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The Bay Area not only acted as Uber’s test market, it currently acts as Uber’s corporate headquarters. Hundreds of Uber drivers patrol the streets of San Jose each day. From transporting Silicon Valley investors to making Stanford parents airport runs, taking an Uber is commonplace in San Jose. Uber’s cost-effective transportation technology links available drivers with local riders for a fraction of traditional rental car and taxi costs. However, this innovative system comes with some legal drawbacks.
Uber Technologies Inc. does not provide drivers with vehicles or require special licensing. Almost anyone with a driver’s license and a clean criminal record can drive with Uber. This unique system protects Uber from traditional car accident liability. Instead, only the Uber driver – an independent contractor – and vehicle owner (typically also the Uber driver) generally bears personal injury liability.
California voters passed Prop. 22 last year, which requires transportation network companies to provide app users with certain insurance benefits and safeguards. The experienced attorneys at The Ride App Attorneys understand Uber’s responsibility to app users and third parties. They might maximize your right to personal injury compensation following San Jose Uber accidents without any upfront costs.
Uber drivers don’t cause all Uber-related crashes. Sometimes other negligent drivers rear-end your rideshare vehicle, or your driver gets clipped on the busy airport pickup line. However, ridesharing platforms often combine a few of the most common car accident risk factors in San Jose, including:
Ride app users frequently request Ubers during bad weather and off-peak hours, i.e., after late nights out or early-morning flights. These factors increase driver fatigue and poor roadway conditions while forcing drivers to use smartphone applications. California’s Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Act (Cal. BPC §§ 7448, et seq.), known as Prop. 22, addresses some of these concerns by requiring providers to adopt zero-tolerance alcohol policies and limit driver hours. Uber drivers cannot remain logged in to the app for more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period and must enforce six-hour rest breaks. An attorney might hold ride app companies directly liable for injuries occurring due to these violations.
Ride app users, third-party drivers, and pedestrians might all suffer from Uber accident injuries. However, assessing responsibility after rideshare crashes often involves complex legal provisions. Factors including the injured party’s identity, employment status, crash causes, and real-time app use all impact potential liability. California’s app-based services legislation clarifies liability in some cases, but it still leaves injured parties with multiple questions. Most claimants just want to know whether they can recover damages from Uber after a San Jose accident, but the legislation doesn’t answer this directly.
Uber markets itself as a technology company connecting independent contractors (Uber drivers) with Uber users. This legally distinctive status, codified in BPC § 7451, prevents injured claimants from transferring liability from the negligent driver to Uber if:
If the ride app company violated one of these statutory provisions, courts might classify the driver as an Uber employee. Employee status triggers vicarious liability principles, meaning injured claimants may hold Uber financially responsible for a working driver’s negligence.
Traditional car accident principles also apply regardless of driver status. For example, claimants might demand compensation from their Uber drivers or other negligent driver depending on actual liability, i.e., who violated traffic laws? Ride app lawyers typically demand evidence of Uber’s compliance with the above labor provisions while investigating the crash factors. Liability often hinges on each case’s unique facts and applicable laws.
Despite the complex legal principles applicable to rideshare accidents, most injury claims settle with Uber’s $1,000,000 auto insurance policy. California law (BPC § 7455) requires qualifying rideshare companies to cover their drivers and injured third parties with at least $1,000,000 in personal injury benefits. This policy generally provides sufficient coverage following Uber accidents; however, only certain claimants qualify for this high-value insurance compensation. Uber riders and third parties (other drivers or pedestrians) can only recover damages if:
This umbrella policy does not apply to third parties if the driver was only logged into the app and waiting for requests when the accident occurred. It also does not cover accidents occurring if the driver or rider canceled the service. However, qualified drivers may claim certain injury benefits for such accidents under a separate worker protection policy. Uber further retains the right to investigate app use for potential fraud designed to trigger the insurance coverage. San Jose claimants experiencing pushback from this high-value insurer should consider retaining qualified rideshare accident counsel to negotiate accident settlements.
Even if Uber’s insurance provider disclaims car accident liability, Uber may still bear responsibility for your injuries. California law requires transportation network companies to protect the public from dangerous drivers using their ride apps. In addition to zero-tolerance alcohol policies and anti-fatigue laws, BPC § 7458 requires careful driver background checks. Uber must look for certain felony convictions, including sexual assault and drunk driving, and prohibit disqualified drivers from using their applications. Failure to do so may result in negligent hiring claims. Ride app companies must also investigate negative user claims and suspend dangerous drivers as necessary.
Additionally, rideshare drivers must undergo company-provided safety training (BPC § 7459) before accepting requests. This training must cover defensive driving techniques, avoiding common crash factors, and identifying sexual misconduct. Failure to provide this training and certify satisfactory performance could result in direct corporate liability for preventable accidents. Experienced San Jose rideshare lawyers may request evidence of Uber’s compliance with California’s ride app legislation, transcripts of the driver’s past reviews, and independent background checks after reckless driving accidents. If Uber negligently permitted dangerous drivers to utilize its network, injured parties might demand specialized compensation from the company itself.
Despite the legal complexities surrounding rideshare liability, injured claimants may demand regular personal injury compensation following Uber accidents. Compensation requests must correspond to the claimant’s actual and anticipated losses stemming from the crash. Common recoverable damages include:
Pain and suffering (non-economic damages) include hard-to-calculate losses such as the impact of physical pain, depression, lost hobbies, embarrassment, and frustrations on claimants’ daily lives. Negligent parties, which might include Uber itself, must compensate claimants for tangible economic losses and real but intangible emotional suffering.
Insurers typically calculate these non-economic damages in proportion to the claimant’s direct economic losses. Together, these numbers set the value of most San Jose Uber accident claims. For example, injured claimants most often complain about back and neck pain following Uber accidents. Whiplash and herniated discs could result in approximately $20,000 in medical bills and $15,000 of lost wages.
Claimants may demand an additional $15,000 for the extreme nerve pain and suffering associated with the trauma resulting in a $50,000 settlement request. More serious injuries – such as concussions, burns, and fractures – might result in higher insurance demands. An experienced ride app accident attorney may help San Jose claimants qualify for coverage under Uber’s high-value liability policy and maximize the value of their rideshare negligence claims.
In 2009, Uber forever changed transportation industry law. New and complex regulations apply to San Jose Uber accidents, necessitating innovative and experienced rideshare injury attorneys. Our dedicated The Ride App Attorneysunderstand how devastating Uber crashes can bankrupt families struggling to recover needed damages. Multiple insurers often blame third parties after Uber accidents, denying liability and leaving innocent claimants wondering where to turn. From assessing Uber’s potential liability to applying the provisions of California’s ride-app insurance laws, do not take on Uber’s corporate attorneys alone. We even offer contingency fee arrangements to qualifying claimants, which means we don’t get paid unless our clients recover damages. Call our San Jose legal team today to schedule a free and confidential Uber accident consultation.
Tenny Mirzayan is the best out there. She handled our car accident case, and destroyed the other side. Farmers Insurance offered us $0, and she got us deep into the six figures. She did not let us get pushed around. Thank you!!!