More than 32,000 people are killed and 2 million are injured each year from motor vehicle crashes, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. The prevalence of car accidents is no surprise, we hear about them on the news every day — The New York Post has reported an accident for practically every day this week, for example. What we aren’t as familiar with, though, is being in an accident ourselves, especially if we experience injuries from that accident.
While any injury can be painful, or a nuisance at best, they can also be detrimental and life changing at worst. Being in an accident and injured while someone else is driving adds a whole new layer of complexity, particularly if you were a passenger in an Uber. If you have been injured in an accident while in an Uber, there are things you can do to protect yourself. As ridesharing services are becoming more and more popular, unfortunately, so are the prevalence of injuries occurring during their use. While accidents may be on the rise, there is legal protection in place for you.
Here’s What You Can Do
In any car accident, the laws and regulations will vary according to each state, but in most cases, you are able to file a personal injury case (lawsuit) against the at-fault party. In the case of being a passenger in an Uber, the driver themselves may be the at-fault party, or it could also be the person who was driving the other vehicle that was involved in the accident. It isn’t possible to sue or bring a lawsuit against the ride-sharing company itself since the Uber drivers are independent contractors rather than employees. As Uber is not the employer of the drivers, they are not directly responsible for each individual driver’s actions.
The first thing you should do in the case of an accident is call 911 and to seek medical treatment as appropriate, and report the accident to the police or local authorities. The most important thing is that you get the right medical care for your injuries.
Getting The Appropriate Medical Care
Along with making sure you get the right medical care, you should report the accident and injury to any medical professionals you may be working with. Medical care you do receive is relevant to your case and should be documented. This means retaining copies of medical bills, bills from your insurance company, lab bills, diagnostic testing or imaging, receipts from prescriptions, doctor’s visits, or from any possible physical therapy or rehab. Depending on your situation and injuries, you may need to think about any future or possible ongoing medical care, too.
Remember that all injuries do not occur right away. Some of the most common injuries from accidents are whiplash, head and neck injuries, back injuries and fractured discs, hip and leg fractures, but you also may experience a concussion or more severe injuries that appear over time. Other symptoms such as headache, blurred vision, or memory loss are significant and should always be communicated with your medical professional.
Documentation of The Accident
As mentioned, medical expenses are relevant to your personal injury case, and so is the evidence from the accident. After the accident occurs, write down names, phone numbers and any contact information for parties involved in the accident as well as witnesses of the accident. Take note of the license plates of those involved in the accident as well. You might have the Uber driver’s number in your phone, but you should make sure you have their information as well; taking a screenshot of the Uber ride (and your Uber ride receipt) will include necessary information for your case.
In addition to gathering information from involved parties, take photos of the accident, of the vehicle or scene of the accident as well as of any injuries you present. These photos are not only helpful when it comes to building a strong case for yourself, but also for the police, whom you should make a report to.
What You Are Entitled To
According to the law, you are entitled to compensation from medical care for your injuries. This includes medical expenses themselves and it may also include any lost wages due to the injury. Depending on the severity of the injury, consideration for compensation may also include psychological stress and burden as a result of the accident. Being sure to keep organized records of all of your receipts and expenses.
Hire A Personal Injury Attorney
Since there may be multiple insurance companies (or investigations) involved in an accident, speak with an attorney first about what you should and should not say and do to ensure the best case scenario for yourself. If you have been in an accident and incurred any kind of medical bills, you will likely need to file a personal injury case against the at-fault party, and to do this, you will need the expertise of a personal injury attorney. A qualified attorney will be able to help you navigate the complex process. For example, according to Money Magazine, if the accident occurs during the course of your trip and your ride-sharing driver is at fault, you are covered under a $1 million liability policy that both Uber and Lyft have. In this situation, you may be able to file a case against the at-fault party as well as the insurance company (the policy Uber has). If another driver is at fault, a driver who was not your Uber driver, then you may file a case against their personal insurance. you may want to contact your own insurance company as well to find out about your policy’s coverage and limits of coverage.
Choosing A Personal Injury Attorney
It’s crucial to remember that with any personal injury case, there is a unique situation and circumstances that surround the case. Due to its complexity and the varying rules and regulations, seeking the guidance of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney is absolutely beneficial. Make sure to seek counsel from someone who has a solid foundation of knowledge in this specific area of the law and know that you do not have to go through this difficult process alone.