “Off the Clock”

When the accident occurred while the Uber driver was off the clock, Uber’s insurance policy will not cover any damages. ‘Off-the-clock’ means that the Uber driver was not currently logged into the app and could not accept customers’ fares. The Uber driver’s own auto insurance policy will apply during this time. Just because a vehicle with an Uber sticker hits you does not mean Uber’s insurance coverage will provide you with compensation. Drivers are required to maintain minimum amounts of car insurance coverage. 

Suppose an off-duty Uber driver was driving while intoxicated and collided with your vehicle, causing you injuries. In that case, you could not hold Uber accountable or utilize its insurance policy because the driver was not working on behalf of Uber at the time of the accident. If you have been seriously injured, the Uber driver’s insurance coverage may not be enough to cover all of your medical expenses, lost income, and other damages. 

Suppose you have your own uninsured or underinsured policy. In that case, you can file a claim with your own insurance company for the remaining damages that the Uber driver’s personal insurance policy will not cover. Additionally, if there are other parties who are liable for your injuries, you may be able to collect damages from them. Discussing your case with an attorney can help you identify the best strategy for recovering compensation if the Uber driver who caused your accident was off the clock.

 

The Uber Driver is on Duty but Between Rideshares

The next category involves drivers between rideshare customers. Uber will provide minimal insurance coverage if an Uber driver is logged into the Uber app and is waiting for a customer’s request to accept. Uber will add the following amounts of insurance coverage to the driver’s personal insurance coverage:

  • $50,000 per person
  • $100,000 per accident in liability coverage
  • $25,000 in property coverage

When the accident occurred while the driver was on the clock and logged into the app but waiting for a passenger, your claim will primarily be against the Uber driver, not the company. In this case, Uber will try to deny all liability because its driver did not have a paying customer at the time of the accident. An attorney can help you ensure that Uber’s contingency insurance will cover some of your damages if the driver’s personal coverage is not enough.

 

The Uber Driver is Carrying a Passenger

Passengers will be able to utilize the maximum amount of Uber’s insurance coverage if an accident happens when they are in the vehicle for a ride. In this case, $1 million in liability and $1 million in property damage coverage will be available to you. The amount of insurance you can draw depends on multiple factors, including whether you are a passenger or not and whether the driver was on the clock. 

Additionally, just because you were entitled to insurance coverage does not mean Uber’s insurance provider will offer you a fair settlement amount. Insurance companies regularly try to minimize Insurance payouts even when their drivers are at fault. Suppose you have been seriously injured while an Uber driver was driving you as a passenger. In that case, it is crucial that you work with an attorney who can negotiate to obtain the most possible for your damages from Uber’s insurance provider.

 

You Can Sue an Uber Driver if You are a Passenger Who is Injured

As discussed above, Uber passengers can bring a lawsuit against the Uber driver in certain circumstances. If your Uber driver logged into the app and transported you as a customer, Uber has a $ 1 million insurance policy to cover your injuries. Since you are the passenger, you will not be considered at fault for the accident. When you file a claim, the insurance claim will be against Uber itself, not the individual driver. There are two avenues to pursue compensation. You can file an insurance claim with Uber’s insurance provider. If you can successfully obtain a fair settlement using this option, you will not need to bring a lawsuit against the Uber driver or Uber itself. 

However, a lawsuit may be necessary if the insurance company is acting in bad faith or Uber’s insurance policy does not cover you. Suing Uber directly can be difficult because most Uber drivers work as independent contractors rather than traditional employees. However, bringing a lawsuit against Uber may be possible, depending on your case. 

 

What Should I Do if an Uber Driver Injuries Me in a Car Accident?

The steps you take after being involved in any car accident, especially in a rideshare accident, can help or hurt your claim for compensation. In rideshare accidents, you may be dealing with multiple at-fault parties. The statements you make can hurt your claim for compensation, even if they are due to the shock and adrenaline of the accident. For example,  Stating that you have zero injuries at the accident scene could hurt you, especially if your injuries become more apparent after the adrenaline from the accident wears off.

 

Call for Emergency Medical Assistance

The first step you should take is to call for emergency medical assistance. If you are not sure how serious your injuries are, you should still call for assistance. Many types of injuries may not appear immediately after the accident. It is important that you undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation. If you do not go to the hospital, schedule an appointment as soon as possible with your position. Keep all your medical information, attend your doctor’s appointments, and take all your prescribed medication. Taking these steps can help you prove that the Uber accident caused severe injuries and that you are doing everything in your power to recover.

 

Gather Evidence if You Can Do So Safely

If you are severely injured, do not try to move. Wait for help. However, suppose you can safely move around. In that case, you should scan the area and take photographs of the accident, Road marks, property damage, injuries, and anything else that could factor into your case. You should also exchange contact information with those who witnessed the accident, including their name, email address, and phone number.

 

Gather the Uber Driver’s Contact Information

Obtaining your Uber driver’s contact information is crucial. Even if you already have access to that information through your phone app, you should still write down the driver’s contact information separately. Ensure you write down the Uber driver’s name, email, and phone number.

 

Take Screenshots of the Uber App

You should also take screenshots of your Uber app on your phone. Doing so can help preserve evidence of your driver’s name, ride details, and payment receipt. Do not trust the Uber app to maintain all this important information.

 

Proving Liability in an Uber Accident Case

Proving liability is important in recovering compensation. Whether you pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit, you will need to prove who was at fault for the accident. Undergoing a thorough investigation will help you gather evidence. Your attorney can advise you on which party or parties are liable for your injuries. If you plan on filing a claim with Uber’s insurance policy, you will need to prove that the driver was transporting you when the accident occurred. To recover contingency insurance coverage, you will need to show that The Uber driver was logged into the app when the accident occurred. 

At the accident scene, it is difficult to prove the Uber driver’s status, including whether they were available for rides. Make sure you exchange information with the Uber driver and your attorney to investigate the Uber driver’s status later after you have obtained medical treatment. Depending on the facts of your case, your attorney may file a claim against the driver and the company, and they will begin investigating and trying to prove who was liable. 

Uber may try to stall and not provide you with a definitive answer as to whether the driver was available for fairs at the time. In that case, it is crucial that you have an attorney holding the company accountable and working diligently on your behalf. Uber has extensive staff and attorneys and may work to underpay you. Having your own attorney levels the playing field significantly. 

 

Damages Available in Uber Accident Lawsuits

If you have been injured in an Uber accident, it is important that you understand which type of damages are available for you. There are two main categories of damages available in personal injury lawsuits: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are easily quantifiable damages that result from your medical injuries. Economic damages include tangible expenses, including the following:

  • Current, future, and ongoing medical care
  • Current, future, and ongoing income loss
  • Travel expenses to and from medical treatments
  • In-home domestic support and medical expenses
  • Property damage

In addition to economic damages, you can also pursue non-economic damages for the pain and suffering you have endured from your injuries. For example, suppose you suffered a severe bone fracture that requires multiple surgeries and has limited your mobility. In that case, you can recover compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured while healing from the bone fracture. You can also obtain compensation for your loss of enjoyment of life due to your injuries. 

 

Punitive Damages

In some cases, plaintiffs can pursue additional punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from engaging in similarly risky and harmful behavior. To recover punitive damages, you will need to show that the driver acted intentionally or recklessly. Drinking while driving is an example of reckless behavior that could result in punitive damages.

 

Wrongful Death Lawsuits Involving Uber Drivers

Unfortunately, some rideshare accidents cause devastating and fatal injuries. If your loved one was fatally injured in an Uber accident, you have a right to pursue compensation. While nothing can bring your loved one back, pursuing a lawsuit can help you hold the negligent party responsible add help you move forward with your family’s financial expenses. You can recover compensation for your loved one’s medical expenses and the cost of their funeral and burial before they pass away. You can also pursue compensation for your lack of companionship, Consortium, society, and guidance. Finally, you can pursue compensation for your loved one’s loss of earning capacity for your family, which is especially important if your loved one is one of the main wage earners in your family.

 

How Much is My Uber Accident Case Worth?

At the very early stages of your case, it can be difficult to accurately estimate the amount of damages to which he may be entitled. For example, you may discover that your injuries are more expensive as you begin the rehabilitation process. The best way to determine your case’s value is to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who can provide you with a rough estimate. An attorney can work with you and medical and financial experts to carefully estimate the full amount of medical expenses you will incur in the future. 

Generally, the more severe and permanent the injury, the more damages a plaintiff can obtain. For example, suppose you suffered a traumatic brain injury and can no longer work because of your ongoing symptoms. In that case, your case’s value will be much higher than someone who recovered relatively quickly. Catastrophic injuries can result in millions of dollars in medical expenses over a person’s lifetime, especially if the person is young when the accident occurred. It is crucial that you work with experts to develop a starting point for your damages before you accept a settlement agreement. 

Only sign a settlement agreement once you have discussed it with your attorney. Insurance companies for defendants are notorious for making far too low settlement offers and pressuring injury victims into accepting them out of desperation. Your attorney will be able to advise you as to whether you may be entitled to more compensation and negotiate aggressively to increase the settlement amount on your behalf. Ultimately, the specific facts of your case and your injuries will determine the amount of damages you can obtain. 

 

How Long Do I Have to Sue an Uber Driver?

You only have a limited amount of time to file a personal injury lawsuit for damages. The time limitation is referred to as a statute of limitations. In New York, victims generally only have three years from the date of the Uber accident to file a lawsuit. There are some exceptions, such as a minor being injured in the accident, but in most cases, the time limit is three years. You must file a lawsuit before the deadline to avoid being barred from pursuing a lawsuit at any time in the future. 

 

Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney? 

Pursuing litigation can seem overwhelming, especially as you recover from serious injuries. Nonetheless, it is important that you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. Uber car accident cases can be complicated. 

There may be multiple at-fault parties. Uber has a team of attorneys who aggressively defend them in car accident cases. The sooner you reach out to an attorney, the sooner your attorney can begin gathering evidence for your claim. If you wait too long to begin your case, you could risk losing evidence supporting your claim, such as

  • Surveillance footage
  • Reliable witness testimony
  • Photos of the accident scene
  • Dashcam footage

Proving liability in your case may be even more challenging as time passes because witnesses forget what happened, and evidence becomes more difficult to track down. The sooner you reach out to an experienced attorney, the better your chances of obtaining the full and fair compensation you deserve. 

 

Schedule a Free, No-Obligation Consultation with a Skilled Attorney

Rideshare accidents can be among the most complicated type of car accidents when pursuing a compensation claim. Working with experienced attorneys levels the playing field and allows Uber accident victims to pursue the total compensation they deserve. You only have a limited time to file a claim in New York, so the sooner you reach out to a personal injury attorney, the better. Reach out to Stanley Law Offices today to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation. 

One of our skilled attorneys will carefully review the facts of your case, help you understand your legal options, and provide you with an estimate of the value of your case. We only take payment from our clients once we have successfully obtained compensation on their behalf. Contact the New York Uber accident attorneys at Stanley Law Offices today to schedule your free case evaluation.

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