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“They sent somebody to visit me in the hospital and get my side of the story (totally free). I was assigned Mr. Crawford and told that we had a case. Fast forward about 9 months later and I received literally 14x what the insurance company had offered me. This is after the lawyer and medical fees as well. So basically this was totally free and I barely had to do anything I am so glad I called Marks and Harrison and I will be recommending them to all of my family and friends.”— Robert Smith
When people think of ridesharing services, they probably think of Uber. For a long time, the company has been the unofficial face of the rideshare industry in Virginia and across the country. Today, when people don’t want to drive in cities like Richmond, they often simply “call an Uber” instead.
Convenience is the key. You simply use an app to request an Uber ride, get picked up and dropped off, and then you pay by using the app again. Rides are abundant in most large cities and in college towns like Charlottesville. The rides involve no cash.
However, what happens when you take an Uber and get hurt in a car accident? Whose insurance will cover your medical expenses and other damages? What if you were hurt while working as an Uber driver? Do you have rights and options when it comes to seeking just compensation for your injuries and losses?
At Marks & Harrison, we have practiced personal injury law for more than a century. Throughout our history, we have stayed on top of the latest legal developments, including crashes involving Uber drivers. If you were hurt or lost a loved one in an Uber accident in Virginia, we can put our experience and resources to work for you today. Call or reach us online for a free case review.
What Are the Ridesharing Laws in Virginia?
Since 2015, Virginia has regulated the state’s ridesharing industry by requiring “transport network companies” to obtain licenses and comply with specific rules in order to operate within the state. Uber and Lyft were the first companies to register.
In order to continue to stay in business in Virginia, Uber and other ridesharing companies must:
- Conduct criminal and driving history background checks of drivers
- Hire only drivers who are age 21 or older
- Decline to hire drivers with drunk driving convictions
- Require drivers to get an annual vehicle safety inspection
- Provide $1 million in liability coverage, which kicks in the moment a driver picks up a passenger to the moment the driver drops off the passenger.
Both Uber and Lyft have policies in place which meet the above requirements. That is important to know as you move forward and pursue compensation after you have been hurt in an Uber accident in Virginia.
What Are Your Options If You Suffer Injuries as an Uber Passenger?
Did your Uber driver do something careless or reckless to cause an accident and leave you with serious injuries? Did another driver negligently hit your Uber? Are both your driver and another driver responsible for the crash? Your answers to these questions will determine your rights and options as a passenger who has been injured in an Uber accident in Virginia.
If another driver was at fault: Virginia is a traditional tort law state. So, your first option would be to file a claim against the at-fault driver and seek compensation through that driver’s liability coverage. If the driver lacks insurance or has insurance that falls shy of covering all of your losses, you can turn to your own UM/UIM coverage.
If your Uber driver was at fault: You would file a claim through Uber’s commercial liability insurance policy. Uber’s policy provides up to $1 million in total bodily injury and property damage coverage per accident. This is the total which Virginia law requires. If your losses exceed $1 million, then you may also be able to seek funds through your own UIM policy.
Our goal at Marks & Harrison will be to identify every party who should be held liable for the injuries that you have suffered as an Uber passenger. Depending on the facts of your case, both your Uber driver and another driver may share responsibility for your damages. We want to identify all available sources of compensation in order to pursue the maximum amount for you.
What Can You Do If You Suffer Injuries as an Uber Driver?
If you suffer injuries while driving a car that use to make money through a company such as Uber, then you need to be concerned about many different things. Will you be liable for damages? Can you get any coverage for your own medical bills and other expenses? To determine your rights and options, you will need to first ask yourself who was at fault.
If another driver was at fault: You would pursue damages through that driver’s liability insurance. If you were logged into the Uber app and picking up or carrying a passenger, then Uber will provide up to $1 million in UM/UIM coverage in case the driver who hit you is uninsured or underinsured. If you were not logged on and were using your car for personal reasons, you would need to file a UM/UIM claim with your own insurer. You should check your policy to see whether it excludes coverage when you use your car for “commercial” purposes. You may need to buy special coverage for rideshare drivers.
If you were at fault: Understandably, your main concern will be whether the other driver can sue you for damages. If so, you should understand how different types of insurance will protect you. As you can see, it will depend on whether you were:
- Not logged into the app – If you were driving your car for personal reasons, Uber would provide no coverage to you. Instead, you would need to turn to your own liability coverage. Remember that Virginia law requires drivers to carry liability insurance in the following minimum amounts: $25,000 per person for bodily injury; $50,000 per accident for bodily injury; and $20,000 per accident for property damage.
- Logged in, waiting for a ride – Uber would provide you with 50/100/25 contingent liability coverage. If your own insurance fails to cover any potential claims against you, then Uber’s insurance would apply.
- You were picking up or carrying a passenger – Uber would provide up to $1 million in total bodily injury and property damage liability coverage.
Regardless of who was at fault, you may have other available insurance coverage. For example, if you finance your car, you likely carry collision and comprehensive coverage. If you were picking up or driving a passenger at the time of the crash, Uber will provide up to $50,000 in contingent collision coverage. However, this insurance will cover only what your own insurance fails to cover. You will also need to pay a deductible.
What Should You Do After an Uber Accident?
Whether you were a passenger or driver, you should take as many of the following steps as possible in order to protect your legal rights and options after an Uber accident in Virginia:
- Call the police – Don’t let anyone convince you that you “don’t need to get the police involved.” You should call the police so that you can get an officer to arrive and secure the accident scene, investigate what happened and prepare an official crash report.
- Gather evidence – Collect all evidence you may have gathered at the scene of the accident such as photos and witness names and phone numbers. You should also collect all letters and e-mails that you receive from Uber and the insurance companies, and you should keep copies of all of your medical bills and other accident-related receipts.
- See a doctor – Some injuries are obvious like cuts and fractures. But many other types of injuries are not immediately apparent such as brain injuries, spine damage, soft tissue injuries and internal bleeding. For this reason, you should get checked as soon after the accident as you can. A timely diagnosis of your injuries will also help your legal claim.
- Report your accident to Uber – You should notify Uber about your accident. A timely report will help to document your crash and could play a role in your case later on.
- Consult with an attorney – You should never give a recorded statement or accept a settlement offer until you speak first with an experienced car accident attorney. Unlike Uber and the insurance companies, your attorney will be out to protect your rights and best interests.
How Can Our Virginia Uber Accident Attorneys Help You?
At Marks & Harrison, we can provide a free consultation through any one of our 10 offices located throughout Virginia. We will listen to you and get the full story of what happened in your Uber accident. We will also find out how your accident and injuries have affected your health, your ability to earn a living and your enjoyment of life.
We will conduct a thorough investigation to determine who should be held liable for your injuries and to identify the sources of compensation available to you, which could include multiple insurance policies. We will demand full and fair compensation for you and be ready to take your case to trial if necessary. We won’t rest until we’ve done everything possible to pursue a maximum financial recovery for you. To learn more about Uber accidents and how we can help you in Virginia, call or reach us online today.