West Palm Beach is home to bustling and breathtaking waterfront entertainment districts. Areas like downtown Clematis Street, which is filled with bars, clubs, restaurants, and shops, make the destination a favorite for visitors and residents looking for a great place to get away. Best of all, with all the Uber drivers located around the area, getting to these locations is easy and convenient.
However, Uber vehicles are not immune to accidents, and unfortunately, thousands of people are harmed in an Uber accident every year. That is why if you have been injured in a West Palm Beach Uber accident, it is time to consider pursuing the justice and compensation you deserve by contacting a West Palm Beach Uber accident lawyer right away. At Shiner Law Group, we are here for you, ready to take on this fight and go after the financial recovery you are entitled to.
About the Shiner Law Group
The Shiner Law Group is a personal injury law firm full of attorneys who represent victims who have suffered losses because of someone else’s actions or carelessness. At our law firm, we make sure to put our clients first and have handled small settlement cases to multi-million dollar verdicts.
Our personal injury lawyers have the dedication and resources to handle any case from start to trial. We know how to build a case and vigorously fight to defend the rights of our clients through every step of the process. We have won millions of dollars for our clients through settlement awards and jury verdicts. While no result can be guaranteed, contact us at Shiner Law Group today to see what we can do for you.
Common Causes of Uber Accidents
Rideshare companies like Uber are a convenient, practical, and popular means of transportation in West Palm Beach. It is easy to book one of these rides using a phone and not think twice about getting to your destination, as most passengers just expect their drivers to drive safely and follow all the rules of the road. However, this is not always the case; and in the last few years, Uber accidents are increasing at a significant rate as more people are using these rideshare services to get around.
Although there are numerous causes for these Uber accidents, some of the more frequent reasons include:
Uber drivers are constantly getting new notifications of potential passengers. These notifications will go off on their cell phones and require them to decline the fare or accept it manually. If the driver is stationary, this is not usually a problem. However, many times these notifications will come through while the driver is on the move, and can cause them to take their eyes off the road to look at the notification to either hit accept or decline. Consequently, even though this distraction may only last a few seconds, it can still lead to serious and devastating accidents.
Distracted driving refers to any activity that diverts attention from driving, including texting on the phone, eating, and talking to people in the vehicle. These non-driving activities can cause a potential distraction that can significantly increase the risk of being involved in a crash. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claims over 3,000 lives every year.
Rideshare workers frequently work long hours. These long hours often contribute to driver fatigue which, according to research has shown, is as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. Fatigue usually occurs when individuals do not get good quality sleep or do not get enough of it. This fatigue not only affects people physically and mentally but can impair their driving as well, often leading to deadly car accidents.
Scanning for Passengers
Uber drivers are not always familiar with the areas they are dropping their passengers off or picking them up. For these reasons, they are often looking around and trying to find their passenger on the side of the road or trying to verify they are on the right street. Unfortunately, these actions can cause drivers to stop unexpectedly, operate their vehicles more slowly, and fail to see other cars in front of them. This can lead to Uber drivers causing serious crashes and putting their passengers, other cars, and pedestrians in danger.
Another common cause of Uber accidents includes reckless driving, which involves vehicles tailgating, speeding, avoiding traffic signals, and making abrupt lane changes. Uber drivers make money when they have passengers in their cars. That is why these drivers will often try to get as many rides as they can during their shift. This can cause Uber drivers to take part in reckless driving, such as excessive speeding, to optimize how much money they make.
To drive an Uber, you do not need a particular driver’s license or any training. According to Uber’s driver requirements, as long as you meet the minimum age to drive, have at least one year of driving experience in the United States (three years if you are under the age of 23), and have a valid US driver’s license you are ready to drive an Uber. However, this lack of training can mean bad news for passengers riding with an inexperienced Uber driver.
Parking in Unsafe Places
Typically, when Uber drivers pick or drop off their passengers, they often have to park in unsafe areas. This can create issues with the surrounding traffic and put the vehicle and the pedestrians in danger.
Not Properly Maintaining the Car
Uber drivers are required to supply their own cars to pick up passengers. However, Uber does not confirm if these cars are in good working condition or maintained adequately. Consequently, they can become a serious hazard on the road, if the Uber drivers do not keep them well maintained; and can cause horrific crashes and injuries.
Some of the common issues that result from a poorly maintained Uber vehicle include:
- Faulty brakes and worn-out pads: It can be possible for a car’s brakes to suddenly fail; although this typically happens when the driver does not have them regularly serviced, or does not have the brake pads changed when they notice signs of brake issues such as a pulsating brake pedal.
- Cracked windshields: This may not seem like a big deal, but it can be. Broken windshields can obstruct an Uber driver’s vision, and in an emergency, where they have less than one second to react, this small obstruction can make a significant difference in the driver’s response time.
- Bald tires: Driving with bald tires is dangerous and increases the risk of rolling over in an accident. More importantly, drivers have no excuse for not knowing the conditions of their tires, as bald tires are easily visible and should be taken care of as soon as the driver notices the problem.
- Light and Wiper Issues: Lights and wipers play a significant role when it comes to driving safely. If an Uber driver cannot see other vehicles or be seen by them, it increases their chance of being involved in a deadly crash.
Common Injuries Resulting From Uber Accidents
Being involved in an Uber accident can cause painful and sometimes traumatic injuries that can impact you for weeks or even years to come.
Yet, even though these injuries can range in severity and type depending on the circumstances of the crash, some of the more common Uber accident injuries that can occur include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Head and neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Deep lacerations
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Soft tissue injuries
- Disfiguring facial trauma
- Crushing injuries
- Road rash
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Types of Uber Accidents
Generally, there are four main categories of personal injury claims involving rideshare vehicles.
- Uber drivers who were injured while driving, picking up, and dropping off passengers.
- Passengers who were injured in a Uber vehicle during a ride.
- Motorists of another vehicle who were injured in an accident with an Uber vehicle.
- Passengers in another vehicle who were injured in a crash with an Uber vehicle on their way to pick up a fare.
However, other types of accidents with Uber drivers can still occur. That is why if you have been injured in a West Palm Beach Uber accident, it is helpful to speak to an personal injury lawyer, like the lawyers at Shiner Law Group. These attorneys can go over your case, determine if you have a viable claim, and figure out the legal action you can pursue.
Actions to Take After an Uber Accident
For those involved in a West Palm Beach Uber crash, the situation can be quite overwhelming. Yet, it is important to remember that the actions you take following this horrific collision can not only protect your health and safety, but your legal rights as well. That is why if you have been hurt in an Uber accident, you should:
Following an Uber accident, you need to contact 911 immediately. This is the fastest way to report the accident, notify Emergency Medical Services that you need medical assistance, and get the police to the scene.
Once the police arrive, they can investigate the crash, figure out what happened, and document their findings in their police report. If you decide to pursue an injury claim, this report can provide you with helpful evidence that could be important to your case.
If the area is safe and you do not require any immediate medical attention, try to collect as much evidence from the accident scene as possible. Include photos of the area, the vehicles involved, the placement of the cars, any visible injuries, skid marks on the road, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, any traffic signs near the crash, and any other details that can show what happened.
Get Driver Details
Get information from all the drivers involved in the crash, including the Uber driver. Get their names, driver’s license numbers, insurance information, and contact information. In addition, document the make and model of the car they were driving.
Get Witness Details
If there were people at the scene who saw what happened, get their name and number. Witness statements can often provide you with important details regarding the accident and help back up your claims. However, if these witnesses do not want to give you their details, do not force them. When you work with a West Palm Beach Uber accident attorney, these lawyers could obtain this information for you.
See a Doctor
Even if your injuries appear relatively minor, you still need to get examined by a doctor as soon as you can. Quite often, severe injuries such as traumatic brain injuries can take days to weeks to manifest. Yet, the longer you wait to get medical help, the more serious these injuries can become. For these reasons, it is best not to wait, but rather get to your physician as quickly as possible after your Uber crash and verify you do not have any of these potentially deadly injuries.
In addition, obtaining prompt medical attention can also provide helpful evidence for your case. The insurance companies may be looking for any reason to deny your injury claim. By not seeking medical help after an Uber crash, an insurance adjuster may try to argue that your injuries are not that serious or that a subsequent event caused them. Fortunately, by getting checked over by a doctor, you can obtain evidence of a direct link between your injuries and the accident. Plus, the sooner you get to the doctor, the stronger the link can be.
Be Careful What You Say at the Scene
As you discuss the accident with the other drivers or get witness information, you need to be careful what you say. Avoid making any definitive statements regarding the crash, taking fault for anything that happened, or apologizing for what occurred. These types of statements can come back later and hurt you, impacting the amount of money you can receive.
Commonly Asked Questions From Uber Accident Victims
At Shiner Law Group, we understand the worries and frustrations victims often have after an Uber accident. That is why we want to provide you some clarification and answers regarding these accidents. In the below frequently asked questions, we will go over some of the most common concerns Uber accident victims often have. With this information, we hope you have a better understanding of the legal remedies you may pursue and the financial recovery you may be entitled to. For more specific information about your case, contact Shiner Law Group today.
1. What are the differences between a taxi and an Uber in West Palm Beach?
Uber is a popular transportation service in West Palm Beach that is used to pay for rides. These rides are part of the ride-sharing movement that uses regular citizens and puts them behind the wheel of their own vehicle to drive you to where you need to get to for a fee. Generally, if you require an Uber, you will hail it by using an app on your phone that will get you a vehicle based on your destination and the number of passengers you have. Paying for your Uber ride will also be done through the app, as the service will already have your credit card on file. This means that no money will be exchanged in the car. In addition, upon reaching your destination, the Uber app will ask you to rate the driver so that other passengers can learn from your experience.
In comparison, taxis are typically owned, maintained, and inspected by taxi companies and then leased to the taxi driver. Most cities will also have strict regulations when it comes to these taxi services and their drivers. For instance, taxis operating in Palm Beach County must be licensed to operate the vehicle by Consumer Affairs, and all drivers working for a Vehicle For Hire company must have a special permit and wear a Consumer Affairs I.D. Badge.
2. What is the statute of limitations to bring an injury claim following a West Palm Beach Uber accident?
The statute of limitations is a law that dictates the maximum amount of time you have to bring a claim following an alleged offense. If you do not bring this lawsuit within this deadline, you cannot seek compensation for your injuries.
In Florida, the statute of limitations to bring a personal injury claim is four years from the accident date. However, there are various exceptions to this rule that can extend or shorten the amount of time you have to file depending on the facts of the case.
Due to these stringent time frames, it is best not to wait to get legal help. Following a West Palm Beach Uber accident, you should reach out to a personal injury attorney, like those at the Shiner Law Group, as soon as possible. These attorneys can go over your claim and figure out how much time you have to file your case.
In addition, another aspect you need to consider is: even though you may have a few years to file your injury suit, you should not hold off for too long. This is because the longer you wait to file your claim, the higher the chance that evidence disappears, witnesses can no longer testify, and memories of the accident fade. All of these can hurt your claim and reduce the total amount of compensation you obtain.
3. How much money can I collect following my West Palm Beach Uber accident?
Unfortunately, no lawyer can tell you exactly how much money you can collect following a West Palm Beach Uber accident.
In truth, many times, the amount of compensation will change on a case-by-case basis because of the factors that are unique to each claim, including:
- The severity and the extent of the harm that resulted.
- The type of necessary medical treatments required.
- The defendant’s culpability.
- The credibility of the witnesses and evidence presented.
- The extent of the pain and suffering.
- The ability to work after the accident.
Although no attorney cannot guarantee that you will receive money following an Uber accident, working with a West Palm Beach Uber accident lawyer can help ensure you get the help you need to prepare the strongest legal case, so you can go after the damages you deserve. At Shiner Law Group, our lawyers can go over your case, determine which of these factors affect your claim, and help you go after maximum compensation.
4. If I have been harmed in a West Palm Beach Uber accident, who can I pursue legal action against?
Depending on the accident, you can pursue legal action against several potential parties.
- The Uber driver: If the Uber driver was negligent and their negligence caused the accident and you suffered harm as a result, you could file a lawsuit against them to recover compensation for your losses and injuries. Just remember, typically, when you go after an individual for money, they may not have all the resources to pay these damages, even if you win your suit.
- The Uber company: Since Uber drivers are considered independent contractors, it is complicated to sue the Uber company directly—even if their driver was involved in an accident that caused an injury to a passenger, pedestrian, or another motorist. However, even though these drivers are not Uber employees, they are still covered under Uber’s $1 million insurance policy. Depending on the specifics of the accident, you may file a claim with Uber’s insurance company to get the compensation you need for the harm you sustained.
- Other drivers: Uber drivers share the road with many different vehicles, including other cars, trucks, cyclists, and even motorcycles. This means that if you were involved in a West Palm Beach Uber accident, it may not be the Uber driver’s fault that you were hurt in the crash. In these instances, where someone else caused your Uber accident, you could file a lawsuit against all the parties contributing to your injuries.
- Defective products: If your West Palm Beach Uber crash resulted from a defective product, you could pursue compensation from the company and manufacturer that sold, designed, or manufactured the defective product.
As you can see, you can hold various parties accountable following a West Palm Beach Uber accident. For these reasons, to help ensure that you go after all the parties responsible for your losses, it is recommended that you contact a West Palm Beach Uber accident attorney promptly following an Uber accident. These lawyers can quickly get to work, investigating your crash, figuring out what happened and who was at fault, and holding all those at fault liable for the harm you sustained.
5. Following my West Palm Beach Uber accident, should I speak with the insurance company?
Following an Uber accident, the insurance company may be calling. However, before you speak with them, it is advised that you first discuss the accident with an Uber accident lawyer. You need to remember that insurance companies are not friends.
Even though you may believe that they want to help you following a car collision, this is typically not the case. They, like other businesses, want to make a profit. By paying you out less than you may be entitled to, the more money they make. That is why insurance adjusters will often try any tactic they can to get you to admit fault for the accident so that they can decrease the amount of your settlement or deny your claim altogether.
For these reasons, if the insurance company is calling, you should be careful about what you say to them. This does not mean you should lie to them, but rather just provide them with basic information regarding the accident and let them know that all further communications will be through your lawyer. At Shiner Law Group, our lawyers can take on these conversations, help ensure you do not say anything that can affect your case, and fight for a settlement amount that is fair to you.
6. If the insurance company offers me a settlement amount, following my West Palm Beach Uber accident, should I accept it?
There is a strong possibility that following an Uber accident, the insurance company will try to offer you a settlement. Although accepting this money may seem like a no-brainer, it may not be the best decision. Before accepting any money from the insurance company, you need to consider certain things. For instance, you need to make sure that this settlement offer can cover all of your expenses, including your current medical bills, future expenses, and ongoing care.
That is why it is recommended that you wait to accept a settlement amount from the insurance company until after you finish all of your medical treatments, as this can give you a better idea of the future care you will need. It is also recommended that you speak with a knowledgeable Uber accident lawyer first. These attorneys can go over your case and determine if the proposed settlement amount is fair to you. If it is not, they can handle all the discussions and negotiations with the insurance company and fight for a fair settlement offer on your behalf.
7. Do I lose access to my Uber Account in West Palm Beach if I file an insurance claim against Uber?
You should not lose your Uber access by bringing an injury claim under Uber’s insurance policy. That is the whole point of why Uber has this insurance policy in the first place. In fact, Uber takes a portion of each of their fares and applies it directly to their insurance for purposes such as this. Thus, if you believe you have an injury claim following a West Palm Beach Uber accident, do not hesitate to reach out to the Shiner Law Group and speak to one of our attorneys about the legal help you require.
8. Why do I need to contact the Shiner Law Group following my West Palm Beach Uber accident?
Uber accidents can be stressful, often resulting in injury claims that can be challenging, tedious, and nerve-wracking. These lawsuits often require the individual bringing the claim to have a solid understanding of the state’s laws and produce sound legal arguments and relevant evidence that can show what happened and who was at fault for the accident and injuries.
Fortunately, when you retain the Shiner Law Group, you will not have to handle this legal battle on your own.
Our Uber accident attorneys are ready to provide you with the legal help you need, which includes:
- Evaluating your potential claim, offering you legal advice, and explaining your legal options.
- Going over your questions and concerns and providing you with the support you need during this difficult time.
- Investigating your Uber crash and securing the evidence needed to prove fault and damages.
- Building the strongest possible claim on your behalf and working to hold those liable for your injuries accountable.
- Handling all the discussions and negotiations with the insurance company and fighting for a fair settlement offer.
- Bringing in the experts such as accident reconstructionists, doctors, and engineers to substantiate your claims.
- Taking your case to trial if the other side is unwilling to settle the case, and working to bring your case to a successful resolution.
If a personal injury due to an Uber accident disrupted your life or the life of a loved one, do not wait to get the legal help you need. Contact Shiner Law Group today at (561) 777-7700 for your free case consultation, and let us show you how our lawyers can fight for you and your rights.