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San Diego continuously makes the top ten list of best cities for Uber drivers. It was one of the first cities to welcome Uber’s unique business model, and it continuously promotes the rideshare industry. Uber’s cost-effective transportation network has benefited everyone from military families transferred to NBSB to tourists at the San Diego Zoo.
However, the increasing demand for Uber drivers in Southern California often leads to increased Uber accidents. Inexperienced drivers benefiting from San Diego’s rideshare industry struggle to navigate local roads while interacting with smartphone applications. If you were injured in an Uber accident, complex rideshare laws apply to your case. Discuss your right to demand financial compensation from Uber with our experienced San Diego The Ride App Attorneys today.
Uber, officially Uber Technologies Inc., markets itself as a technology company focusing on transportation networks. It provides an online platform, generally through smartphone applications, connecting private drivers with local ride requests. Unlike traditional taxi companies, Uber neither owns the rideshare vehicle nor employs the rideshare driver. It simply contracts with independent users wishing to make extra money by transporting passengers in private vehicles. This system allows Uber drivers to offer taxi-like services at a fraction of the traditional cost.
While new Uber drivers must undergo basic defensive driving seminars and background checks, they don’t have special driver’s licenses. They do not undergo the same testing and training as professional bus, taxi, and limousine drivers. This transportation model exposes riders to the same car accident risk factors as everyday commuters. It might also exacerbate the most common accident-causing event, distraction, considering Uber driver’s reliance on smartphone navigation and app interaction. The following factors frequently contribute to Uber accidents in San Diego:
The rideshare industry exacerbates each of these main risk factors. Riders often request late-night rides from tired Uber drivers working second jobs, ask drivers to take them to unfamiliar places, and request rides to avoid driving in bad weather. Uber can’t monitor for intoxication, and its app forces drivers to interact with cell phones during rides. The service could even encourage speeding to increase nightly driver revenue. All these factors lend themselves to an increased risk of San Diego Uber accidents.
Our rideshare lawyers frequently receive questions about whether Uber is liable for car accidents involving Uber drivers. The answer is very complicated, and California even passed specific rideshare driver legislation (prop 22) to address the issue. In most car accidents, only the negligent drivers and, if different, vehicle owners bear liability for personal injuries. If the driver was working when the accident occurred, i.e., an employed taxi or truck driver, the driver’s employer also has financial liability. Attorneys call this vicarious liability. Uber accidents fall somewhere in between private passenger vehicle crashes and taxi accidents.
California’s Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Act (Cal. BPC §§ 7448, et seq.) clarifies that Uber drivers are independent contractors (not Uber employees) if Uber allows them complete employment and scheduling independence. This legal distinction generally protects Uber from imputed car accident liability and leaves injured parties to sue the negligent driver for their injuries. However, the legislation passed by Prop 22 opens the door for litigation against Uber in certain cases. Rideshare companies failing to abide by specific safety and insurance regulations might be directly or vicariously liable for Uber accidents. This direct liability often results in higher insurance payouts for injured claimants and their families. However, Uber’s lawyers frequently fight the imposition of liability in such cases. Only experienced rideshare litigation lawyers should handle direct liability claims against Uber.
California’s rideshare legislation places certain responsibilities on Uber and its competitors. If these companies violated certain hiring, insurance, and driver safety guidelines, you might recover compensation directly from the rideshare service platform. Experienced rideshare accident lawyers should request information about Uber’s compliance with BPC § 7458(background checks) and § 7459 (safety training) in your case. These laws require rideshare drivers to undergo the following:
Failure to satisfactorily complete this training could give claimants standing to sue Uber for negligently retaining unsafe drivers. For example, cases related to reckless driving or criminal assaults preventable with thorough background checks.
Additionally, Uber must address any safety complaints against drivers and suspend them as necessary. The law itself (BPC § 7460) mandates a zero-tolerance policy for rideshare driver drug and alcohol abuse. Drivers must also follow special anti-fatigue laws, which limit their login time. Uber must lock out drivers logged in for more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period and impose mandatory six-hour rest periods. Rideshare attorneys may request the driver’s client reviews, recent login records, and prior complaints to determine whether Uber should have suspended the dangerous driver.
California’s rideshare legislation requires something unique to the industry. Most personal auto insurance policies disclaim liability for commercial rideshare accidents. As such, BPC § 7455 requires Uber to cover actively engaged Uber vehicles with at least $1,000,000 in personal injury liability insurance. This insurance only covers accidents occurring while the driver actively provides rideshare services. The law defines active engagement as the time between when the driver accepts and completes a ride or delivery request. It does not generally include accidents occurring when:
Traditional motor vehicle accident laws apply when Uber drivers are not actively engaged in providing services. The only exception is under Uber’s injury protection policy for drivers, which functions like worker’s compensation insurance. Uber drivers injured in car accidents while they’re logged into the application but waiting for requests may recover damages for their injuries and lost wages. Spouses and dependents also qualify for certain benefits in such cases. Experienced rideshare lawyers might help San Diego Uber drivers and families understand their entitlement to compensation and make appropriate insurance claims.
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Most Uber accident cases settle with liable insurance companies. Once insurers and attorneys agree on coverage and liability, injured claimants may request the same damages typically available in personal injury cases. It does not matter whether the injury occurred due to driver negligence, insufficient safety training, or third-party conduct. Damages may include past losses and future anticipated damages. Expert economists often help injured claimants calculate their Uber accident case’s true value by estimating future medical needs, career setbacks, lost employment benefits, and the impact of your injuries on daily activities.
Importantly, eligible claimants may demand compensation for certain non-economic (pain and suffering) damages in California. Pain and suffering damages may include claims for the physical pain, mental anguish, and frustration associated with your Uber accident injuries. They might also cover lost enjoyment of life damages, such as when injuries impact important hobbies and daily activities. Many claimants agree that the emotional trauma associated with Uber crashes, such as PTSD or social difficulties from facial scarring, impact their lives more substantially than their physical injuries. Compassionate rideshare lawyers understand that car crashes often cause more than skin deep injuries and fight for holistic financial compensation.
Most injured claimants struggle to pay their medical bills after serious Uber crashes, and many must rely on minor state disability benefits. Personal injury attorneys know that California families can seldom afford traditional legal fees after an Uber crash. As such, most accident lawyers offer contingency fee arrangements. These delayed fee agreements allow eligible claimants to retain needed legal counsel without any upfront fees or costs. Instead, your lawyer takes a percentage, of your overall financial recovery as his fee. Many law firms even front all litigation fees and costs. If you don’t recover compensation after an Uber accident, you may not owe any legal fees.
Contingency fees allow qualified claimants to obtain needed legal services. Insurers frequently lowball unrepresented claimants or unlawfully deny their Uber accident claims. They might also drown families in burdensome document requests and employ delaying tactics to avoid paying your claims. Having an experienced attorney at The Ride App Attorneys on your side can drastically increase your chances of recovering compensation after a San Diego Uber accident. Between the complex laws applicable to rideshare cases and the potential for high-value insurance payouts, injured claimants need dedicated legal counsel. Schedule your free case analysis with The Ride App Attorneys today.