Uber Accidents and Bicyclists
For most bicyclists, a collision with an automobile is their greatest fear. According to the CDC, while bicycle trips make up only 1 percent of all trips in the United States, they account for more than 2 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities.
As many as 1,000 bicyclists die yearly, and another 130,000 are severely injured in automobile crashes. Adults between 55 and 69 have the highest bicycle death rates, while adolescents, teens, and young adults have the highest rates of bicycle-related injuries. Male bicyclists have death rates that are six times higher than females and injury rates that are five times higher than females. While most bicycle deaths occur in busy urban areas, only about one-fourth occur at intersections.
Bicyclists often sustain extremely serious injuries during a collision with a car. After all, a bicyclist has no protection when hit by a 3,000-pound metal and glass vehicle. Those inside the vehicle are surrounded by a protective “cage” and have seat belts and airbags to protect them in the event of a crash. A bicyclist has nothing other than a helmet if worn.
Because of this, bicyclists often sustain serious, even catastrophic, injuries. These injuries may include spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries, which can alter lives forever.
But what happens when the driver who hit you is not simply another driver but instead an Uber driver? As rideshare drivers, Uber drivers often pull over suddenly to pick up passengers or to let them out. Rideshare drivers may also be distracted from using the Uber app, leading to danger for bicyclists.
As the number of rideshare vehicles has skyrocketed, there are, correspondingly, more bicycle crashes involving rideshare vehicles. In Portland, OR, a cyclist passing a rideshare vehicle was “doored” by the driver who had just pulled over to pick up passengers. A rideshare driver in California backed into a cyclist at a stop light. In Boston, an Uber driver pulled into a bike lane to drop off a passenger; the passenger opened the door, hitting a passing cyclist.
As Uber and Lyft drivers represent an increasing number of motor vehicles on the roadways, there are bound to be an increasing number of problems, including crashes involving these rideshare vehicles.
Who is At Fault When an Uber Driver Hits a Bicyclist?
Since Uber drivers are somewhere between a personal vehicle and a vehicle for hire, when an Uber driver hits a bicyclist, complex issues can arise. First, it must be determined who is liable for the accident. If it is the Uber driver’s fault, you will want to find out whether the driver was going to pick up a passenger or had a passenger in the vehicle. If the driver did not have a passenger and was not on his or her way to pick up a passenger, you may be negotiating with the driver’s insurance company.
If the driver did have a passenger or was on the way to pick up a passenger, then you may file with the driver’s insurance first, then with Uber. Uber carries a million-dollar liability policy in the event the driver is on duty, and his or her insurance will not fully cover the damages. What if an Uber passenger opened the door and hit you? It can be extremely helpful to have a rideshare attorney who can determine who is liable for your injuries and will go after that person or entity to ensure you receive full compensation for your damages.
You may have medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. Your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company of the liable party or parties to secure a fair settlement offer. If no such offer is forthcoming, your attorney will take your case to court, where it will be heard in front of a jury.
The jury will decide, based on the facts, how much you are entitled to receive for your injuries. Being a bicyclist who is hit by a vehicle means you may be dealing with the aftermath of your injuries for a long time. You may be unable to work and make a living due to your injuries and may face medical expenses and rehabilitative therapies for months, years, or a lifetime.
What Should You Do After an Uber Driver Hits You?
After being hit by an Uber driver, your first priority is to seek medical attention. Even if you think you are not that badly hurt, the adrenaline rush from the accident can mask real injuries.
Call 911 so the police and an ambulance will come to the site of the accident. If you are medically able at the site of the accident to take photos of the other vehicle, definitely do so. Obtain contact and insurance information from the other driver, and, if there were witnesses to the accident, obtain contact information from them as well.
Never attempt to negotiate with the at-fault driver or passenger. Just obtain the necessary information and leave it to your attorney to handle negotiations.
The passengers in the Uber vehicle—assuming they were not a contributing cause of the accident—could be impartial witnesses, so you might also obtain their contact information. Unfortunately, many passengers are in a new place, so may have been “sightseeing” rather than paying attention to the road. Once you are home after being checked out at the hospital, take the time to write down every detail you can remember regarding your accident. The smallest detail can be invaluable for your attorney as they build your case.
Contact an experienced rideshare accident attorney who deeply understands the complexities associated with rideshare accidents.
What Damages Are You Entitled to Receive Following Your Bicycle Uber Accident?
You are always entitled to reimbursement for your medical expenses, including ambulance costs, physician and surgical costs, prescription drug costs, and rehabilitative therapies.
If you are unable to return to work due to the extent of your injuries, you are entitled to receive lost wage reimbursement. If you will not be able to work for a long time—or ever—you may be entitled to future lost wages as well.
Pain and suffering compensation is considered non-economic damage and can be more difficult to quantify. Having a strong rideshare accident attorney from the Ciccarelli Law Offices can make a massive difference in the outcome of your claim. Our attorneys will ensure your rights and future are well protected throughout your claim.
If an Uber driver hit you or someone you love while riding your bicycle, it is important to know your legal options. At Ciccarelli Law Offices, we know how to get Uber bicycle accident victims the compensation they deserve. Call us today to learn more about your legal options.