If you were injured in an Uber accident in Atlanta, do not hesitate to call Hasner Law for immediate legal assistance. You may have the right to seek compensation from any at-fault parties. Our experienced Atlanta Uber accident attorneys can help you fight to maximize your financial recovery. Our law firm offers a free consultation, so contact us today to schedule a time to discuss your case and options.
Overview of Uber Accident Cases
Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are an increasingly popular way to get around. But, as with all automobiles, any time you get into a car there is a risk of an accident occurring.
Now, we’re all aware that car accidents can lead to serious harm and medical issues. Injuries can include everything from minor bruising to concussions, as well as spinal damage, broken bones, and even death.
In addition, ridesharing can lead to accidents involving:
- Injuries to drivers and passengers
- Injuries to other drivers on the road
- Injuries to bicyclists and pedestrians, or
- Damage to property.
As a result, the victim of any of these types of accidents may be able to sue the person or entity responsible. Often these lawsuits are based on the negligence of another motorist or a defective or malfunctioning car part.
Who Is At Fault for the Accident?
Perhaps the most important question to ask in any personal injury lawsuit is who can be held liable for the accident. In most vehicle collision cases, this answer is often straightforward. The victim simply brings a lawsuit against the driver that caused the accident.
However, matters become more complex when the claim involves a ridesharing service, like Uber. In this case, the driver may be liable to you as a passenger or driver if he or she breached a duty that was owed to you.
There may also be grounds to sue the car or car part manufacturer if a component was found to be defective.
Now, you may be wondering whether you can sue the rideshare company directly for the actions of an Uber driver. This is a major challenge in these types of cases because Uber drivers are considered independent contractors, rather than employees. That distinction is important because when a person employed by a company does something negligently, you can typically hold the employer liable.
However, this rule does not generally apply to independent contractors. This is because these workers are not subject to the same level of control and supervision as employees. But, there are exceptions that can apply in very limited cases. For that reason, it’s important to reach out to a qualified personal injury lawyer in Atlanta for advice on these matters.
Standard of Care for Uber Drivers
As mentioned, Uber drivers owe what is known as a “duty of care” to passengers and other drivers. This is important because, in a personal injury lawsuit following a car accident, you generally must show that the person at fault was negligent.
Negligence means that an individual failed to drive as a reasonable person would under the circumstances. Therefore, as a result, the driver breached his or her duty of care.
Now, Uber drivers, like those driving for taxi companies, are held to a higher standard of care than other drivers on the road. Specifically, they are classified as “common carriers” under the law, which requires them to exercise “extraordinary diligence” when operating their vehicles.
For example, if road conditions are poor, it may be reasonable for a driver to simply slow down and proceed with caution. However, extraordinary diligence may require that an Uber driver pull over and wait until conditions improve. Failure to do so could result in a finding of negligence if an accident occurs.
Note that the rule regarding common carriers only applies to drivers that are actually working. In other words, if an Uber driver does not have passengers in his or her car and is not on the way to pick anyone up, the standard of care would only be that of a regular motorist.
Insurance for Uber Accidents
As you might imagine, nearly every car accident involves working with insurance companies. However, Uber drivers are required to carry additional coverage above that which is required of ordinary drivers. The type of coverage that applies in any case will depend on the nature of the accident.
Uber Driver on the Road for Personal Reasons
If the driver works for Uber, but was not using the vehicle for this purpose at the time of the collision, only the driver’s personal policy will apply. But, if the driver was working, his or her personal policy insurer may deny coverage on the basis that coverage will be supplied by the rideshare policy.
Driver Actively Using the Uber App For Work
These matters become complicated as it is not always clear when a driver is working. Generally speaking, picking up or driving passengers would qualify. However, there is still a tremendous gray area when it comes to a driver having the app open and looking for potential passengers, but not having accepted a request.
As mentioned, if the driver’s personal insurance denies the claim, you can instead go through the rideshare insurer. But, beware that the insurance that Uber provides is limited. The policy limit is set at $1 million, but only if the accident occurred when the driver was en route to pick someone up or while transporting passengers.
This makes matters tricky if the driver was available or waiting for a ride request when the accident occurred. In this case, if the driver’s personal policy insurer denies coverage, Uber insurance will kick in, however, the coverage is very limited.
Specifically, the policy limits are $50K for bodily injury per person, $100K bodily injury per accident, and $25K for property damage. For that reason, timing is everything and it’s important to reach out to an attorney if you are unsure about which policy and what limits apply to your case.
What Damages Can I Recover?
Generally speaking, there are two types of compensation injured parties can recover following a car accident caused by an Uber driver – economic and non-economic damages. A third type – punitive damages – aren’t typically available, but could be if you got hurt because of someone’s intentionally harmful conduct.
The first type is referred to as “economic damages” and includes any costs that are quantifiable. Common examples would be your medical bills, lost wages, property damage to your car, and travel expenses due to the loss of use of your vehicle.
There are also “non-economic damages” that may be awarded. These are based on harms that are not so easy to calculate. Examples would be things like pain and suffering and emotional anguish. Non-economic damages would also include what is known as punitive damages.
Punitive damages are amounts that go above and beyond ordinary damages and are meant to punish the person at fault. These awards can get rather large, but they only apply in cases where a driver was somehow grossly negligent or had malicious intent to cause you harm. These situations are rare when it comes to car accidents.
What to Do If You Are In an Uber Accident
Seek Medical Attention
If you are injured in a car accident in Atlanta, GA, call 911 and seek medical attention right away. It’s also important to speak with law enforcement and obtain a police report. The officer will investigate the events and take note of the condition of the people and property involved in the collision.
Gather Evidence & Insurance Information
You should also write down the names and contact information for everyone involved. This would include all drivers and passengers as well as those that may have seen the accident. These people may be called to testify as witnesses on your behalf or you may need to reach out to them for more information.
Next, take down the insurance information for all drivers. Record information related to the vehicle, such as its make and model and the license plate number. You might also consider writing down your own recollection of the accident. This would include making notes regarding the events that led up to the collision and what you believe may have caused it. Memory can fade fast, so the sooner you can record this information the better.
It’s also a good idea to take photographs of all damage caused during the accident. This would include any damage to cars, bodily injury, and any other damaged property, such as guardrails or trees.
Direct All Communication to Your Lawyer
Keep in mind that you should be careful about what information you share. Know that anything you say to the police or insurance companies can be used as evidence to deny or reduce your claim. For that reason, it’s important to contact an attorney early on in the process.
Contact Our Atlanta Uber Accident Attorneys For Help Today
As you can see, car accidents involving rideshare drivers are complex. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the process, contact an Uber accident attorney today for a free consultation.
Be aware that insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind. They are eager to settle cases as swiftly and cheaply as possible. Negotiating with these companies is difficult, and you needn’t go it alone. Our car accident attorneys will fight to get you every cent you deserve, taking your case to trial if necessary.
Don’t delay. There is a two-year deadline for filing these types of personal injury claims. This is known as the statute of limitations, and it affects your ability to bring your case. But, there are exceptions, so reach out to us even if you think you have missed the deadline.