Like most Uber customers, you’ve probably used the transportation service dozens of times in the past, but crowded roads and hurried drivers make Southern California one of the most dangerous parts of the country to ride in. At one time, the Thousand Oaks intersection at Hillcrest Drive and Moorpark Road was infamously labeled as the most dangerous intersection in the United States.
Uber’s Transportation Model
Although Uber is known as a ridesharing company, it’s more accurately described as a transportation network company (TNC). It makes getting a ride to a destination simple, quick and inexpensive. If a person wants to become an Uber customer, some personal information and a credit card number need only be provided to the TNC. When the customer needs a ride somewhere, he or she merely opens the Uber app and enters some basic information. A nearby Uber driver can accept the customer, pick him or her up faster than a taxi could and take that customer to their destination for less than a taxi cab. As recently as about six weeks ago, a 21-year-old man died in a single-car crash along Rancho Conejo Boulevard in Thousand Oaks. Only about two weeks later, a 28-year-old woman died in another single-car crash on West Potrero Road. Non-fatal accidents also occur on a daily basis in and around Thousand Oaks. Any of those fatal or non-fatal accidents could be you or a family member in an accident that was caused by an Uber driver.
Common Causes of Uber Accidents
Rapid demand for Uber’s transportation services has resulted in exponential growth for the company. Drivers associated with the TNC are on the road 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Here are some of the common causes of Uber accidents in and around Thousand Oaks:
- Inattentive or distracted drivers cause an increased risk to harm to their passengers or anybody else on the roadway.
- Speeding drivers who try to make trips as quick as possible to be more readily available for the next customer.
- Drowsy or fatigued drivers who are moonlighting and have been behind the wheel too long.
- Drivers who are following a vehicle ahead too closely.
- Drivers who fail to stop or yield at red lights or stop signs.
- Drivers who are intoxicated, under the influence of drugs, or both.
Before a driver can carry Uber passengers, that individual must acknowledge that he or she is an independent contractor. Drivers use their own personal vehicles and set their own work schedules. This independent contractor relationship operates to protect Uber in the event that an accident occurs and a passenger or other person is injured. It also raises complicated insurance issues. Regardless of their independent contractor status, California now requires TNCs that operate in the state to maintain certain insurance for their drivers. It’s divided into three stages that depend on what the driver is doing. Those stages follow:
- Stage 1: This is when the driver is logged into the Uber app and is awaiting a ride request from a customer. Liability coverage attaches at $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.
- Stage 2: The driver has accepted a customer’s ride request and is on the way to pick him or her up. Now, $1 million of liability coverage is in effect. The driver also has another $1 million of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
- Stage 3: The customer is now in the car and being driven to their destination. The Stage 2 coverage remains in effect until the customer leaves the vehicle. If the driver remains logged into the Uber app, coverage reverts to Stage 1. If the driver signs out, his or her personal liability insurance controls.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I sue Uber after an accident in California?
Given its independent contractor relationship with its drivers, you’ll probably be dismissed out in a personal injury lawsuit against Uber. Your cause of action in an accident case would most likely be against the Uber driver’s insurance.
What is the top cause of Uber accidents?
Inattentive or distracted driving in one form or another is by far the top cause of Uber accidents. This driver behavior might also be called a failure to yield the right-of-way or failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.
Should I speak with an opposing insurance adjuster?
No. You might hurt any case that you might have. Contact us first. If you have already spoken with their adjuster, you can still contact us to see if we can help you get a larger settlement.
Contact a Thousand Oaks Uber Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a family member suffered injuries in any type of Uber accident, contact us at the Rideshare Law Office as soon as you can, and we’ll arrange for a free consultation and case review. Don’t try to approach any case that you might have on your own. You’ll likely diminish the value of it. We make it a point to stay updated and on top of the laws governing TNCs in California. When you retain the Rideshare Law Office to represent you for the injuries that you suffered in your Uber accident, our goal will be to obtain the highest settlement or award that you deserve.