Ridesharing services such as Uber are a phenomenon of the digitalized times in which we live now. It is easier for many people living in Brooklyn to choose to move from point to point, thanks to these types of mobile apps. This way, they can save themselves the work of driving in traffic, from being stressed by aggressive drivers or even spending too much on fuel.
In the past, taxis operated in a more traditional manner. They had to go through a more formal registration process depending on the city where they were going to operate. They also had to have a special license and the corresponding permits. Other requirements have always been to paint their car in a characteristic color that distinguishes them as a cab service.
In fact, in many movies set in New York, the cab symbol became a distinctive element of the city. Surely at this moment, you can remember Robert de Niro in Taxi Driver driving through the streets of New York at night, describing a lonely city without much light, from which the main character emerged along with the ghosts that inhabited his mind.
From the times in which Taxi Driver was set, the 70s in New York, to the present day, several things have happened. The digital revolution 4.0 is already among us. It has changed to some extent many jobs and trades that used to work in a classic and traditional way. Even the legal sector has also witnessed changes.
Given this, a general idea begins to echo: adapt or die. Adapt to evolve, grow, and reach more people.
However, just as technology has brought solutions and new alternatives to living better in big cities, it has also brought questions and cases of analysis for lawyers. Surely, you are already suspecting what new questions have come to law firms after a service like UBER has become a mainstream service.
You are not far from the truth. Those questions exist. Some of them are the following: Who has legal liability in the event of an accident on board vehicles that provide these services by app? Are there laws that specifically address or are in charge of regulating these services?
Considering that this phenomenon is, on average, ten years old, was the legal framework in New York City already prepared for the digital revolution? Did everything suddenly happen too fast? How do we regulate the inevitable? Technology is becoming more and more a part of everyday aspects of city life.
All these questions have been answered by our experts. Although not as easily as we first thought. These questions have been arriving as a result of cases that knocked on the door of our office. One of the questions that have also been a matter of debate for legal professionals in the accident area is how much responsibility could correspond to the company that provides the application service.
That is to say, how responsible is UBER for the negligence that could be committed by a driver registered on its platform? Are the filters for drivers efficient within these platforms? Is a psychological profile evaluated? Is background information taken into account? Technical aspects of the car?
Can UBER be held legally responsible if a Brooklyn citizen is injured? We are sure that these questions are still a matter of debate. However, some answers have already reached our offices.
Our professionals, recent Brooklyn's Uber accident lawyers, always adapting to new times, are constantly reading new jurisprudence, as well as consulting with experts who are dedicated to research in law schools, and little by little, we have been able to condense valuable information on these new challenges that the legal field presents.
Technology and law do not have to be elements that contradict each other but should be integrated to serve the community in the service of making life in the city of Brooklyn and other cities a more bearable life.
Let's explore together the most relevant aspects of this interesting topic. After recognizing these elements, you will be a more informed citizen, and you will know how to proceed if any of these facts cross your path.
Role of the Uber app and driver status during the accident
- Uber Driver App Status: An important factor in determining liability is the Uber driver's app status at the time of the accident. The responsibility of Uber may change if the driver is actively using the app, available to accept rides, or has already accepted a ride request.
- Ride Acceptance Confirmation: Uber's insurance coverage typically offers more comprehensive protection for both the driver and passengers in the event of an accident when a driver accepts a ride request on the Uber app and is traveling to pick up or transport a passenger.
- Driver-Initiated Trips: If the accident occurs while the driver is actively engaged in a passenger's trip arranged through the Uber app, Uber's insurance coverage is expected to apply, covering medical expenses and property damage, among other costs.
- App Open but Not on Trip: In cases where the driver has the Uber app open but has not yet accepted a ride request or is waiting for a passenger, a different level of insurance coverage may apply. The driver's personal insurance may also play a role in these scenarios.
- Uber's Responsibilities: Liability may be affected by Uber's facilitation and oversight of its drivers' app-based activities. Accident victims must comprehend how Uber's policies and insurance coverage apply to their particular circumstances.
Legal Aspects of Uber Accidents:
New York No-Fault Insurance Laws:
New York operates under a no-fault insurance system (Article 51 of the Insurance Law). In most cases, accident victims seek compensation through their own insurance provider, regardless of fault. However, when injuries meet the serious injury threshold (Insurance Law Section 5102(d)), victims may pursue claims against at-fault parties, which can include the Uber driver, Uber, or third parties.
Uber's Insurance Policies:
Uber maintains insurance coverage for its drivers, but the level of coverage depends on the driver's status on the Uber app at the time of the accident. If the driver is offline, their personal insurance typically applies. If the driver is online but not on an active trip, Uber provides limited coverage. When the driver is on a trip, Uber's commercial insurance coverage comes into play.
Negligence Laws in New York:
New York follows a comparative negligence system (CPLR Article 14). In cases involving Uber accidents, determining liability may involve assessing the proportion of fault assigned to each party involved. The negligence laws in New York govern the process of allocating fault and compensation accordingly.
Understanding Uber's insurance policy and coverage limits
The insurance coverage guaranteed by UBER may be subject to several details and practical aspects that could limit its execution or increase the amount to be covered by the insurer. In order to do so, it is necessary to understand the details of the accident, conduct a thorough investigation with a group of experts, and gather information from witnesses and statements from those involved.
However, we do not want to complicate it with complex procedures or strange legal terminology. We with our Brooklyn's Uber accident attorneys want to bring some light to this issue of the coverage provided by these shared mobility services in the city of Brooklyn. Some important aspects of the insurance clauses and agreements handled by these types of companies such as UBER are as follows:
● Uber's Three-Part Coverage System: Uber's insurance coverage consists of three main parts:
- Part 1: While the driver is offline or the app is closed, their personal auto insurance applies as the primary coverage.
- Part 2: When the driver is online but hasn't accepted a ride request, Uber provides contingent liability coverage, which includes up to $50,000 per person for bodily injuries, $100,000 per accident for bodily injuries, and $25,000 for property damage.
- Part 3: When the driver is on a trip with passengers in the vehicle, Uber's commercial insurance coverage comes into effect, providing up to $1 million in liability coverage for bodily injuries and property damage.
In addition, New York already has rules governing ridesharing services if an Uber accident in Brooklyn occurs. Some of the most relevant ones, and of which we would like you to be informed, are the following:
● Ridesharing Laws in New York: New York State has specific regulations for ridesharing companies like Uber (Section 169 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law). These laws mandate minimum insurance requirements for ridesharing companies, ensuring that Uber provides adequate coverage to protect both drivers and passengers.
● Insurance Requirements for Ridesharing Vehicles: Uber drivers in New York must carry personal auto insurance policies that meet the state's minimum insurance requirements. Uber's insurance coverage is designed to supplement the driver's personal insurance when necessary.
As we can see, the law does require drivers of this type of service to have minimum insurance. However, in order to determine how much of that coverage will be effective at the time of an accident, the causes of the accident must be determined, and the details surrounding the event must be evaluated. Based on the identification of legal liabilities, it will be concluded how much coverage and how much compensation a victim of this type of event could receive.
Statute of limitations for Uber accident claims in New York.
We have always emphasized that the help of an attorney specializing in accidents of this type is transcendental in the aspect of knowing and understanding the deadlines involved in this type of process. A lawyer who does not understand the deadlines for each stage of the process will always be at a disadvantage.
That is why our experts have a lot of experience in this regard and know by heart the times to be considered to avoid delays and for justice to be carried out in the most efficient way for your interests.
Some of the deadlines to take in terms of initiating a lawsuit are the following:
● General Personal Injury Statute: In New York, the general statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including those arising from Uber accidents, is three years from the date of the accident. This is outlined in CPLR Section 214.
● No-Fault Insurance Deadlines: While no-fault insurance claims may cover initial medical expenses and lost wages, these claims must typically be filed within 30 days of the accident, and written notice must be given to the insurer within 90 days, as per New York's No-Fault Law (Insurance Law Section 5103).
● Serious Injury Threshold: If an accident victim wishes to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault party, including Uber or the driver, they must meet the serious injury threshold as defined in Insurance Law Section 5102(d). Failure to meet this threshold may result in the dismissal of the case.
Types of compensation available for Uber accident victims
You may be asking yourself one of the most important questions: What kind of compensation can I expect as a result of these events? Will I be able to receive cash? Will I be covered for medical expenses or psychological therapy if there is any lasting emotional impact?
We understand that these questions generate a degree of anxiety for you. However, there is nothing to worry about, with The Ward Law on your side, we will work together towards the same goal, working to obtain the justice your case deserves.
To illustrate a little the subject of compensation, we would like to mention some of the possible aspects in which you could obtain it:
● Medical Expenses: Compensation may cover the cost of medical treatments, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and ongoing care related to the accident.
● Lost Wages: Victims may receive compensation for income lost due to their inability to work during recovery, including past and future earnings.
● Pain and Suffering: Victims may be eligible for non-economic damages to address physical and emotional pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life.
● Property Damage: Compensation can include repairs or replacement for damaged vehicles or personal property in the Uber accident.
● Wrongful Death Benefits: In fatal Uber accidents, surviving family members may seek compensation for funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and emotional distress.
● Loss of Consortium: Compensation may be awarded for the loss of companionship, care, and marital benefits due to the accident's impact on personal relationships.
● Punitive Damages: In cases of extreme negligence or misconduct, punitive damages may be available to punish the responsible party and deter similar actions.
● Future Medical Expenses: Victims with long-term injuries may receive compensation for anticipated future medical costs, such as surgeries or ongoing therapy.
● Disability Benefits: Compensation may address the financial burdens associated with permanent disabilities resulting from the Uber accident.
● Legal Fees: In many cases, legal fees and expenses incurred while pursuing a claim are covered as part of the compensation package.