Article Updated: August 3, 2021
Uber Accident Settlement & Strategy Guide
Uber is a rich company with substantial insurance coverage for personal injury claims. If you were in an Uber accident, you should be fighting for a full and fair settlement from Uber. That settlement should compensate you for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
In this article you will learn about:
♦ Filing an Uber Claim
♦ Uber’s Insurance Triggers
♦ Recoverable Uber Accident Damages
♦ Uber Accident Settlement Intel
If your question is not answered in this article, we invite you to call us and ask how we can help you recover a large settlement in your Uber accident case.
Table of Contents
High Volume = High Risk = Foreseeable Danger
Are Ubers in a Lot of Accidents?
Yes, Ubers are in accidents a lot because they drive a lot of miles every year. It’s nearly impossible to look outside and not see an Uber decal on a vehicle’s windshield. Uber alone clocked 1.3 billion miles driven in 2018. More Uber traffic results in more Uber car accidents.
Over the course of driving those 1.3 billion miles, there were at least 58 fatal “Uber-related” car accidents– and an unknown number of non-fatal accidents involving an Uber driver, Uber passenger, or an Uber being in an accident with a non-Uber driver.
This tally does not include almost two dozen fatalities of which Uber was aware but declined to include in its safety report, and it represents a tiny fraction of the total motor vehicle incidents that resulted in Uber passengers being injured, as it only counts those which ended in a fatality.
What are the Chances I will be in an Uber Accident?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in 2017 that fatal traffic accidents accounted for only 1.7% of all car crashes nationwide. Assuming that Uber’s rate of accidents roughly conforms to this trend, we could extrapolate that there are around 4,706 Uber accidents each year.
But this estimate is likely very low, as reports produced by the State of California alone indicate that app-based ride-hail services were involved in thousands of accidents, which include Uber car accidents, in one year just in that state.
The reports cited above indicate that rideshares resulted in around 1,100 motor vehicle accidents per month. Uber is six times larger in terms of number of drivers, total number of rideshares executed, and other metrics, than its nearest competitor, Lyft. From this it can be extrapolated that the majority of these rideshare accidents involve Uber’s drivers and passengers.
Uber Accident Compensation
Who Can Recover Compensation
You are eligible for compensation from an Uber accident if you are:
- A passenger, pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist who was seriously injured in a collision due to the fault of an Uber driver
- An Uber driver injured in the accident in which another motorist is at fault
- An injured passenger traveling in an Uber vehicle, whether the ridesharing driver or another driver, is at fault
Categories of Compensation
You can claim compensations by determining the person who was at fault for the accident. From that negligent party, you may be eligible to recover compensation for the following categories of damages:
♦ Medical expenses
♦ Lost wages
♦ Vehicle damage repairs
♦ Pre-impact fright from the collision
♦ Physical impairments
♦ Disfigurement such as scars
♦ Emotional trauma and distress
♦ Pain and suffering
♦ Reduced quality of life
♦ Loss of companionship
Medical expense and lost wage related damages may be recovered for both past and future losses.
Future money is harder to obtain, and requires thorough claim development and expert support. Make sure your lawyer knows how to develop this type of evidence so you do not leave money on the table.
Several of the above compensation categories are covered in more detail below, with respect to their applicable Uber insurance policy provisions.
Property Damage Liability (PD)
Property damage from a car accident is, assuming there are no complications, paid by the insurance company of the vehicle that caused the accident. This is different from collision coverage that covers destruction to your own property. Property damage liability coverage is designed to protect the negligent party from having to pay out of pocket to repair any other vehicles that the negligent driver damages.
Therefore, if you are involved in an Uber accident, and there have been damages to your vehicle, the Uber property damage liability coverage can be utilized to cover those damages and help pay for the repairs to your vehicle.
Bodily injured Liability (BI)
Uber’s bodily injury insurance covers the injuries incurred by the passenger involved in the accident and has a limit per person, as well as the entire accident. The per accident limit is often referred to as the “aggregate” limit per incident.
Recovering Medical Expenses in an Uber Accident
If the Uber accident occurred due to the fault of an Uber driver and you were traveling as a passenger in the Uber vehicle, then you can file an Uber accident claim through the Uber driver’s insurance policy.
While MedPay may provide an early option to help you cover your initial medical expenses, it may not always be an option. MedPay is not mandatory in every state. Similarly, personal injury protection (PIP) is mandatory only in 13 states, which include:
♦ New Jersey
♦ New York
♦ North Dakota
In case you do not have access to PIP or MedPay, you can still file a claim to pursue recovery of your medical bills through Uber’s bodily injury settlement process.
However, if that settlement is not immediate, you could end up with unpaid medical bills, and will need to plan ahead on who will pay those medical bills throughout your Uber claim and litigation process.
Insurance Companies That Handle Uber Claims
Minimum Policies for Your Protection
Many states make it essential for taxi cab companies to have a minimum amount of insurance coverage concerning their drivers. Passengers or other people who get injured involving their vehicles also fall under this insurance coverage, and therefore, victims can recover their damages with the help of these policies. However, these policies can be inadequate when it comes to catastrophic accidents.
Sue the Uber Driver, Recover From Uber’s Carrier
Ridesharing companies like Uber categorize their riders as “independent contractors.” In this way, their drivers are not considered employees who are considered to be the company’s agents when it comes to liability. Uber also outlines in its terms and conditions that it provides “technology services.” Accordingly, the company asserts that it merely connects independent drivers with potential riders.
This means you sue the Uber driver, not Uber, in a typical Uber claim. The Uber driver, however, is insured through Uber’s insurance policy. Therefore, you sue the Uber driver, and recover your settlement from Uber’s insurance company.
$1,000,000 of Protection
Uber carries insurance policies to cover the drivers when they are transporting a customer. According to Uber, its insurance policy amounts to at least $1 million per accident for accidents which occur while the Uber driver is actively involved in a trip with a passenger in the vehicle.
Conversely, if the driver has an additional auto insurance policy covering the damages on the vehicle, then the company coverage is basically “stacked” for the individual limits.
Uber has partnered with numerous carriers to support coverage for its drivers, some of which are discussed below.
Recent investigation and discovery has also disclosed that Uber has been hiding the fact that it may have up to $100M of insurance coverage. This could have major implications on how much you can recover from Uber, and how much pressure you can bring in litigation against Uber via a case against one of its insureds.
The insurance company offers a hybrid commercial insurance package in case of an accident involving an Uber vehicle. The company covers state such as Washington DC, California, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin.
This company offers its endorsement as an “add-on” to the existing insurance policy. It provides coverage for bodily injury liability, medical payments coverage, collision, personal injury protection, and property damage liability. It had provided this coverage for vehicles in Ohio, Illinois, South Dakota, Utah, and Nebraska.
The State Farm rideshare driver coverage is meant to serve as optional coverage. It covers the liability that is included in the “available” phase for an Uber driver. The policy had been made available in Kansas, Connecticut, Tennessee, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Oregon.
Other companies which Uber has partnered with for insurance include:
♦ James River Insurance
♦ Liberty Mutual
The Uber accident attorney working with you can investigate and identify which insurance company is providing coverage for the Uber driver involved in your accident.
Accordingly, it is recommended to contact an Uber accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Doing so will ensure that all the necessary evidence is collected and a claim is filed without delay.
Which Defense Firms Handle Uber Claims
Uber takes its accident claims seriously, and often employs top notch counsel to fight your claim. Be prepared for a fight if you were in an Uber accident and your case has to be filed in court.
Some insurance company’s push almost all of their accidents into an in-house law firm owned by the insurance company. In contrast, Uber does not have its claims assigned to those in-house law firms and lawyers. Instead, it retains outside counsel from private law firms.
However, the firms that handle Uber’s accident claims vary from state to state. Make sure any lawyer you are considering hiring is familiar with these firms and their style of litigation in your specific jurisdiction.
Process For Filing An Uber Claim
If you are injured in an accident due an Uber driver’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation for your losses. Here is a simple outline of that claim process.
1: Get all the required information
Immediately after the accident, try to get the insurance information regarding all the vehicles, and their drivers involved. You should also note down the license plate number, vehicle description, and the name of the drivers.
2: Request trip verification
The amount of insurance that you will be eligible for comes down to whether your driver was logged into the Uber app or not at the time of the accident. Here is a breakdown of how that can impact your settlement and recovery.
Scenario A: Uber Driver Not Logged Into App
If the driver was not logged into the application at the time of the accident, they would not be considered an “Uber driver.” Instead, the driver would be categorized as a normal, non-Uber driver.
In such a case, you will have to make a claim with the private insurance carrier of the driver. Depending your state, those limits may be as little as $15,000.
Scenario B: Uber Driver Logged Into App & Searching for Passengers
If the driver was logged into the Uber application and was searching for a ride, then injury liability anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 would be available for the accident.
Property damage may be covered under the liability of $30,000, while an excess liability of $20,000 might also be available. This period begins from the moment the driver becomes active on the application.
Scenario C: Uber Driver Logged Into Application & En-Route to Pickup Passenger
In case the driver accepted a passenger and was en-route to pick up that passenger, then Uber’s $1 million policy may be available.
Scenario D: Negligent Uber Driver Has a Passenger
If you are an injured passenger who was present inside an Uber vehicle at the time of the accident, then the expenses will be covered under the Uber liability policy with $1 million of coverage. This period is the easiest to prove due to the presence of the passenger inside the vehicle. In this case, the Uber accident attorneys can quickly negotiate fair accident settlement terms.
Scenario E: Non-Negligent Uber Driver Has a Passenger
Even if your Uber driver is not to blame for your accident, and another driver is to be blamed, you can make a claim. In these situations, if you are an Uber passenger, then Uber will still be liable to pay $1 million in underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage if the other driver’s insurance is insufficient to reimburse you for your losses.
Uber’s uninsured coverage protection can cover expenses related to medical bills and lost wages via a settlement.
3: Get in touch with the Uber Claims Department or a Lawyer
To start a claim directly with Uber (highly not recommended), you can visit their website and submit their online form.
Why is this highly not recommended? Uber’s settlement adjusters are top-notch. They are far more experienced and strategic than the typical auto insurance adjuster. If you negotiate with them, you are negotiating with sharks.
When an injured claimant files a claim without a lawyer, they will sprint to you and provide what will appear like first class service. Why will they be so quick to respond and assertive to your complaints? They want to squeeze a quick settlement out of you before you lawyer up and appreciate how much your claim is worth.
Average Uber Accident Settlement
As mentioned below in the Q&A, Uber makes confidentiality a mandatory part of its settlements. Uber is really scared about the publicity of the public learning that its drivers injured or killed innocent victims. This makes it almost impossible to get any genuine, global average of Uber accident settlement amounts.
That said, based on our independent research, including from private databases, and our own, multiple Uber settlements, typtical Uber accident settlement payouts are over $100,000. In surgery cases, the average Uber accident settlement is over $250,000.
Uber knows its public image is tremendously important. If the public begins to see Uber and its drivers as dangerous, then they will speak their conscious when it comes time to hit the ballot box and vote on issues like California’s recent Proposition 22:
To help conceal the injuries which all of its negligent drivers cause, Uber seems to be paying a premium to keep those case values and results secret. It does this by agreeing to settlements that may be above par value. This helps it get rid of cases, and also avoid going to a public trial.
How do we know this? Our lawyers have recovered multiple, $100k+ settlements in Uber cases. More importantly, we have recovered Uber accident settlements that were above par value for our clients.
Sample Uber Accident Settlement Payouts
A few detailed Uber accident settlement amounts with case details:
Sample Verdict: BEACH v. BAKER, $300,000. In this case the Uber driver caused an accident which injured the Uber passenger. $150k was for medical bills and lost wages, and $150k was for pain, suffering, and other non-economic damages. State Farm was the insurer in this case. Uber entered into a settlement agreement before trial with the plaintiff, and the trial was focused on an insurance dispute for the underlying claim. State Farm was added as a defendant, so the jury likely knew an insurance company was paying the verdict and this may have impacted their decision to give $300k.
Sample Verdict: GARCIA v. GLOBAL LOGISTICS, $8,222,467. This is a good example of an Uber driver accident settlement. This was a tractor trailer accident with an Uber, where the truck company was at fault and the Uber driver sued the truck company. James River was the insurance for this Uber vehicle. The truck did not have enough insurance, so the Uber driver sued Uber’s insurance company, James River, for underinsured motorist benefits. James River threw every excuse and the kitchen sink at the plaintiff on the issue of damages. Before trial, the court decided the truck company was negligent, so there was no liability dispute at trial. $6M of the verdict was for pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages. A little over $2M was for past and future medical bills.
Here are some other noteworthy Uber accident settlements and verdicts we located in our search:
♦ $1,000,000 Uber Accident
♦ $955,000 Uber Accident
♦ $896,000 Uber Accident
♦ $870,000 Uber Accident
♦ $610,000 Uber Accident
♦ $500,000 Uber Accident
Uber Accident Q&A
How Long Will it Take to Settle An Uber Accident?
If the Uber driver was en route to pick the riders or had already started the trip, then the case can sometimes be resolved faster due to the larger available policy. If the driver was waiting for the ride request during the accident, it may take longer as that could cause policy related issues. These may include situations where two insurance companies disagree on the value of the claim, where one is willing to settle for x amount but the other is not.
If your injuries are sprains and strains, the Uber claim can usually be settled within one year if your injury is not permanent. It can take that long because of the timeline for collecting your medical records, preparing a demand letter, and the insurance adjuster reviewing the file and getting authority to make an offer or counteroffer.
Will You Get a Larger Settlement if You Take the Ambulance After the Accident?
On average, yes, your settlement will be larger if you take the ambulance to the hospital after your Uber accident. In fact, Uber has an accident form that asks if anyone in the accident was transported by ambulance. These responses are considered by Uber and its algorithm in calculating how much to offer you in a settlement.
This means that if you take an ambulance to the hospital, Uber’s insurance company may be more likely to concluded that you experienced more pain and suffering, or suffered a more serious injury. You will also have a larger medical bill, which may require the insurance company to pay more in compensation.
Which Injuries Are Likely to Result in an Uber Claim Over $50,000?
Although the total amount involved in the claim depends upon a combination of economic damages, non-economic damages, and intangible factors, past results indicate that the following injuries are likely to get you more than $50,000 in an Uber accident claim:
♦ Tibial plateau fracture
♦ Fractures of the bone in the face
♦ Herniated disc
♦ Shoulder joint tear
♦ Fracture of the hip, ankle, or lower leg
♦ Spinal fusion
♦ Depressed or open skull fracture
Soft tissue injuries are not on that list. It is possible to get an Uber settlement for over $50,000 with a soft tissue injury, but it will not happen without a fight and hard work from your lawyer.
Will Not Wearing a Seatbelt Hurt My Uber Settlement?
This situation may vary from state to state. For instance, in states like Florida, insurance companies are allowed to reduce the payout if the passenger was not wearing a seatbelt. In Maryland, a jury is not allowed to know if you were wearing your seatbelt.
Putting the law aside, sometimes, based on how the accident happened and your injuries, a jury can tell whether or not you were wearing a seatbelt. This could result in a “it’s her own fault” type of verdict or even settlement. Call and speak with a lawyer to discuss whether seatbelt use can cost you money in your specific accident.
Regardless of what your state permits, it is still important to wear a seatbelt. According to Insurance Information Institute (III), seatbelts were responsible to save almost 14,955 lives in 2017.
Will Uber Require the Settlement to be Confidential?
Yes, Uber will demand that the settlement be confidential. Uber is notorious for this. They may even blow up the settlement if you refuse to sign a settlement release that contains confidentiality language. If you sign that and talk about your settlement with anyone or post about it on social media, Uber is the type of company that will chase you down to get that money back and counter-sue you.
Can an Uber Passenger Sue an Uber Driver or Uber?
Yes, if you were a passenger in an Uber that was in an accident, you can sue the Uber driver of the car you were in and Uber directly.
Whether your claim against Uber directly works is questionable. It will vary from state to state, based on that state’s laws. Sometimes, the Uber driver can even get workers’ compensation claims settled with Uber. Uber may agree to these settlements to avoid a court decision about whether the driver was an employee, which could hurt Uber on a global scale.
Can an Uber Driver Sue an Uber Passenger?
Yes, if you were an Uber driver and a passenger caused you to be in a car accident, you can sue the passenger for causing that accident. Medical bills and other expenses may be recovered from your Uber insurance policy, which is over $1,000,000.
Can an Uber Driver Sue Uber?
Technically, yes, if you are an Uber driver you can sue Uber directly if you were in an accident. The viability of this claim will be the same as an Uber passenger suing Uber. However, your claim against Uber would likely based on some corporate misconduct. It is unlikely such a claim can succeed, barring very particular circumstances.
An Uber Vehicle Hit me, Can I Sue the Uber Driver?
Yes, if an Uber vehicle hit you, you can sue whoever was driving that Uber. That driver will not pay directly for the claim. Uber’s insurance policy will pay for the claim based on what status the driver’s Uber application was on when the accident happened. This is discussed above. For example, if the driver had a passenger and was on a trip, there will be at least $1,000,000 of car insurance available.
Are Uber and ride-share accidents common?
As ride-shares become more and more common, these kinds of accidents involving Uber and others are becoming more and more common.
Can I get a payout for my Uber accident?
Yes, you can get a payout for your Uber accident and who will pay the settlement will depend on factors such as who was at fault. The Uber driver will be named in your lawsuit, but the payout will be from Uber’s insurance company in your state, assuming the Uber driver was at fault.
What should I do after an Uber accident?
You should file a claim as soon as you can after such an accident, and also make sure you contact an attorney and seek medical care. Medical care should be the first thing you pursue. Unless you like getting the short end of the stick, you should have an attorney file the claim and deal with Uber’s insurance adjuster for you.
Will it take long to settle my Uber case?
This will depend on the severity of your Uber accident and injuries. Less serious cases can take one year or less to settle while more serious ones can take longer. Uber does tend to settle its cases faster than some other defendants. As discussed above, this may be from its desire to keep secret all of the accidents its drivers cause because it’s bad for its public relations.
Who is liable in an Uber car accident?
Uber often tries to get away from responsibility by placing liability on their drivers as independent contractors. This does not mean that you cannot hold anyone accountable. Most of the time, if the Uber driver did something wrong she or he will be liable. Sometimes, you can sue Uber directly and hold it accountable for bad corporate practices, such as allowing an unqualified driver to conduct rideshares under Uber’s banner.
How much do Uber settlements usually go for?
The average payout for such cases fluctuates between $15,000 and $50,000. While there is in fact a $1 million dollar limit on Uber’s own policy payout, the potential to get an amount that high is unlikely unless serious injury like brain damage or other serious have taken place.
My injury after my Uber accident was serious, will this make a difference in the settlement?
Yes, the extent of your injuries will make a difference in your Uber accident settlement payout. The more severe injuries usually having bigger payouts. If your lawyer can help prove that your injuries are permanent, then the payout has the potential to be even larger.
My Uber driver was on the phone right before the accident, will this affect liability?
This can make a difference on showing who is liable and information like this should be noted and told to insurance adjusters so that you can have the strongest case possible. If the Uber driver was on the phone, there is a strong argument that the Uber driver was distracted and therefore negligent, making her or him liable for your accident and allowing you to recover from Uber’s insurance policy.
Can I do anything to make my Uber settlement case stronger?
Yes, there are things you can do to make your Uber settlement case stronger. Most of the strategic advice that is responsive to this question will not be shared online or to non-clients. The only information that can be shared here is to get medical attention immediately and follow all of your doctors advice.
Uber offered me a settlement, should I accept it?
If Uber offered you a settlement, with 99% certainty, we would predict it is an unfair settlement amount and the Uber adjuster is trying to sweet talk you into taking it before you hire a lawyer. You need to retain a lawyer before she or he will evaluate the case for you, as that takes hours of time and reviewing medical records. It is the only way, however, to keep the Uber insurance adjusters honest.
Are there a Lot of Ride-Share Accident Claims?
Yes, there are thousands of accident claims made every year against rideshare companies such as Uber. The California Department of Insurance provides a useful data point for those interested in pursuing litigation and recovering damages for an Uber-related crash. From 2014 to 2016, rideshare accidents resulted in 9,388 claims accounting for $185.6 million.
Los Angeles Uber Accident Attorney
If you need a Los Angeles Uber lawyer, we are here to help. Even if your Uber accident happened outside of Los Angeles, you have nothing to lose by calling us for a free consultation.
Whether your Uber accident was as a passenger or while in a separate vehicle, we will take your call. Our Los Angeles based attorneys have dealt with many, many Uber accident cases. Our Uber accident recoveries alone are well over $2,000,000.
Supporting Citations, Literature & Resources:
Uber Safety Report, 2017-2018
Uber’s US Safety Report (2021).
Rosenfeld, S. (2020). Safety Report From Uber Leaves Out Most Accidents. San Francisco Public Press
California Department of Insurance California Public Utilities Commission (2017). Joint Study of Transportation Network Company (TNC) Insurance Coverage Requirements in California
CPUC (2015). Summary of Transportation Network Companies’ Annual Reports 2014 and 2015 submissions
Lancaster, (2020). Uber and Gibson Dunn Put the Brakes on Monopoly Claims. Law (com)
Uber Help. “What to do if you’re in a crash”
McCulloh, A. (2020). California votes to preserve Uber and Lyft drivers’ gig status.
Insurance Information Institute. (2021). Facts + Statistics: Highway safety.
About the Author
Article Author: This law article was written by attorney Ray Benyamin, Esquire. Mr. Benyamin received his Juris Doctor degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and his license to practice law from the State Bar of California. His law license number is 277263. He has been practicing law for 10 years. Mr. Benyamin is a registered member of the following legal organizations: Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association (ABA), and the American Association for Justice (AAJ). Mr. Benyamin has personally helped his clients recover over $10,000,000 dollars in vehicle accident insurance claims in the State of California.
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