If you were injured in an Uber accident in Ohio, there are laws that protect your rights and your ability to receive compensation for injuries and lost wages. Contact Babin Law in Columbus for a free consultation.
In today's busy world, rideshare companies are considered vital to the survival of the workforce. Not only does it get people to where they need to go, but it is a better alternative to driving your own vehicle in terms of reducing traffic.
However, as more and more Uber drivers take to the roads, Uber-related vehicular accidents are also becoming more common. According to a report released by the University of Chicago, car crash fatalities increased by 3 percent after ride-sharing services were introduced.
So the likelihood of getting into a car crash involving an Uber driver is increasing with each year. As such, legal services have also adapted to the current trends, and now we have personal injury attorneys with experience in handling Uber-related cases. If you find yourself involved in an Uber-related accident, consider reaching out to an Uber accident attorney as soon as you can.
What You Should Do Following An Uber-Related Accident
So you find yourself the victim of an Uber-related accident. You're dazed and confused, but you need to take action. In many cases, personal injury claims against Uber drivers are thrown out because of lack of evidence, or the victim gets inadequate compensation - definitely not enough to justify what they've been through. Protect your rights as a victim and make sure you get the justice you deserve by taking these steps:
Alerting the authorities to the accident scene is the first thing you need to do, regardless of the severity of the situation. Police intervention has a lot of benefits, especially for the victim. With police presence, there is a decreased risk of flight from the liable driver and they're less likely to be aggressive towards you following the accident.
911 dispatchers will also call an ambulance to the scene to give you appropriate treatment. This is necessary because your safety is the most important thing of all. While you're being treated, the police officer will interrogate you, as well as the other parties involved. They may start collecting testimonies from witnesses in the area. If the other driver is uncooperative, the police officer will facilitate the exchange of contact and insurance company information.
The best thing about getting the police involved is the police report. Police officers file an accident report for each incident, which you can use to strengthen your case if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Make Sure You Are Safe
Check yourself for injuries and if the accident scene poses a danger to your safety, it's better to move aside for the moment. Once the ambulance arrives, make sure to get yourself checked and don't resist if they tell you to get medical care. Some injuries do not present themselves immediately following an accident. You may feel fine now, only to collapse later from brain injuries.
If you are up to the task, collect evidence as soon as possible. Take your phone and start taking pictures of the accident scene, as well as your injuries. Take photos of the other party, and ask for the police officer's help in getting the other party's contact information. If you can, talk to witnesses and passersby.
Call a Lawyer
If you think your crash is serious enough to bring in legal aid, don't just contact any lawyer - look for Uber accident attorneys that are experienced in handling cases against Uber drivers. If you need to be hospitalized, your lawyer can gather evidence and follow up on the police report on your behalf. They may also request video footage and talk to the insurance company of the other parties involved.
Call Your Insurance Provider
In a lot of cases, it's better to hire legal representation first because consulting your insurance adjuster. Even if you have an insurance policy, these companies are still business-minded and they won't be generous in terms of payouts. Simply notify your insurance provider of the accident because it is the law, but you can choose to have your lawyer take care of everything else, for your own well-being.
Can You Sue Uber For Damages?
Would it be possible to sue an Uber driver for damages? The answer is both yes and no. Yes, you can sue an Uber driver for damages if it is proven that they are at fault. However, there are instances where you can sue Uber, the company, directly.
The doctrine of Respondeat Superior states that anything an employee does during work hours is the liability of the company. So if a rideshare vehicle hits you, the company is also liable. In the old days, companies used to dodge liability by hiring independent contractors. Because these independent contractors are technically not employees, companies can assert that they're not liable for their contractors' faults.
However, the Supreme Court has held companies liable for the actions of their contractors in the past, and now the definition of "employee" has been expanded so that it includes independent contractors for certain situations. For example, if a company has a lot of control over how their independent contractors perform their work tasks, these contractors are no longer considered "independent", but employees of the company.
This is true when it comes to Uber services. When an Uber driver is "working", they are using the app designated by Uber. the app controls how the Uber driver works, including which routes to take, where to go, and what to do. Because of this, Uber is still liable for the actions of their contractors because they have extensive control over their employees' actions.
Taking on companies like Uber can be very difficult, even if you have sufficient evidence pointing to their driver as the at-fault driver. This is why many accident victims choose to hire a lawyer, so that they can take care of negotiations. Uber has the ability to hire a huge legal team to try to have your claims dismissed, and an experienced lawyer will negotiate to try to get you a fair settlement.
For Uber Passengers
The same is true for Uber passengers. If you were a passenger of the Uber car, you are eligible for financial compensation. The situation is a bit more complicated, so you may want to consider hiring a lawyer to let them handle the negotiations. Your rideshare accident claims will depend on who was at fault. Your lawyer may sue the owner of the other vehicle, the owner of the Uber car, Uber itself, or all of the above.
When the Uber Driver is the Victim
What happens if the Uber driver is the victim? While there are slight variations between the scenarios discussed, the course of action is still the same. For rideshare drivers, it still may be worth hiring personal injury lawyers, because the situation is just as complicated if you are the Uber driver.
In most cases, your lawyer may sue the other motor vehicle owner. This is because Ohio has a mandatory insurance law. This means all motorists should carry a personal insurance policy, and you can file a personal injury claim against the other party's insurance policy.
Aside from that, you can also get financial compensation from Uber’s Driver Injury Protection policy. The amount of compensation you will get from Uber depends on your situation:
Situation #1: If you are driving around town while your Uber app is turned off, you won't get any financial compensation from Uber if you get into an accident.
Situation #2: Your rideshare app is turned on and you're waiting for a job order to come in through the app. If you get into a vehicular accident in this situation, you can get $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for every person injured, $100,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for each accident, and $30,000 in property damage liability coverage for each accident. You are also entitled to $200,000 in additional liability insurance in situations like these.
Situation #3: Your app is open and you've just received a ride request. You get into an auto accident while fulfilling the job order. In cases like these, drivers can get $1 million from their commercial insurance policy and $1 million in uninsured motorist coverage.
While it may seem comforting to drivers to know that Uber has policies in place for situations like these, Uber has a history of denying financial compensation to drivers, or giving them inadequate compensation. Having an attorney negotiate with the company on your behalf can prove to be very beneficial.
Possible Damages That Can Be Awarded After An Accident
Victims of ridesharing accidents can receive Economic and Non-economic damages. Economic damages are monetary losses that result from out-of-pocket expenses related to the rideshare accident. Non-economic expenses are non-qualitative expenses that are usually more difficult to calculate.
- Medical Bills - This includes costs incurred due to medical treatment such as laboratory tests, room and board, diagnostics, prescription medicine and more. This benefit not only refers to on-going costs but any perceived future medical expenses such as future doctor check-ups or physical treatment.
- Property Damage - This refers to any physical asset that is damaged due to the incident. In vehicular accidents, this will most likely refer to costs related to your car repairs and parts replacement.
- Lost Wages - This refers to any income that you cannot earn because you are incapacitated. Because you are stuck in a hospital bed recuperating, you cannot go to work and therefore earn money. This is considered a financial loss, so victims will also be compensated for this.
- Loss of Earning Capacity - This is similar to lost wages, except it encompasses future earnings that may be lost because of permanent or long-term problems. In a lot of cases, victims with serious Uber accident injuries such as traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injuries suffer lifelong problems like brain defects, paralysis and even loss of limbs. In cases like these, it's normal to assume that the victim will find it difficult to return to work or seek future employment.
- Pain and Suffering - This refers to the emotional distress and trauma suffered by the victim during and after the accident.
- Loss of Quality of Life - If the victim suffers permanent brain damage, paralysis or disability, they cannot enjoy life as they once did. This benefit compensates them for a decrease in the quality of life that they enjoyed.
- Wrongful Death - In some cases, the victim doesn't recover and ends up dying. The victim's surviving family can continue the lawsuit and file a wrongful death claim against the liable party.
Hiring an Uber Accident Lawyer
The entire process of an Uber accident can be anything but simple, regardless of whether you were hit by an Uber driver, the passenger of an Uber vehicle, or the Uber driver itself. Many victims have sought maximum compensation, only to get denied because they were dealing with large ridesharing companies that can afford a team of lawyers.
Hiring an Uber accident lawyer might help give you an edge when going head-to-head with ridesharing companies. At Babin Law, we fight for the rights of our clients. Our goal is to make sure justice is served.