Uber began service as UberCab in 2009, but did not begin to serve Tampa area riders until the spring of 2014. The company’s popularity continues to grow because of its convenience and affordability. Tampa area residents and tourists use Uber to get to their favorite destinations, ensure a safe night out for a few drinks, and avoid driving altogether. Yet, riders and other drivers are always at risk for accidents and injuries from negligent Uber drivers.
If you have sustained injuries as an Uber rider or as a driver or passenger in another vehicle involved in an accident with an Uber driver, Florida law entitles you to seek compensation for damages related to your injuries if the Uber driver caused the crash. Sustaining severe injuries can be a life-altering event that devastates victims and their families physically, emotionally, and financially.
Sibley Dolman and our Tampa Uber Accident Lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA are here to advocate for you and help you through this difficult time. Contact us at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) for a free consultation to discuss the details of your Uber accident and the best course of action for your individual circumstances.
Sibley Dolman and Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA’s Results in Rideshare Accident Claims
The skilled Tampa car accident attorneys at Sibley Dolman and Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have years of experience advocating for accident victims, including those who suffered injuries in Uber and other rideshare accidents. Our commitment to professional excellence, case preparation, and client service has led to the recovery of millions in settlements and verdicts for our clients. Two recent examples of rideshare accident cases the firm handled include two settlements:
In the first case, a Florida resident was injured in a rideshare accident in North Carolina. A speeding drunk driver T-boned the rideshare vehicle causing a severe collision that required out client to go to the emergency room via ambulance, where he was treated for a wide array of injuries. After his release later that day, our client began to experience shoulder pain, neck pain, and lower back pain and began to suffer severe headaches. Eventually, our client needed shoulder surgery and spinal injections and needed surgery on his spine. His doctor also diagnosed him with a traumatic brain injury.
Originally, our client hired a North Carolina law firm to represent him, but his attorney never touched the case. He soon after contacted our firm. Soon after taking on the case, we secured an insurance settlement with the at-fault driver for $100,000 and then filed a claim under the underinsured motorist coverage of the ridesharing company. We brought the suit in Broward County and prepared for trial because the insurance company did not want to offer fair compensation. Immediately before trial, the company settled for the maximum amount under the policy limit after deductions for other payouts. This resulted in an additional $839,000 for our client.
In the second case, our client’s husband was in a rideshare vehicle in Georgia when his driver and another vehicle were trying to beat a red light and ultimately collided at high speeds. The rider immediately went to the emergency room, but his injuries were fatal and he tragically lost his life at the hospital. Our client contacted us immediately for a consultation, having no idea what her next steps should be.
With the family living in Florida and the accident in Georgia, this ridesharing accident case was highly complex. We chose to open the estate of the deceased in Broward County and brought a wrongful death suit in Georgia, with the help of one of our Georgia trial attorneys. After months of litigation, we secured a $1 million settlement for surviving family members and continue to pursue additional compensation from other responsible parties.
These cases only serve as examples and do not guarantee a specific financial outcome in your Uber accident case, but our experienced Uber accident attorneys will aggressively pursue the best results for your individual circumstances.
Uber Accidents Have Many Causes
Many different scenarios might cause an Uber accident in the Tampa area or throughout Florida. Although each collision has its own unique facts and characteristics, here are some common situations and driving behaviors that can cause an Uber accident:
Motorists can be distracted by many things while driving, but Uber drivers must deal with additional distractions. It’s illegal to text or email and drive in Florida, but Uber drivers might use apps on their phones while operating their vehicles. Uber drivers also have to deal with unruly, obnoxious, and sometimes drunk passengers, especially at night. Other distractions that might lead to an Uber accident include adjusting vehicle features like climate controls and the radio, eating and drinking, reaching for something on the floor, daydreaming, and focusing on an event outside of the vehicle.
Uber remains painfully aware that sometimes their drivers are operating without enough rest, so they have limited drive time to 12 hours per day. Yet, this only scratches the surface of the issue of fatigued Uber drivers. The 12-hour limit only includes time behind the wheel, not breaks between rides. Additionally, Uber drivers might have other jobs and responsibilities, making for long days. Many Uber drivers also drive for other rideshare companies and switch between apps; this means your Uber driver could easily be driving more than 12 hours in a day, putting riders and other motorists at risk for severe, sometimes deadly accidents.
Drunk or Drugged Driving
When Uber drivers consume alcohol or take drugs before getting behind the wheel they put riders and others at risk for injury or death. Although Uber drivers are professional drivers, they do not have to hold a commercial drivers’ license to operate. This means they don’t have the reduced 0.04 breath alcohol level requirement that truck drivers and other commercial drivers have. Alcohol and drugs impair an Uber driver’s ability to react swiftly to road hazards, other vehicles, and traffic control devices, potentially causing a severe collision.
Uber drivers and their riders are in a hurry to get to and from their destinations. Uber drivers also have extra motivation to rush because they get paid by the rider. The more quickly they transport passengers, the more money they can make in a shift. Speeding increases the force of impact in a traffic collision, causing injuries to be more severe and more likely to be fatal. Additionally, speeding makes it more difficult to control a vehicle. Uber drivers who speed might not have enough time to react to a hazard or other vehicle and cause an accident.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Uber requires drivers to have their vehicles inspected annually at one of their Greenlight Hubs. Yet, this doesn’t mean that the driver is properly maintaining his or her vehicle in between inspections. When Uber vehicles don’t regularly have their fluids checked and their tires changed or rotated, they might experience a mechanical failure or tire blowout, which can lead to a serious accident. Uber drivers must also have their braking systems checked. Worn brake pads and/or rotors can lead to deadly accidents when the brakes go out at a critical point during a trip.
Florida Insurance Requirements
Under Florida law, any driver who registers a motor vehicle must have a minimum amount of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and property damage liability (PDL) coverage. As of 2018, Florida also requires Uber drivers to increase their insurance coverage. Requirements differ based on whether the driver is actively signed into the app and whether they have occupants in their vehicle.
Drivers who are logged onto the Uber app, but don’t have passengers in their vehicle, must meet the following insurance requirements above the PIP and PDL requirements:
- $50,000 minimum death and bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage per person
- $100,000 minimum death and bodily injury liability(BIL) coverage per incident
- $25,000 minimum property damage liability (PDL) coverage per incident
Uber drivers who have riders must have a $1,000,000 minimum for each type of coverage. The driver can purchase a separate commercial policy or satisfy the requirements with Uber’s insurance that covers all drivers during operation.
Steps to Take After a Tampa Uber Accident
If you are involved in a Tampa Uber accident as a rider or the driver or occupant of another vehicle, take the following steps to maximize your chances of prevailing in your insurance claim and/or lawsuit.
- Go to the doctor ASAP. Prevailing in a personal injury suit means you have to prove the Uber accident caused your injuries. Even if you walk away from an Uber accident, it’s in your best interest to get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Your physician can examine you for common injuries sustained in car accidents and place necessary restrictions or clear you for activity. You also need to pay close attention for symptoms that might show up hours or days after the accident. Whiplash and head injuries don’t often immediately show symptoms.
- Gather evidence at the scene. Law enforcement will likely show up at the scene of the accident and take down the necessary information, but if you are physically able, you should gather as much information as possible. Get the names, contact information, license plate information, and insurance information for all parties involved in the accident before someone tries to leave the scene.
- Take pictures. Photographic evidence can support your case, so try to use your cell phone to take pictures of property damage, road hazards, and visible injuries. This evidence gives your attorney more leverage during the claims and lawsuit processes.
- Report the accident to Uber. Uber drivers must report accidents to the company, but you need to ensure Uber knows about your accident. You can file a report on their website to document your side of the story about the accident.
- Contact an attorney. Consult with an experienced Uber accident attorney who isn’t intimidated by their large legal teams and who will fight for you at each turn so you have the best chance of getting the compensation you deserve for your Uber accident and related injuries and losses.
Recovering Damages After a Tampa Uber Accident
If you suffer injuries in an Uber accident, you need to file a claim with your PIP carrier first per Florida’s no-fault insurance rules. Once you meet or exceed those limits, you can step outside of the no-fault system. You might receive compensation for the following damages in a settlement or verdict in favor of the plaintiff:
- Medical costs beyond your PIP policy limits, including ambulance service, hospitalization, medication, surgery, and radiology
- Future medical expenses when an Uber accident results in a severe or catastrophic injury requiring ongoing care
- Lost wages for time away from work as a result of the accident, injuries, treatment, and recovery
- Future lost wages when a permanent disability or condition prevents an Uber accident victim from returning to work
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium with a spouse
- Other non-economic damages that might apply to your specific circumstances
If you lost a loved one in an Uber accident, Florida law entitles eligible surviving family members to file a wrongful death suit to seek compensation for damages. Your attorney will discuss your eligibility and advise you on the best course of action for you and your family.
Tampa Uber Accident FAQ
The first steps you take after an Uber accident have an important impact on your future. This popular ride-sharing service requires entrusting the driver to transport you safely to your destination. If you were seriously injured by a careless Uber driver, a personal injury attorney can help you. Discussing your case with an attorney is the best way to learn your legal options for justice and possible compensation. The following questions are among the most commonly asked when it comes to Uber, accidents, and liability for injuries.
Who is liable for my Tampa Uber accident injuries?
When it comes to rideshare accidents, determining liability for injuries is often challenging. Uber drivers work as independent contractors. If your Uber driver crashed due to one or more of the following reckless behaviors, they may be liable for your injuries:
Distracted driving: Uber drivers are no less prone to distracted driving than other drivers. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) cites three main types of distraction:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road.
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive: taking your mind off driving.
A smartphone is an important work tool for Uber drivers—after all, the Uber system is based upon an app. Chances are your Uber driver relied on their smartphone and a navigational app to reach your destination. While Uber strives to make navigational tools easier, the reliance on the smartphone as the device for doing so places riders at risk for a distracted Uber driver.
Drunk driving: Uber has a zero-tolerance policy for drunk driving. If the Uber driver who caused your accident faces charges for driving under the influence, they are generally liable for your injuries. Pursuing a civil claim or lawsuit against them has no bearing on their criminal case.
Drowsy driving: According to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of respondents admitted to driving while sleepy. Thirty-seven percent admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel.
Drowsy driving has a similar effect on the body as alcohol. Impaired judgment, delayed reaction time, and other familiar factors can contribute to serious injuries for Uber passengers. Proving that a rideshare driver fell asleep behind the wheel is often difficult and requires the skills of a personal injury attorney.
Aggressive driving: In a recent study, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that nearly 80 percent of drivers admitted to aggressive driving behavior. Examples of aggressive driving include:
- Running red lights.
- Purposely tailgating.
- Blocking a vehicle from changing lanes.
- Aggressive driving can quickly escalate into road rage.
If the Uber driver transporting you engaged in reckless behavior with another driver, a personal injury attorney can help you. No one should pay for extensive medical bills that result due to the negligence of another person. A personal injury attorney experienced with car accident cases can determine the best course of legal action for you. Most attorneys offer free case evaluations, leaving you nothing to lose by discussing your case with one today.
Will Uber cover my medical expenses?
Even if you have health insurance, it most likely will not cover all costs associated with your injuries. Your need for medical care throughout your lifetime can far exceed any policy limits and your personal finances. The Uber driver, and not Uber itself, is generally responsible for your injuries.
Uber insurance policies. Uber maintains a certain amount of insurance coverage for drivers. The amount of coverage and when it applies depends upon the details of your particular accident.
Available or waiting for a ride request (third-party liability if your personal insurance doesn’t apply):
- $50,000 bodily injury per person.
- $100,000 bodily injury per accident.
- $25,000 in property damage per accident.
En route to pick up drivers and during trips
- $1 million third-party liability.
- Other protection for the driver and the vehicle.
Medical costs continue to rise and your expenses depend upon your type of injury. While each case is different, you may be entitled to your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. No one uses a rideshare service expecting to experience life-changing injuries due to driver negligence. If this happened to you, you may want to contact a personal injury attorney without delay.
Common car accident injuries. The sudden impact of a violent car accident can leave you with serious—and expensive—injuries. Whether you face a long recovery or your injuries are permanent, your time away from work can leave you feeling stressed and anxious about your finances. Here are just a few examples of common types of car accident injuries:
Traumatic brain injury – The CDC defines a traumatic brain injury as a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts normal brain function. Life is generally not the same for most victims recovering from TBI. If your loved one experienced a traumatic brain injury, they may require 24-hour care.
Placing your loved one in a skilled nursing facility is not easy—and it is costly. The average cost of a private room in a Florida nursing home is more than $100,000 per year for a private room. A semi-private room is more than $89,000 per year. These costs should not come from your pocket, but rather the driver responsible for your loved one’s injuries.
Spinal cord injury – A spinal cord injury is perhaps one of the most catastrophic types of car accident injuries. An injury to the spinal cord disrupts messages to and from the brain. These messages involve signals for movement and sensation.
A spinal cord injury is often described as complete or incomplete. A complete injury means you cannot move or feel anything below the point of injury. An incomplete injury often means you have only limited movement and sensation below the injury. The resulting paralysis generally requires a power chair for mobility, home modifications for the power chair, and accessible transportation.
Not only are these new and unexpected costs, but they are also recurring costs, as items need replacing. A lifetime of care for spinal cord patients can easily reach millions of dollars.
Broken bones – With more than 200 bones in the human body, experiencing one or more broken bones in a car accident is a real possibility. Depending on the type of fracture, you may require future surgeries, extensive physical therapy, and personal home care. Daily tasks such as bathing and dressing are difficult with fractures in your limbs. If the bone is severely crushed, you may lose your limb to amputation.
Complications from a broken bone can greatly impact your life. When such a break occurs due to the reckless actions of an Uber driver, pursuing civil action against them is your best option for holding them accountable.
Burns – If your Uber driver collides with a truck carrying flammable liquids, or the car ignites on its own after an impact, experiencing burns is a real possibility. Burn injuries generally require care at a skilled burn facility. These facilities are often far from family and friends.
Skin grafts and plastic surgery are just two kinds of procedures many burn patients experience. Your injuries are not fair and you deserve—and need—compensation for this tragic event in your life.
If your Uber ride turned tragic due to the reckless actions of an Uber driver, give careful consideration to contacting a Florida attorney. Florida laws exist to protect the rights of victims of negligence. Exploring your options by discussing your case with a personal injury attorney is a smart idea for protecting your financial future.
Should I accept a settlement from the insurance company?
Insurance companies like to settle claims quickly. The offer you first receive is most likely a low-dollar amount destined to protect their best interests and not yours. While the amount may seem like a large sum to you and your family, it might not cover your future medical needs.
If you accept a settlement from the insurance company, you may lose your right to pursue compensation later if your condition worsens. This is why it is a smart idea to consult with a personal injury attorney. Knowing someone is protecting your best interests can afford you the peace-of-mind you need during this difficult time.
If you lost a close loved one in an Uber accident, you may be entitled to a wrongful death claim.
Examples of the types of damages typically awarded in such a case include:
- Final medical costs for the decedent.
- Funeral and burial costs.
- Loss of income.
- Loss of potential future earnings.
- Loss of companionship.
Wrongful death cases are often quite complex and often dependent upon your relationship to the decedent. If you lost a close loved one due to no fault of their own, consulting with a personal injury lawyer is a good idea for learning more about your options.
There is no quick fix to your physical, financial, and emotional stress. There are, however, legal options for ensuring justice is done and your future protected. A personal injury attorney can negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement. If they cannot reach a settlement out of court, they are ready to go to trial.
Never try to negotiate with an insurance company on your own. It will only leave you disappointed and, possibly, without funds for your medical care. Insurance companies are quite skilled at what they do. Personal injury attorneys are well-aware of the tactics insurance companies use to deny or to delay claims.
Insurance companies that contact you during your time of grieve or hospital stay are preying upon your vulnerability. The time immediately following your Uber accident is no time to make important decisions regarding your financial future. If an insurance company offers you a settlement soon after your Uber accident, do not accept it. Instead, seek legal representation for your Uber accident injuries.
When should I contact a Tampa Uber accident attorney?
The answer is now! Contact an Uber accident attorney without delay. The sooner you contact them, the sooner they can get to work reviewing your case.
Reviewing the evidence and the details of your Uber accident takes time. Police reports, witness statements, and accident photos all play an important role in determining the best course of legal action. The statute of limitations is a state law limiting the amount of time allowed for filing your personal injury claim. Once the deadline passes, you may lose your opportunity for pursuing financial compensation.
A Tampa Uber accident attorney knows how to aggressively take on insurance companies of all sizes. At the same time, they also know how to treat their clients with respect and compassion. The right personal injury attorney for you will not stop until they secure the best possible outcome for your case.
If your injuries leave you feeling overwhelmed by the new reality of your situation, we understand. Most personal injury attorneys require no fee upfront. Many work on a contingency-fee-basis, meaning they only collect their fee if they secure compensation for you.
Your use of an Uber service should not have resulted in life-changing injuries. Serious injuries may prevent you from ever returning to a career you once loved or hobbies you once enjoyed. A rideshare service, like that of Uber, is required to provide you with safe transportation.
Personal injury attorneys are here to help protect the rights of accident victims. If you were seriously injured in an Uber accident—or you lost a close loved one—give careful thought to contacting a personal injury attorney without delay. Contacting an attorney is an important first step toward seeking the justice and compensation you deserve.
Get the Legal Help You Need After a Tampa Uber Accident
A severe car accident can often devastate victims and their families. You should not have to deal with the added stress and financial responsibility of recovery when an Uber driver caused your injuries. Contact our skilled Tampa Uber accident legal team at Sibley Dolman and Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA online today or call 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) for a free consultation and to discuss the circumstances of your Uber accident. We can handle holding responsible parties liable for your injuries and pursuing compensation, while you focus on healing, recovery, and a return to normal life.