After a night of laughs, banter and adult beverages in uptown Charlotte, you resisted your natural instinct to pull your keys out and drive home. Smart choice. You just avoided possible injury to other people, your family, yourself, your wallet and your time that frequently accompanies DUI arrests. With ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft it’s hard to understand why someone wouldn’t abandon ship for the night to get home safely. Unfortunately, while you had good intentions in booking an Uber, you may not get home safely due to someone else’s negligence. While few people hop in an Uber expecting to get into an accident, they do occur from time to time. Please know that if you are involved in an accident involving an Uber or other ride-sharing vehicle, you have rights under North Carolina Law to receive compensation for injuries you receive.
If you’re involved in an accident as an Uber passenger, your primary concern should be dealing with any injuries that you or others may have received. Call 911 as soon as possible in order to get an ambulance to the scene if necessary and to get a Police Officer to investigate the accident scene and generate a Police Report, which you will need to process an Insurance Claim or to potentially use in preparation for filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit. Next take pictures of the accident scene and exchange contact information and insurance information with everyone involved. It is especially important that you get your Uber driver’s contact information and insurance information. Finally, get contact information from any witnesses or other people who provided assistance at the scene and to anyone you spoke with. When taking pictures, try to take photos of any injuries suffered by anyone involved, the damage to all the vehicles involved, and the present road, weather and lighting conditions. Also try to resist moving the vehicles until after an officer arrives on the scene to conduct their investigation. If it is absolutely necessary to move the vehicles before an officer arrives, take thorough pictures of the accident scene before it’s disturbed. The pictures and contact and insurance information that you take can be essential in successfully processing an insurance claim or litigating a personal injury lawsuit. Finally, seek any necessary medical treatment as soon as possible. If you feel that you want to be evaluated in a Hospital, at Urgent Care or would like to receive treatment from a Chiropractor, do so as soon as possible after the accident. Your timing is crucial to receive the maximum compensation for your injuries.
As a passenger you generally should be able to have these bills covered through an insurance claim with your Uber driver’s insurance coverage if your Uber driver is at fault for causing the accident, or through any other party’s insurance coverage who is deemed to be at fault for causing the accident. If another motorist is at fault for causing the accident and they have no insurance or insufficient liability coverage to compensate you for your injuries, the Uber driver should have Uninsured Motorist Coverage under their insurance policy to fill the gap to pay for your medical bills. However, do not expect for your medical bills to be satisfied upon receipt in most personal injury matters. Typically medical fees and most legal fees are paid out of the final settlement or court judgment on a contingent basis.
It is important to know that all Uber Drivers are generally covered under Uber insurance policies while the drivers are transporting passengers and at other times while the drivers are actively engaged in Uber ride sharing services. Uber drivers who are at fault for injuring a passenger, another driver or others in an accident generally have coverage of at least $1,000,000 per accident in Liability Coverage to cover the relevant medical and property expenses caused by the Uber driver. Additionally Uber drivers generally carry at least $1,000,000 in Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage for accidents caused by other drivers who have insufficient insurance coverage or no insurance coverage to pay for your damages. Additionally, Uber drivers are generally required to carry their own personal insurance coverage, which includes liability, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. So you should not hesitate to seek the necessary medical and legal assistance that you need following an Uber accident.
Fortunately, many medical providers will forgo upfront billing for services in exchange for your agreement to a consensual lien for services on your insurance claim, so that they may receive a percentage of any settlement or judgment obtained in court to pay for the services that were provided to you after the accident. When seeking medical treatment after an accident you should inquire into your own auto insurance policy to see if it includes medical payment benefits or “Med Pay” which may be able to cover some of your bills while your insurance claim against the at fault driver’s policy is pending. So please seek treatment as soon as possible. Many auto insurance claims are denied or reduced by insurance carriers and courts due to people seeking post accident treatment at times outside the immediate occurrence of the accident because the treatment appears to be excessive or unnecessary medical treatment.
After your accident there is a good possibility that you will be contacted by insurance adjusters who will ask you to provide statements over the phone about the accident, ask you whether you sought or are currently seeking treatment, and whether you have your own health insurance coverage among other things, especially if you start a claim with them. Be aware that you are not obligated to speak to any of these parties. It is important to know that anything you say to insurance adjusters or possibly attorneys from the insurance company or Uber could potentially be used to reduce or deny compensation for your claim. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to seek the assistance of a licensed North Carolina Personal Injury Attorney from the beginning who knows the law and the process to help you navigate your claim to receive the compensation you are legally entitled to. You will definitely need an attorney if your claim is denied or an insurance company refuses to compensate you up to what you are legally entitled to receive. As with medical care, we strongly recommend that you seek legal assistance at the earliest stage possible after an accident to preserve your case from the start and to attain the best possible outcome given the facts, circumstances and application of the law in your case. Always keep in mind that no matter how nice an insurance adjuster may be their job is to protect their company’s bottom line and pay you as little as possible or nothing at all. Once you have retained counsel, insurance adjusters are generally no longer permitted to contact you. They may only contact your attorneys.
Litigation may be necessary in the event that an insurance carrier either denies your accident claim entirely or refuses to compensate you for an adequate amount to cover your expenses and other compensable damages. The damages that you can potentially recover from your accident include but are not limited to actual damages for medical bills, damage to personal property, lost wages from missed work as a result of the accident, pain and suffering, attorney’s fees and other foreseeable costs arising from the accident. If you or your attorneys are unable to resolve your insurance claim your lawyer can file a lawsuit and pursue a trial in order to get a court to order the insurance carrier to compensate you for your damages arising from the accident. Contact Biazzo & Panchenko Law, PLLC to schedule a free personal injury consultation today. This blog is not to be construed as legal advice.