Across the country, millions of people rely on Uber to get from one place to another. Whether you are visiting Clearwater for vacation, or a local resident headed to the beach, Uber is a convenient option if you don't have a car or don't want to drive.
While the service provides the same convenience as a taxi or other form of public transportation, Florida law treats Uber differently. Uber does not face the same restrictions or insurance regulations as taxis, buses, and other common carriers. As such, there is somewhat of a gray area when an Uber driver is in an accident, but the important thing to understand is that whether you are in an Uber, driving an Uber, or in another vehicle, you have rights. The law allows parties injured in an accident to pursue fair and just compensation from the at-fault party.
If you or a loved one has been in an Uber accident in Clearwater or the surrounding area, contact our Clearwater Uber Accident Lawyers of Dolman Law Group at (727) 451-6900.
About Dolman Law Group
Matthew and Rebecca Dolman founded Dolman Law Group, Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, in 2009. Later, the firm joined forces with another firm, Dolman Law. Our affiliated firms only handle personal injury cases. This allows us to stay up to date with current legislation and case law. It's our goal to provide high-quality representation to each one of our clients. When you work with us, you'll receive your attorney's personal cell phone number and email address to get in touch if anything comes up.
Our Firm Will Strive to Get You the Compensation You Need
It is also important to us that you understand we will fight for your rights and an appropriate payout in your case, never forcing a low-ball agreement or taking other shortcuts. Some firms will not go to trial. Instead, they will reach agreements with insurers that do not compensate their clients fairly. They simply want to close as many cases as possible.
This is not how our firm works. Our Clearwater auto accident injury lawyers will sue and represent you to a judge and jury if needed to get justice for you. At Dolman Law Group, we know that a serious injury can change an individual's life. We also know how important it is for victims to maximize their ultimate compensation.
At the same time, we know this is a personal experience. We aim to make the process easier for every client that we work with. To learn more about our team, contact us today for a free consultation.
Uber Accidents: What You Need to Know
Founded in 2009, Uber has since become the most popular rideshare company in the world. In recent years, the company has reported nearly 4 million trips in the U.S. per day. However, as the company continues to grow, there is an increasing focus on the safety of its services. Recently, the company shared its U.S. Safety Report.
A few items of note include:
- The company conducts a comprehensive criminal background check for every person who applies to work as a driver. During a two-year period, over one million applicants did not move beyond the initial criminal history check.
- Drivers have the option to use an in-app program to monitor their speeds during trips.
- The company requires drivers to stop driving after six consecutive hours or twelve hours of total driving.
- In the two years preceding the report, there were 107 Uber-involved fatalities in 97 fatal accidents.
- During this time frame, 30 percent of all fatal accidents involved a pedestrian.
Common Causes of Clearwater Uber Accidents
While Uber does not regularly provide accident data to the public, Uber drivers do not require any special training. Additionally, the company only requires drivers to have one year of driving experience if they are at least 23 years old. This means that drivers are generally just as likely to be in a motor vehicle accident as any other driver. Some of the most common causes of Uber accidents include:
The job of Uber drivers is to get you from one place to another. This means that they often have to rely on a GPS device to get you to your final destination. This may prove a serious distraction and take the driver's eyes off the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving killed 2,841 people in just one year, including 605 passengers and 400 pedestrians.
Speeding is one of the leading causes of car accidents in Florida and across the United States. In 2017, speeding accounted for over one-quarter of motor vehicle fatalities. It's important to note that this statistic only accounts for vehicles driving over the posted speed limit. However, speeding also includes driving too fast for conditions, including poor visibility or inclement weather. If you are a passenger, do not ask your driver to go above the posted speed limit. Leave enough time to get to your destination, and make sure you account for traffic and weather conditions.
Failure to Yield the Right of Way
From stop signs to merge lanes and uncontrolled intersections, traffic laws exist for a reason. These laws are in place to keep all drivers safe. Unfortunately, far too many accidents result when drivers aren't aware of the law or consciously choose to ignore the rules.
Many of these accidents occur when one driver fails to yield the right of way to another driver, a pedestrian, or to another road user. For example, when turning left at a green light, a car traveling straight has the right of way. Failure to yield at this juncture could result in a side-impact collision and serious injuries.
It's hard to avoid an accident when you can't see. Poor visibility can cause a driver to make poor decisions or drive into the path of oncoming traffic. Even though you might not be driving, you should always consider the added risk of having someone drive you under poor conditions.
Factors that may affect visibility include:
- Heavy rain
- Sun glare
- Nighttime hours
Report any dangerous behavior that you witness. The safety of all riders depends on everyone reporting dangerous behavior. If your driver is speeding, driving recklessly, or appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, report the incident to Uber. If you believe you are in danger, ask the driver to pull over and request another ride.
Common Injuries After a Clearwater Uber Accident
In one recent year, 403,626 accidents took place in Florida, and over 37 percent of these accidents involved some level of injury. The county also releases statistics that specifically concern Clearwater and illustrate how serious a problem car accidents are.
If you sustain an injury during an accident, seek medical attention right away. Prompt medical care can help prevent further injury and can detect any underlying injuries.
Some of the most common motor vehicle accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries: Motor vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. Common symptoms include headaches, dizziness, confusion, mood changes, and changes in sleep behavior.
- Spinal cord injuries: Motor vehicle accidents account for almost half of all spinal cord injuries. Because the symptoms of a spinal cord injury may not appear right away, it's important to watch out for any new symptoms. This may include difficulty walking, extreme back pain, numbness or tingling, or loss of bowel or bladder control.
- Neck and back injuries: The neck and back are extremely vulnerable during a car accident. During a collision, the force may move the spine in unnatural positions, which can cause tears, strains, and chronic pain.
- Mental health injuries: Motor vehicle accidents are often traumatic. Every person responds differently to trauma. It is not unusual for the brain to have a negative response to a serious accident, which may include depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Other common crash injuries include fractures, lacerations, contusions, internal injuries, and more. If you have any pain or other symptoms of injury following a crash, you should see a doctor for an evaluation. Getting a prompt diagnosis and treatment may help you heal faster and more completely. In addition, it helps to tie your injuries to the collision and makes it more difficult for another party to question them later.
A Closer Look at Your Insurance Coverage
After an accident, an insurance claim or Clearwater Uber accident lawsuit may help you recover costs related to your injury. However, this process may prove complicated if you were not in your own vehicle, so it's important to know what type of coverage you have and who you may hold financially responsible if you are in an Uber accident.
Your Insurance Company
Florida is a no-fault state. This means that in the event of an accident, you're eligible for some compensation regardless of who is at fault. You should contact your insurance company to determine your eligibility for compensation. You can also work with an attorney, who will contact your insurance company on your behalf.
Generally, your personal injury protection, known as PIP or no-fault coverage, will pay for your medical bills up to policy limits as well as a portion of lost income. However, this money quickly runs out if you have significant injuries. In that situation, you may be able to pursue a fault-based claim. You can also file a liability claim if you were a passenger in the Uber or a pedestrian at the time of the collision.
Uber's Insurance Coverage
Uber provides third-party liability insurance to all drivers while they are logged into the app. However, the type of coverage depends on the driver's status and who is at fault.
Uber breaks down its insurance coverage based on the following scenarios:
- The driver is offline: The driver's private insurance applies.
- The driver is logged in and on the way to a passenger: $50,000 bodily injury insurance per person/$100,000 per accident; $25,000 property damage coverage.
- The driver is logged in with passenger in the vehicle: $1,000,000 third-party liability insurance.
Our team will work to determine which insurance coverage applies in your collision and file a claim on your behalf. We can identify the correct insurance policy by considering the circumstances of the case, obtaining a copy of the police report, or contacting Uber directly.
Other Insurance Options
Uber only pays if its driver was both logged into the app and at fault for the accident. If another party caused your Uber accident, you will likely need to file a claim through the at-fault party's insurance company. An experienced Clearwater Uber accident attorney can help you determine which insurance policies come into play and the next steps to take in your case.
Possible Compensation After a Clearwater Uber Accident
Money is an important component of any Clearwater Uber accident case. A reasonable settlement can help you get the treatment you need to get back on your feet. Unfortunately, insurance companies don't always have your best interests in mind. An Uber accident attorney on our team can review your case and help you work toward a fair and reasonable settlement. Some of the most common costs in a Clearwater Uber accident case include:
Economic damages refer to out-of-pocket costs that are eligible for direct reimbursement, including the following expenses:
- Medical bills, including doctor visits, hospitalizations, prescription and over-the-counter medications, chiropractic care, physical therapy, and mental health counseling.
- Lost wages, including any lost time from work as a direct result of your injuries. This includes any necessary time for appointments and rehabilitation and may include future lost wages. Some people with lasting injuries qualify for compensation for their diminished earning capacity.
- Residential modifications, including wheelchair ramps, stairlifts, or adaptive devices, if your injuries limit your mobility and/or access throughout your home.
- Property damages, including vehicle repairs if your car was hit or replacement of personal property broken in the crash, such as a laptop, eyeglasses, or a smartphone.
Non-economic damages are often referred to as “soft damages” or lumped together as pain and suffering. These costs include anything that does not have a direct, quantifiable cost.
Possible non-economic damages include the following:
- Pain and suffering, including short-term or chronic pain, mental anguish, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
- Loss of enjoyment, if you cannot engage in the same activities that you enjoyed before your injuries.
- Loss of companionship, when your injuries affect your physical, emotional, or romantic relationships.
Your Legal Rights to Compensation
Florida law permits accident victims to pursue financial compensation if their injuries are the result of another party's actions or negligence. However, injured individuals must file a lawsuit for these damages within four years of the accident. After this time, the court may refuse to hear your case. Before this deadline arrives, they must reach an out-of-court insurance settlement and sign an agreement if that is their preferred option.
In limited circumstances, the court may pause or extend the statute of limitations, including:
- The victim was a minor
- You can't locate the at-fault party
Clearwater Uber Accident FAQ
If you've ever needed a ride to the airport or while on vacation, you've probably heard of Uber, the world's most popular rideshare app, which is available in 830 cities across 173 countries. Locally, the company provides approximately 40 million rides in the U.S. every month.
Uber is a convenient, affordable option that, for many, has all but replaced traditional taxi cabs. Uber is growing in popularity in Clearwater; however, as Uber is a relatively new company, many riders don't know their rights and what to do in the event of an accident. The following frequently asked questions with answers can help teach you what to do and what steps to take if you are in an Uber accident.
What Should I do if I Am in a Clearwater Uber Accident?
Nobody expects to be involved in an accident. Most people don't like to dwell on the possibility of experiencing an accident when someone else is driving, but Uber drivers are just like the rest of us. They can make mistakes, and they generally don't even have to go through any special training or obtain a special commercial license. In fact, Uber only requires its drivers to have one year of driving experience if they are at least 23 years old.
Compound that with the challenge of navigating areas with which a driver may not be familiar, and there is a high risk of an accident. If you use Uber as a mode of transportation, it's important to stay prepared in the event of an accident.
Basic steps to take after an Uber accident include the following:
- Stay at the scene: If you are not a driver of one of the vehicles, you may feel tempted to just leave and let the drivers take care of everything, but this is not a good idea. If you are injured during the accident, you may qualify to seek financial compensation, but it's important to stay at the scene (unless it's an emergency) so that officials can document your presence and injuries.
- Check for injuries: If you can safely do so, check the driver and any other passengers for injuries. If there are any life-threatening injuries, call 911 right away.
- Gather insurance information: At the scene and in the immediate aftermath, it may prove difficult to determine who is at fault. This is why it is a good idea to ask for insurance information from all involved drivers. Make sure to get both drivers' names and phone numbers, as well as the names of their insurance companies, policy numbers, and contact information for the insurance companies. If possible, take a picture of their driver's license and both sides of their insurance card.
- Collect evidence: As a passenger, your most important role is as a witness to the accident. Which party holds blame for the accident will play a big role in the value of your case. If possible, take pictures of the scene, including all vehicles and any property damage. Record your own notes of what occurred as soon as possible to help you remember later.
- Go to the doctor: If you want to use your PIP insurance, you must see a doctor within 14 days of the accident. If you plan to file a claim for injuries, you need to establish care and attend any follow-up appointments. If you have pain or any other symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately.
- Contact Dolman Law Group's Clearwater Uber accident lawyers: Uber accidents involve a lot of complexities. These cases are not easy to handle on your own. An experienced attorney can help you determine who holds financial responsibility for your injuries and help you develop your case.
Should I Contact Uber after a Clearwater Uber Accident?
While Uber drivers are independent contractors, the company still has financial responsibility for its drivers and their passengers. As such, it may seem like a logical step to contact Uber to process your accident claim; however, this usually isn't the best decision.
While Uber does have an accident claim line for passengers, the company's number one priority is to safeguard its reputation. Accordingly, Uber will probably try to reduce the value of your case. Before you talk to Uber or respond to any official communications, you should consult our experienced personal injury attorneys.
I Sustained an Injury in a Clearwater Uber accident. Who Pays My Medical Bills?
After an accident, it's normal to feel concerned about mounting bills. Even if you were not driving your vehicle (and thus didn't suffer any property damage), you still have to consider the cost of your medical treatment and other costs incurred. The good news is Florida is a no-fault state, which means you will look first to your own insurance company to cover your medical bills, regardless of who is at fault and regardless of whether you were the driver, passenger, or even a pedestrian.
Here's a breakdown of some of the insurance policies that may protect you after an accident:
Your private medical insurance. If you suffered severe injuries in your Uber accident, you may need to get creative in how you pursue compensation. You have the option to use your private medical insurance, but you will need to pay any copays or deductibles out-of-pocket. If you cannot afford this cost, talk to your attorney. In some cases, you may work with your care providers to defer payment until the end of your case.
Uber. This is where things get tricky. While Uber offers significant insurance coverage to its drivers, which is good if you suffered serious injuries and have substantial costs that may exceed other insurance policies' limits, Uber will only pay under certain circumstances. When evaluating whether Uber will pay, you have to consider the driver's status at the time of the accident (such as whether the driver was on duty or offline), as well as who was at fault for the accident.
Uber breaks down coverage in the following manner:
- The driver is logged out of the app without a passenger: In this situation, Uber's policy will likely not kick in, and you will need to look to the at-fault driver's personal auto insurance to cover your costs.
- The driver was on the way to pick up a passenger: In this situation, Uber will provide up to $50,000 bodily injury coverage per person ($100,000 per accident) and $25,000 in property damage per accident.
- The driver was carrying a passenger: In this situation, Uber will generally provide up to $1,000,000 in third-party liability insurance.
Another driver's insurance. If you are a passenger in an Uber or the Uber driver, and another driver causes an accident in which you sustain injuries, the at-fault party's auto insurance will come into play. If the other driver's insurance is not enough to cover the cost of your injuries, you may file a claim with your personal uninsured/underinsured coverage, if you have such a policy.
How Much Is My Clearwater Uber Accident Case Worth?
Every case is different. Many factors can affect the value of your case. Once we complete our investigation into your crash, we can provide you with a range of values that we believe would be a fair settlement for you.
That said, a few items that most cases include, are:
- Medical costs: Medical costs can vary greatly depending on your specific injuries. Even with minor injuries, your costs may exceed your own insurance limits. In this case, you can make a demand to the at-fault party's insurance to cover these costs. This may include doctor visits, hospitalizations, medication, medical devices, and rehabilitation.
- Lost wages: If you miss time at work because of your injuries, you may be eligible for lost wages. Lost wages begin the first day you miss work and include any lost time after this point. This may include any time you have to take off of work for appointments or recovery. In the event of a serious injury, you may have a right to compensation for future lost wages or loss of earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering: Car accidents can cause substantial physical and emotional stress. While this pain may not be as visible as other injuries, it is just as real. Pain and suffering awards are highly variable but generally depend on how much your injuries affect your quality of life.
- Wrongful death: Between 2017 and 2018, Uber reported 107 fatalities in over 97 fatal accidents. Following the death of a loved one, the victim's family can request damages from the at-fault party. This may include funeral and burial costs, outstanding medical bills, and pain and suffering.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Clearwater Uber Accident?
If you are in an accident, it's important to take your injuries seriously. Even if you feel okay or are in just a little bit of pain, the law only allows you a certain amount of time to take legal action against the at-fault party. In Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is four years.
While this may seem like a long time, Uber accidents are often much more complex than typical car accidents. It's important to allow your attorney enough time to negotiate with the insurance company and prepare your case in the event your case needs to go to court.
How Long Will I Take to Settle My Clearwater Uber Accident Case?
The goal is to settle your case as quickly as possible so that you can begin to move forward with your life. However, there is no easy way to tell how long this may take. Certain factors may increase or decrease how long it takes to find a resolution for a specific case.
These factors include:
- The degree of your injuries: It's hard to calculate an appropriate settlement without knowing the full extent of your injuries and your final prognosis. That's why your attorney will probably want to wait until you are medically stable (which is when your doctor does not expect you to get better or worse) until closing out your case. This will allow you to have a full picture of the actual costs of your treatment, as well as any future medical costs that you may face.
- Available evidence: Some car accidents are straightforward and can settle in a short amount of time. Other accidents, however, may prove complex because the parties do not agree on who is at fault or there is a lack of evidence to establish fault.
- The willingness of the parties to settle: Much of what determines how long a particular case takes to resolve depends greatly on what each party hopes to get out of the matter. If you just want to settle and move on, this is probably possible, but you may have to be happy with a smaller settlement. If you are willing to wait and go through the negotiation process, you may walk away with a larger settlement, but there are no guarantees.
What If I Was Visiting Clearwater from Out of State?
Uber is a popular option for tourists and visitors who do not wish to rent a car while they are on vacation. If you are in an accident while you are on vacation, you have the same rights as a legal resident. It's a good idea to establish care and talk to a local attorney before you return home. While you may process your claim with an out-of-state attorney, Florida law will apply to your case. For this reason, it usually makes sense to work with a Florida-based attorney.
Regarding the progress of your case, your attorney can take care of most of the logistics over the phone or through email. If you have to return to the state for a deposition or trial, you may include any travel costs in your final settlement.
Do I Need a Clearwater Uber Accident Attorney?
No one can tell you whether or not you should hire an attorney to handle your motor vehicle claim. However, because of the complex nature of Uber accidents, it's usually a good idea to at least sit down with an experienced attorney to discuss your case. Most personal injury attorneys offer a free initial consultation, meaning you face no obligation and can have someone take a look at your case.
Get the Care You Deserve
Your health and safety are the top priorities after an accident. A personal injury claim can help you pay for your medical bills and allow you to take time off of work to focus on your recovery. Don't wait to get the treatment you need. To learn more about your rights or for help with your injury claim, contact our experienced Clearwater Uber accident attorneys.
Call Our Clearwater Uber Accident Attorneys After Your Accident
Any accident is unnerving, but an accident that happens when you are not driving can make you feel completely out of control. Take back some of that control by knowing your rights. After an accident, you should seek compensation for your injuries. Don't let the insurance company strong-arm you.
At Dolman Law Group, our Clearwater injury lawyers know this is a difficult time. Uber accidents are complicated. Our job is to make the process easier.
With offices across both Florida coasts, our team is available to help you when you need it the most. Your rights matter. Don't hesitate to fight for what you deserve. Contact Dolman Law Group at (727) 451-6900, or fill out our contact form online for a free case evaluation.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 N Belcher Rd
Clearwater, FL 33765
Phone: (727) 451-6900