Each day, drivers, passengers, and bystanders in the Chicago area are injured in accidents involving Uber vehicles. At Stein & Shulman, we know from experience how difficult it can be to get Uber to take responsibility for the injuries one of its users has suffered, and we put that knowledge to use for our clients. We aggressively fight to get our clients each and every dollar they need to fully recover from their injuries and move on with their lives.
Uber Data Sheds A Light On Its Safety
Uber entered the Chicago market in 2011, and quickly took the city by storm. Lyft followed in 2013, and these two ridesharing apps now account for a significant amount of the traffic on Chicagoland roads.
Uber drivers travel so many miles on Chicago area roadways that the company has begun to share anonymized data with urban planners and local leaders to help inform decisions on infrastructure and transit. The data includes information on popular routes, travel times, and the average speed drivers travel on different roads. The company brags that it has helped cities plan new transit routes, schedule road maintenance, and reduce emissions.
There is other data that Uber is collecting that the company is less eager to share — accident data. In 2019, the company began releasing some safety data in response to a user backlash and general concern about the company’s operating procedures.
According to that first report, an average of more than 3.1 million trips takes place in the United States each day. “The vast majority (99.9%) of Uber trips end without any safety-related issue
at all… 0.1% of trips had a support request for a safety-related concern, and the majority of those concerns were about less-severe safety issues such as complaints of harsh braking or a verbal argument… 0.0003% of trips had a report of a critical safety incident…”
To be sure, 0,0003% is an insignificant portion of the total trips Uber has facilitated, but when the company is giving 3.1 million rides a day, that is still a large number of accidents.
Then again, it is not the sheer number of Uber accidents that occur that is most concerning. What is upsetting is the lengths Uber has gone to wash its hands of any responsibility for injuries that occur while someone is using their app.
Is Uber More Like A Taxi Company Or A Software Developer?
When you are involved in an automobile accident, the first thing you do after the police arrive at the scene and determine that nobody needs an ambulance, is to share your contact information and insurance information with the other parties involved.
In Illinois, drivers who are working at the time of an accident are also supposed to share the name and contact information of their employer, because employers are typically responsible for accidents and injuries caused by their employees. This is where things get tricky when it comes to Uber. Uber insures all of its drivers, but it also requires all of its drivers to carry their own insurance. Uber does this because it claims its drivers are independent contractors, not traditional employees.
Uber sees itself as a software developer that has created a product that independent entrepreneurs can use to start up their own “taxi” company. It does not tell drivers when to work or how much they need to work, and it has no direct control over its drivers. Uber also has no direct control over its passengers. Passengers are free to use the app as frequently as they would like. All Uber has is a term of service agreement that spells out the relationship between Uber and its users — both passengers and drivers.
Illinois policymakers were not completely satisfied with this arrangement. They have passed laws that force Uber and other ridesharing companies to take on some responsibility when an accident occurs while someone is using a ridesharing app.
The first thing we do when we are trying to figure out if one of these laws applies is to determine our client’s relationship to Uber. At the time of the accident, was our client a passenger, a driver, or an innocent bystander?
If you were a passenger in a crash involving an Uber driver, we will help you make a claim against Uber’s insurance policy to ensure you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Uber is required to take out massive insurance policies on all of its passengers, but you need to have your ducks in a row if you want to make a successful claim.
If necessary, we can also help you pursue a claim against your driver, or the other driver or drivers. You might also need to tap into your own uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. The Stein & Shulman team can help you navigate this legal maze.
If you were driving for Uber at the time of an accident, Uber may or may not be on the hook for your injuries. As you are aware, Uber requires all of its drivers to carry their own insurance. Uber carries additional insurance on its drivers, but it only kicks in under certain circumstances.
The most important factor involved in determining if Uber’s insurance will pay for the treatment of some or all of your injuries is what mode the app was in when the accident occurred.
If a driver is “offline,” not driving, picking up, or dropping a passenger, or seeking a new passenger, Uber bears little responsibility for what occurred. On the other hand, if a driver is driving a passenger around, picking up a passenger, dropping off a passenger, or simply logged into the app waiting for a ride request, Uber’s insurance may cover the driver.
Uber’s insurance company will fight tooth and nail with a driver’s insurance company because neither one ever wants to pay up.
The Stein & Shulman team has helped several Uber drivers get the evidence they needed to prove that Uber should be partially responsible for their injuries.
Injured bystanders and drivers or passengers in non-Uber cars must be prepared to bring claims against a number of parties in order to get full compensation for their injuries. Like Uber passengers, bystanders should prepare to bring claims against their own insurance policies, and seek compensation from the Uber driver and Uber itself.
Fighting For Your Full Monetary Compensation
When someone in the Chicago area has been injured in an Uber accident, and they look to us for help, it is our job to get the other drivers and passengers, the app developer, and all the relevant insurance companies at the negotiating table. We make sure that everyone who is responsible for the accident is held accountable.
Contact Our Chicago Uber Accident Attorneys Today
Our experienced team of attorneys will aggressively advocate on your behalf to ensure you get all the money you need to recover from the injury you have suffered. At the end of the day, you should be in the position you would have been in if the accident had never occurred.
Whether you are ready to take legal action and seek compensation, or are just curious about what options are available to you, the Stein & Shulman team is ready to take your call. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.