With the rideshare industry poised to exceed $220 billion by 2025, it’s no wonder that ridesharing continues to proliferate — especially in California. Here in Fresno County, a glorious urban hub in the midst of breathtaking, natural beauty, ridesharing continues to thrive. With as many as one in four Americans using a ridesharing service like Uber every month, it is important to know what to do if you are involved in a car accident in Fresno involving a rideshare vehicle. According to Uber, one in 20,000,000 trips results in a motor vehicle crash fatality. You will also want an experienced Fresno Uber accident lawyer to make sure you are in the best position to succeed in your rideshare accident claim.
Uber Accidents in Fresno: Do You Have a Case?
As is the case with most car accidents, the injured party will seek compensation — “damages” — from the other party under the legal doctrine of negligence. There are four elements that your Uber accident attorney will need to establish in your negligence claim:
- Duty of Care. Because of the inherently risky nature of driving, motorists owe their passengers and everyone else on the road a duty to drive safely and carefully, and to pay heed to others on the road.
- Breach of the Standard of Care. Someone with a duty of care towards another party must meet the standard of care, or what a reasonable person in those circumstances would do or not do. Drivers are expected to know and follow the rules and regulations of the road, and to drive in a responsible, safe manner. If they fall short of this standard, they are acting negligently.
- Accident in Question Caused by This Breach. If the car collision was not specifically the result of the other party failing to meet the standard of care, the crash was not due to that party’s negligence. You must be able to show that this accident would not have occurred but for the unreasonable action or inaction of the other party.
- Injuries/Damages Caused by the Accident. If there were no injuries or losses that can be proven, there is no case for compensation.
A Fresno Uber accident attorney will be able to tell you if you have a personal injury case and are entitled to damages.
Damages You May Be Able to Pursue After a Rideshare Accident in Fresno
What your claim is worth — the damages to which you are entitled — will depend on the circumstances of your case. These are the types of damages a rideshare accident lawyer often seeks:
- Necessary Medical Treatment. The costs of medical care for your injuries, including surgeries, tests, specialist and other consultations, medication, ambulance and hospital costs, and medicine are recoverable. You can seek damages for the expenses you have already incurred, and you can seek additional damages for medical costs that are expected in the future — especially in cases of permanent or long-term disability.
- Lost Income. You can recover wages you would have earned but could not because of your injuries interfering with your ability to carry out your work duties, including absences for medical care.
- Loss of Future Earnings. If your injuries will affect your future ability to make income, or you must pass on a promotion or economic opportunity because your injuries make you unable to fulfill the required duties of that opportunity, you can seek damages for what you would have earned.
- Pain and Suffering. These are considered “non-economic damages” to compensate you for the physical and/or emotional pain as well as the impact on your ability to enjoy your life.
- Loss of Consortium: If your spouse has been injured or killed in a rideshare accident, you may be able to receive compensation for losing the companionship.
- Punitive Damages. When the defendant’s actions leading to the accident have been egregious or the level of negligence borders on reckless disregard for safety, the court will want to award further compensation as a form of punishment and deterrent against future unacceptable conduct.
Your Lyft accident lawyer will tell you what damages are likely based on the facts of your case.
Will My Rideshare Accident Case End Up in Trial?
Most motor vehicle accident cases never make it to trial. Trial is often the last resort parties prefer to avoid because of the high cost of litigation (lawyer fees, time off work for court appearances, court fees). The vast majority of personal injury claims end up settling. The best rideshare accident lawyer knows that apart from the sheer cost and effort, trial is not always the best option because the outcome is never guaranteed. You can prepare a witness over and over, but there is always a chance that a good cross-examination could get them to say something that the court thinks is inconsistent. Judges and juries are human, and sometimes unpredictable in their thinking. Even when the two sides agree on something and present it to a judge to approve, this does not force the judge to accept it. They may disagree and substitute what they think is fair.
Many people assume that getting a settlement is easy. It often isn’t. Insurance companies are not always looking out for your best interests — they are businesses and want to pay out as little as they can. The Lyft accident attorney for the other party is fighting for what’s best for their client, not you. Negotiations can get intense when the stakes are high. Additionally, in many cases, settlements are reached while the matter is in the court stage — after discovery, for example, when both sides get a handle of what evidence the other has to present. Some settlements even occur during trial! This is often still the best outcome, though, to avoid uncertainty for both sides.
Why Choose Kuzyk Law for Your Uber Accident Case in Fresno?
The best rideshare accident attorney for you will have a combination of extensive experience, a commitment to protect their client’s rights and get the best outcome available, and a strong desire for justice. Kuzyk Law has been fighting for their clients for over four decades. Specializing in motor vehicle personal injury, they have been there when rideshare programs first began, and understand the complexities of rideshare accident cases — whether you are a passenger, the driver, or a third party. Their clients trust them to represent them at any or every stage in the claim process, in any type of motor vehicle or rideshare accident matter. Kuzyk Law will handle all negotiations with the insurance companies and settlement discussions with the other party’s lawyers — and will help investigate, locate witnesses, and gather evidence to support your strongest position. Of course, they are ready to represent you in all court matters, arbitration, and/or mediation, and ultimately, at trial. With Kuzyk Law, your best interests are our best interests.
Common Injuries Resulting from Fresno Uber Accidents
Rideshare accidents can result in a gamut of injuries. Some will be evident right away, while others may take some time to show. That’s why it is crucial to see a rideshare accident attorney and make sure you have sought comprehensive medical attention, and can identify what future injuries could manifest.
- Neck, shoulder, and soft tissue injuries, whiplash
- Back and spinal injuries, paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries, concussions
- Broken bones, loss of limbs, wrist/hand and leg/foot injuries, joint damage
- Internal organ injuries, internal bleeding
- Burns, bruising, abrasions, lacerations
- Facial injuries, disfiguration
- Post-traumatic stress, chronic pain, and distress
This is not a comprehensive list. Talk to your medical practitioner and your rideshare accident lawyer about any other pain or injury you have experienced after the collision.
The Important Role of Uber’s Supplemental Accident Liability Insurance in Uber Accident Injury Cases in Fresno
In many cases, a rideshare accident claim will differ from regular motor vehicle accident claims in one important way: the issue of insurance. Unlike regular car drivers in California, rideshares like Uber and Lyft are required to provide their drivers with supplemental liability insurance — more extensive financial protection for accidents involving a car driven for the rideshare program under certain circumstances.
- While Logged-In and Available for Passenger Transportation — but before being paired with a particular passenger. If an accident occurs at this stage, the supplemental insurance can cover up to $25,000 for damage to property (per accident), $50,000 for bodily injury (per individual), and $100,000 for bodily injury (per crash).
- From Acceptance to Completion of Ride or Transaction — when on the way to pick up a passenger, driving a passenger somewhere, or otherwise involved in a passenger transaction. The mandatory supplemental Uber insurance provides underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage for bodily injury, contingent/comprehensive collision coverage (maximum being the actual value of the vehicle with a deductible of $1,000), and third-party liability coverage up to $1 million.
At any and other time, it is the driver’s motor vehicle liability insurance that applies if there is an auto accident. In California, drivers must have a minimum of $5,000 coverage for property damage (per accident), $15,000 coverage for bodily injury/death (per person hurt in a vehicle accident), and $30,000 coverage for bodily injury/death to more than one individual per accident.
Experienced rideshare accident lawyers understand the insurance issues related to Uber and other rideshare drivers and will strive to get their clients the maximum insurance benefit available.
Experienced Uber Accident Attorney Fresno, CA
There is something to be said about a personal injury law firm that was in practice long before rideshare programs existed and is familiar with the nuances of the rideshare regime. Kuzyk Law has been handling all manner of car accident cases for over 40 years and has built an impressive 30-member team to best serve their clients. In Fresno or beyond, Kuzyk lawyers are committed to fighting for your rights and best entitlements across the state of California.
Uber Accidents FAQs
Here are the most common Uber/rideshare questions we are asked.
Do I have the same rights as the victim of a Fresno Uber accident as I would in a taxi accident?
Regardless of the type of motor vehicle, in most cases, victims have the right to compensation from the party that caused the accident (and their insurance company). In that sense, rideshare accident and taxi accident victims have the same “rights.” However, the available sources of compensation may be different. Rideshare companies are required by the state of California to provide supplemental accidental liability insurance, as described above.
In Fresno, it is a city ordinance that requires certain insurance coverage for taxicabs — in any one motor vehicle accident with that taxi cab: $100,000 for property damage, $100,000 for bodily injury/death of any one person, and $300,000 for bodily injury/death of more than one individual.
You should also be aware that rideshare drivers are considered independent contractors, not employees like many taxi cab drivers are.
How much time do I have to take legal action for the injuries I suffered in a Fresno Uber accident?
In California, the statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits is only two years from the date of the accident to file/start your claim in court. That is why it is always recommended that you consult with a rideshare accident lawyer as soon as practicable if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident of any sort, not just a rideshare accident. It is always best to obtain and preserve available evidence, locate witnesses while their memories are fresh, get the proper medical attention and diagnoses, and build the best case, as early as possible.
Do I have to sue Uber, the company, to get money for my injuries?
Whether the Uber driver was or was not at fault, if you were in an Uber, getting into an Uber, or in a collision with an Uber vehicle, Uber should be your main defendant, as it is required to maintain supplemental insurance coverage for its drivers. Your best bet is to consult with an experienced Uber accident attorney as soon as practicable. They will assess the facts of your case and advise whether you should be suing Uber, the other driver, or both.
Contact the Fresno Uber Accident Attorneys for a Free Consultation!
Get our dedicated and experienced rideshare accident/personal injury team in your corner. Contact us today and schedule your initial, free consultation. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve.