Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare services have become incredibly popular throughout California. It is now easy to call a ride exactly when and where you want it. This ability is not only convenient, but it also makes it easier than ever to avoid drunk driving.
In spite of the convenience, rideshares still occur in cars, which means that they are involved in accidents just like other vehicles. Accident victims who are injured in a collision involving an Uber have legal rights. It is important to contact a Santa Clara Uber accident lawyer as soon as possible after a collision.
Our experienced car crash attorneys know how to handle rideshare cases. We will handle the paperwork and protect your legal rights so that you can focus on making the best recovery possible. In the meantime, our rideshare injury lawyers have prepared this guide with important information about Uber accident cases. Learn more about the common causes of Uber accidents, what to do after being involved in a crash with an Uber, and who is legally at fault for causing an Uber accident.
A farm worker, suffered multiple broken bones and other orthopedic injuries resulting from an auto accident where the defendant driver attempted to make a left turn in front of our client in heavy fog.– ARASH KHORSANDI
There are many driving behaviors that can make a driver liable for a car accident. It is important for your lawyer to be able to investigate the case thoroughly to determine what each driver did – or didn’t do – to cause the collision. What follows are some of the most common reasons that Uber accidents occur.
Distracted driving is a major public health risk across America. Drivers now have smartphones, smartwatches, navigation programs, and many more apps built right into the dashboard of their vehicles, in addition to all the usual things that can distract any driver (such as pets or children in the back seat, food or drink, grooming, and watching other drivers). The temptation to take your eyes off the road has never been higher.
Drivers still, however, have a legal obligation to operate their vehicles with due care, meaning they cannot allow themselves to be distracted when they should be paying attention to the road ahead of them. Drivers who caused accidents while distracted are liable for the damages and injuries they cause.
Distracted driving is a particular problem for Uber and Lyft drivers. Rideshare drivers must use their smartphones in the vehicle to coordinate pickups, track rides, and log each fare in the app, meaning an Uber driver must have their phone accessible even while they are operating the vehicle.
Having their phone on does not, however, mean that rideshare drivers can cause accidents because they are distracted by the app. Drivers must use good judgment to pay attention to the traffic around them – even when the app is sending notifications. The law requires all drivers to avoid distracted driving, but those who provide transportation in exchange for money are held to an even higher standard of care. This higher standard helps ensure that all public transportation is made safe for the customers who rely on their services.
Speeding is a factor in many fatal accidents. When drivers are speeding, they have less time to react to obstructions in the road. They might even miss warning signs all together because they are going too fast to read them. Speeding not only increases the risk of having an accident – it also increases the severity of injuries that victims sustain in an accident, which is why so many speeding accidents result in fatalities. Speed increases the force that is generated in a collision.
When accidents occur at higher speeds, there is more force to be absorbed by the vehicles involved, and sometimes it is more force than the vehicle is designed to bear. Some of these forces can be directed toward the occupants of the passenger compartment. These forces cause serious injuries that are often fatal.
Even when injuries are not fatal, they are more likely to be permanent and cause the victims a lifetime of disability and suffering. Drivers who speed are negligent. They are liable for the costs of a wrongful death, permanent disabilities, and other damages they cause.
Yes, even Uber drivers can succumb to the temptation to drink and drive. Impairment is not only caused by alcohol, either. Street drugs, recreational marijuana, and prescription medications can also impair a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
If either your Uber driver or another driver on the road nearby is impaired, the odds of you being involved in an accident will suddenly become much higher. It is important to hold impaired drivers accountable for the injuries they cause. Financial consequences (such as increased insurance premiums or a court judgment) can deter other drivers from driving while impaired, which helps keep the roads of California safer for everyone.
Driving while tired is another common problem for Uber drivers. For many drivers, Uber is a second or third job. These drivers might be offering rides after a full day of work at another job. Worse still, many Uber drivers find that their peak driving hours are late at night and early in the morning.
Working during this window of time can interfere with normal sleep cycles and make a driver even more tired. Though Uber drivers might be tired, they still have the legal obligation to safely operate their motor vehicles with due care. Drivers who cause accidents because they are tired are liable for the damages and injuries they cause.
Drivers must also routinely check their vehicles for problems. If an accident was caused by worn-out brake pads, a bad engine or another preventable problem that the driver ignored, doing so could be considered negligence. Uber drivers, in particular, have to make sure their vehicles are safe for the passengers who pay to ride in them.
Uber does have some corporate rules about vehicle safety. Drivers must use a vehicle that falls under a model year and mileage requirements, for example. But these rules do not ensure that every driver performs the regular and routine maintenance that all cars require. Drivers who fail to service their vehicles can be found at fault for any accidents that result from this negligence.
Bad weather can cause low visibility, slick road surfaces, and risky driving from others on the road. All drivers have the legal duty of care that requires them to adjust their habits to current road conditions. If the road is slick, they must slow down and watch for ice or water on the roadway. If visibility is low, drivers must slow down and use their lights or horn as necessary to make sure other drivers know where they are.
Any car accident is an overwhelming experience, but if you were hit in an Uber, it could be even more difficult to know what to do after a crash. Unfortunately, this confusion leads to accident victims saying and doing things at the accident scene that can be used against them later. By knowing what to do after an accident, you can protect your legal rights until you are able to hire a Santa Clara Uber accident lawyer.
Follow these steps to protect both your health and your legal rights:
You should always call 911 at the scene of an accident. You do not know who is hurt and what medical attention might be required. You will also want a police report for your legal case later. Some drivers might ask you to “be cool” or just “take care of it without the cops.” Doing so might help them, but it actually hurts you. Without a police report, you might have a hard time filing a claim or be unable to get any compensation at all. The police also need to be at the scene to investigate whether any crimes (for example, drunk driving) occurred.
Your first priority must always be your health. If you need to leave the scene in an ambulance, be sure to do so. The police will find you and take care of the report later. If you do not feel like you need an ambulance, you should still be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.
Find an urgent care facility or emergency department in your area. Even if you do not feel hurt, you could still be injured. Some injuries do not show up for hours – or even days – after an accident occurs. The sooner a doctor can diagnose these injuries, the better your prognosis will be.
Your first priority should be your health. Do not worry about recording the accident scene if you need to go to the hospital or consult with the medics at the scene. Let the police and removal crews do their work. But if you are able to do so, and if you can do so safely, it can be helpful to have photos of the accident scene.
Use your smartphone to get photos or videos of the entire area. You should record both cars and the point of impact. Again, do NOT worry about making these records if you need to focus on your health instead. Only record from a safe location that is out of the path of traffic.
If you were a passenger in the Uber, you should have information about the ride in your Uber app. Be sure to screenshot or record all the information you can. The driver, vehicle, license plate, and other information can be helpful in identifying who was involved in the collision.
The Uber app also allows you to report an accident to Uber. Your injury attorney can make the report for you, but if you want to do it yourself, you can. Uber will likely contact you about the accident soon after you report it. At that point, you want to have an accident attorney so that they can speak to your lawyer about the accident, and you will not accidentally say anything that could hurt your case.
It is best to hire an Uber injury attorney as soon as you can. Once the insurance company (or Uber) is notified that you have an attorney, they are no longer allowed to contact you about the accident. All communications must go through your attorney’s office, which protects you from saying anything that could hurt your case, but it also shows these companies that you are serious about getting the compensation you deserve.
Your accident lawyer will also perform other important tasks to protect your legal rights. For example, the wreckage from the cars is often removed and destroyed after an accident. If your lawyer needs this physical evidence, they will have to work quickly to preserve it. Security footage is also deleted relatively quickly, so you will need to hire a lawyer quickly in order to get this data before it is erased. Your lawyer will work to preserve evidence and investigate your claim as soon as they are hired.
There are many reasons why Ubers are involved in traffic accidents. The person who is considered legally at fault (“liable”) for causing an accident also has a legal obligation to compensate you for your injuries. It is important to work with an experienced Uber accident lawyer who knows how to find all liable parties in a rideshare case and prove that they were at fault for the accident.
While liability is not always clear, Uber and Lyft carry commercial insurance policies with high limits in order to cover injuries to passengers. Even when the company is not liable for an accident, these insurance policies offer important protections for injury victims. They can cover injuries caused by a third party and supplement individual insurance policies with low coverage limits that are not enough to pay for all your damages.
These insurance policies can even cover injuries caused by an uninsured driver. Our Santa Clara Uber accident lawyers at Arash Law headed by Arash Khorsandi, Esq. know how to find all insurance policies that might cover your injuries, ensuring you have access to all the compensation you are owed.
What follows are some of the other parties who could be at fault for your rideshare accident.
Some accidents are caused by defective vehicles. When such a thing takes place, the manufacturer is liable for injuries caused by its defective product, which is why car companies voluntarily pay for expensive recalls instead of paying for thousands of personal injury and wrongful death claims. Your attorney will review your case to determine if you have a products liability claim against the manufacturer of a defective vehicle that caused your injuries.
Construction zones are particularly dangerous places. Many drivers are liable for speeding through work zones, or not paying attention, or causing accidents there for various reasons. But the road work crew can also be negligent. If, for example, they left equipment in the middle of the road, an accident could result. A road crew might also perform repairs negligently and leave the road in a condition that makes an accident likely to occur. Your attorney will also review your case for any potential claims against a construction company, a road work crew, or other companies that were responsible for negligent road repairs.
You could spend hours online searching for “Santa Clara car accident lawyers near me,” but you have already found the best injury law firm in California. Our Santa Clara Uber accident lawyers have decades of experience handling all types of car accident cases. We also have experience handling the unique legal issues that come up in rideshare accident cases.
Our legal team has collected over 400 million dollars for clients across the Golden State. We work in Santa Clara and all surrounding areas. Our legal team also serves clients in Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Riverside, Bakersfield, Santa Barbara, San Jose, San Diego, Fresno, Sherman Oaks, and throughout California.
Call (888) 488-1391 today to schedule your free consultation. You don’t have to fight the big rideshare companies and their lawyers on your own. Get an experienced rideshare injury lawyer on your side as soon as possible.