Uber Passenger Injury Attorney Los Angeles
As an Uber passenger injury attorney in Los Angeles, I have seen the mobility of society give rise to various transportation network companies, or TNCs, in the last five years. Also called rideshares, these companies offer a less expensive option to taxis. In addition, they have attracted numerous drivers due to the scheduling flexibility for students or others who like the option of extra weekend work. However, the occupation is not without risks as accidents can occur when using a TNC.An Overview
With a solid presence in nearly 20 cities, Uber boasts the quickest expansion rate in Los Angeles of all their markets, according to a Forbes article written in 2015. A Princeton University professor, Alan Krueger, along with their Head of Research released an analysis of the company’s history and earnings. They reported that the company is hiring new drivers at a rate that more than doubled every six months between 2012 and 2014. The company’s Upscale service, which uses black cars, has seen some growth, but most of the growth is via the traditional service, where drivers use their own vehicles.Increased Accident Risk
Many rideshare drivers are simply looking for a way to earn extra money and have no additional driving experience. In addition to the usual reasons for accidents in the city, the following factors can combine to increase a rider’s risk of an accident when using a TNC:
- Time constraints
- The driver’s lack of training
- The busy traffic in Los Angeles and
- The pressure of transporting people in exchange for payment.
If you think that your rideshare driver acted negligently, which resulted in your injury, contact our attorney for assistance.California Laws
On July 1, 2015, new legislation under AB 2293 went into effect, unique to the state of California. The law mandates that all drivers must adhere to specific insurance coverage requirements.
Their affiliate company, Raiser-CA LLC or the driver must have minimum liability insurance coverage as follows during Period 1:
- $30,000 for property damage
- $50,000 per person and
- $100,000 per accident.
Of additional interest is the fact that the personal auto insurance of rideshare drivers no longer covers them if they happen to be involved in an accident, injuring a passenger in the process. Under the new law, they will need to specifically buy insurance created for ridesharing. This applies to all types of vehicle coverage, including:
- Comprehensive, which covers the vehicle if it is totaled
- Collision, which covers repairs to a damaged vehicle
- Medical payments, which covers driver injuries or those to another person
- Uninsured coverage and
- Underinsured coverage.
Although drivers are not legally required to buy additional insurance to protect them during Period 1, they might choose to take advantage of higher liability limits for their own protection.Insurance Coverage and Periods Under New California Laws
The new legislation defines three coverage periods when rideshare drivers are on the job.
Period 1 is the time when the driver goes online until he or she agrees to a client pick up. Company insurance, not personal insurance, covers drivers during this time.
Uber’s coverage under Period 2, when traveling to pick up a customer, and Period 3, when transporting passengers, includes:
- $1 million in liability coverage, unless the driver has his or her own ridesharing insurance coverage
- $1 million for uninsured/underinsured bodily injury coverage if the other motorist does not have enough coverage and
- Comprehensive and collision insurance, less a $1,000 deductible.
The company must also provide additional liability coverage valued at $200,000.How long do I have to file my Uber accident claim?
Technically, California Law provides two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. You would never want to wait that long though. Insurance companies including Uber make a big deal out delay in seeking medical treatment and delay in reporting a claim.What type of compensation can I receive from and Uber Accident?
Compensation for personal injury is designed to restore a person who has suffered harm to the position they would have been in if the injury had not occurred. Here are several types of compensation, also known as "damages," that can be awarded in personal injury cases:
Economic Damages (Special Damages)
- Medical expenses: Covers past, current, and future estimated medical bills.
- Lost wages: Compensation for earnings lost while recovering from an injury.
- Loss of earning capacity: If the injury permanently affects the victim's ability to earn a living.
- Property damage: Reimbursement for property damaged during the incident.
- Out-of-pocket expenses: For other miscellaneous costs incurred due to the injury.
Non-Economic Damages (General Damages)
- Pain and suffering: For physical pain resulting from injuries.
- Emotional distress: Compensation for psychological effects, such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD.
- Loss of consortium: Damages awarded when injuries negatively affect the relationship between the injured person and their spouse.
- Loss of enjoyment: Compensation for inability to enjoy hobbies or other activities.
- Loss of companionship: When the injury results in death or profound changes, affecting relationships with loved ones.
- These are not awarded in all cases but can be given when the defendant's actions are found to be especially harmful or egregious. Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future.
Wrongful Death Damages
- If a personal injury case involves the death of the victim, the family might be entitled to compensation for funeral and burial costs, loss of financial support, and emotional suffering.
Given the complex insurance coverage issues and liability concerns outlined above, it is always prudent to consult and hire an attorney if you are injured as a passenger riding in and Uber in Los Angeles or anywhere in California. Insurance companies have the goal of either eliminating or reducing payouts on these claims. They do this in many ways such as denying liability, discounting the value of medical services, denying that the accident caused injury, and many other tactics. Having a legal advocate to confront these claims is crucial to recovery of full value. An Uber accident attorney can best evaluate who is at fault, against whom claims should be made and how to maximize the value of any personal injury or wrongful death claim. Uber injury lawyers can also assist victims in obtaining medical evaluation and treatment so that the injured party can simply concentrate on getting better rather than dealing with insurance representatives and adjusters simply looking to eliminate or reduce their payout.Who is liable for an Uber accident?
If the Uber driver was negligent and caused the accident and they were transporting you as a passenger at the time of the incident, Uber is liable. If another vehicle driver or drivers were involved and caused or at least contributed to causing the crash, those persons my be responsible for some or all of the damages. If the driver at fault had no insurance or limited coverage, you may be able to seek additional compensation from Uber for "uninsured" or "underinsured" motorist coverage. Sorting out all these issues is not simple and is best done with the assistance of any attorney familiar with Uber accident claims.How long do I have to file my Uber Accident Claim?
California normally provides a two year "statute of limitations". This means that you have only two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the driver at fault. Most claims against Uber are subject to mandatory arbitration (similar to a court proceeding but, without a jury) and Notice of Intent to pursue arbitration must also be filed within two years from the date of the accident. Having said this, you would never want to wait more than even a few days or weeks to open claims with the at fault driver's insurance and/or Uber. Delay in reporting the claim can lead to a denial of the claim.Should I seek Medical Treatment After an Uber Accident?
If you have any physical pains or complaints following an Uber accident, you should promptly seek medical attention. If an ambulance arrives at the scene and you are experiencing pain, it is always best to have them transport you to a medical facility where you can obtain a proper medical evaluation and treatment. Failing to promptly seek medical attention is one of the major causes of denials or claims or devaluation later by insurance representatives. A quality personal injury law firm can assist you with obtaining treatment even if you don't have health insurance.
Along with other states, California has responded to the need for updated laws regarding Uber and similar rideshare services. If you were a passenger and suffered an injury due to a driver’s negligence, reach out to our law firm for help in understanding your legal rights. We will examine insurance coverage issues, assess fault and evaluate the ramifications of your case under current law. We work on a "contingency", which means we charge nothing up front and no fees unless and until we recover money for you.