What to Do if You’re Injured in an Uber Accident in North Carolina
What to Do if You’re Injured in an Uber Accident in North Carolina
This September will mark 10 years since Uber first arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina, and in that time Uber and other rideshare companies have become an increasingly popular way to get around.
Unfortunately, that also means Uber accidents have become a frequent occurrence—not only because there are so many rideshare vehicles on the road, but also because drivers are incentivized to complete fares as quickly as possible. This can lead to unsafe driving practices.
If you have been injured in an Uber accident in North Carolina, it is important to understand your legal rights and how to best pursue an Uber accident claim.
Steps to Take After an Uber Accident
Whenever you’re involved in any auto accident—whether a rideshare company is involved or not—there are a few basic steps you should take if you are able to do so safely. These include:
- Make sure you and everyone involved in the crash are safe.
- Seek emergency medical treatment if necessary. Accept on-site medical evaluation if offered.
- Call the police, notify them of the accident and request a police report.
- Exchange name, contact, license plate, and insurance info with any involved drivers.
- Get contact information from any eyewitnesses.
- Document as much as you can by taking photos and writing down details. This includes crash damage, injuries, road debris, skid marks, weather, time of day, the general scene, etc.
- Follow up with a doctor as soon as possible if you experience any symptoms, even minor ones. They could get worse later.
- Contact an Uber accident lawyer for a free consultation.
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Understanding North Carolina’s Uber Accident Laws and Regulations
Required Insurance Coverage for Uber Drivers
In North Carolina, all personal vehicle owners must carry a minimum of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident in coverage for any injury or death they cause.
If an Uber driver causes an accident, but they are not currently working (the Uber app isn’t open on their phone, and they aren’t waiting for, driving to, or transporting a passenger), only their personal auto insurance policy applies. In practice this usually means the state minimum liability coverage mentioned above, although it could be more if the driver purchased more.
However, in North Carolina, Uber also provides additional liability coverage for drivers who are engaged in work activities, if the driver’s own coverage doesn’t meet the minimum criteria:
- $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident, if the driver’s app is open but they are only waiting for a fare. (In other words, they haven’t accepted a job yet.)
- $1 million in total injury coverage from the moment the driver accepts a fare (i.e., driving to pick them up) to the moment the fare is dropped off at their destination.
The same levels of coverage apply for Uber delivery drivers—the only difference being that they’re transporting goods rather than passengers.
The good news is that, if you are injured by an Uber driver who has accepted a job (whether that’s yours or someone else’s), you’ll have access to a larger pool of insurance coverage than you would likely have available for a typical passenger vehicle accident. However, Uber accident cases are frequently complicated, and insurance companies will aggressively defend cases, particularly for large claims.
Other Uber Safety Regulations
Uber and other rideshare companies, known in the North Carolina law as “transportation network companies,” are also subject to additional legal regulations. These include:
- Obtaining appropriate permits
- Performing background checks on drivers and their vehicles (including driving history, vehicle registration, insurance information, and criminal records).
- Re-performing background checks on all drivers at least every five years
- Ensuring rideshare vehicles are inspected annually
- Maintaining records of all rideshares provided for at least one year
- Maintaining complete records of all drivers, including name and address
If an investigation reveals that Uber failed to meet its legal obligations, you may have an additional liability claim against the company. However, even when all these regulations are followed, it is not a guarantee that every Uber driver will drive safely and responsibly.
Statute of Limitations
After any North Carolina car accident, injury victims have a three-year time limit to settle an injury claim or file a personal injury lawsuit. This is called the Statute of Limitations.
Although that seems like a lot of time, if you think you may end up needing to file a lawsuit, it’s best to speak with an attorney and begin working on your case as soon as possible.
If you don’t take steps to preserve evidence soon, it may not be available later. Furthermore, it will take time to heal from your injuries, collect and analyze crash evidence and medical bills, and go through multiple rounds of negotiation with the insurance company, and if necessary prepare to sue. The earlier you and your attorney begin this work, the more likely it will result in a good outcome.
Compensation After an Uber Accident
As with any other personal injury, victims of Uber accidents in North Carolina have the right to pursue compensation for the losses they’ve suffered as a result of the crash.
This includes things like:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Other financial costs made necessary as a result of the crash (childcare services, domestic services, transportation costs, vocational training, etc.)
- Non-financial losses such as physical pain and suffering, emotional trauma, disfigurement, etc.
Calculating a fair settlement amount after a crash is not a simple task, particularly if your injuries are severe. Estimating just the future financial costs alone may require input from doctors, medical specialists, life care planners, and other experts. Determining what’s “fair” compensation for non-economic losses like pain and suffering is even more subjective.
In most cases, unless your accident was a minor one, working with an experienced car accident attorney is the best way to defend your rights and obtain a fair recovery.
How an Experienced Uber Accident Attorney Can Help
Uber accidents are often complex, and a personal injury attorney with experience handling Uber accident claims can help you navigate those complexities and defend your rights.
Specific ways an attorney can help include:
- Establishing fault. North Carolina is a contributory negligence state, meaning that if the Uber driver’s insurance company can show that an injury victim is even 1% at fault for the accident, they cannot obtain financial compensation. This is an extremely high standard, and insurance companies can take advantage of unprepared clients to negate valid claims. Your attorney can help you clearly establish who was at fault and defend your right to compensation.
- Identifying all applicable insurance coverage. If necessary, your lawyer can help you obtain the records that will show whether the Uber driver had their app open or had accepted a fare, what level of liability coverage applies to your situation, and whether there are other pools of insurance available (such as through your own underinsured motorist coverage).
- Calculating damages. Your attorney will gather medical records, talk to expert witnesses, and talk to your family and friends. They will compile evidence that supports a truly fair settlement demand and help you get the compensation you’re entitled to.
- Dealing with the insurance company. Your attorney can handle all the negotiations with the insurance company and advocate for your best interests. They can also advise you about whether the settlement amount the insurance company is offering is fair, and should be prepared to file lawsuit for you if that’s the only way to get the compensation you deserve.
- Getting you the care you need. An attorney’s job is not limited to legal matters. A great attorney can help ensure you get the medical attention you need, see the right specialists, and focus on your health and recovery.
Contact Myers Law Firm Today
If you or someone has been hurt in a rideshare accident, contact Myers Law Firm today for a free case review with a personal injury lawyer. Our team knows how to handle Uber car accident claims. We’ll give you honest advice about your insurance claim, whether we think you have a case, and whether we believe we can help you.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.