Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft offer many benefits to Denver residents and visitors. Often more convenient than taxis or public transit, ridesharing provides an alternative way to get around for people who don’t have access to a car or can’t drive. These services offer another way for people to get home safely after a night out rather than take the risk of drinking and driving. But there are also inherent risks when it comes to using Uber, Lyft, and similar rideshare companies.
Uber and Lyft drivers typically do not carry commercial driver’s licenses, and there’s no way for app users to check the driver’s history for any accidents or other concerns. Even if you do get a reliable driver, accidents can still happen regardless of how careful your driver is.
If you’ve been involved in an accident with an Uber driver, no matter the circumstances, it’s vital to speak to a car accident attorney right away. Regardless of whether you were a passenger in the Uber vehicle or not, these kinds of accidents can present major challenges when it comes to determining liability and recovering compensation for your injuries. That’s why you need a driven and experienced Denver Uber accident lawyer like Sean Olson of the Olson Law Firm.
After gaining experience working at a national trial litigation firm, Olson opened his own practice in 2011 to fight on behalf of people who have been injured and can’t fight for themselves. Known as a strong litigator and knowledgeable negotiator, Olson is a member of the invitation-only Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and has the highest possible rating from Avvo.com.
What to Do After an Uber Accident in Denver
There are some potential complications when it comes to figuring out liability for an Uber accident, but in the immediate aftermath of a crash, your next steps are more or less the same as those after any car accident. If you’re involved in an Uber accident, here’s what you should do:
- Call 911 and get medical attention. Before you start worrying about liability and compensation, you need to get treatment for your injuries. Injuries from a car crash can be very severe. Calling 911 serves the dual purpose of bringing emergency medical assistance and law enforcement to the scene. Law enforcement will begin their investigation of the crash, and they may issue a citation for fault. You’ll want to request a copy of the accident report once the investigation is complete.
- Take as many pictures as you can. Be sure to take pictures of the damage to the vehicle you were in, any damage to other vehicles, your injuries, the scene of the crash, any hazards in the road that might have contributed to the accident, nearby traffic signs and surveillance cameras, etc.
- Collect contact information for anyone involved in the accident. This includes the Uber driver, the driver of any other vehicles involved in the crash, any passengers in your vehicle or other vehicles, and any witnesses who saw what happened. Along with their name and phone number, you’ll also want to write down their mailing address, email address, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information.
- Report the accident to Uber. If you were an Uber customer at the time of the crash, you can use the Uber app to report that an accident has occurred.
- Talk to a lawyer as soon as you can. Determining liability and compensation for an Uber accident can be different from other car accidents. It can be a complex process to sort everything out. Speaking to an attorney early on gives you a head start on your claim, allows your attorney to start gathering evidence on your behalf, and minimizes your chance of running up against Colorado’s statute of limitations.
How to Determine Liability for an Uber Accident
Under Colorado law, Uber is required to provide $1 million per accident in bodily injury insurance for any prearranged ride. A prearranged ride extends from the time someone requests a ride through the app until the passenger exits the Uber vehicle at their destination.
This policy covers the person who requested the ride, any other passengers in the vehicle, and any other vehicles involved in a collision. Because this policy begins once a passenger has requested a ride, it applies even if an accident occurs before the Uber driver has picked up the passenger.
Determining who is liable for an Uber accident depends on the circumstances of the case. The relevant factors include whether the Uber driver had any passengers in the vehicle, whether the Uber driver caused the accident or not, etc.
Here are a few examples of how liability can differ in an Uber accident:
- If the Uber driver is involved in a crash in which a passenger was injured and the Uber driver caused the crash, they can be held liable for any injuries to their passengers. The injured passengers may also be able to file a claim against Uber under its insurance policy.
- If an Uber passenger is hurt in an accident that was caused by another vehicle, the Uber driver and Uber themselves generally are not liable. However, the injured passenger is free to file a claim against the driver who caused the collision.
- If an Uber driver gets in an accident when they are not carrying any passengers or on their way to pick one up, the liable party will depend on who was at fault for the accident. If the Uber driver caused the accident, they can be held liable, and Uber itself may also be liable. If the Uber driver did not cause the accident, the other driver will be held liable for any injuries.
- If an Uber driver is involved in a crash when they are logged out of the app, then they are essentially a regular driver, and normal rules regarding liability will apply.
Common Causes of Uber Accidents in Denver
Uber accidents can happen both because of and in spite of any individual Uber driver’s actions, and the cause of the accident will play a large part in determining who is liable for any injuries.
Some of the ways an Uber driver can cause a crash include:
- Distracted driving, especially if they’re looking at their phone to locate a passenger
- Driving while fatigued, if the driver goes too long without taking a break
- Speeding or other dangerous driving behaviors while the driver is racing to pick up their passenger
Not all Uber accidents are the driver’s fault, however. Some of the other causes of Uber accidents include:
- Other drivers driving while distracted, fatigued, drunk, or otherwise incapacitated
- Road hazards
- Bad weather
- Car malfunctions
- Defective parts
If you’re unclear of who is liable for your Uber accident, a car accident attorney can investigate your case to determine the responsible party.
What Damages Can I Recover After an Uber Accident?
Damages in an Uber accident case are fairly similar to those in most car accident claims. If you file a claim against the liable party after an accident, you can potentially receive compensation for:
- Your past medical bills, including doctor’s visits, prescription medications, hospital stays, diagnostic exams, lab work, physical therapy, surgical procedures, etc.
- The cost of any future medical care you may need due to your injuries
- The value of any lost wages if you had to miss work because of your injuries
- Your reduced future earning capacity if your injuries impact your ability to make a living
- The physical pain and suffering caused by the accident
- Any emotional anguish or other mental trauma caused by the accident.
- Any property that was damaged or destroyed in the crash
- The loss of emotional or financial support from a spouse or family member who was injured in the crash
The liability insurance limit available in an accident that was the fault of an Uber driver will vary, depending on the status of the Uber driver:
- When an Uber driver is driving to pick up a passenger or is transporting a passenger, Uber’s liability policy provides coverage for up to $1 million.
- When an Uber driver is logged on to the app but has no passenger requests, Uber provides liability coverage of $50,000 for bodily injury per person, $100,000 for bodily injury per accident, plus $25,000 for property damage.
- When an Uber driver is not logged on to the app, they are not technically working for Uber, so the driver’s personal liability insurance will cover damages.
Contact an Uber Accident Lawyer in Denver
As Uber and other ridesharing apps become more and more popular, accidents involving Uber drivers will only become more common. If you’re involved in an Uber accident, getting in touch with an attorney as soon as possible could make it much more likely that your case will reach a positive conclusion.
The legal team at the Olson Law Firm has had great success at collecting compensation for our clients, and we want to do the same for you. Once you’ve hired our firm, we’ll immediately begin collecting evidence to support your claim, handle all related communications, make sure all court paperwork and other documents are filed correctly, and begin aggressive negotiations with the responsible party’s insurer.
Along the way, we’ll be preparing your case for trial to make sure your rights are upheld. To learn more about our legal services and how we can help you, call us or visit our contact page for your free case review.