Uber’s History with Drivers
- Why do companies hire independent contractors? Independent contractors are usually hired because they are cheaper than employing full time workers and because they provide services that the company may not offer.
- Do Uber drivers get benefits? Uber drivers are not offered the same types of benefits that full time employees are offered.
When Uber first launched and drivers could elect to sign up, there was a fair amount of contention regarding the status of the drivers. Initially, Uber viewed them as independent contractors, not as actual employees. The reasons are simple: for one, and most importantly, if drivers are counted as independent contractors, then Uber could not be held responsible for their actions. This is the case across all businesses.
The issue with the model in Uber’s case is the insurance policies. If an Uber driver got into an accident, his auto insurance policy would not be applicable, and Uber would wash their hands of the incident. Thus, there would be essentially no coverage and no compensation.
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Additionally, Uber drivers, if they were considered full or part-time employees, would be subjected to various labor laws. They would have the right to minimum wage, anti-discrimination laws, tax withholdings, unemployment benefits, worker’s compensation benefits, mandated meal breaks, and more.
Uber contested that because its drivers set their own hours and is free from the control and boundaries of the company, they are not full time employees and are essentially freelance workers. The labor office of California was one of the first to grant Uber drivers damages owed by the company and stated that there are numerous examples of the business acting like an employer.
In 2015 and beyond, various rulings set the stage for the unfolding landscape of the future of Uber.
Important Uber Cases
- Has Uber been sued before? Yes, Uber has been sued by accident victims, drivers, cities, and more. Laws have been created and changed because of the impact Uber has had on the economy, worker’s rights, and the current state of transportation on the road.
There are various cases that have been filed against Uber, some of which garnered national attention. Some have forced Uber to make crucial changes to its platform, such as by providing more pay and accepting responsibility for accidents, while others have simply resulted in compensation for drivers.
2013 Vehicular Manslaughter of 6-year-old Girl
Syed Muzaffar was driving his Honda Pilot, a sport utility vehicle, when he approached the Civic Center in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve in 2013. The 57-year-old had dropped off one individual earlier and planned to take more fares as the night went on, transporting people around the city, as the holiday was guaranteed to bring in a lot of fares.
In between rides, Muzaffar was in the Tenderloin district when he failed to notice a family crossing the street at a crosswalk. He negligently turned into the crosswalk during a green light and struck the Liu family, killing the 6-year-old daughter in the process and greatly injuring the mother. The mother required an extensive stay in the hospital and eventually underwent surgery to repair her damaged eye.
Muzaffar was charged with vehicular manslaughter some years after the incident. The contents of the case were primarily focuses on the level of negligence Muzaffar displayed at the time of the crash. Although he had the green light, he did not have the right of way on the turn; the Liu family was proceeding through the crosswalk as they rightfully should have. Muzaffar’s defender said that the fact that the lights changed at the same time contributed to the crash. Additionally, the mother who was struck claimed that Muzaffar was continually looking at his phone and back to the street, and that the light from his phone illuminated his face.
It was confirmed by Uber that Muzaffar was in between fares and was waiting to accept a ride. According to the company, he had no reason to be looking at his phone repeatedly.
After deliberation, Uber reached a settlement with the Liu family for a sum of money that was not disclosed by the courts. The accident was the main catalyst behind the change in Uber’s insurance system, branching out to cover drivers who were in between fares and logged into the app while waiting for a customer to request a ride.
A large issue that was discovered with the incident was the fact that Muzaffar had previously been convicted of reckless driving in Florida some years before. However, the background check was limited to information from no later than 7 years beforehand, and California law prevented the company from learning about the previous conviction.
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– Sexual Assault Statistics
After the incident, Muzaffar was dropped as an Uber driver.
2015 Ruling for Driver Reimbursement
In 2015, Barbara Ann Berwick took Uber to court for reimbursement for wages she earned in 2015. The wages and expenses totaled over $4,000. She had taken on the job to supplement her regular income at a trading company, for which she spent a lot of time at her computer. She claimed that she was essentially paid less than minimum wage for her driving.
A California court ruled in her favor and awarded her the damages she sought. However, at the time, there was no blanket ruling that would allow other drivers who suffered the same fate to be automatically reimbursed for their lost wages or to receive what they were owed. Instead, it was a situation that would likely result in many small lawsuits from drivers, even culminating in a class action claim.
Ongoing Class Action Lawsuit
What initially started in California has spread to other parts of the country. Uber drivers collectively filed a class action lawsuit that challenged the notion that Uber classified them as independent contractors or freelancers and would thus be exempt from certain business practices. Despite Uber offing insurance coverage thanks to a previous ruling, the company is still fighting against categorization of its drivers as employees.
Incident with Blind Passengers and Service Dogs
In 2016, three different blind passengers joined a class action claim against Uber that resulted in them getting $15,000 a piece for the actions against them. Uber drivers denied these blind passengers the ability to ride because they had service dogs and guide dogs with them. The drivers did not want animals in the vehicles and refused to accommodate the blind passengers.
This is a blatant violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act that requires service dogs to be allowed wherever the afflicted owners are going. Uber drivers are not exempt from this rule, but there is speculation that many simply do not know it exists. They merely see a dog and may want to keep their interiors clean and have a kneejerk reaction. Drivers who do not agree to transporting service dogs or allowing guide dogs onto the ride will be barred fro picking up customers until they agree.
As a result of the incidents, Uber paid out an additional $225,000 to the National Federation of the Blind.
Types of Uber Accidents
- Can Uber be held responsible for an accident with any of their services? As long as Uber had a part in the incident in some way, yes, they can be held responsible.
- If an Uber vehicle malfunctions, what can I do? You should be sure to document your evidence accordingly so that you can prove that the Uber vehicle malfunctioned, and then file a claim for reimbursement or compensation if you were injured.
Given the breadth of Uber as a company, it is no surprise that there are numerous ways that accidents can happen. The different transportation options that Uber offers increases the rate of accidents simply based on numbers alone.
Uber’s JUMP branch provides electric bikes for use across various cities. The bikes can be made to go faster the harder you pedal. They can be unlocked for free and cost 15 cents per minute to ride. They can be placed on hold for up to one hour (and your account will be charged during that time); when you’re finished, you simply lock the bike and go about your business.
There is also a Boost Plan offered by Uber that allows drivers one hour of ride time per day. It costs $5 per month, 7 cents per minute after the initial 60 minute ride, a $25 fee if the bike is parked out of the system, and more. It can be used by individuals enrolled in certain programs, such as Medi-Cal and CalFresh.
Bikes must be ridden in bike lanes and not on the sidewalk. Because they are electric and may malfunction while being ridden, it is very possible that riders can get in accidents with other people.
JUMP scooters can be reserved or unlocked in the same way that bikes can. They cost $1 to unlock, though, but run the same 15 cent charge thereafter, except after 5 minutes of ride time. They can be left anywhere within the appropriate zone (scooters left outside of the zone incur a $25 pick up fee).
As with all scooters in California, there is a set of rules that must be abided by when on the vehicles. You must be over the age of 18 to ride, ride in bike lanes, have a valid US driver’s license, and obey all applicable traffic laws (yield, ride within speed limits, do not leave the scooters on the sidewalk or in the street when they’re not ridden, have at least one hand on the scooter, do not ride while inebriated or distracted, only have one person on the scooter at a time, and more).
Because scooter riders are usually zipping around the beach and in areas with a lot of traffic, they may not be paying attention to all of their surroundings. A scooter accident can be problematic for a rider, as they have essentially no protection besides the mandated helmet, and equally as troublesome for victims. They are quite mobile and fast compared to pedestrians, and accidents can happen very quickly.
The most common form of Uber accidents occur with rideshare vehicles. Almost any type of vehicle can be an Uber car; there are compact coupes and large SUVs driven by workers, and everything in between. You can select your ride type at the start of the Uber interface and the car will come to your location within a few minutes. Trips are generally a few dollars and cost more when you need more seats or additional passengers.
You should be aware of all the normal traffic rules and regulations, whether as a passenger or driver. You should always wear a seatbelt and avoid any reckless behavior.
Uber drivers may be in a rush to finish fares, especially if they are going to certain bus areas. For example, if a person requests a ride to the airport and the fare is only 5 dollars, there is a chance that the ride will take as long as an hour. This entices drivers to speed and drive carelessly in an attempt to squeeze as many fares into a shift as possible.
Further, Uber drivers are responsible for the care and maintenance of their own vehicles. The more a car is used, the more wear and tear it suffers, and thus, the risk of accidents stemming from malfunctions rises.
Pedestrians may very well be in harm’s way with all the Uber vehicles traveling the streets. Pedestrians are seemingly unsafe everywhere
. There are many individuals who are in danger due to bikes and scooters that riders operate on the sidewalks or on the beach, where they go too fast for comfort. Pedestrians also have to worry about Uber drivers not paying attention while behind the wheel because they are using the app, picking up new passengers, inputting different GPS directions, answering messages, and more.
It is recommended that pedestrians grow accustomed to areas that are hotspots for Uber vehicles and exercise caution in those regions. For example, if a specific cross-street is a popular pool pick up location, pedestrians are advised to walk elsewhere or be extremely careful when traveling.
The majority of pedestrian accidents
occur when the individual is walking in the crosswalk and an Uber vehicle turns on red or turns into the intersection. The driver may not have been paying close enough attention or the pedestrian may have been in his blind spot. No matter what, though, the driver can be held responsible, as can Uber.
It is extremely rare for the pedestrian to be held accountable for an accident.
Perhaps the most troubling type of Uber accident involves assault and sexual assault. Uber was largely used as a way for inebriated individuals to return home after a night out. In some cases, people went back to their apartments and were followed inside by the Uber drivers, or else they were outright harassed or assaulted inside the Uber car itself.
The trouble with many assault cases is that Uber drivers may have a history of aggravated behavior, but it may not have been picked up by the background check, or the driver may have been reinstated despite previous complaints. He may even have circumvented the system and managed to get back onto the app himself.
Assault victims may be traumatized and swear off the app and similar services. Worse, they may not take any legal action against the drivers or even report them to the company – which could leave the door wide open for future transgressions and attacks.
Legal Rights Of Victims
- What are my rights if I am on the road? Essentially, all individuals on the road are entitled to a safe trip and must not be placed in harm’s way by any drivers or operators of vehicles.
In Uber accidents, there are different people who can be affected. Let’s look at some of them.
Uber drivers can be involved in accidents the same way that other individuals are. They may be hit from behind, cut off, sideswiped, T-boned, and more. In the event that there is an accident with another car, Uber drivers can take legal action against the responsible party’s insurance agency to receive compensation for their damages. If the responsible driver does not have adequate coverage, the worker can turn to Uber for coverage options. This uninsured/uninsured motorist coverage allows Uber drivers to have some medical bills paid and for their vehicles to be repaired if the opposing drivers flees or if he cannot pay the full extent of the damages.
Uber passengers are almost never at fault for an accident given the fact that they are merely customers in the service. They may have been asleep, on their phones, intoxicated, or otherwise minding their business when the accident happened. Regardless of who caused the crash – an Uber driver or another vehicle – the passenger could be aptly reimbursed for subsequent damages. He can take legal action against the opposing driver if a third-party hit the car; he could also take action against the Uber driver himself; or he could potentially file a lawsuit against the company.
Third-parties are those not directly involved in the Uber ride but are affected in the accident. If your Uber driver crashes into another vehicle or an individual, the affected individual is the third-party. It is possible that a third-party can take legal action against Uber for the actions of the driver, especially if there were severe injuries as a result of the incident.
Uber’s Partner Insurance Policies and Information
- What is liability? Liability insurance covers physical injuries caused to other individuals, not damages to your vehicle or injuries you yourself suffered.
- What is collision coverage? Collision insurance protects your vehicle by repairing or replacing it after it was involved in an accident with another car or object.
- What is comprehensive coverage? Comprehensive insurance covers anything else that is not a result of an accident with a vehicle or some kind of collision. This includes storm damage, vandalism or intentional destruction, animal accidents, and more.
In order to drive for Uber, prospective workers must have complete automobile insurance coverage on all of their vehicles they intend to use for rideshares. Your liability insurance must be equal to or greater than the minimum requirements for your state. Possessing auto insurance coverage makes you eligible to drive for Uber – and Uber grants you its own coverage, as provided by James River Insurance.
The reason that Uber has its own insurance policy for its drivers is simple. Personal auto insurance carriers do not protect drivers when they are driving commercially, or for money. In many cases, if an insurance company discovers that one of their policyholders was driving for money while covered under their policy, they will drop the driver. The insurance coverage will not kick in if there is an accident of some kind. Thus, companies and businesses that employ drivers often provide their own insurance.
Uber’s insurance coverage is a unique system that has two parts to it. Uber drivers that are not technically working or on the clock are protected by their own regular insurance policies. However, once they turn on the app and await a customer, you are then protected in the following ways:
- $50,000 in driver liability for bodily injury to one individual
- $100,000 per accident
- $25,000 for property damage caused to other individuals
Upon accepting a trip to the time that you pick up the passengers and drop them off, the insurance policy will shift to the second part, which takes precedence over the first. This policy changes in the following ways:
- $1,000,000 in liability coverage
- $1,000,000 in underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage
- Contingent collision and comprehensive coverage (with a $1,000 deductible that must be paid off first before additional coverage comes into play)
Therefore, Uber will be responsible for the wellbeing of passengers and drivers. If a driver hits an Uber vehicle and flees the scene, or if a driver does not have ample coverage or the ability to pay for damages, Uber will cover the rest of the costs. Further, contingent coverage means that Uber will pay for the damages to your vehicle if you possess auto insurance that includes collision coverage.
In some states, Uber offers Partner Injury Protection, which provides injured victims with ample coverage in the event of accidents. The coverage includes emergency medical treatment (up to $1,000,000), death and final payments (up to a maximum of $150,000), permanent disability (up to $500/week), and more.
In addition to transporting passengers to their destinations and providing bikes and scooters for people to ride at their whims, Uber also offers food delivery options. UberEATS was launched in 2015 and allows people to have takeout delivered to them by Uber drivers. The advantage of the program is that many of the restaurants do not have delivery options in the first place, thus allowing them to get more business without having to hire additional employees. They are generally contracted with Uber and a portion of the sale will go to the company.
UberEATS accidents are essentially no different from regular Uber accidents, but there are no passengers in the UberEATS vehicles. There can be third-party incidents, however. The insurance coverage is thus practically identical, with $1,000,000 in liability coverage, contingent comprehensive and collision insurance, $50,000/$100,000/$25,000 between trips (liability per individual per accident/total per accident/property damage), and more. However, UberEATS drivers are not covered during the initial period of the delivery like Uber drivers are. That is, UberEATS drivers who are logged into the app and waiting for deliveries are not protected by James River Insurance.
How Uber Is Liable In Accidents
- Can I sue Uber if I was not injured in an accident? You cannot file a personal injury lawsuit if you were not injured in the Uber accident.
Uber can be held liable for injuries and accidents in a few ways. The company has a process that must be adhered to and if they breach the duty of care they owe to their customers, they can be legally responsible for the ensuing damages.
Uber must take care when hiring drivers. There is no interview process; the entire hiring process is done through the smartphone app with the prospective driver uploading and submitting all the relevant documents and information. Uber will run the documents through systems and order a background check on the driver. However, the background check only dates back 7 years; anything done before that point will not show up. As a result, many drivers are allowed to drive despite having old records of reckless or careless driving, felonies, drunk driving incidents, history of assault and violence, and more. By allowing these individuals to get behind the wheel and be placed in situations with potentially defenseless customers, Uber can be held responsible for their actions.
When an Uber driver gets into an accident or causes a crash, assaults a passenger or places someone in danger, or otherwise behaves in a way that is unsatisfactory and can cause injuries, he will be removed from the app and barred from driving. However, Uber has been known to reinstate drivers or else not ban them at all despite claiming that they would do so. This is troublesome, as it allows drivers the ability to continue with their actions and go unpunished. They can place additional people in danger by being allowed to remain on the app. Uber has been known to do this in the past because of its lack of drivers and desire to secure more income. The more drivers it has on the road, the more fares can be picked up, and thus, the more profit that can be earned.
How To File A Lawsuit Against Uber
- Do I need an attorney to sue Uber? It is highly recommended that you hire an attorney if you wish to sue Uber, as many people do not have the necessary legal acumen or negotiating knowledge required to win a case.
Armed with the knowledge of what you should do after an Uber accident and how to acquire all your necessary evidence, you should be aware of how to file a lawsuit against Uber. As stated above, there must be a certain duty of care present as well as a breach if you wish to file a claim based on negligence. All personal injury lawsuits are based on such negligent action of the responsible party. The points of negligence that must be proven are as follows:
- You were owed a duty of care by the responsible party
- The duty of care was breached in some manner
- The breach of duty led to an accident or incident
- The accident or incident resulted in actual physical injuries
It is important to understand each point comprehensively. All drivers on the road owe everyone else a duty of care to not harm them or place them in danger. This is doubly true for Uber drivers – they must not place other drivers or pedestrians in danger, but they must also protect their passengers and customers explicitly.
The duty of care can be breached by breaking the law or violating road rules. This action can place any number of people in danger, even those who are not on the road.
The breach of duty must have directly caused an accident. If the breach occurred but it did not contribute to a crash, the driver won’t be held responsible, or will not be held responsible to the same extent that another party would be.
Lastly, the presence of physical injuries from the accident is extremely important if you wish to file a personal injury claim. If you weren’t hurt in such a manner, you will not be able to file a claim seeking compensation for medical expenses or other damages. Instead, you will only be able to pursue damages for the loss of property and loss of wages you suffered.
Fortunately, if you plan on pursuing an insurance claim against Uber, you may have more success if you were not injured. You also may not need an attorney to litigate the case for you. The reason is simple: a mechanic’s estimate and a copy of your pay stub may be enough to display your losses, and you could simply negotiate a fair deal from the insurance agent yourself. Agents will be more responsive to claims that do not lead to them giving up large sums of money, and they would rather focus their efforts on other claims that are rife with injuries and could result in huge payouts.
- Why are some settlements public and others private? There are generally clauses in lawsuits and verdicts that dictate whether or not a party can disclose the settlement amount. This is often done to protect both parties.
From the time that Uber vehicles rolled out onto the streets a decde ago, there have been lawsuits creeping on the company’s tail. The most well known case involved the Liu family, which saw a six-year-old girl die at the negligent driving of Syed Muzaffar. Other cases involve Uber’s employees and drivers taking action against the company.
In July 2016, Uber settled a number of lawsuits. Some include:
Gratuity/ Tip Case
Uber was forced to pay 47,000 drivers nearly $385,000 in tips that the company had wrongfully taken from their pockets. Initially, the tips were thought to be a forced gratuity in the vein of taxi services, but it was soon discovered that the money was not going to the drivers. The forced 20% gratuity was later removed and an optional tip service was implemented.
Uber terminated dozens of drivers for not having records that were up to the standards of the company. However, Uber illegally acquire the background checks without the permission of the drivers. The company owed over $7,500,000 to the affected individuals who lost their positions. In addition, Uber is said to have misguided or misled prospective drivers and to have missed important information by not using fingerprint methods for background checks. As a result, the company missed 25 drivers who had criminal records and would not be allowed to drive, as per Uber’s standards and regulations. The choice to lobby against fingerprint methods and the ensuing risk cost Uber $25,000,000 to be paid to the District Attorneys of Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Uber’s employees who worked in Information Technology and Programming filed a claim stating that Uberr practiced discrimination in the workplace and had problematic wage distribution. 56 employees joined together in a class-action lawsuit claiming sexual harassment in the workplace, for which each individual would won roughly $30,000 in a nearly $2 million dollar case. In addition, over 400 others joined the lawsuit that showed that there were pay disparities at the company. Women and people of color received a collective $5 million in the class action claim.
Throughout 2015 and 2016, Uber claimed that its drivers in New York and San Francisco made median yearly incomes of $90,000 and $74,000, respectively. However, it was later discovered by the Federal Trade Commission that the earnings were drastically lower – $61,000 for New York drivers and $53,000 for San Francisco drivers. Few drivers earned the numbers that Uber initially stressed. In addition to the misrepresentation of earnings, Uber also wrongly advertised the details of its vehicle leasing program. Drivers were slated to pay much more than they had previously thought due to additional fees and charges that Uber did not list. As a result of the embellishment, the FTC won a $20,000,000 settlement from Uber, the criteria of which included Uber to stop advertising false or unsubstantiated claims or representations about driver income and vehicle leasing programs.
Sexual Assault Lawsuit
Two different women filed a claim against Uber alleging that their drivers sexually assaulted them. The incidents took place in Boston, Massachusetts, and Charleston, South Carolina. The history of sexual assaults by Uber drivers played a part in Uber quietly settling the claim with the women, although the amount was not disclosed.
In fact, many settlements from Uber cases are not made public. One of the stipulations of the agreement is that the insurance company and the plaintiff do not make t known how much the settlements were for, as it could lead to a lot more public scrutiny – scrutiny that Uber likely does not want and would not benefit from.
Undisclosed Settlements from Accidents
: A young individual in Miami called an Uber to bring his party home, but was killed when the driver turned into oncoming traffic and flipped over. The vehicle was set ablaze and killed the 20 year old. The crux of the case centered n the fact that many drivers elect to drive late night shifts despite working all day or not getting adequate sleep, thus resulting in higher risks of accidents. The other people in the party claimed that the driver was indeed not looking at the road when he turned.
: Also in Miami, a couple was involved in an accident with an Uber driver who did not follow the correct right of way and turned across a lane of traffic. The couple suffered umerous injuries, but the wife was left with brain damage that required surgery to fix and permanently altered her ability to continue working as a nurse. The Uber driver did not get all the proper licensing and did not fit the necessary qualifications for the position.
: An Uber driver in a minivan picked up a young woman and her group after the group had been at a few clubs throughout the night. The minivan driver ran a red light and was T-boned by a truck that was passing through the intersection. The crash left the young woman paralyzed from the neck down. A lawsuit filed against the company stated that the driver was not properly insured and had a history of arrests for reckless driving, thus showing Uber’s negligence in its hiring practices.
: An individual was present in an Uber that was on the highway. The passenger was legally in the car and due to the nature of fast lane and carpool lane laws, the Uber driver was allowed to travel off to the left. However, while driving, he did not notice that a vehicle had stopped and was not moving in the car pool lane. The Uber driver struck the vehicle and the crash severely injured the passenger. The car that was stopped had come to a stationary position because it had just been involved in an accident, and it was now struck again. The victim in the crash sued the driver and Uber for negligence; he suffered severe pain and injuries to his back and neck, including the need for surgery on his spine.
: A woman was driving for Uber and on her way to pick up a passenger. While driving on the freeway, she was rear ended by a negligent driver. The driver in question did not have adequate enough insurance to cover the damages; the insurance company’s limits only covered a small portion of the incident’s expenses. As a result, James River Insurance and Uber were held responsible for the remaining 95% of the debts.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Lawsuit against Uber
- Can my statute of limitations be extended? Yes, depending on the circumstances of your case.
- If there is new evidence or injuries, can I file a claim against Uber? If you have not previously filed a claim, you can still pursue damages for your injuries, provided you are within the time limit.
In the event that you wish to file a lawsuit against Uber for damages suffered in an accident, you should be aware of the statute of limitations for the claim. You do not have an infinite amount of time to sue Uber. As it stands, you will likely be filing a personal injury lawsuit if you were injured while in an Uber vehicle or while using one of Uber’s other modes of transportation, or if you were struck by an Uber driver or rider.
The statute of limitations exists so that claims do not take too long to get settled and are handled in an efficient and speedy manner. Further, it protects both parties from unfair practices. For example, if an accident happens and the passenger suffers a sprained ankle and a sprained wrist, he may be out of work for a few weeks and he may need to get checked out by a doctor. These costs may not be too high and he may cover them in the moment to ensure that he gets treatment. He may suffer a small setback on paying his bills but nothing serious. If he then elects to sue the driver five years later during a new financial crisis, it would be extremely unfair to the driver, as he has not been previously contacted and the injuries have already healed, while the expenses were already paid with no great loss to the plaintiff.
The deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit for an Uber accident (or any car accident resulting in physical harm
) is 2 years from the date of the injury. This is sometimes difficult to pinpoint, as the injury may not have occurred on the same day as the accident. For example, if you were in an Uber crash but two weeks later you started to notice severe back pain, the de statute would begin from the time the back injury started as opposed to when the accident occurred.
If there were no injuries, then you would likely be filing merely a property damage claim. This claim has an additional year tacked on to it, so you would have 3 years from the date of the damage done to the items to sue for compensation.
There are ways in which the statute of limitations can be extended beyond the two-year liit, though. This is called a tolling of the statute, and it allows special circumstances to dictate the length of time that victims have to file lawsuits.
For one, only individuals over the age of 18 can legally file lawsuits against negligent parties. This means that any minors do not have the ability, and thus, do not have to adhere to the two-year statute. The statute of limitations will only kick in for the minor once he turns 18 years old. This means that injuries suffered at 13 years old can still be used as a basis for a lawsuit five years later.
An Uber accident can very well leave a victim in a critical condition, whether physically or mentally. There is the possibility that a victim can fall into a coma, suffer brain damage, or else have a high level of stress and suffer a nervous breakdown. These individuals do not have to adhere to the statute of limitations while they are incapacitated. Instead, they would only be held to the deadline when they return to functioning health and can reasonably file a claim.
It is required that the defendant be present in the state if the plaintiff is suing for damages. At times, the defendant may flee the state for a few weeks or months and live elsewhere, or he may permanently relocate. The statute of limitations, therefore, would be suspended throughout his absence and would resume when he returns to the state. A defendant may leave to try and avoid a lawsuit.
There are other, less probably or uncommon ways that the statute of limitations can be extended. These include the defendant being sent to prison, the country entering a time of war or the defendant or plaintiff enlisting in military service and being deployed, the defendant being rendered or pleading insane, and more.
Failure to file a lawsuit within the two-year limit on the statute of limitations or within the extended time period will prevent any compensation from being handed out. A victim will not be able to pursue a claim and will not have the chance to have his damages recouped. In order to guarantee that you have the right time frame and that you know when all the important dates were – the date of the Uber ride, your doctor’s visits, a confirmation of a diagnosis or injury, and more – you should write everything down and keep meticulous records. The more details you have, the better prepared you will be when you take legal action.
Determining the Value of Your Uber Lawsuit
- Why is there no set amount for the value of a claim? Each claim is different, and it would be wildly unfair to victims if everyone received the same amount of compensation for injuries that could affect one person more severely than another.
Why is the value of my case determined by an insurance agent? Each case is different, and not every injury is the same. There should always be different results based on the circumstances of the accident.
Many individuals who wish to file lawsuits against Uber do not understand how the claim process works or what they may potentially earn from a lawsuit. It is important to understand that an insurance claim is not simple; you will likely have to fight an insurance agent for weeks or months to get any headway, and in many cases, agents simply ignore people until they get frustrated and drop the claims. Generally, attorneys can be used to facilitate the claim process.
When you file a lawsuit, you will be seeking compensation for damages from the Uber accident. A representative from James River Insurance will receive your claim; it may take up to two weeks for him to consider it. He will then look at these factors to determine the worth of your claim:
- Your age: If you are younger and have fewer financial responsibilities, you may receive a smaller offer than if you were older and had various bills to pay.
- Your job: Your job may be able to be completed remotely or with reasonable accommodations from your employer; if this is the case, you do not have to worry about losing too many wages. However, if your job is nuanced or unique, you may be in for more compensation. Being unable to return to work or having to go on permanent disability would result in a larger sum.
- Your injuries: The severity of your injuries will greatly impact the value of your claim. The amount of damage you suffered will be an important point to consider, as well as how extensive and long lasting they were. If your injuries were simple and did not require surgery, such as a sprained ankle, cuts and bruises, or a concussion, you would earn less than if you suffered a severed limb, were rendered paralyzed, or had an internal organ removed.
- Your level of negligence in the accident: If you were a fellow driver n the Uber accident, the insurance agent will look at your statements and weigh them against the other evidence. If you contributed to the accident in some way, the agent can reduce the offer he makes you or the court can find you a certain percent negligent and deduct from there. For example, if you were driving with your lights off at dusk when you were hit by an Uber driver, you could be held partially accountable. The driver may have run a red light but did not see you because of your lack of lighting. Had he seen the headlights, he may have been able to stop, but he was still driving too fast and was going to run the light regardless.
Once the insurance agent has come up with an offer, a lawyer will work to negotiate a fairer deal. The insurance agent for Uber has one goal in mind: to protect profits and to not pay out claims. If insurance companies paid out every claim, they would lose a ton of money; therefore, they take their team and deliberately lowball and make paltry offers.
With the assistance of an attorney, your case could double or triple in value. Your attorney will strive to win these damages for you:
Coverage Of Medical Expenses
Your medical bills stemming from the accident may be extensive, especially if you were severely hurt. An ambulance ride is not cheap, for one, and the emergency services can be covered. You could have been hospitalized for some days or weeks and required various surgeries to repair damages. You may need medication to counteract the pain and to deal with certain problems moving forward. There may also be various physical therapy sessions that you need to attend in order to regain control and range of motion of certain body parts. These sessions could be paid per visit.
There is also the chance that you will need to return to the doctor for further medical treatments. Some damages require numerous surgeries over a period of time, and if damages continue to linger, the coverage can extend past the initial period.
You may also need secondary medical procedures and items. For example, you may need to walk with a cane or be confined to a wheelchair, both of which may be costly. These fees can be tacked onto your lawsuit.
Your vehicle could have suffered intense or irreparable damage if you were driving a car that was hit by an Uber driver. The mechanic could provide an estimate to repairs, but the costs may not be worth it, and it may be in your best interest to simply purchase a new vehicle.
In addition to the costs to repair your vehicle, the numerous personal items and belongings you had that were damaged or lost in the Uber accident can be covered or reimbursed. Your phone may have been broken, lost, or shattered, and your laptop, textbook, other electronics, and jewelry could have been damaged beyond repair.
Further, in tandem with medical expenses, you may need certain accommodations after the accident. Your home could be refitted to accommodate a wheelchair, including making hallways wider and installing ramps. You may even need to buy a vehicle that is handi-capable. Paralyzed individuals, as noted above, may receive ample compensation for these additional damages.
Missed Income from Your Job
You very likely will miss some days of work after getting in an Uber accident, but the amount of time you miss may be highly dependent on your injuries. If you were unable to go to work because your car was totaled, your day’s wages could be reimbursed. However, a longer period of absence or leave due to damages or recovery time could be given to you by Uber’s insurance company.
You may not be able to work remotely or complete any job duties while injured. You may not even be able to go to work until you are fully healed because your job requires you to be functional and you cannot receive accommodations that would help you.
If you had to go back to the doctor for additional medical procedures and needed to leave work, or if you had to recover from these additional procedures, your future wages could be paid to you as well.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages are non-economic in nature, meaning they do not cover losses that can be numerically expressed. Instead, they cover the emotional traumas suffered during and after an Uber accident. It is not uncommon for victims to be mentally anguished afterward and must suffer through internal psychological damages in addition to physical pain. The lawsuit process and negotiation process can also decrease your mental health and cause you to have your stress levels skyrocket through the roof. High stress levels can delay recovery times, making you even more injured than before.
These damages may cover fear of going out or using an Uber or rideshare vehicle again, anxiety that comes with getting in a vehicle with strangers or sitting in a taxi cab, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that causes triggering episodes of terror or paralysis after a particularly damaging or impactful incident, and more.
Punitive damages are additional forms of monetary compensation that are handed out if an Uber driver or party has acted with gross negligence or if he intentionally tried to harm you. These damages are meant to punish the individual and dissuade him from acting in a similar manner in the future. They are handed out in civil lawsuits only and are meant to take the place of jail time.
They are not easy to win, though. Many judges, juries, and agents view these damages as excessive, harsh, or unnecessary, and feel that the defendant should be made to pay for what was damaged and that’s it. It will take a skilled lawyer to be able to win these damages for your lawsuit.
Wrongful Death Expenses
In the most tragic of cases, friends or family members may die in Uber accidents or pass away due to injuries stemming from the crash. These individuals may be alive for some times afterward but ultimately not pull through. Surviving family, significant others, spouses, or other parties (in very restrictive cases) can file a claim against Uber.
The damages can cover the costs and expenses of the funeral, burial, wake, and other services. There will also be coverage available to take care of any medical bills and pain and suffering that were in place before the death happened. The victims may have had an inheritance saved up for their children or they may have been the primary caretaker in the family; the income and funds can be paid in a lawsuit. Further, any loss of relations or consortium or sexuality can be paid off to the surviving spouse.
Hiring an Attorney for Your Uber Accident
If you wish to hire an attorney for your Uber accident lawsuit, you should select a lawyer who has experience handling Uber accident claims and other rideshare lawsuits. It is important that your attorney know what he is doing and can negotiate with an insurance agency that he is familiar with and has past cases with. Some attorneys merely handle car accident claims
and are in unfamiliar territory when they delve into Uber lawsuits.
It is also recommended that you seek out an attorney who will connect with you and be up front about the realities of your case. Some attorneys will take on numerous cases at a time and try to rush through them in an attempt to settle quickly and get his cut of the payment. He will then move on to the next case, and rinse and repeat. This will allow the insurance companies to be more likely to work with him in the future and will cost him less work and energy, all while damaging the client’s life.
At our law firm, the Downtown LA Law Group, you will have access to the best attorneys in town and will always be able to ask us for updates and answers to your questions. We offer all of our clients free legal consultations about their cases. During these consultations, none of your private details will be shared with anyone else, and your case information will be kept totally confidential. You will not have to worry about any sensitive points getting released anywhere; everything we discuss is talked about in confidence. We invite you to ask us anything you wish during the consultation, and we will gladly tell you what we believe your case is worth and how much we think we can win for you. You can reach us around the clock – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We are always available.
In addition to our free consultations, we make sure that our clients are properly treated and are not in danger of losing any funds. We offer a zero fee guarantee to all clients, which promises that you will not spend a single dime of your own money throughout the lawsuit against Uber. We will cover all the costs of the case from start to finish, including filing important documents, hiring expert witnesses, and more. You should focus on recovering and returning to your normal life while we handle the legwork of the case.
We will not get paid or take any money unless we win your lawsuit. The fees will then be taken from the settlement we bring you, so you do not pay any of your own money at all. Uber and the insurance agency will cover the legal costs. If we do not win your case, we will not ask you for reimbursement. We will eat the losses ourselves and you will be debt-free to our firm.
You may already have legal representation, but you may not trust the direction your lawyer is taking your case or you may feel that your claim is worth more than is being offered. You can always receive a free second opinion from our firm if necessary. You should not be privy to poor representation, and we will tell you if we think your current lawyer is doing a good job or if he is not giving you his best efforts. We will also help you understand if you are a victim of bad faith, whether by the law firm you are with or by the insurance company you have a claim with.