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Getting around a city has never been easier. Commuters need no longer rely on buses and taxis. They can now order a private car at a competitive rate.
Uber has made this possible. It is the top rideshare company in America, and it has re-invigorated the private transportation industry. Through Uber private citizens with cars can offer their services to the public as drivers. And although this has increased significantly the supply of private transports for hire, it has also led to increased risks to the public.
No training or qualifications are needed to become an Uber driver. This means that anyone, no matter how poor their driver record, can offer their services to the public.
If you were such a passenger injured in an Uber car accident, you do have legal rights. Working with an Uber accident lawyer will help you better understand and exercise them.
The Rise of Uber Accidents
Most experts agree that there has been a rise in Uber-related accidents. The two main driving factors for these accidents are as follows.
First, most of the people who drive for Uber do so only part-time. They take shifts between part-time jobs or after they have finished their main job. This means that they are tired and not fully focused when they get behind the wheel. These are not the best conditions for driving.
The other fact that has led to an increase in Uber accidents is the perverse incentive scheme in the ridesharing industry. The relatively low cost of Uber transports is one of the main reasons why it is so popular.
This is good for consumers; not so good for drivers. Many drivers feel compelled to violate speeding limits and other traffic laws to collect as many fares as they can before a given shift is over.
What to do After an Accident
A car accident is a violent event. If you are a passenger in a car that collides with another vehicle, the shock of it will leave you temporarily confused. Once you have recovered from this initial bedazzlement, you should do the following:
1. Remain at the scene
Do not leave the scene. This is against the law and you can be prosecuted for it. The police will need to take a statement from you when they arrive. And they will release you when they have all that they need.
2. Check yourself
You may not feel any pain after the collision. This does not mean that you are without injury. The shock of the impact may have numbed certain parts of your body. The only way to know if you have sustained a serious injury is to check yourself with hands and fingers.
3. Call emergency services
You should make this call. The operator will ask you direct questions about your physical condition and that of the people around you. Give them direct answers.
4. Get the driver’s information
Make sure you get the name and contact details of your driver.
5. Speak to bystanders
Speak to the people who saw the accident, especially those who volunteer statements. You may not be able to write down everything they have to say, but you should get the phone number and email address of everyone you speak to.
6. Get medical treatment
No matter how you feel after the accident, you should get yourself assessed by an emergency room doctor. They are the only ones who have the training and equipment to provide you a sound and thorough determination of your physical state. Do not go on feeling; get the opinion of a medical professional.
7. Gather documents
Make sure you get a copy of the physician’s initial assessment and all documents related to your treatment before you leave the hospital. You should also write down what you remember about the accident.
8. Call a lawyer
You should also contact an Uber accident lawyer. Do this before you do anything else, including calling your insurance provider. Your lawyer will advise you on the next steps to take.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Uber has a policy of offering up to $1 million to passengers injured in accidents involving its vehicles. But this money is not given straight away to such victims. The company expects the insurance company of the driver involved in the accident to settle with victims.
Only if the driver’s insurance is inadequate to the task will Uber get involved. Even then, getting the money requires a fight. The company will offer an initial low-dollar settlement. If the medical expenses and other losses and costs you’ve incurred as a result of your injuries add up to more than the Uber offer, your lawyer will pressure them for more.
Indeed, you should allow your ridesharing accident lawyer to do all the communicating and negotiating with the company. You need not deal directly with them. Doing so may confuse matters. You may say or do something that undermines the position your lawyer has established.
The Consequences of a Serious Accident
If the accident left you with slight or minor injuries, you may be better off accepting the initial settlement offered by Uber. However, if your injuries were life-changing; if they have brought tumult and chaos to your life, then you should demand more money—beyond the $1 million if necessary.
A serious accident can compel you to go through a succession of painful and expensive surgeries—operations you will have no choice but to undergo if you are to survive and regain your health.
If the accident left you with a permanent disability, you will need to change your entire way of life. You may need to hire a full-time care professional and have your home modified to accommodate your new condition.
The financial cost of all this can cause tremendous strain and anxiety, which is why you should not bear it alone. Uber should pay its fair share of the costs.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles have the knowledge and experience to help you get a fair settlement. Over the past few years, Uber has advanced the argument that it cannot be held accountable for its drivers because they are not legally employed by the company.
Numerous judges and juries have disagreed with this line of reasoning and have sided with plaintiffs in case after case. Your ridesharing accident lawyer will do so the same for you. They will put together a case against Uber that is sound and compelling.
The first thing your lawyer will do is go back to the facts, evidence, and eyewitness statements related to the accident. They will send their own private investigators to re-interview those who saw the accident. This can often lead to new tips and insights.
Some people don’t like dealing with police officers. Your legal team can take advantage of that by sending their private investigators to the people you spoke to after the accident who did not go on to speak to the police.
Some of them may have crucial information or even video evidence that helps your case.
Your lawyer will bring in forensic and medical experts to make statements concerning the cause of the accident and the debilitating effects it has had on your health.
Don’t allow yourself to be pushed around by Uber. Call West Coast Trial Lawyers and find out your legal options.