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April 15, 2024
Clarke Speaks

Experienced Wilmington Uber Accident Lawyer Shares an Overview on How to Pursue a Claim After a Ridesharing Accident

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Ridesharing services like Uber have become a popular mode of transportation, offering convenience and ease of access. However, despite safety measures, accidents involving rideshare vehicles can still occur. If you've been injured in a Wilmington rideshare accident, navigating the legal landscape to pursue a claim can be complex. This blog post by an experienced Wilmington Uber accident lawyer, provides an overview of the process, helping you understand your rights and options.

Have you been injured and have questions as to whether you have a case? Let us put your mind at ease. At Speaks Law Firm, we offer a free, confidential case review where we’ll discuss your situation and explore your options. Reach out to us at (910) 341-7570 to speak with one of our experienced Uber accident attorneys.

Understanding Ridesharing

Ridesharing refers to a service that allows you to book a ride from a driver who uses their personal vehicle to transport you to your desired destination. This service is typically accessed via a mobile app that connects passengers with nearby rideshare drivers.

The concept is built on the notion of sharing rides, which often makes it more affordable and convenient than traditional taxi services. The convenience for you, as a passenger, comes from the ease of booking trips and automated payment transactions.

Uber's Operational Model

Uber, a leader in the ridesharing services market, operates by providing you with a platform to hail rides through its app. When you request a trip, Uber’s algorithm matches you with an Uber driver who is in your vicinity and ready to take a ride.

As a driver, you would use the app to receive ride requests, navigate to the passenger's location, and complete the trip to the passenger’s specified endpoint. Uber's operational model is designed to keep the process smooth for both the driver and passenger, ensuring that your trips are safe, reliable, and tracked for accountability. The number of trips completed daily indicates the scope and scale at which these services operate, catering to millions globally.

Rideshare Insurance Coverage

One of the critical factors in a rideshare accident claim is insurance coverage. Unlike traditional taxis, rideshare drivers use their personal vehicles. Insurance coverage depends on the specific phase of the driver's app usage:

  • Offline Phase: When a driver is not logged into the ridesharing app, they are considered "offline." During this time, the driver's personal auto insurance is the primary form of coverage. This scenario is no different from any private driving situation, where the individual's standard auto insurance policies apply.
  • Waiting for a Ride Request: Once the driver logs into the app and is waiting to accept a ride request, the insurance scenario changes. In this phase, ridesharing companies like Uber typically provide contingent liability coverage. This coverage is designed to step in if the driver’s personal insurance does not offer protection. It usually includes minimum liability limits, which are the minimum amounts required by state law, to cover damages or injuries to third parties if the driver is involved in an accident during this waiting period.
  • On a Trip with a Passenger: The insurance coverage escalates significantly once a driver accepts a ride request and throughout the duration the passenger is in the vehicle. During this phase, the ridesharing company provides a primary insurance policy with substantially higher limits. This comprehensive coverage includes:
    • Third-Party Liability Insurance: To cover damages and injuries to others if the rideshare driver is at fault.
    • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Protects the driver and passengers if an accident is caused by another driver with insufficient or no insurance.
    • Comprehensive and Collision Coverage: Applies to damage to the driver’s own vehicle, subject to a deductible, and is contingent on the driver having these coverages on their personal auto policy.

The specific coverage amounts and details can vary depending on the rideshare company and state regulations. It's crucial to understand these nuances to determine who is liable and the applicable insurance coverage.

uber accident attorney

Determining Fault in a Rideshare Accident

uber accident attorney

Determining fault in a North Carolina ridesharing accident can involve multiple parties and the specific circumstances surrounding the accident. Here's a breakdown of potentially liable parties:

  • Rideshare Driver: If the rideshare driver's negligence caused the accident (distracted driving, speeding, driving under the influence, etc.), they might be held liable. North Carolina follows a contributory negligence law, which means if you are found even slightly at fault for the accident, you may be barred from recovering any compensation.  An experienced lawyer can investigate the driver's actions and adherence to rideshare company policies to determine fault.
  • Other Driver: If another driver caused the collision (distracted driving, speeding, running a red light, etc.), their insurance would be primary.  Your lawyer can investigate the accident scene and witness statements to establish their role.
  • Rideshare Company: In certain situations, the rideshare company itself could be liable. Here are some potential scenarios:
    • Improper Driver Screening: If the rideshare company failed to conduct a thorough background check on the driver, and this resulted in a driver with a history of reckless driving causing the accident, the company might share fault.
    • Vehicle Maintenance Issues: If a mechanical issue with the rideshare vehicle played a role in the accident due to a lack of proper maintenance by the rideshare company, they could be held partially liable. 
    • App Glitch: If a malfunction within the rideshare app (navigation error, etc.) directly contributed to the accident, the rideshare company might be partially responsible.

An experienced North Carolina Uber accident lawyer can investigate the accident scene, police reports, witness statements, driver app data (including the driver's location and activity at the time of the accident), and the rideshare company's driver screening and vehicle maintenance procedures to establish fault. This comprehensive investigation is crucial to identify all potentially liable parties and maximize your chances of recovering fair compensation.

Steps to Take After a Wilmington Rideshare Accident

uber accident attorney

The immediate aftermath of a rideshare accident can be stressful. Here's what you should do to protect your rights and potential claim:

  1. Call 911: Even if you don't appear to have injuries, call emergency services immediately. Adrenaline and shock can mask the true extent of injuries, and a medical evaluation is crucial to document your health after the accident. Calling 911 will also dispatch law enforcement to the scene to file an accident report.
  2. Seek Medical Attention: Even if you feel okay,  get a medical evaluation to document any injuries sustained.  Early medical attention can help establish a clear connection between the accident and your injuries. 
  3. Report the Accident: Report the accident to the rideshare company through their app as soon as possible.  Request and keep a copy of the accident report for your records.
  4. Gather Evidence: Take photos of the accident scene, your injuries (if possible), and any vehicle damage. Collect witness contact information and document details like weather conditions and road layout.
  5. Keep Records: Maintain copies of all medical bills, receipts related to the accident, and communication with the rideshare company or insurance providers.
  6. Contact an Uber Injury Lawyer: An attorney experienced in rideshare accidents can advise you on your legal options and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

The Role of a Wilmington Uber Accident Lawyer in Your Claim

A Wilmington Uber accident lawyer can significantly benefit your case in several ways:

  • Investigating the Accident: They will conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence that strengthens your claim and identifies all potentially liable parties.
  • Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Ridesharing accidents often involve complex insurance coverage. Your lawyer can handle negotiations with insurance companies to ensure you receive a fair settlement.
  • Understanding Ridesharing Laws: Ridesharing accident laws are constantly evolving. Your lawyer will stay up-to-date on relevant legal precedents and ensure your claim adheres to all regulations.
  • Building a Strong Case: They will compile a comprehensive case file, documenting your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. This strengthens your position when negotiating a settlement or pursuing litigation.
  • Protecting Your Rights: An experienced lawyer can ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process and guide you through complex legal steps.

Compensation Recoverable in a Wilmington Ridesharing Accident Claim

If you've been injured in a rideshare accident, you may be entitled to compensation for various damages, including:

  • Medical Expenses: This covers past, present, and future medical bills associated with your injuries.
  • Lost Wages: If your injuries prevent you from working, you can recover compensation for lost income.
  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical and emotional pain caused by the accident.
  • Property Damage: Reimbursement for any damage to your personal belongings in the accident.
  • Loss of Consortium: If your injuries impact your relationship with your spouse, compensation for this loss may be available.

By considering these factors, a North Carolina Uber accident lawyer can estimate the potential value of your claim and fight to ensure you receive fair compensation for all your damages.

Your Claim Options

uber accident lawyer

After a thorough investigation and case building, your Wilmington Uber accident lawyer will advise you on the most suitable claim option:

  • Settlement: This is the most common outcome in rideshare accident cases. Your lawyer negotiates with the at-fault party's insurance company to reach a financial agreement that compensates you for your damages.
  • Litigation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer may recommend filing a lawsuit against the liable party. This process involves presenting evidence in court to prove your case and obtain a judgment from a judge or jury.

uber accident lawyer

uber accident lawyer

Challenges in Rideshare Claims

While rideshare services offer a convenient transportation option, pursuing a claim after an accident involving a rideshare vehicle in North Carolina can be complex and present several challenges. Here's a closer look at some of the hurdles you might encounter:

  • Determining Insurance Coverage:  As mentioned earlier, ridesharing insurance coverage varies depending on the specific phase of the driver's app activity (offline, waiting for a ride, or on a trip).  This complexity can make it difficult to determine who is liable and which insurance policy applies.
  • Shared Fault Laws: North Carolina follows a contributory negligence law. This means if you are found even slightly responsible for the accident, you may be barred from recovering any compensation. This can be challenging, especially if the rideshare company argues you contributed to the accident.
  • Obtaining Evidence: Rideshare accidents often lack traditional eyewitnesses, as passengers are typically focused on their destination.  Additionally, rideshare company app data might be crucial evidence, and obtaining this data can require legal assistance.
  • Ridesharing Company Policies:  Rideshare companies have specific terms of service outlining the claims process, including deadlines for reporting accidents.  Failure to adhere to these deadlines could jeopardize your ability to pursue a claim.
  • Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Ridesharing accidents often involve multiple insurance companies, each with their own adjusters working to minimize payouts.  Negotiating a fair settlement can be challenging without legal representation.

These challenges highlight the importance of consulting with a North Carolina Uber accident lawyer experienced in rideshare claims.  An attorney can navigate these complexities, investigate the accident thoroughly, gather necessary evidence, and advocate for your rights throughout the legal process, specifically considering North Carolina's contributory negligence law.

Special Considerations in Uber Accident Cases

uber accident lawyer

In Uber accident cases, there are unique factors to consider when you're a pedestrian, bicyclist, involved in a severe accident, or dealing with the loss of a loved one. Your rights and the compensation you may be entitled to receive can be influenced by the specifics of your situation.

Pedestrians and Bicyclists Involved in Uber Accidents

As a pedestrian or bicyclist, if you are hit by an Uber driver, you need to know that different insurance rules may apply. 

Uber drivers are covered by their own personal insurance when they are not logged into the app. But, once the driver is available or waiting for a ride request, Uber’s contingent insurance coverage can come into play. If the Uber driver is actively on a trip, a $1 million policy may apply to provide coverage for bodily injury or trauma incurred in the accident.

Dealing with Fatalities and Severe Injuries

In the tragic event of fatalities or severe injuries resulting from an Uber accident, the process can become more complex. Surviving family members should be aware that they may pursue a wrongful death claim. Those with life-altering injuries could be eligible for significant compensation. 

The financial recovery can include expenses related to medical treatment, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the accident. For rideshare accidents involving fatalities or severe trauma, it's essential to consult with an experienced Wilmington Uber accident lawyer to navigate the contingencies of your claim effectively.

Being injured in a ridesharing accident can be a physically, emotionally, and financially difficult experience.  Don't navigate the complexities of a ridesharing accident claim alone.  An Uber accident lawyer can guide you through the process, fight to recover the maximum possible compensation for your damages, and ensure your rights are protected throughout your claim.

Are You Pursuing a Rideshare Insurance Claim?

The road to recovery after a rideshare accident can be fraught with confusion and uncertainty, especially when it comes to understanding and navigating insurance claims. Whether you're a passenger, a rideshare driver, or a third party affected by an accident involving a rideshare vehicle, knowing your rights and the intricacies of insurance coverage is paramount.

At Speaks Law Firm, our team is experienced in unraveling the complexities of rideshare insurance claims. Our experience extends to advocating for those impacted by rideshare accidents. Here's how we can assist you:

  • Thorough Investigation: We dive deep into the circumstances of your accident, scrutinizing details to uncover potential negligence and liability.
  • Evidence Analysis: Our team meticulously gathers and examines evidence to construct a robust case that supports your claim for compensation.
  • Maximizing Compensation: With determination and expertise, we strive to secure the compensation for your injuries, covering medical expenses, lost earnings, and other damages.

Embarking on the path to justice and compensation doesn't have to be a solitary journey. Schedule your free consultation with Speaks Law Firm today to explore how we can support you through this challenging time. Reach out to us at (910) 341-7570 or via our online form to connect with a dedicated rideshare injury lawyer

At Speaks Law Firm, we're not just your legal representatives; we're your advocates, ensuring your voice is heard and your rights are protected. Because when it comes to seeking justice, the quality of your representation can make all the difference. Let us be the ones who speak for you!

While you’re waiting for your consultation, we invite you to listen to our podcast, “Catastrophic Comeback.”

Copyright © 2024. Speaks Law Firm. All Rights Reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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