There is little information on how many Uber accidents go to court, but statistics show that about 5% of car accident claims go to court, with the majority being settled long before they reach this stage. The number of Uber accident claims that go to court is likely similar.
Since ridesharing companies, such as Uber, launched over ten years ago, there has been a large increase in popularity, since drivers and passengers can benefit from the convenience of finding rides on demand. However, the growth in these services has potentially led to an increase in danger to other drivers and pedestrians. A 2018 study found ridesharing services to be involved in an increase of 2% to 3% of fatalities to pedestrians and other car occupants between 2011 and 2016.
If you have been injured in a car accident in an Uber, keep in mind that rideshare injury cases are more complicated than normal car injury claims. You might be planning on filing an insurance claim or lawsuit with Uber. It is important to have an attorney who will assist you that knows what to do if you are in an Uber accident.
Why Do Uber Accident Claims Go to Court?
Before considering the reason for Uber accidents going to court, there are some basic principles regarding ridesharing liability that you will need to understand.
Uber Drivers are Independent Contractors
Usually, a person who is responsible for causing your injuries is liable for compensating you for the associated costs. However, if a person causes you injury while acting in the scope and course of his or her employment, his or her employer is generally liable. This principle is known as vicarious liability. On the other hand, if the person is engaged in doing work under a contract or agreement, he or she may be an independent contractor, rather than an employee. Independent contractors are liable for damages that they cause, as they are not employees.
Drivers for rideshare services are classified as independent contractors. Because of this, the driver is typically liable for accidents they cause, and not the ridesharing company.
Uber provides insurance for its drivers while they are logged into the app. If the driver is waiting for a ride request and does not have his or her own insurance, Uber provides insurance coverage of $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $100,000 in bodily injury total, and $25,000 in property damage per accident. When the driver is on the way to collect or is transporting a passenger, Uber provides $1,000,000 in liability coverage for its drivers.
If you are involved in an Uber accident, you can report the accident to Uber using the claims form provided. Uber’s website provides information on how to report an Uber accident.
When to take Uber to Court
Since rideshare drivers are independent contractors, if you are injured in an accident with Uber, then it is likely that the driver, rather than Uber, will be liable. Nevertheless, there may be instances where you can file a lawsuit against Uber. These include:
- Your damages exceed the limits of the driver’s insurance policy, or the insurance provided by Uber.
- Uber rejects a legitimate insurance claim for your injuries, that should be covered under their policy.
- Uber was careless or negligent in hiring, training, or retaining the driver who caused your injuries.
- You were sexually or physically assaulted by your rideshare driver.
What Happens at Trial?
If you have a claim against Uber, you may be able to come to some sort of agreement on your compensation and settle out of court. If you and Uber are unable to come to an agreement through negotiation, then you will likely have to take the matter to trial to get your compensation.
The lawsuit process goes through some key phases. The first step is for you to file a civil complaint in court. This describes your case and claims against the defendant. This could be your Uber driver, another at-fault driver, or Uber itself.
After you file your complaint, the defendant files an answer to your complaint.
The third step is for the discovery process to begin. In this phase, the parties exchange information through medical records, written questions, document requests, and sworn testimonies.
Pre-trial motions are then argued in court, where parties attempt to convince the judge to allow or prohibit certain evidence or dismiss the other side’s argument, either in part or in whole.
The final step is for the trial to take place. In this step, the plaintiff and defendant both present their arguments before a judge or jury. The judge or jury then decides whether the defendant, in this case Uber, should be liable for your losses and injuries arising from the harm you suffered from Uber.
The trial itself follows a specific format. A jury is selected, followed by opening statements. You as the plaintiff present your case, then Uber as the defendant will present its case. Both sides present closing arguments. The jury then deliberates and gives a verdict.
Following the verdict, if you are successful, Uber can either appeal the decision or pay you within a specified time.
What Compensation Can an Uber Accident Victim Recover?
In an Uber accident claim, you can generally claim compensation for the following:
- Past and future medical expenses.
- Lost past and future income.
- Pain and suffering.
Your claim for medical expenses will be a reimbursement for the costs of your accident-related medical expenses. This includes past medical expenses and anticipated future medical costs. If your injuries limit your ability to work, causing you to lose income, then you can claim the amount of income that you have lost, or will lose, as a result. A claim for pain and suffering includes physical and mental pain and suffering. It is difficult to put a dollar value on this, although your ridesharing accidents attorney will assist in calculating a value to claim.