Many Virginians use the ride-hailing app Uber. Uber is convenient—often more convenient than public transportation. It’s also relatively inexpensive compared to taxis or limousines.
But with those advantages come several drawbacks, including driver inexperience. Another large disadvantage is the complexity of obtaining damage compensation if you’re injured or a loved one is killed in an Uber accident. If this has happened to you, the issue of who bears responsibility is complicated and it’s prudent to contact an experienced Uber accident lawyer such as Emroch & Kilduff.
Our Virginia Uber accident lawyers offer a free consultation to any potential clients, and if you choose to work with us we will use our seasoned approach to seek the justice you deserve.
Complications Obtaining Damage Compensation in Virginia Uber Accidents
In a regular car accident, Virginia is a “fault” state. This means that the party that caused the accident is responsible for providing compensation to folks who suffered an injury or other harm as a direct result of the accident. Victims can seek compensation by approaching the at-fault party’s insurance carrier or filing a Virginia Uber accident lawsuit.
Virginia is also a fault state in the case of Uber accidents. But identifying the at-fault party and what insurance applies can vary according to the stage of the ride or whether the app was in use at the time of the accident. This is because Uber drivers are not employees of Uber, the company. They do not drive company cars. They are independent contractors and their cars belong to them.
The responsibility to drive, inspect, and maintain the cars is thus theirs, not Uber’s.
- If the driver is not signed in to the Uber app and causes an accident, their personal car insurance applies. The reason? They are not signed in to work.
- If the driver is signed into the Uber app but is looking for passengers or between passengers, their personal car insurance also applies. Uber may offer supplemental insurance in certain circumstances.
- If the driver is signed into the Uber app and either carrying a passenger or on route to pick up a passenger, Uber’s insurance policy applies. Uber has a $1 million liability insurance policy to cover accident victims if its drivers cause a crash.
Because you need to know what stage the driver was in at the time of the accident, Uber accidents may require investigation and finding evidence, such as records from the app for the time period in question.
Assessing Responsibility in a Virginia Uber Accident
Victims should bear in mind that factors other than driver errors can cause an accident. Vehicle accidents are, for example, sometimes caused by defects or issues in the car itself. In that case, the car’s manufacturers or a repair company might bear responsibility for the accident.
Uber passengers can also bear responsibility for an accident. Drunk and disorderly passengers, for example, can cause a disruption that affects the driver or make it difficult to operate the vehicle properly.
The drivers of other vehicles can also cause accidents.
In short, Uber accident victims need to figure out who or what caused the accident. The party who caused it in the party responsible for damages.
How Dangerous Are Uber Drivers?
Many Uber drivers operate their vehicles safely and properly. However, in some cases, Uber rides may pose dangers, just as they pose insurance complications.
First, Uber does not set particularly high standards for their drivers. In fact, when Uber was new, its drivers were not even subject to background checks. While the required qualifications and background checks have improved, they are still not nearly as stringent as they are for, say, drivers of commercial motor vehicles such as long-haul trucks. As a result, Uber drivers may not always have training appropriate to the role, especially in difficult situations.
Second, Uber drivers may feel pressured in ways that drivers of private vehicles aren’t. Their compensation, for example, depends on the number of rides they accept. They may thus choose routes they view as the fastest but with heavier traffic so they can accept more passengers. They may speed or cut corners in their driving to deliver passengers as quickly as possible, so they can move on to another ride. They may also accept passengers who pose a problem for other passengers in the car. Again, their compensation depends on it.
Compensation for Injured People After Virginia Uber Accidents
If you or a loved one is injured in an Uber accident, you can seek the following compensation from the at-fault party:
- Medical bills, both present and future - For emergency treatment, doctor’s visits, hospitalization, surgery, diagnostic tests, medication, rehabilitative therapy, and more.
- Wages lost from work - If the accident, treatment, and recovery periods require you to stay home.
- Lifetime value of earnings - If the accident causes disability, such that the victim cannot work.
- Personal property - For personal property and belongings damaged or destroyed by the accident.
- Pain and suffering - For all types of pain and suffering, including emotional and mental as well as physical.
What Should I Do if I’m in a Virginia Uber Accident?
If you are in an Uber accident, ensure your safety as the first order of business. The driver should move the vehicle out of harm’s way (such as out of traffic) if at all possible. If the driver doesn’t or can’t, get to a safe place as quickly as you can.
Don’t, however, leave the scene of the accident until law enforcement arrives and talks to you unless you are seriously injured and require emergency transport to the hospital.
In Virginia, drivers involved in an accident that injures or kills someone or damages a vehicle or other property involved must report the accident.
Call 911 if the driver doesn’t or cannot call. If EMTs arrive and tell you that you should go in an ambulance, go. Your health and safety must be your first priorities after an accident. Don’t try to diagnose your injuries yourself.
If you aren’t seriously injured, it’s a good idea to get a copy of the accident report. A 911 call summons law enforcement as well as EMTs. Law enforcement will compile an accident report that will be a key piece of evidence about who caused the crash. They will talk to the drivers, assess the scene, and talk to any witnesses, including you.
Exchange contact information with all drivers. Get their insurance company, policy number, and e-mail at a minimum.
If you have a smartphone with you, it’s a good idea to take pictures of the accident scene: the cars, the surrounding area, and anything that indicates how and why the accident occurred (such as skid marks).
Keep copies of all Uber receipts and records. A screenshot is advisable.
After leaving the scene, visit a doctor as soon as possible for an examination. Only a doctor can tell if you have injuries or not.
Keep all records pertaining to your injuries and medical care. They also constitute evidence.
Call Our Virginia Uber Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one was in an Uber accident, contact the experienced attorneys at Emroch & Kilduff or call us at (804) 358-1568 as soon as you can. We can help determine the causes of the accident and if you choose to work with us we will treat your case with the respect and care it deserves.
“Emroch & Kilduff was a great company to help me in my time of need. The staff was very kind and professional. They kept me very informative on everything and were very pleasing and easy to work with. Everyone was very friendly and knew all their information. Definitely would recommend and go back to them for help again. Thank you Emroch & Kilduff for all your time and help.”
Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Read more reviews on Google!