As a victim in an Uber accident, you can bring a claim to seek compensation for all of your legal damages. That compensation can be worth anywhere between a few thousand dollars to over $1,000,000, depending on the nature and severity of the injuries. You will rarely see your compensation reduced for your share of responsibility for the car accident, although other victims might.
How much can I sue for after an Uber accident?
After a ridesharing accident involving an Uber driver, you can recover the full amount of your legal damages. Uber accident settlement amounts largely depend on the severity of your injuries. Uber accident claims can be worth anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over a million dollars. The payout can come by settling an insurance claim for the Uber accident case. If the insurance claim does not result in an adequate settlement offer, it can escalate into an Uber accident lawsuit.
Your legal damages are all of the ways that you have suffered from the Uber car accident. They include:
- medical expenses,
- lost wages,
- reduced earning capacity, if the injuries are severe enough to impair your professional life,
- pain and suffering,
- emotional distress, especially if the injuries will leave a disfigurement,
- loss of consortium for your family, and
- property damage.
Your legal damages also include punitive damages. However, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for egregious wrongdoing. They are rarely awarded in car accident cases.
You can sue for the amount of financial compensation that would cover all of these losses. Even when the accident was due to negligence, between a negligent party and you (the innocent victim), the negligent party is more responsible. They should be made to pay for your losses.
The amount of the compensation that you need and deserve will largely depend on the extent of your injuries and the medical care needed to recover from them. Severe injuries are more expensive, devastating, and painful than minor ones. Fatal injuries are the worst of all, and can lead to a wrongful death claim by your loved ones.
However, some types of injuries, like pain and suffering, are difficult to state in a dollar amount. These are known as non-economic damages. Just because they are difficult to determine does not mean that you do not deserve to recover them. In many cases, the compensation for your pain and suffering is higher than for your medical bills.
The best way for you as a victim of a ridesharing accident to understand the extent of your legal damages is to establish an attorney-client relationship with a personal injury lawyer. An experienced Uber accident attorney will have handled many similar cases, before. Those cases will provide a good idea of what compensation can be expected in your claim.
The legal representation of a personal injury attorney from a reputable law firm is also the best way to maximize the amount of any settlement or verdict received. Insurance companies protect their profits by underpaying insurance claims. An adjuster will often approach you and make an initial settlement offer that is made to seem fair when it really is not. Victims who do not have the legal advice of a lawyer may not see how this offer is inadequate. An Uber accident lawyer can help you see whether a settlement offer is fair or not. If no fair settlement offer is made, a lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim for the compensation you deserve.
Will Uber’s insurance policy pay for my losses from a rideshare accident?
Uber has extensive insurance coverage to compensate other motorists and Uber passengers in a crash caused by their ridesharing services. However, Uber’s insurance company has strict rules for when that insurance will cover anything. Those rules depend on the time of the accident. If it does not cover the crash, then you will have to turn to the auto insurance of the Uber driver, him or herself.
Uber frequently touts its $1,000,000 in liability coverage. However, you can only rely on that coverage if:
- the driver has accepted a rider on the Uber app, but is still en route to pick him or her up, or
- the rider is in the Uber vehicle, from the point of pick up to the point of departure.1
The practical consequence of this limitation is that the passengers in the rideshare vehicle are the only ones who can rely on it. Motorists or pedestrians are often left out, and have to be lucky to be covered.
If Uber’s million-dollar liability insurance coverage does not cover the accident, then the Uber driver’s personal auto insurance policy should. Uber only requires its drivers to carry the state minimum liability insurance, though. This coverage depends on the state. In California, for example, it is:
- $15,000 for bodily injury per person,
- $30,000 for bodily injury per accident, and
- $5,000 for property damage per accident.2
If the rideshare driver’s coverage does not apply to the crash, though, Uber carries a backup policy. This offers more than the state minimum in protection:
- $50,000 for bodily injury per person,
- $100,000 for bodily injury per accident, and
- $25,000 for property damage per accident.3
However, this slightly more generous coverage only applies if the Uber driver’s own policy will not cover the auto accident. Still, it falls far short of what is needed to compensate you if you suffered a serious injury. For something like a traumatic brain injury, the medical treatments alone are quickly going to eclipse the policy limits.
Having to turn to the at-fault driver for compensation is a consequence of ridesharing companies’ insistence that their drivers are independent contractors, rather than employees. If they were classified as employees, then Uber would be held vicariously liable for any injuries caused by their worker’s negligence. The legality of classifying Uber/Lyft drivers as independent contractors is still in dispute.
How does shared fault work in an Uber accident claim?
In many car accidents, both drivers were partially to blame for the crash. Different state laws resolve these shared fault situations in several different ways. However, they all reduce your compensation if you were partially to blame. In Uber accidents, though, this is generally only an issue if you were outside the Uber vehicle. Uber passengers are rarely at-fault for their driver’s crash. Other motorists or pedestrians, however, may see the settlement value of their injury case reduced.
As Riverside Uber accident lawyer Neil Shouse explains, each state’s personal injury laws have a rule for shared fault accidents. These rules fall into 3 categories:
All of them require the jury to assign a percentage of fault for the accident to each party involved.
Where pure comparative negligence is the rule, your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault. Many states, like California4 and Florida,5 use this rule.
For example: Ben is jogging in San Francisco when he is hit by an Uber driver. A jury finds that he has suffered $100,000 in legal damages. If the jury finds that Ben was 25 percent at-fault, he will be awarded $75,000. If the jury finds him 70 percent at fault, he will only recover $30,000.
The rule is the same in modified comparative negligence states, like Texas,6 except that you will be denied recovery if you were more than half at-fault.
For example: Ben was jogging in Houston when he was hit by an Uber vehicle. If the jury finds Ben to be 70 percent at fault, he would recover nothing.
Very few states still use contributory negligence rules. In these states, like Virginia,7 you are barred from recovering anything if you contributed to the accident, at all.
For example: If the jury finds Ben 25 percent at-fault, he would recover nothing.
Because these rules can drastically reduce your payout, they can influence how much you can sue Uber for. If you appear to be significantly at-fault for the crash, you may struggle to recover much compensation in a settlement.
However, when you were an Uber passenger, these shared fault rules are rarely invoked. Passengers are generally passive victims in a crash. In only rare cases did they do something to cause the accident.
For a free consultation with a ride share accident attorney, contact us at Shouse Law Group.
- See Uber’s website, “Auto insurance to help protect you.”
- California Insurance Code 11580.1(b) INS.
- See Uber’s website, “Auto insurance to help protect you.”
- Li v. Yellow Cab Co., 13 Cal.3d 804 (1975).
- Florida Statutes 768.81.
- Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code 33.001.
- See, e.g., Coutlakis v. CSX Transportation, Inc., 796 S.E.2d 556 (2017).