Uber rideshare drivers and their vehicles get into countless car and pedestrian accidents across the country every day. Fortunately, Uber has a liability policy with over $1 million in coverage to compensate rideshare passengers and other drivers. If you are seriously injured due to the negligence of an Uber driver, the accident attorneys at Miller & Zois can help you get the maximum amount of compensation for your injury claim against Uber.
Common Causes of Uber Rideshare Car Accidents
Uber drivers are very commonplace these days. They have basically replaced taxi cabs is most areas of the country. The large number of Uber rideshare drivers on the roads means that they are involved in car accidents with increasing frequency.
Uber rideshare drivers are not professionals, they don’t get any special driving training or have commercial licenses. Uber drivers are likely to get into vehicle accidents for all the same general reasons as other drivers. Some of the more common causes of Uber rideshare car accidents include:
- Fatigued driving
- Distracted driving
- Carelessness/disregard of traffic laws
- Drunk driving
Uber rideshare drivers do face some challenges behind the wheel that other drivers do not. Uber drivers have to operate their vehicles while dealing with increased stress levels, fatigue, and significant distractions. Uber drivers have to navigate to new, unfamiliar destinations and use their navigational app while at the same time trying to entertain strangers in their vehicles. The driver gets to positive ratings and reviews from passengers also can push Uber drivers to take unnecessary risks.
Uber drivers also have to contend with the added distraction of monitoring their Uber driver app to scout for their next passenger. Given these circumstances, it is hardly a surprise that Uber vehicles get into auto accidents on a very regular basis.
Common Types of Uber Rideshare Auto Accidents
Uber rideshare drivers tend to get into the same types of auto collisions as most other drivers. Uber drivers are particularly more prone to certain types of accidents more than others. Common Uber accident types include:
Injuries in Uber Rideshare Car Accidents
The types of physical injuries that are common in Uber rideshare accidents are pretty much the same as in other car accident cases, except that passengers are more frequently involved in Uber accidents. Just like in regular accident cases, physical injuries to drivers and passengers in Uber accidents can range from minor to very severe, and everything in between.
Our Uber rideshare accident lawyers can help you get the most compensation for any type of physical injury incurred in the accident, including:
Herniated Discs: A herniated disc injury is very common in auto accidents, especially high-impact collisions in which one vehicle is stationary (e.g., rear-end collisions). A disc herniated can occur in the cervical or lumbar region and cause chronic pain. Steroid injections, physical therapy, and in serious cases fusion surgery are the common treatment options. The average settlement payout in herniated disc accident cases is around $65,000 to $110,000.
Back / Neck Sprains: back sprains and neck sprains (whiplash) are the most common type of injury in auto accidents, particularly rear-end collisions. Although these injuries are usually relatively minor, some cases can be very serious and cause chronic, debilitating pain. The average settlement value for whiplash in auto accident cases ranges from $6,000 to $25,000 depending on the severity.
Bone Fractures: Bone fractures can occur even in relatively low speed auto accidents. The most common types of fractures we see in Uber auto accidents are broken ribs, leg fractures, and arm fractures.
Pain & Suffering: In addition to the physical injuries suffered in a Uber rideshare accident, accident victims are also entitled to compensation for mental pain and suffering associated with those physical injuries. This can often be a big part of the total settlement.
Holding Uber Rideshare Drivers Liable for Accidents
Holding an Uber rideshare driver liable in an auto accident case is somewhat more complicated than establishing liability in a normal accident case. Fault for an accident is determined based on the same traffic rules as all other drivers. The more involved issue, however, is whether Uber (and its big liability policy) or the individual driver (and their smaller policy) has financial liability.
Uber rideshare drivers are independent contractors, not employees, which means that Uber is not automatically liable whenever one of these drivers causes an accident, even if they are at fault. All Uber drivers are required to carry their own personal auto insurance policy. The big Uber insurance policy applies in certain cases and when it doesn’t apply you have to go after the driver’s personal insurance.
When Does Uber’s Liability Coverage Apply?
In any Uber rideshare car accident case, a critical issue is always going to be whether Uber or the driver has direct financial liability for the plaintiff’s injuries. In certain cases (particularly cases involving very serious injuries and large potential damages) the answer to this question can have a huge impact on the potential value of your case.
Why does this matter? If Uber has direct liability, then their large liability insurance policy applies, which has a limit of over $1 million per occurrence. By contrast, if the driver is personally liable for the accident, only the driver’s personal auto insurance is available and that will a much lower policy limit (potentially as low as $20,000 to 30,000).
When Does Uber’s Liability Insurance Apply?
If your injuries occurred while you were a passenger in an Uber rideshare, then Uber’s liability insurance coverage always applies. Uber always has direct liability for injuries to passengers.
When an Uber driver causes injuries to other drivers, Uber’s liability (and the application of its insurance) will turn on the status of the Uber driver at the time the accident occurs.
Uber provides insurance coverage for their drivers during different stages of their ride or delivery. When a driver is offline or the Uber driver app is off, the driver’s personal insurance policy applies. When the driver is “available” to accept passengers or waiting for a ride or delivery request, Uber provides third-party liability coverage, but only IF the driver’s personal auto insurance doesn’t apply.
When the Uber driver is picking up or has a passenger in the vehicle, Uber has direct liability and will provide third-party liability coverage, uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury and/or first-party injury insurance, and contingent comprehensive and collision coverage with up to the actual cash value of the car with a $2,500 deductible.
What Damages Can You Get in a Uber Rideshare Accident Case?
Our experienced car accident lawyers can help make sure that you get maximum compensation by including all available types of damages in your case. Common Uber rideshare accident damages include:
- Lost Income: past and future lost wages or lost/reduced income caused by injuries suffered in the accident can be included in damages.
- Medical Expenses: damages can be awarded for all past and future medical treatment expenses for injuries caused by the accident, even if these expenses are paid by health insurance.
- Pain & Suffering: plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for mental pain and suffering caused by the injuries they suffered in the accident. This can be a very big portion of your overall settlement.
Possible Uber Class Action Lawsuit Looms
Uber is confronting a slew of lawsuits claiming sexual assaults by its drivers. Though there’s talk of consolidating these lawsuits, Uber is pushing against it, asserting that the terms agreed upon by riders prohibit joint claims.
What’s the backstory on the potential group lawsuit against Uber for sexual assaults? A group of plaintiffs wants all Uber assault cases combined and handled by a single federal judge in the Northern District of California. It is cheaper and easier for plaintiffs – and arguably Uber – to consolidate the cases and depose the key Uber witnesses just one time.
The key challenge for plaintiffs is numbers. For a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) – often confused with class action and we are adding to the confusion here – a large number of plaintiffs is necessary. The MDL Panel wants consolidation to impact a large number of people. But The plaintiffs’ motion for MDL consolidation hints at possibly thousands of similar lawsuits waiting to be filed against Uber. Their argument is that consolidating the cases would provide uniformity in pretrial decisions and make the legal process more efficient.
However, Uber remains defiant against such consolidation. On August 18, 2023, they filed their opposition which highlighted their terms of service – which every user agrees to without even knowing what it says – that mandates claims be pursued individually, not collectively. Such clauses can be seen as unfair, especially to users unaware of what they’re agreeing to.
How many cases are accusing Uber of sexual misconduct? Precise numbers are unclear, but the MDL motion cites over 22 lawsuits spanning 11 federal jurisdictions that make similar accusations, chiefly that Uber’s lax safety measures created opportunities for drivers with malicious intent.
Uber Rideshare Car Accident Settlements & Verdicts
Below are summaries of verdicts and publicly reported settlements in prior auto accident cases involving Uber rideshare drivers.
$90,000 Verdict (Pennsylvania 2023): The plaintiff, a 29-year-old female, was injured in a collision while driving as an Uber driver. The plaintiff reported injuries of C2-C5 and L4-L5 disc herniations leading to cervical and lumbar radiculopathy, as well as a concussion with headaches. She received a policy limit settlement from the at-fault driver, and then sought additional compensation under Uber’s UIM coverage.
$100,000 Settlement (New York 2022): The plaintiff, nine years old, reportedly was a pedestrian at or near an intersection, emerged from between two parked vehicles, and was struck by a vehicle operated by an Uber driver on his way to pick up a passenger. The plaintiff suffered a fracture of the shaft of the left femur and underwent surgical repair. Uber was directly liable based on the status of the driver at the time of the accident.
$575,665 Verdict (Iowa 2021): The plaintiff was a passenger in the back seat of an Uber vehicle when the vehicle was struck by another car that was drag racing nearby. The plaintiff suffered significant injuries, including aggravating of a shoulder injury. He settled with the at-fault driver for policy limits and then pursued a UIM claim against Uber.
$15,000 Settlement (New York 2021): Plaintiff, a minor, was a passenger in a car when it was struck by an Uber vehicle while carrying a rideshare passenger. The plaintiff claimed various back injuries and Uber settled the claim.
New Appellate Court Ruling on Arbitration
In a recent decision by the Pennsylvania Superior Court in July 2023, the court overturned a prior judgment mandating arbitration in a lawsuit against Uber brought by a couple who argued their consent to Uber’s terms and conditions did not constitute a legitimate agreement to arbitrate.
In this case, a woman who uses a wheelchair for mobility assistance had utilized Uber’s app to secure transportation home from a medical appointment. The responding driver secured the woman’s wheelchair with pre-positioned retractable hooks but failed to provide her with a seatbelt, despite her request. During the ride, the driver allegedly made an aggressive left-hand turn, causing the woman to fall out of her wheelchair and strike her head, resulting in her losing consciousness.
The question is whether she could be held to an arbitration clause she agreed to using the app. The court, reinforcing an earlier opinion by a three-judge panel, said no. The court, thankfully, was concern about the prevalence of such arbitration agreements in digital contracts and their potential impact on the right to a jury trial, especially when one party holds significant bargaining power and voided the agreement.
Hire a Uber Accident Lawyer
Miller & Zois handles major auto accident cases across the country. If you have an accident claim against Uber (or Uber) or another rideshare company, contact our accident lawyers today for a free consultation. Call us at 800-553-8082 or contact us online.