Fatal Uber Accidents
While Uber rideshares are considered one of the safest ways to get from place to place in a busy city, like any driver, an Uber driver can cause an accident or be a victim of another driver’s negligence.
As reported by theverge.com in July 2022, Uber reported more traffic deaths in 2019 and 2020 while reporting fewer sexual assaults. While we would all certainly applaud fewer sexual assaults, knowing there are more fatal Uber accidents can make you a little uneasy if you are a regular Uber user.
In this report, Uber claims the increased number of fatal accidents was due to increasingly dangerous conditions on U.S. roads. Uber also noted that 99.9 percent of all Uber rides occur with no safety incident involved.
This translates into 101 traffic fatalities across Uber’s platform in 2019 and 2020. This number included 14 drivers and 19 riders, with the remaining fatalities occurring in other vehicles, motorcycles, or pedestrians. There were 23 pedestrians and three bicyclist/scooter riders killed by an Uber vehicle. Traffic fatalities per vehicle mile traveled increased by seven percent from 2019 to 2020. Yet, the fatality rate among Uber rideshares remains half the national average—and 94 percent of the Uber deaths were the result of a third-party driver, rather than the Uber driver. The Chief Legal Officer of Uber, Tony West, says Uber is committed to being transparent about all vehicle safety incidents.
The University of Chicago Study on Rideshare Accidents and Fatalities
As reported by the Chicago News, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business conducted an in-depth study regarding rideshares and the increase in motor vehicle fatalities. The report concluded that rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have led to a 3% overall increase in car accident fatalities.
However, this number is somewhat deceptive because the number of vehicles on the roadways increases each year, increasing auto fatalities. It’s impossible to say that rideshare vehicles led to the increase in fatalities and may have decreased the number of fatalities in that many drivers who have had too much to drink now call an Uber rather than unsafely driving their own vehicles.
In other words, whether you are a rideshare driver or passenger, driving your own car, or riding in another’s vehicle, you have a higher risk of a fatal auto accident due to the increase in vehicles on the roadways.
Rideshare accident rates remain relatively steady, whether on a weekday, a weekend, daytime, or nighttime. It’s also important to remember that rather than simply driving passengers from place to place, at least half of a rideshare driver’s time is spent traveling to pick up a passenger or driving around waiting for a rider to request an Uber. Uber riders and drivers are at a higher risk of an accident, potentially resulting in a fatality, in busy cities, like Los Angeles. About 90 percent of all Uber accidents occur in urban areas.
Who’s Responsible for a Fatal Uber Accident?
As with most motor vehicle accidents, liability for injuries or fatalities is determined according to fault, whether unintentional or intentional. Uber requires its drivers to carry private liability coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance up to $1 million per accident. Uber additionally carries third-party liability insurance coverage that pays up to $1 million per accident for injuries. However, Uber insurance only applies after the Uber driver’s insurance has been exhausted and is only applicable in certain instances. If the Uber driver had not officially logged into the Uber app or was off duty, then Uber has no liability for accident injuries or death.
What Happens After a Fatal Uber Accident?
If your loved one was killed in an Uber accident, it must first be determined who was at fault. The Uber driver may have been reckless or negligent, causing the accident, or a third party may have caused the accident. Family members can pursue a wrongful death claim against the responsible party, whether that turns out to be the Uber driver, Uber, or a third party.
The state of Pennsylvania limits those who can file a wrongful death lawsuit to the individual named as the personal representative of the victim’s estate (if the decedent had a will), or a family member or friend who volunteers and receives court approval. The court can also appoint someone to bring the wrongful death lawsuit.
Any money recovered from an Uber wrongful death claim in Pennsylvania will be distributed according to the will of the decedent. Without a will, the money would be distributed based on Pennsylvania succession laws. Wrongful death claims must generally be filed within two years of the decedent’s death under Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations.
What Damages Could Family Members Recover Following a Fatal Uber Accident?
When a wrongful death claim is filed in Pennsylvania, the personal representative may ask for economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those that have a specific financial number attached, including medical expenses and lost wages incurred before the victim’s death, along with future lost wages. Other economic damages include funeral and burial costs.
Non-economic damages are those that are more difficult to quantify, including loss of parental guidance, reduction in the inheritance for surviving children, loss of support and services provided by the victim, loss of companionship, comfort, guidance, and advice, and any pain and suffering endured by the victim before his or her death.
Getting the Help You Need Following a Fatal Uber Accident
It can be extremely beneficial following a fatal Uber accident of a loved one to speak to an experienced Pennsylvania attorney like Lee Ciccarelli. The Ciccarelli Law Offices serve those facing the death of a loved one from a personal injury, including fatal Uber accidents.
Attorney Lee Ciccarelli has been recognized as the Main Line Today’s Top Lawyer in Personal Injury and Accident Law and a Top Lawyer in Criminal Defense Lawyer. When dealing with the loss of a loved one, the Ciccarelli Law Offices can step in and handle all the legal details of a wrongful death claim.
If an Uber driver caused the death of your loved one, it is essential to know your legal options. At Ciccarelli Law Offices, we know how to get grieving families the help and justice they deserve. We work quickly to hold Uber and negligent drivers accountable for the suffering they caused. all us today to learn more about your legal options.