You called for an Uber ride, trusting it would provide safe transportation to your destination. Unfortunately, during your ride, your Uber got into an accident, and now you’ve been burdened with injuries and costs you never expected. You need money to help you recover, but you don’t know the best way to obtain it from Uber, insurance companies, or other parties who have legal liability.
Some Uber accident victims wonder, “Can I handle my car accident claim on my own?” They think handling a claim on their own might be quicker and cheaper than seeking the help of a lawyer. We understand why they feel that way, but the fact is, trying to handle a car accident claim on your own is almost guaranteed to be a costly mistake for most people, especially after an accident involving an Uber ride.
Working with a lawyer experienced in pursuing claims against ride-sharing companies, their insurance companies, and other parties, is the best way to ensure you recover the maximum compensation due to you under the law.
Working With a Lawyer Helps Figure out How Much Money You Deserve
Most insurance companies have a formula for determining how much money to offer car accident victims as a settlement. The formula takes into account factors such as the type and severity of the injuries involved and the victims’ age, family situation, and employment status. They also calculate the probability of a victim winning a claim in court, and estimate how badly a victim needs money right now. Then, insurance companies offer the lowest settlement they think they need to offer to make a claim “go away.”
Personal injury lawyers, like insurance companies, have years of experience estimating the amount of damages caused by a car accident claim. Unlike insurance companies, however, these attorneys don’t look for ways to make a claim “go away.” Instead, they look for all of the ways a car accident has harmed a victim and place realistic estimates on how much money victims need to recover. A lawyer will consider, for instance:
Payment for medical expenses. Medical costs pile up quickly after an accident involving severe injuries. Even when a car accident victim has insurance to cover the cost of emergency care, a bad car accident can inflict medical costs that exceed insurance policy limits, especially when victims need surgical care, long hospitalizations, expensive medications, and medical equipment, or when an accident causes disabilities that will require a lifetime of care and treatment.
Compensation for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering can account for a large portion of the damages accident victims deserve to recover. Working with a lawyer can help you establish how to put a dollar value on your pain and suffering by analyzing:
- The limitations your injuries have caused on your daily life.
- The embarrassment caused by your injuries, such as the inconvenience of life in a wheelchair or errors made after a traumatic brain injury.
- Your lack of enjoyment for activities that would have previously given you joy.
- Lost wages. After a serious injury in an Uber accident, you may miss a lot of time at work. Initially, you may miss work due to hospitalization, surgeries, or rehabilitation. In some cases, your doctor may not clear you to return to work immediately. That lost time at work represents a devastating loss of income at a time when bills add up quickly. Working with a lawyer can help you assess how many hours you have lost at work.
- Lost income potential. Ideally, you would like to return to your job after your accident. Unfortunately, some injuries prevent you from returning to work altogether, or if you can return, you have a diminished capacity to do your job. If you suffered a traumatic brain injury during your accident, for example, you may struggle to return to normal daily activities. An attorney can help you measure the impact of your injuries on your future earning potential.
In summary, working with an attorney helps you assess your financial damages as a result of the accident: not just the physical items you lost but, more importantly, the present and future value of all of the costs an injury has inflicted on your life.
Working With an Attorney Eases Your Stress
It’s stressful dealing with injuries caused by an Uber accident! All of a sudden, your already-busy life has to accommodate unplanned doctor visits, physical therapy appointments, financial complications, and physical pain. Trying to handle your claim on your own don’t do anything but add to that stress. Working with a lawyer, in contrast, can help ease your stress in at least two critically important ways:
- A lawyer will take over negotiations with the insurance company. Instead of dealing with negotiations yourself, you can put those negotiations in experienced, professional hands. You will not have to worry about making yourself available to take a call at any moment, nor will you have to stress about saying exactly the right thing. Instead, you can leave that to a lawyer who has negotiated on behalf of many clients in the past and will bring that experience to your negotiation.
- A lawyer will relieve you of uncertainty about how much your claim is “worth.” Are you worried you won’t get enough for your Uber accident claim? Do you lose sleep over the thought that the amount an insurance company offers will not be enough to pay the bills you’ve already accumulated (let alone the ones you know you’ll face in the future)?
Lawyers can ease these stressors by giving you the best possible shot at recovering the maximum compensation available under the law, by:
- Showing the insurance company you mean business. Many times, simply bringing a lawyer to the table can increase the insurance company’s willingness to negotiate.
- Identifying every potential source of payment of damages, from insurance policies to liable parties.
- Helping you explain difficult concepts and navigate legal complexity.
An Attorney Provides Valuable Legal Advice
When you hire an attorney to help you pursue an Uber accident claim, you get a professional with years of schooling and experience with the legal system, who has a duty to represent your best interests above all others. The attorney-client relationship is a special one protected by detailed rules and centuries of tradition. An experienced car accident attorney gives advice and counsel on topics you may not even have thought of, but which could have a material impact on the value of your case, such as:
Information about what you can post on social media. Your claim could hinge on the details you post on social media, from pictures of you enjoying your favorite activities to information about the accident or your claim. By working with an attorney, you will decrease the odds that your social media posts will come back to bite you when you least expect it.
Advice about the claim amount you should expect—and when you should settle. Sometimes, the insurance company will provide a settlement offer significantly lower than the funds you think you should receive. A lawyer will provide valuable advice about what you should really expect from your claim—and when to take the offer.
Information about when to expect your claim process to resolve. Working with a lawyer may streamline the process, helping you get the funds you need in your hands faster. While your lawyer cannot predict exactly how long it will take to get the money from your claim, a lawyer can help give you a better idea of what to expect. This can make it easier for you to plan your life moving forward after your accident, from deciding how to handle a return to work to deciding how to juggle your finances during this very difficult time.
Advice about how and when to talk to the insurance company. Are you required to give a statement to the insurance company? Should you give a statement to the insurance company, even if you do not have to? Working with a lawyer can help answer these critical questions. If you do decide to talk with the insurance company, a lawyer can help you determine what you should say to help maximize your claim amount and prevent saying anything that could decrease the amount of your claim.
Uber Claims Present Unique Challenges
In general, you should consider consulting with a lawyer any time you suffered injuries in an accident. Victims of Uber accidents, however, may need to consider unique challenges as they prepare their claims.
Who bears responsibility for paying for the accident? In general, Uber drivers must carry special car insurance that allows them to operate their vehicle as a service, rather than driving it for personal use alone. Depending on the insurance they carry, drivers may have different policies for the hours when they drive passengers versus the time they spend driving to pick up a passenger or waiting for a fare. Uber may also offer coverage for its drivers when they actively drive passengers. You may need to ask several questions to determine who must pay for the accident.
Did the Uber driver carry appropriate coverage? Had that coverage been allowed to lapse?
Were you a passenger in the Uber vehicle at the time of the accident, or were you a driver or passenger in another vehicle?
Was a specific driver known to have a high accident history? Uber demands certain standards from its drivers. Drivers must have a reasonably clean record, without excessive accidents. They cannot have a history of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, nor can they have many traffic tickets. Unfortunately, sometimes, Uber drivers may continue driving in spite of a high accident rate or other problems with their driving. If you discover that Uber knew about the problem and took no action to remove the driver from the road, Uber may bear a higher level of responsibility for the accident.
Did you help contribute to the accident? Most of the time, passengers in a vehicle bear no liability for the accident. In some cases, however, passengers in Uber vehicles may offer unique distractions. If, for example, you summoned an Uber vehicle because of inebriation and you became sick during the drive, or if you caused an excessive distraction while the driver was on the road, you may still bear partial liability for your own accident. Even if you did not do anything to cause the accident, the insurance company may attempt to prove that you contributed—and working with a lawyer can help you protect yourself.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL, 33712