Uber is a convenient and popular way to get around Zephyrhills. It helps prevent drunk driving, which is a very important public safety measure, but there are also safety risks associated with taking an Uber. When accidents happen, your legal rights can be at greater risk. Uber accident victims need to understand these legal rights to enforce them.
You have the right to receive fair compensation for all the injuries and losses you suffer due to a driver’s negligence. It is important to work with a Zephyrhills Uber accident lawyer who has experience handling this specific type of claim. The skilled injury team at Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers is here to help.
The Facts About Uber Usage
Uber has spread quickly across the country. Here in Florida, it has had a major economic impact on the state in just over a decade of service. The Orlando Business Journal reports that Uber’s annual gross economic impact in Florida (from the middle of 2016 to the middle of 2017) was $1.1 billion.
That doesn’t even include the impact of Uber eats or corporate offices across the state. Experts estimated Uber’s net economic impact at $134 million. This estimate includes $50 million worth of added business productivity, $78 million added to local spending, and another $6 million spent by visitors to the state.
The fact is that Uber has created a huge market share of transportation services all over the country. Here in Florida, app usage and rides continue to occur in record numbers throughout the state. This is helpful for many Florida families. Some save costs by giving up vehicles—and their costly maintenance—altogether. Others prevent drunk driving by ensuring there is a safe way home for anyone participating in activities that involve alcohol.
But, of course, there are dangers with rideshare services as well. Any mode of transportation carries the risk of being involved in an accident—and causing serious injuries that can affect a victim for the rest of his or her life.
Why Personal Insurance Coverage Isn’t Always Enough
Uber has worked very hard to ensure that it can classify its drivers as independent contractors. This prevents Uber from being vicariously liable for the negligence of its drivers. It also means that Uber drivers must carry their own personal insurance policies, and that injury victims who suffer injuries by Uber drivers must start by filing a claim on this policy. But there are many circumstances in which this coverage is simply not enough to pay for the full value of a victim’s financial losses.
The state minimum insurance limits are not very high, and Uber drivers do not have to carry more coverage simply because they use their vehicle for work. When a victim has permanent injuries or requires long-term care, a personal insurance policy might not have enough coverage to pay for the full value of the victim’s losses. Sometimes it is not even close.
How Supplemental Insurance Coverage Works
So how can an injury victim get compensation when an Uber driver does not have enough insurance coverage? Even though Uber has worked to prevent the company from being vicariously liable for the negligence of its drivers, there are still circumstances in which Uber might be liable for an accident caused by one of its drivers. Because of this, Uber has protected the company with large supplemental insurance policies.
These allow additional coverage when a driver’s personal policy is not enough to cover the full value of an injury victim’s losses. These large commercial policies have particularly high limits: in some circumstances, an injury victim can access up to a million dollars worth of supplemental coverage, in addition to the limits of the driver’s personal insurance policy coverage limits. This ensures that there is insurance coverable available to pay for all the injuries and losses that happen due to Uber drivers.
What Uber is Liable For - And What It Is Not
Uber’s supplemental insurance aims to cover those situations in which it might face liability. Because of this, it might not always be available, and our personal injury lawyers can help determine whether Uber might be liable for your injuries. There are two types of corporate liability: vicarious liability (for the negligence of someone else) and direct liability (for the company’s own negligent actions).
Vicarious liability allows an employer to be held liable for the negligent actions of its employees. Uber, however, has worked long and hard to ensure that its drivers are legally independent contractors and not employees. It has spent millions of dollars in legal fees to fight lengthy court battles on this specific issue. Classifying drivers as independent contractors not only allows Uber to avoid paying for health insurance and other employment benefits—it also protects the company from vicarious liability for accidents caused by their drivers’ negligence.
Despite this, plaintiffs can still hold Uber directly liable for its own negligence. This has been a major issue in Uber sexual assault cases. Unfortunately, some drivers have used the platform to prey on vulnerable passengers. Uber is not liable for the independent criminal actions taken by a third party. Plaintiffs can, however, hold it liable for failing to protect users from this predatory behavior.
A CNN investigation found that 103 Uber drivers faced accusations of sexually assaulting passengers in just the prior four years. (31 of these drivers already received convictions by the date of the investigation’s publication.) This shows that Uber has a widespread problem with failing to protect its passengers. It has either failed to conduct adequate background checks, or failed to respond to early reports and other warning signs of sexual violence, or failed to take adequate steps to remedy this problem. These are negligent actions on the part of Uber.
Many victims already filed civil lawsuits against Uber for its negligence in failing to protect them. But Uber’s negligence is not limited only to circumstances of sexual violence. If a driver has a bad driving record, or continues to use the platform after getting in several accidents, or has other troubling signs in his or her driving history, Uber has an obligation to protect users from this dangerous driver.
Failure to remove the driver from the platform or take other corrective action can be direct negligence by the company. In this way, Uber can be held liable for injuries caused by a driver with a history of bad driving.
Other Insurance Coverage
An Uber driver’s personal auto insurance policy and corporate supplemental insurance are not the only ways that injury victims can be compensated for injuries sustained in an Uber accident. There are also coverages from your own auto insurance policy that might cover injuries you suffer in an Uber.
State law requires Florida drivers to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) on their auto insurance policies. This coverage pays up to $10,000 for injuries the driver sustains in an auto accident—even if they sustain injuries in someone else’s vehicle. PIP also covers injuries sustained while walking or riding a bicycle.
PIP also covers passengers in the covered vehicle who do not have their own PIP coverage, so even if you do not have your own vehicle, the Uber driver’s personal auto insurance policy should have PIP coverage that applies to his or her passengers. Florida drivers can also add optional coverages to their auto insurance policy. One of these is coverage for injuries caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. If you suffer injuries due to a driver who does not have insurance, or your injuries exceed the limits of the driver’s insurance coverage, you may have a UM/UIM claim under your own auto insurance policy.
Other Potential Defendants
In addition to insurance policies, your injury lawyer will also work to identify all potential defendants who may have a legal obligation to compensate you for your injuries. This, too, uncovers potential sources of compensation to which you are entitled. In some cases, the driver is not at fault for an Uber accident.
If, for example, the accident happened due to faulty brakes, you might have a product liability claim against the vehicle manufacturer. If another driver in a work vehicle hit your Uber, their employer could be vicariously liable for the costs of that worker’s negligence.
These are just two of many examples in which an Uber accident involves other third-party defendants. Injury victims who try to handle their claims without a lawyer may not know how to find all liable defendants—or how to prove that they were, indeed, at fault for the accident. This is why injury victims must hire a Florida car accident lawyer who has experience handling Uber cases.
Why Your Legal Rights Can Be At Greater Risk When an Auto Accident Involves an Uber
There are many moving parts in an Uber accident case. There could be multiple defendants, multiple insurance companies, multiple theories of liability, and multiple legal claims involved in a single case. Unfortunately, all these moving parts can jeopardize an injury victim’s right to compensation.
Defendants’ lawyers and insurance companies will try to find any reason to deflect blame. If there are other defendants or legal claims involved, this creates an opportunity to argue that someone other than their client was at fault for the accident, and they, therefore, have no legal obligation to compensate you for your injuries and losses.
When there are multiple insurance policies involved, the attorneys might argue that their client was at fault, but the other insurance policy applies to the claim, to prevent their own insurance company from being liable. The simple fact is that the more complicated a case becomes, the more chances there are for your legal rights to be placed in jeopardy.
The solution to this problem is simple. By hiring your own lawyer, you will have an advocate at every step of the claims process. Your Uber accident lawyer will counter these arguments and stop any attempt to get out of paying. If the claim becomes too complicated to resolve through settlement negotiations, your attorney may take the case to a jury and let your peers hear why you are entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses.
With a lawyer in your corner, you may rest assured that a professional will be there to protect your legal rights and that an insurance company will not jeopardize those rights. Their experienced claims adjusters receive extensive training in how to pay as little as possible on as few claims as possible. Their armies of lawyers then defend these decisions to help the insurance company’s bottom line. Injury victims need their own advocate who knows how to stand up to these tricks and tactics.
Zephyrhills Uber Accident FAQs
Uber and other rideshare technologies have become extremely popular in recent years. The convenience and widespread availability of these services help to keep drunk drivers off the road and get everyone they need to go as easily as possible. However, when an auto accident occurs that involves an Uber driver or vehicle, there can be legal complications that threaten an injury victim’s legal right to compensation.
This is why you need to hire a Zephyrhills uber accident lawyer with experience handling these unique claims. Learn more about Uber accidents, the unique legal issues that arise with these legal claims, and how an injury lawyer can work to protect your legal rights throughout the claims process.
What should I say to Uber about my Zephyrhills case?
It is important not to say or do anything that could hurt your claim. This is why the insurance company cannot contact you about your injury claim once they get notice that you have counsel. At that point, all communications must go through your attorney’s office. If Uber contacts you about the accident, simply let them know the name and phone number of your injury lawyer. If you haven’t hired an attorney, you can let them know that your attorney will be in contact soon.
If you are a passenger in an Uber, there is a function on the app that allows you to report an accident. It will ask basic questions about when and where the accident occurred. It is fine to fill this out. Once you do, however, you should prepare for Uber to contact you about the accident. You do not have to discuss the accident with them without your attorney. Insurance companies also commonly ask for a recorded statement about the accident. Again, you do not have to do this without your lawyer.
How is a Zephyrhills Uber accident claim different from other accident claims?
On paper, an Uber injury is an auto accident case. It involves auto insurance policies and the same legal theories (driver negligence) that are at issue in any car accident case. But some complications come with an Uber accident. A car accident case becomes more complicated any time there is an additional defendant, insurance policy, or company involved in the case. Each new party can raise additional legal issues—or try to shift blame to the other parties involved in the case.
Courts have not settled many of the new legal issues that Uber accidents created. This means that there is more room to make legal arguments and less certainty about the resolution of a car accident case involving an Uber. All of these complications make it highly important for injury victims to protect their own legal rights in an Uber accident case. Be sure to hire a Zephyrhills auto accident lawyer who has experience handling cases that involve uber vehicles.
What happens if another driver is at fault in my Zephyrhills Uber accident?
If another driver is responsible for your injuries, you might not have to deal with Uber at all. That driver is legally required to carry liability insurance. This is the policy you will file a claim against and the insurance company that your attorney will negotiate a settlement with. There might be other defendants, as well.
For example, if you got hit by a driver in a work vehicle, you can hold their employer liable for your injuries because employers are vicariously liable for any negligence that their employees committed while on the job. This is why employers usually carry large commercial auto policies on work vehicles.
These commercial policies carry higher policy limits, and this means there is more coverage to pay for your injuries. An experienced Uber accident lawyer can find all potential defendants and insurance policies to be sure you have access to all forms of compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
Is Uber liable for my injuries?
There is still a lot of developing case law about the issue of Uber’s liability for car accidents. Uber has worked hard to classify its drivers as independent contractors. Among other things, this prevents the company from being vicariously liable for the negligence of its drivers.
The battle of classifying Uber drivers as independent contractors versus employees continues in courts across the country. But even without this vicarious liability, Uber can still be directly liable for your injuries. Perhaps they allowed a bad driver to continue using their platform after being involved in multiple accidents. Or maybe they failed to do an adequate background check and allowed a driver with a dangerous criminal record to put passengers in danger. There are many different actions on Uber’s part that can lead to them being directly liable for injuries their passengers sustain.
This is why Uber—like Lyft—must carry supplemental insurance coverage to pay for passenger injuries. Once you have gone through the driver’s individual policy, you can file a claim against this supplemental policy for any damages not covered by the driver’s policy. This supplemental insurance is a large commercial policy with high limits. Injury victims can access up to a million dollars of supplemental coverage to pay for injuries caused by an Uber driver’s negligence.
This supplemental coverage pays for any third party who suffers injuries by an Uber driver, including passengers, pedestrians, other drivers, bicyclists, and other road users, as well. It applies when an Uber driver is on duty and has different levels of coverage depending on whether the driver has a passenger, is en route to a pickup, or is simply waiting for someone to request their services in the app. There is no supplemental coverage when the driver does not log in on the Uber app.
What if I was not a passenger in a Zephyrhills Uber accident?
The supplemental insurance coverage provided by Uber is available to any third party who is injured by one of their rideshare drivers, such as passengers, pedestrians, other drivers, bicyclists, and other road users, as well. If you were not an Uber passenger, your injury lawyer will start by filing a claim against the driver’s personal insurance coverage.
If there is not enough coverage—or if the driver has no insurance coverage at all—then your lawyer will file a claim against Uber for the supplemental insurance coverage as well. You might also have no-fault coverages on your own auto insurance policy that could also pay for your injuries. These include uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage and medical payments benefits. Your injury lawyer will work to find all available insurance benefits so that you have access to all sources of compensation for your injuries.
What compensation can I receive for my Zephyrhills Uber accident injuries?
Every injury case has a different value. Each defendant has unique injuries, and these injuries will affect each victim differently. A negligent driver or rideshare company is obligated to compensate you for your unique losses. This includes your medical bills, any time you had to miss from work, and compensation for your intangible pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering is the most subjective type of loss. It is also the largest component of most legal compensation, so hire an experienced Zephyrhills Uber accident lawyer who can prove the fair value of your pain and suffering.
Injury victims also deserve fair compensation for the losses they will suffer in the future. This could be a permanent decrease in your earning capacity if you cannot return to work (or have to cut back to part-time employment or limit your responsibilities). It also includes the future medical bills you will incur to treat your injuries over the years. You also deserve compensation for your future pain and suffering, and this very commonly is an attack point by the insurance company.
A skilled injury lawyer knows how to work with expert witnesses to project the value of these future losses. A life care planner can estimate the cost of your future medical care, and an economist can calculate the value of the wages and employment benefits you would have earned between the time of your accident and the date of your expected retirement. These experts can prepare reports that your lawyer can use in settlement negotiations. If necessary, they can also testify at trial to prove to a jury what your future losses are estimated to be.
How long will my Zephyrhills Uber accident case take to resolve?
Once you meet with an attorney and discuss the details of your unique case, he or she can give you a better idea of how long it will take to resolve your case. Some auto injury cases settle quickly. This usually requires the defendant’s insurance company to accept liability without trying to put any blame on you—or another party. The insurance company will also have to agree that your injuries resulted from the accident and that your medical costs were reasonable.
If the insurance company agrees on all these issues, they may make a fair settlement offer without too much delay. These types of claims can sometimes resolve quickly after the accident.
More often, however, issues can complicate your case. Perhaps other drivers were involved or multiple insurance policies apply to the accident. Insurance companies try to put the blame anywhere they can to get out of paying. This can make it more difficult to prove liability.
When there is a company involved, such as Uber, your lawyer might have to negotiate between both the driver’s personal insurer and Uber’s supplemental insurance carrier. This can lead to disputes that delay your case. It is also common for these insurance companies to dispute the value of your injuries. They might say that your injuries are not due to the accident, or that you delayed getting medical treatment, or that you got too much treatment, or that the cost of your medical treatment is simply not reasonable. These, too, are disputes that can take some time to resolve.
In very challenging cases, your attorney may need to file a lawsuit and hire expert witnesses to testify to a jury about the value of your injuries. Only a small percentage of Zephyrhills Uber accident cases go all the way to trial, but the ones that do can take longer to resolve. The more complications your case involves—whether it is the number of defendants, the legal questions at issue, or the nature of your injuries—the longer it will take to resolve your case.
Will I have to go to court in my Zephyrhills Uber accident case?
As discussed, only a very small percentage of Zephyrhills Uber accident cases go all the way to trial. Your injury attorney will thoroughly prepare you for every step in the process, so if you happen to have one of these cases, you won’t have to feel overwhelmed or wonder what will happen.
What is more likely is that you will have to give a deposition. A deposition happens after a lawsuit begins. Many accident cases settle once a lawsuit gets filed as, often, the mere act of filing a lawsuit is enough to encourage the insurance company to make a fair settlement offer. But if it is not, the insurance company can ask to take your deposition.
A deposition usually occurs in one of the attorney’s offices. Even though it does not happen in court, a deposition happens under oath, so you want to prepare for what you will say. Your attorney will prepare you for a deposition before it happens.
The attorney for the insurance company or defendant will ask you questions about how the accident happened, what medical treatment you received, what diagnoses you received, and how they have been affecting your life. It can feel a little intimidating to answer an attorney’s questions under oath, but your attorney will be there to answer any questions you might have.
Experienced Uber Accident Lawyers For All Zephyrhills Cases
As you can see, an Uber accident presents unique legal issues that can jeopardize your legal right to compensation. You don’t have to face these challenges on your own. The skilled Zephyrhills Uber accident lawyers at Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers know how to protect your legal rights throughout the claims process.
We fight hard to negotiate fair settlement offers, and when necessary, we fight hard at trial to show a jury how much your injuries are fairly worth. We work to prevent Uber or other defendants from trying to shift the blame or get out of paying the true value of your injuries. For years, injury victims across Florida have trusted our skilled legal team to get the compensation they deserve.
Call (727) 845-5972 or contact us online for your free consultation. Don’t wait to call since the sooner you have an experienced injury lawyer fighting on your side, the better protected your legal rights will be. Let our experienced team protect your legal rights so you can focus on making the best recovery possible from your injuries.
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