Whether you are acting as a passenger in the car of a friend or family member, operating a motor vehicle yourself, or riding in an Uber or Lyft as a passenger, knowing when a motor vehicle accident is going to happen is impossible. What you can figure out, though, is what steps you need to take after a motor vehicle accident happens in order to receive compensation for your injuries.
If you have suffered accident injuries while riding in an Uber or other rideshare vehicle and have questions about liability and pursuing damages, our lawyers at the offices of McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP can help.
Here’s what you need to know about liability in an Uber accident:
Who’s Responsible for My Injuries?
In Alabama, liability for an accident (which means who is legally responsible for the accident and related damages) is based on the legal doctrine known as “contributory negligence.” Under the contributory negligence doctrine, if you are even 1% at-fault for the accident (for example, if you were a bicyclist who swerved into an Uber vehicle), you are barred from recovering damages. In other words, you need to prove that the other party (or parties) are 100% responsible.
Potentially at-fault parties might include:
- The Uber driver. The Uber driver may be to blame for the accident if their own negligence was the direct cause of the accident. Examples of negligent actions that drivers may engage in when behind the while include texting while driving, driving while distracted, driving while impaired, driving aggressively, speeding, and more.
- The driver of another vehicle. If the Uber vehicle in which you were riding and another vehicle collided, a potential source of liability is the driver of the other vehicle. If their negligent actions–like making an illegal turn, following too closely, or driving while fatigued–caused the crash, they can be held liable for your damages.
- A third party. In some cases, a third party may be to blame. Examples of third parties who are sometimes held liable or partially liable in car accident cases include manufacturers of defective vehicles/vehicle parts or municipal governments that fail to perform proper road maintenance.
Insurance Policies Available to You
It is not enough to just prove fault; you also want to make sure that the at-fault party is covered by an insurance policy that can pay for your damages. If an at-fault party does not have insurance, they may be found liable for the harm you’ve suffered, but may not have enough assets to offer you what you deserve in compensation. In an Uber accident, there are usually myriad different sources of insurance and potential compensation available, including:
- Uber insurance. Uber maintains an insurance policy for all of its drivers who are carrying passengers. The coverage offers up to $1 million in third-party liability coverage, uninsured/underinsured coverage, and contingent collision and comprehensive coverage.
- Liability insurance of the other driver. All drivers in the state of Alabama are required to carry liability insurance. This insurance is used to pay for damages they cause to others.
If you maintain insurance, such as health insurance, this too will of course help to pay for your medical bills after a crash.
How to Prove Fault and Liability
In many cases, determining fault and proving liability can be complicated. For obvious reasons, no party wants to assume fault and shoulder the blame, and neither does their insurance company. In fact, insurers will often try to disprove any allegations of their policyholders’ fault in order to avoid high settlement awards.
This means that you have a duty to substantiate fault if you want to recover the maximum amount of compensation available to you. Our rideshare accident lawyers can help. We know how to thoroughly investigate your case, work with experts to garner professional opinions about accident causation and damages, gather evidence, and organize case data in a compelling manner. We are also skilled negotiators who are confident in our ability to fight for the settlement you deserve, and we have extensive litigation experience and are not intimidated by the courtroom.
Contact Our Law Firm Today
If you are in a rideshare accident, working with a lawyer can be monumental in recovering the compensation award you deserve. At the offices of McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP, we work on a contingency fee basis and are passionate about what we do. Call us today for a free consultation at 334-262-1911 or visit our Montgomery office in person.