This article focuses on personal injury settlements and claims for Uber car accidents.
Below is my video about Uber accident claims and settlements.
The video covers some things that aren’t in the article. The article may cover some points that aren’t in the video.
I’ve Only Found 3 Uber Settlement Amounts Online
Uber is relatively new. When I searched online, you’ll only find three Uber accident settlement amounts. That’s a very small number given that according to CNN, Uber has 750,000 active drivers in the United States.
There was a $500,000 settlement after an Uber driver hit a cyclist. This isn’t my settlement.
Uber Driver Gets $260K Settlement for Back Pain from Car Accident (Miami)
Here is a video about my $260K settlement:
I settled an Uber driver’s injury claim for $260,000. The Uber driver claimed that the accident caused his back injury.
Here is the actual crash diagram from the police report:
My client, Ray, was an Uber driver who was engaged in an Uber ride. He was in Vehicle 2 in the above diagram. He had a passenger at the time of the crash.
A company van (vehicle #1 in the diagram) was heading in the opposite direction. The van made a left hand turn.
The front of the van collided with the left driver side of the Uber driver’s car. You can see the damage to the car that Ray was driving (below):
The van wasn’t as badly damaged. Check out the photo below:
Here is a photo of the Uber driver laying in his hospital bed:
CNA (American Casualty Company of Reading, Pennsylvania) insured the at fault van. On May 29, 2018, CNA paid the $260K settlement.
The best part about this settlement?
The Uber driver didn’t even have surgery. This is my largest personal injury settlement that didn’t involve surgery.
Here is CNA’s settlement check:
In another case (not mine), Uber’s insurer offered $6,000 to settle an Uber passenger’s injury case. I’ll talk more about those cases further below.
Those are the only settlement amounts that I’ve seen online.
It’s a little easier to find personal injury lawsuits against Uber (or its insurance company). However, the lawsuit settlement amount isn’t public record. The parties agreed to dismiss the lawsuits.
How Much is the Average Uber Accident Settlement?
My educated guess is that the average Uber accident settlement is under $15,000. This is because, fortunately, most car accidents don’t result in bad injuries.
As Uber settles more cases, I will update this article. There will be more settlements and verdicts.
Uber Settles Claim in Just 10 Days (Pedestrian Hit and Killed by Uber Car)
This is not my case. About 9:58 p.m., on March 18, 2018, an Uber vehicle struck a pedestrian. Elaine Herzberg was the pedestrian.
This accident happened in Arizona. So why am I writing about it since I’m only licensed to handle Uber accident cases in Florida?
Because this accident is a good (but sad) example of the many factors that affect an Uber accident settlement.
In the area of the crash, the northbound Avenue consists of two left-turn lanes, two through lanes, and one bike lane.
The crash occurred before the formation of a right-turn lane. Roadway lighting was present.
Why does roadway lighting matter?
Since the crash happened at night, roadway lighting may help the pedestrian’s case. The pedestrian can argue that the Uber driver should have seen her.
If there was no roadway lighting, it likely lowers the amount of the pedestrian’s settlement. This is because the driver will argue that it was difficult (or impossible) to see the pedestrian.
The Uber driver’s car had a video camera. It captured both exterior and interior video.
Let’s look at a snapshot of a video that captured the pedestrian. The video shows the pedestrian moments before impact.
Again, the accident happened at nighttime. The pedestrian was wearing a black shirt. You can’t see the shirt in the photo.
Does the pedestrian’s black shirt lower the settlement value of her family’s wrongful death case?
Yes, since the accident happened at night. Lighting is at issue.
If the pedestrian would’ve also had black pants on, that would’ve further lowered the settlement amount.
However, she did have on white sneakers. Moreover, her shoes appeared to have reflectors. Any reflective measures that the pedestrian had increase the value of the wrongful death settlement.
Does Speed Limit Affect An Uber Accident Settlement Amount?
Let’s get back to the case that I’ve been talking about. The posted speed limit was 45 mph.
Why is the speed limit important?
Because the higher the speed limit, the tougher it is for the driver to stop in time. Thus, the driver’s insurance company is likely to put less blame on the driver. And less blame on the driver equals a smaller settlement for the pedestrian hit by the car.
Therefore, a higher speed limit may result in a smaller settlement.
In contrast, a lower speed increases the value of the pedestrian’s case. This is because the pedestrian has a better argument that the car should’ve stopped in time.
At 1.3 seconds before impact, the self-driving system determined that an emergency braking maneuver was needed to mitigate a collision (see image below).
On March 29, 2018, NPR reported that Herzberg’s lawyer said that the family settled with Uber. Amazingly, the settlement was just 10 days after the accident.
Most cases with Uber won’t settle in ten days. Or in twenty days. Or even within one month.
Because most injuries aren’t worth Uber’s insurance policy limits. Especially if the Uber was engaged in a ride and there is a $1 million policy.
However, a wrongful death case is different. It’s not your average Uber accident case.
Florida courts are willing to allow big wrongful death verdicts to stand. In other words, teh court might not reu
Herzberg’s family was smart for hiring an Uber accident lawyer. Uber uses some of the best lawyers to defend itself.
People hurt in Uber accidents should do the same. If you’re badly injured, be sure to hire an Uber accident attorney.
I’m an Uber accident lawyer serving the entire state of Florida. Find out for free if I can represent you.
Why Is It So Hard to Find Info on Uber Accident Settlements?
For any accidents that occurred before March 1, 2018, James River Insurance Company insures Ubers in Florida (and most states). Below is the certificate of liability insurance for Florida.
James River may be requiring injury settlements to be confidential.
When a injury case settles, an insurance company agrees to pay the injured claimant in exchange for the claimant signing a release.
(In most Florida car accident claims that don’t involve Uber, the insurance company doesn’t add confidentiality to their settlement release.)
It gets worse for injured victims:
Starting March 1, 2018, Uber now uses four different insurers.
The map below shows which companies insure Uber in different states.
When it comes to paying fair value for personal injury claims, Progressive and Farmers are slightly worse than Allstate. (I’d be happier if a more reasonable insurer like USAA, or even Liberty Mutual, insured Uber.)
I can’t find a single reported verdict involving James River Insurance Company in an Uber case. Thus, we can assume that James River pays fair value to settle (injury cases) more often than Allstate, Progressive and Farmers. This is because attorneys usually don’t take cases to trial if the insurance company offers fair value for the case.
As you can see from the map above, Progressive Express Insurance Company insures Ubers in Florida.
Thus, if the car accident occurred on or after March 1, Progressive is Uber’s insurer. The date of the claim doesn’t matter. The date of the accident determines who Uber’s insurer is.
Yes, I know. I have bad luck. Since I’m a lawyer for people hurt in Uber accidents in Florida, I’m stuck dealing with Progressive. And boy is Progressive cheap!
Uber Offered $6K for Uber Passenger’s Medical Expenses and Release
In one case, Jason West, an Uber passenger, claimed that an insurance adjuster on behalf of Uber contacted him and offered him $3,000 for medical expenses and an additional $3,000 to release the company from liability.
That wasn’t my case. Basically, Uber offered $6,000 to settle.
The settlement release allegedly included a clause that would have prevented the Uber passenger from talking publicly about the deal or doing anything to “disparage or defame” Uber or its driver.
Issues With a Confidential Settlement With Uber’s Insurer
Nothing in this article is tax advice.
If you receive a settlement for personal physical injuries, the full amount is non-taxable. This assumes that you did not take an itemized deduction for medical expenses related to the injury in prior years. (IRS Publication 4345).
If Uber’s settlement release doesn’t say how much is being paid for confidentiality, the US Tax Court can decide. This court can tax the injured person much more than he or she thinks is being paid for confidentiality.
Let’s assume that an injured person settles a personal injury case with Uber’s insurer for $200,000. If the release says the settlement is confidential, and it doesn’t say how much is being paid for confidentiality, then a tax court can tax the portion of the settlement that it believes was paid for confidentiality.
In one case (not involving Uber), a U.S. Tax court taxed 40% of a $200,000 confidential settlement. Basically, the court taxed $80,000 of a $200,000 settlement, which is a huge tax.
The settlement release didn’t say how much money was being paid for confidentiality.
Uber Passengers and Drivers Have Different Rights
Your rights after an Uber accident may depend on whether you are a passenger or driver. Thus, I wrote an article specifically for Uber passengers in a car accident. I wrote another for Uber drivers who are in a crash.
I also wrote an article that applies if you were hit by an Uber car.
Each State Has Different Laws; Focus is on Uber Accidents in Florida
One’s injuries are the same regardless of which state an Uber crash happens in. However, most other aspects of a car accident case are different.
This article is geared towards people who are injured in Uber accidents in Florida. Thus, unless I say otherwise, assume I’m talking about Uber accidents in Florida.
Are Ubers Covered With Insurance?
Beginning July 1, 2017, an Uber driver (or Uber on behalf of the Uber driver) must have auto insurance that covers the Uber driver while the Uber driver is:
- logged on to Uber; or
- engaged in a prearranged ride.
Auto Insurance Requirements if Uber Driver is Logged On to Uber But is Not Engaged in a Ride
If an Uber driver is logged on to Uber, but not engaged in a ride, the Uber driver must have automobile insurance that provides:
There are additional insurance requirements, which I’ll list in one moment. However, I wanted to show you that Uber’s certificate of liability insurance shows that Ubers have $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident in bodily injury coverage.
You can also see the $25,000 in property damage coverage.
Here are the other insurance requirements if the Uber app is on, but the driver isn’t engaged in a ride.
These coverage requirements may be satisfied by any of the following:
a. Automobile insurance maintained by the Uber driver;
b. Automobile insurance maintained by Uber; or
c. A combination of sub-subparagraphs a. and b.
The bad news?
Florida law doesn’t require Uber to cover Uber drivers with collision and comprehensive coverage if the Uber river has the app on but isn’t engaged in a ride. (Collision insurance is a coverage that pays the cost of repairing or replacing the Uber driver’s vehicle.)
You won’t find any mention of collision or comprehensive coverage on Uber’s certificate of liability insurance.
Uber Drivers May Be Covered By Uber with Collision Coverage
The good news?
If an Uber driver is engaged in a ride, Uber provides collision and comprehensive coverage for Uber drivers.
But there’s a catch.
For this coverage to apply, the Uber driver must have collision coverage on their personal auto insurance. Thus, Uber calls it “contingent” collision coverage.
Here is a screenshot from Uber’s website.
This insurance covers the Uber vehicle in case of an accident, whether it was the Uber drivers’ fault or not. The coverage amount is up to the actual cash value of the vehicle. There is a $1,000 deductible.
Most Uber Drivers Don’t Have Their Own Auto Insurance Policy
Most Uber drivers won’t have insurance that covers them while they’re driving for Uber. This is because Uber’s insurance policy is generous.
The Uber drivers that do have rideshare insurance will likely have low limits of liability coverage.
Thus, most payouts will likely come from Uber’s auto insurer, not the insurer for the driver.
Who is Uber’s Insurance Company for Car Accidents?
Starting March 1, 2018, Progressive is Uber’s car insurance company in Florida. Unfortunately, Progressive is really bad at paying personal injury claims.
Before March 1, 2018, James River Insurance Company was Uber’s auto insurer in Florida. James River opened its doors for business on July 1, 2003. Thus, it was in business about six years before Uber was formed. Uber was formed in March 2009.
According to reputable rating company AM Best, James River has a “A” rating for financial strength. This means that James River has an excellent ability to pay claims. This includes claims for collision coverage, property damage (PD) liability, bodily injury liability, and uninsured motorist insurance.
This “A” rating is important because James River is a surplus insurer. In Florida, surplus insurers aren’t subject to Florida’s Insurance Guarantee Association (FIGA).
FIGA steps in if an insurer doesn’t have enough money to pay its claims. Thus, if James River goes broke, you can’t make a claim with FIGA.
However, as I mentioned, James River also has a “A” financial strength rating. They also have a “stable” outlook. Thus, there is little chance of them running out of money any time soon.
Easier to Get Money for Pain and Suffering for Uber Accidents Before July 1, 2017
The need to meet the tort threshold changed, in some Uber accidents, starting on July 1, 2017.
Passengers Are Covered For Up to $1 Million Dollars
If the Uber driver’s negligence caused the Uber passenger’s injury, then the passenger’s claim is against the Uber driver.
Uber’s insurance policy will pay up to $1 million (combined single limit) for the passenger’s injury and property damage. This $1 million limit is per accident.
In Florida, Uber is required to have this $1 million combined single limit. For accidents before March 1, 2018, here is the certificate of liability insurance that shows $1 million in coverage.
A combined single limit simply states a single dollar limit that applies to any combination of bodily injury and property damage liability claims.
This is different from split limits where three separate dollar amounts apply to each accident: per person limit, per occurrence limit for all injured persons, and per occurrence limit for all property damage resulting from the accident.
For accidents starting March 1, 2018, Progressive insures Uber in Florida. There is $1 Million in combined single limit for liability to others (bodily injury and property damage).
Uber Drivers Are Still Required to Have $1 Million in BIL Insurance
Uber’s insurance provides primary auto liability limits of $1 million for death, bodily injury and damage. Florida Statutes 627.748(7)(c). This insurance only applies if the Uber driver’s negligence caused your injury.
Examples of acts that may be considered negligence are careless driving, failure to yield the right of way that causes a left turn accident, and speeding.
Does an Uber Passenger Have a Better Case Than an Uber Driver Who is Hurt?
In many cases, an Uber passenger has a better case than an Uber driver who is hurt. This is because passengers are rarely at fault.
On the other hand, if the Uber driver committed a moving violation that caused a crash, he is likely at least partially at fault. This reduces the value of an Uber driver’s case.
Examples of moving violations are careless driving, failure to yield the right of way that causes a left turn accident, and speeding. There are many more.
That said, there are many instances where an Uber driver will not be at fault. If the Uber driver isn’t at fault, he be entitled to compensation for 100% of his damages.
Can You Sue an Uber Driver?
You May Be Able to Sue Uber Directly; May Increase Case Value
You can also sue James River. This is because they are a surplus insurer. Unlike other insurers in Florida, you can sue the insured (the Uber driver) and his surplus insurer.
This is because Florida’s non-joinder statute doesn’t apply to surplus insurers. Florida Statute 626.913(4); Tewilliger v. Cabo Delray, LLC (Palm Beach County Circuit Court Case No. 502015CA012742xxxx MB AN).
The non-joinder statute is the law that doesn’t let you sue someone’s insurer if their insured caused your injury. Florida Statute 627.4136.
The fact that you may be able to sue James River adds value to the case. This is because the jury becomes aware that the other driver (the Uber driver) has insurance.
Juries typically award more against insurance companies than individuals.
Can You Sue An Uber Driver for Pain and Suffering for Accidents Before July 1, 2017?
Are Uber Passengers Covered by Uber’s PIP?
In Florida, Uber is not required to have PIP (on its insurance policy) that covers passengers. This is because, while a Uber driver is engaged in a prearranged ride, Ubers just need to meet the minimum amounts required of a limousine. Florida Statute 627.748(7)(c)(1)(b)
In Florida, limos don’t need to have PIP. Thus, Ubers aren’t required to have PIP.
Additionally, Uber’s current auto insurance policy with Progressive doesn’t have PIP while the Uber has passengers.
Can You Sue An Uber Driver for Pain and Suffering From An Accident Starting July 1, 2017?
If an Uber driver’s negligence caused your injury, your right to sue for pain and suffering depends on whether or not the Uber was engaged in a ride.
You will likely need a threshold injury if the Uber wasn’t engaged in a ride, but was logged onto the Uber app. This is because the Uber has PIP. Thus, the Uber driver gets the tort threshold defense.
On the other hand, you don’t need a threshold injury to get compensation for pain and suffering if the Uber was engaged in a ride. This is because the Uber doesn’t have PIP when it’s engaged in a ride. Thus, the Uber driver doesn’t get the tort threshold defense.
What Can You Get Paid For In An Uber Car Accident?
Under Florida law, you may be able to get compensation for:
- Diminished Value of Your Vehicle
- A Rental Car
- Past Lost Income
- Future lost income reduced to present value
- Past medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Replacement value of lost personal property (e.g. damage to your car, broken glasses, watch, etc.)
- Funeral expenses
- Reimbursement for mileage to and from medical appointments
- Past Pain and suffering
- Future Pain and Suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life
- Punitive Damages (in rare cases)
Where Can I get a Copy of Uber’s Insurance Policy for Accidents?
Uber’s certificate of bodily insurance for Florida is listed on its website.
Florida has a law that affects insurance requirements for Ubers starting on July 1, 2017. Florida Statute 627.748(7)
Where Can You Find Uber Accident Forms? On The Uber App.
If you’re an Uber driver, Uber asks that you report your accident using the Uber app. You can also call to report the crash.
After an Uber accident, the forms that you need to complete may depend on whether you were an Uber driver or passenger in the crash.
Here is a screenshot.
If Logged On To App, But Not “Engaged”, Uber Driver May Need to Complete PIP Application
Starting on July 1, 2017, to qualify for Personal Injury Protection insurance (PIP), Uber drivers may need to complete an Uber (PIP) application. This assumes that the Uber driver is injured while logged onto the app, but not engaged in a ride.
I assume that Uber may require its driver to first make a PIP claim with the driver’s personal auto insurance. The driver’s personal insurance will pay only if the driver has a rideshare coverage on the auto policy.
If the Uber driver’s personal car insurance denies PIP coverage, then Uber’s insurer should pay PIP benefits. Again, this assumes that the Uber rider had the app on but wasn’t engaged in a ride.
PIP also pays a $5,000 death benefit.
If Making a UM Claim Through Uber, You May Need to Complete Form Saying No Other UM
If you’re making an UM insurance claim with Uber, you’ll likely need to complete a form stating that you don’t have UM insurance on any other vehicles owned by you or a resident relative.
Before paying you compensation from UM coverage, James River will make sure that you don’t have other UM insurance.
Is Uber’s PIP Application Tough to Complete?
It shouldn’t be. Uber likely uses a one (1) page PIP application like Lyft.
How Long Will Uber Take to Settle Your Case?
The time that it takes to settle an Uber accident case will depend on the facts of the case. In the Uber is engaged in a ride, then probably 99.5% of the time Uber’s insurer doesn’t face any pressure to quickly settle.
This is because Uber’s bodily injury insurance, James River, has a high ($1 Million dollar) liability limit.
Most injury cases are worth much less than the $1 Million. Thus, in almost all cases where the Uber was engaged in a ride, James River doesn’t have to worry about paying more than the policy limits if they act in bad faith.
However, if the Uber had the app on, but wasn’t engaged in a ride, then things are different. This is because the Uber’s bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance limits are much lower.
The limits are $50,000 for death or bodily injury per person/$100,000 for death or bodily injury per accident. In this instance, if the Uber driver’s negligence caused someone else to get badly injured, James River may quickly settle for the $50K per person/$100,000K per accident limits.
Examples of Injuries With a Full Value Over $50K
If you look at past jury verdicts, you’ll see that some injuries consistently have a full value of pain and suffering of over $50,000.
Some of these are injuries are if you have surgery to fix a:
- Lower leg (tibia) fracture
- Tibial plateau fracture
- Shoulder joint tear (labrum tear)
- Broken wrist (distal radius fracture)
- Rotator cuff tear
- Fracture of a bone in your face
- Herniated disc
- Thumb fracture
- Broken upper leg bone (femur)
- Hip fracture
- Burst fracture or Compression fracture
- Ankle fracture
But that’s not it…
Additionally, the full value of pain and suffering for a spinal fusion surgery is over $50,000.
There are many other injuries that are worth more than $50,000. These include, but aren’t limited to, having a depressed or open skull fracture.
Even without surgery, James River should pay the $50,000 per person limits for upper leg bone (femur) fracture. They may even pay the $50,000 per person limits for a lower leg bone (tibia or fibula) fracture without surgery. I settled a case with GEICO for over $64,000 for a fibula fracture.
Thus, if the Uber driver had the app on, but wasn’t engaged in a ride, James River may quickly pay the $50,000 per person limits for the above injuries. This assumes the Uber driver’s negligence caused the injury.
Will Uber Insist on Confidentiality if Your Case is Worth More Than the $50K Policy Limits?
I think it may depend on whether or not the Uber:
- Driver’s negligence caused your injury; and
- Was engaged in a ride, or simply had the app on but wasn’t engaged in a ride
If an Uber driver’s negligence caused someone else to get badly injured, and the Uber was engaged in a ride, then Uber’s insurer likely won’t insist on keeping the settlement confidential. This is because they owe a duty to act in good faith to the Uber driver.
If Uber’s insurer could and should settle the case with the claimant for $50,000, they should settle. They shouldn’t insist on putting their own interest (protecting Uber’s reputation with a confidentiality agreement) ahead of protecting the Uber driver from getting sued for more than the $50,000 policy limits.
If they insist on confidentiality, and the Uber driver gets hit with a judgment against him for above the bodily injury liability (BIL) limits, the Uber driver can sue James River for the difference that he or she will owe.
James River wants to avoid owing money above the BIL policy limits. Thus, they should pay the $50,000 limit in this instance.
How Long Does it Take for Uber’s Insurer to Send the Check After You Settle the Claim?
Whether you’re dealing with Progressive or James River Insurance Company as Uber’s insurer, you should get the check pretty quickly after you’ve settled the case. This assumes that you’ve sent them a signed release.
Here’s a tip that has helped me get settlement checks fast from Progressive. (I haven’t used it in an Uber case, but it should apply equally.)
Immediately before you are about to accept Progressive’s settlement offer, tell them that you’ll only agree to settle it if they can send you the check overnight. From my experience, they will agree a good percentage of the time.
You’ll then have the check the next day. Progressive is more likely to agree to overnight the check in a larger case.
However, I ask Progressive to accept my settlement release so that I can protect my client’s rights. I don’t like using Progressive’s settlement release.
In the past, Progressive usually approves my settlement release. That said, Progressive takes a few days or a week or so to approve my release.
It will be interesting to see if Progressive approves my settlement release in Uber cases. If not, they may be acting in bad faith. It could subject Progressive to getting hit with a big verdict for acting in bad faith.
Special Steps that An Uber Driver Should Take if the Other Car Was At Fault
If an Uber driver was engaged in a ride, and the other driver was at fault for the crash, the Uber driver likely won’t have PIP insurance. This is true unless the Uber driver purchased rideshare coverage on his/her personal auto insurance policy.
When the Uber driver makes an injury claim against the other car’s insurance company, the Uber driver should send the other insurance company an affidavit stating that the Uber driver didn’t own a car or live with a relative who did.
Why does this matter?
This will prevent the other driver’s insurance company from arguing that they are entitled to reduce the amount they owe by (a PIP setoff) of $10,000.
In other words, this will put up to $10,000 more in the Uber driver’s pocket if his or her personal injury case settles against the other driver’s insurance company.
How can you also use this affidavit?
The Uber driver should also send this affidavit to his or her health insurance company. Otherwise, the health insurer may receive the treatment related bills and may deny paying them. The health insurer will deny them on the belief that since the bills are from an auto accident, the car insurance company should be billed first.
But here’s the kicker:
The sooner that the health insurance company pays the bills, the sooner the Uber driver can settle his personal injury claim. This is because the Uber driver will know exactly how much he may have to repay the health insurer from the settlement.
Knowing the repayment amount is necessary to settling the case with the other bodily injury liability (BIL) insurer. It is also necessary to settle the case with Uber’s uninsured motorist insurer, if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured.
How Long Do You Have To Sue After an Uber Accident?
The amount of time that you have to sue depends upon the type of insurance coverage you’re making a claim against. If you’re making a negligence claim that will be paid by Uber’s bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance, you typically have four years to sue.
You typically have five years to sue for UM insurance benefits on a Florida policy.
If you’re from another state and you’re hurt in an Uber crash in Florida, the time limit to sue an out of state UM insurer is based on the out of state UM law.
Will You Save Money By Trying to Settle Your Uber Accident Case Without an Attorney?
If you’re able to settle your Uber accident case without a lawyer, you don’t have to pay attorney’s fees. So, in Florida for example, you’ll save at least 33 1/3% of the total settlement. However, that is where the fun ends.
If you don’t know the value of your case, you may have a lot of anxiety and fear during your claim. This will take away your peace of mind. Hiring an attorney can reduce this stress.
You may also make one of the 5 Huge Mistakes Personal Injury Victims Make That Hurt Settlement Value. Those mistakes can quickly eat into the money that you think that you’re saving by not hiring an Uber car accident lawyer.
Passengers Reach Settlement With Uber for Knee Fracture and Brain Injury from Accident
This isn’t my case. Richard P. Day and Jean S. Day claimed that this was a catastrophic motor vehicle collision in which they suffered life-altering injuries while back seat passengers on an Uber ride in Miami Beach.
They were visiting Florida from another state.
I also created an illustration (below) of the crash based on my understanding of the lawsuit, and the Uber driver’s deposition.
Uber Passengers Were Injured from the Crash
On March 1, 2006, the Days sued Uber and the Uber driver for each of their:
- Lost wages
- Future lost income reduced to present value
- Past medical expenses
- Past hospital bills
- Future medical expenses
- Bodily Injury and resulting pain and suffering
- Future Pain and Suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
They claimed that the losses are either permanent or continuing and that they will suffer the losses in the future.
Wife Had Brain Injury and 4 Neurosurgeries; Husband Had Surgery to Fix Broken Leg
Mrs. Day claimed that she had traumatic brain injury.
Richard Day suffered a fractured leg.
According to the Uber passengers’ lawyer, during the deposition, he said that the male passenger also was diagnosed with a concussion with loss of consciousness.
GEICO Paid PIP Benefits for Uber Driver’s Hospital Treatment
GEICO would have paid these PIP benefits above any PIP deductible with GEICO that the Uber driver had.
Here is a portion of the deposition (testimony) transcript where the Uber driver talks about the coverage that GEICO gave her.
Uber and James River Settle the Case with the Uber Passengers
Below is a copy of the agreed dismissal of the case. It says that all four parties amicably (fairly) settled the case. The four parties were Uber, the Uber driver and the two Uber passengers.
Husband Was Gynecologist; May Have Had Big Lost Income Claim
Assuming he made this yearly salary, if he missed 6 months of work because of the crash, he would be entitled to $159,000 in lost wages. (6 x $26,500 = $159,000).
Lawsuit Settled After Uber Passenger, Pablo, Was Killed in Crash
This isn’t my case. Pablo Sanchez, Jr. was twenty-years old. He and his friends used the Uber app to request a driver to pick them up from Downtown Miami and drive them to southwest Miami.
An Uber driver, Adam, responded through the app and picked them up in a Chevy Yukon. (Adam was driving the black vehicle in the above diagram.)
Adam drove his SUV northbound on SW 157th Avenue and approached the intersection of SW 144 Street, preparing to turn left.
Chica, a driver of another car, approached the same intersection, heading southbound on SW 157th Avenue. (Chica’s car is green in the above diagram.)
Uber Driver (Adam) Made a Left-Hand Turn and Failed to Yield Right of Way to Chica
Adam made a left-hand turn and failed to yield the right of way to Chica. The two cars collided.
The impact of the collision caused both cars to roll over.
The Yukon came to a final rest on its right side, trapping Pablo inside the car.
The other passengers were able to climb out of the car, but Pablo was not.
Uber SUV Burst Into Flames, and Passenger Died at the Scene
Shortly after the collision, the Yukon burst into flames with Pablo trapped inside. When emergency personnel arrived at the scene, Pablo was pronounced dead.
Pablo Was Under 25 Years Old, So His Parents Had a Wrongful Death Claim
Since Pablo was under the age of 25, his parents had a wrongful death claim. His mom, Shafena Mohamed, was appointed personal representative (PR) of Pablo’s estate.
In January 2016, Shafena sued as personal representative, and for herself, individually and Pablo’s father, Pablo Sr.
She Sued Uber, Adam, Chica, Uber Car Owner and James River
As PR of the estate, she sued Uber, Adam, Chica, and Shamma Chery. Chery owned the car that Adam was driving. Since Chery owned the car, she was liable for any injuries or death that Adam caused.
She also sued James River Insurance Company as Uber’s underinsured motorist (UIM) insurer. The basis for an underinsured motorist insurance claim is that Adam and Chica’s BIL insurance wasn’t enough to pay for the compensation that the estate and the survivors were entitled to.
In November 2016, the parties settled this case.
It is strange, to me, that the last probate court record was on February 2016. That is about 9 months before the case against Uber and James River was dismissed.
I don’t know how much was for his parents’ pain and suffering. I don’t know the settlement amount.
Pablo’s Parents Likely Got $5K PIP Death Benefit
Pablo’s parents likely also received a $5,000 PIP death benefit from the car insurance company of Pablo’s parents. This is because Pablo was allegedly living with his parents when the accident happened.
This assumes that there was PIP insurance on at least one of the cars in the household.
Uber Driver’s Insurer Pays $500K Settlement to Cyclist Hit By Uber Driver
This isn’t my case. A 28-year-old bike rider was cut off by an Uber driver who made a right turn in front of her.
To get a better idea of how the street looks, check out the image below.
According to her Uber accident lawyer, the cyclist was heading straight through an intersection in the bike lane. She claimed that the Uber driver should’ve used the green marked turn lane to make a right-hand turn.
To help illustrate the accident, I created a crash diagram below. It isn’t exact.
The cyclist hired an Uber lawyer, who sued. The Uber driver’s insurer allegedly made a first offer of $350,000. The case ended up settling for $500,000.
This was a California accident.
Family of 6-year-old Girl Who Was Struck By Uber Driver Settles Lawsuit
This isn’t my case. ABC News reported that the family of a 6-year-old girl who was struck and killed by an Uber driver in 2013 settled a lawsuit against Uber. The girl was Sofia Liu.
The settlement amount wasn’t disclosed in court documents. This is a sad case.
The lawsuit was against Uber and the driver.
(This wasn’t a Florida case. In Florida, for accidents beginning July 1, 2017, you can’t sue Uber if certain conditions are met. Florida Statutes 627.748(9)(a-d). In Florida, you can sue the Uber driver. If you have a valid claim, the driver’s insurance company, or Uber’s insurance company, should pay it.)
The family claimed that the Uber driver was using the Uber app and had been looking for rides when he hit Sofia as she crossed the street with her mother and brother in a crosswalk.
How This Case Would’ve Been Handled if the Accident Happened in Florida
Let’s assume that this crash happened in Florida. Uber’s insurer, James River, would’ve paid $100,000 for death and bodily injury from the entire accident. No single person would’ve received more than $50,000 from Uber’s insurer.
This is because the driver allegedly had the app on, but wasn’t engaged in a ride.
Sofia’s mother was also injured and had $500,000 in medical bills. In Florida, Uber’s insurer would likely pay the $50,000 per person bodily injury limits (BIL) within days. This is because her medical bills were 10 times Uber’s $50,000 per person BIL limits.
James River would pay quickly because it doesn’t want to get sued for acting in bad faith. A bad faith verdict would make James River owe what a jury ultimately awards.
Florida’s bad faith statutes (written laws) probably don’t apply to a surplus insurer, like James River Insurance Company. However, Florida’s common law (past cases) apply to surplus insurers.
James River wants to limit the amount that they owe to $50,000 for death or bodily injury per person, and $100,000 for death and bodily injury per accident.
If the Uber driver had his own insurance, it would’ve likely paid the policy limits to the family.
Sofia’s Mom’s UIM Insurance Would’ve Likely Paid the Limits
If Sofia’s mother had underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance, it would’ve likely paid the UIM limits to the family as well. This is because most uninsured motorist insurance policies are for much less than $1 million dollars.
The mother’s UIM insurance would’ve applied even though they weren’t in a car when the collision happened. This is because personal UIM insurance from your auto insurance covers you as a pedestrian.
This may result in a pedestrian getting a bigger settlement if he or she is hit by a car.
Parent of Pedestrian (Hit By an Uber Car) Gets a $5,000 PIP Death Benefit
If this were a Florida accident, Sofia’s mother or father would get a $5,000 PIP death benefit for Sofia’s death. The auto insurer for Sofia’s mother or dad would pay this death benefit.
If Sofia’s mom or dad didn’t own a car, but Sofia lived with a relative, the relative’s car insurance would pay the $5,000 death benefit.
Assuming Sofia didn’t live with a relative, then for accidents after July 1, 2017, James River would pay the $5,000 death benefit.
If You Weren’t Wearing a Seat Belt, Does This Affect the Injury Claim?
Possibly. The first question to ask is, “Was the occupant wearing a seat belt?”
If the answer is No, then you must ask, “Was there an operational and available seat belt in the car?”
If there was an operational and available seat belt, but the occupant wasn’t using it, the insurance company may argue the “seat belt defense”.
The seat belt defense says that the injured person may have been, at least partially, at fault for contributing to his or her injuries for failure to wear an operational and available seatbelt.
The bad news?
The injured person’s compensation should be reduced accordingly. The person who wasn’t wearing a seat belt should expect the responsible insurance company to make this argument. They may make this argument even if the injured person was a back seat passenger.
Ubereats Accident Insurance and Claims
The Ubereats driver and Ubereats (known as “Portier, LLC”) contract says that Ubereats may have auto insurance coverage that covers the Ubereats driver. (Paragraph 8.4)
However, it does not require Ubereats to provide its drivers with auto insurance.
Unlike with Uber’s rideshare service, Uber doesn’t say (on its website) that it covers its Ubereats drivers with insurance.
However, the Rideshare Guy claims that Uber told him that Ubereats drivers are covered as follows:
Thus, if an Ubereats driver is actively delivering food, he or she will be covered up to $1 million for injury or damage to another.
On the other hand, if the Ubereats driver is logged in and waiting for a delivery, he or she should be covered up to $50K per person/$100K per incident for bodily injury caused to another.
Also, the Ubereats driver is not covered for damage to his car while waiting to accept a delivery.
Basically, an Ubereats driver is covered very similarly to an Uber rideshare driver.
The bad news?
I’ve heard of Ubereats saying that there is no bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance if the Ubereats driver didn’t have (BIL) on his or her own car insurance policy. However, I don’t know if this applies while a delivery was taking place, or if it just applies if the app was on but no delivery was being made.
What Does Uber’s “Driver Injury Protection Insurance” Through AON Cover?
According to Uber, Uber’s “Driver Injury Protection” insurance through AON, has these benefits for Uber drivers:
- Medical expenses: Up to $1,000,000 with no deductible or co-pay
- Disability payments: Up to $500 a week in income replacements for lost earnings
- Survivors benefits: Offering peace of mind for your family’s financial security” However, Uber doesn’t say that driver injury protection insurance pays for pain and suffering.
Driver Injury Protection doesn’t apply to passengers or others. Also, Uber doesn’t say that driver injury protection insurance pays for pain and suffering.
Does Uber’s Insurance Company Have to Tell You Its Insurance Limits?
Upon the written request, Uber’s insurer must tell you their insured’s insurance liability coverage limits. Florida Statute 626.9372. This applies to the written request of an Uber passenger, driver or another claimant.
What If You’re Visiting Florida, and You’re Injured in an Uber Accident?
If you’re injured in an Uber accident in Florida, while visiting from another state, the claim gets more complex. The out of state visitor is typically in Florida for one of two reasons. They are either here for a:
- Vacation (or pleasure)
- Business (work related)
In either instance, the injured person is even more likely to need a Uber personal injury lawyer to protect their rights. This is because multiple state laws may apply.
Here are some articles that I wrote if someone is injured in a Florida car accident, while visiting from another state:
- Out of State Visitors Hurt in Florida Car Accidents (Settlements & Claims)
- California Residents Hurt in a Florida Car Accidents
- Georgia Residents Hurt in Florida Car Accidents
- Illinois Residents Hurt in Florida Car Accidents
- New Jersey Residents Hurt in Florida Car Accidents
- New York Residents Hurt in Florida Car Accidents
- Texas Residents Hurt in Florida Car Accidents
If Neither Uber Passengers or Other Car’s Uninsured Driver Lives in Florida, James River May Remove to Federal Court
Earlier on, I talked about the Days’ injury case. However, let’s change of the facts of the Days’ case a little bit so that I can show you how this case may have ended up in federal court.
Let’s assume that the Days were in an Uber car. However, assume that they were in was the orange car in the diagram above.
Assume the Days placed 100% fault on the other driver of the green car. Let’s assume that the green car’s driver wasn’t a Florida resident. Assume he lived in Georgia, and was visiting Florida. Assume that the Georgian was driving a rental car with a $10,000 bodily injury liability insurance policy.
With these new facts, the Days (South Carolina residents) would be suing a Georgia resident in Florida. Since the careless driver was underinsured, the Days would’ve also sued Uber’s underinsured motorist insurer, James River Insurance Company.
In this case, the plaintiffs’ (the Days) and the defendants wouldn’t have been citizens of the same state. Thus, there would’ve been diversity of citizenship.
Secondly, since the Days were badly hurt, the full value of each of their personal injury cases was over $75,000.
Therefore, there would’ve been diversity of citizenship and the case value was over $75,000. Thus, James River may have tried removing the case to federal court. The federal court may have allowed the case to stay in federal court.
Can an Uber Driver Make a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
In Florida, the Uber driver is an independent contractor and not an employee of Uber if all of the following conditions are met:
(a) Uber does not unilaterally prescribe specific hours during which the Uber driver must be logged on to Uber’s digital network.
(b) Uber does not prohibit the Uber driver from using digital networks from other rideshare companies.
(c) Uber does not restrict the Uber driver from engaging in any other occupation or business.
(d) Uber and the Uber driver agree in writing that the Uber driver is an independent contractor with respect to Uber.
Florida Statute 627.748(9). Thus, if all of these conditions are met, the Uber driver can’t sue Uber for workers’ compensation.
Is Lying to Uber Considered Insurance Fraud?
You should never commit insurance fraud. In addition to the risk of criminal prosecution, it can make your case worthless.
Florida Statute 817.234 talks about false and fraudulent insurance claims. It says that a person commits insurance fraud punishable by a felony if that person, with the intent to injure, defraud, or deceive any insurer does certain things.
The definition of “insurer” in that section is:
insurer…or similar entity…regulated…by the Office of Insurance Regulation under the Florida Insurance Code.
Is Uber a similar entity regulated by the Office of Insurance Regulation under the Florida Insurance Code?
Also, Florida Statute 627.748(7)(f) says that if Uber uses an insurer who isn’t subject to Florida’s Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA), then the insurer must be acceptable to the Office of Insurance Regulation. (James River is a surplus lines insurer. Surplus lines insurers aren’t subject to FIGA).
Thus, Uber is likely considered an insurer for purposes of punishment for false and fraudulent insurance claims.
Concealment, Misrepresentation Or Fraud Under Uber’s Insurance Policy
Fraud by you will likely void coverage under Uber’s insurance policy. Uber’s insurance is likely also void if you intentionally conceal or misrepresent a material fact concerning insurance coverage or a claim by you, at any time.
Tell the truth!
If an Uber Hits a Motorcyclist, What Compensation Can the Motorcycle Rider Get?
See what types of compensation a motorcycle rider can get if an Uber car hits him or her. Learn which insurance applies, settlement info and much more.
Motorcycle accident settlements tend to be bigger.
Because rider’s often have serious injuries.
If an Uber Hits a Pedestrian, What Compensation Can the Pedestrian Get?
Who Is the Best Uber Accident Lawyer in Florida?
No one attorney can claim that he or she is the best Uber car accident lawyer.
For starters, Florida bar rules don’t allow an attorney to say that he or she is the best. So, use caution if you see attorneys calling themselves the best Uber accident lawyer.
That said, you should hire a lawyer who has experience with Uber accident cases. At any given time, I represent Uber passengers and drivers who were hurt in a car accident in Florida.
Regardless of where in Florida the Uber accident is, I’m able to help. Therefore, if you’re hurt in Miami, Boynton Beach, Orlando or anywhere else in Florida, please contact me to see if I can represent you.
Guests Hurt in an Uber While Using UberEVENTS
UberEVENTS gives an event host the option to buy rides in advance for their guests. Each guest receives passes on their email.
The guest enters the code in the Uber app. He or she requests a ride to the event. Uber is pitching UberEVENTS for weddings, conferences, dinners, private parties, and more.
Uber claims that its uberX option is 40% cheaper than taxis and much less than shuttles, valets, or parking.
Likely No Case Against the UberEVENT Host
If you are an Uber passenger that is using a UberEVENTS pass (code) to get to an event, your claim will be like the cases that I’ve talked about above.
You likely will not also have a personal injury case against the event host. This is because you must show that the host was negligent to have a case.
However, if you are required to attend the event for work purposes you may also have a workers’ compensation claim.
Do you think that Uber’s insurance company is fair? Or do you think that they are difficult to deal with?
Please let me know in the comments below.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on August 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated.