Uber & Lyft Accident Lawyer in Chicago

If you were involved in an accident involving Uber or Lyft, you should call a Chicago rideshare accident attorney.

chicago uber accident lawyer
Uber and Rideshare Accident Lawyer

Dealing with Uber or Lyft can be challenging – even for a lawyer let alone an accident victim representing him or herself.

In general, rideshare is a great idea. It has provided a reasonably priced means for people to get around Chicago and other cities. Statistics also tend to support the idea that rideshare reduces the number of DUI accidents as inebriated drivers have an efficient alternative to driving home from a bar or restaurant. Some studies have shown that Uber has caused a dramatic reduction in the number of DUI related deaths.

However, Uber comes with risks as well. Often, Uber and Lyft drivers do not have a lot of driving experience. I speak from personal experience when I say that I’ve had more than one Uber driver who didn’t have a clue what he was doing or where he was going. I’ve seen others talking on their phones while driving or playing with the Uber app when they should be watching the road. Many cities like Chicago have enacted rideshare ordinances to assert some minimum requirements on the rideshare industry. Chicago exerts significant control over the taxi industry as well.

Our office has represented victims in several different Uber & rideshare accidents, including:

  • Our client was driving for Uber when she was hit behind in Park Ridge, Illinois thereby causing her to slam into the car in front of her. She suffered a concussion and whiplash injuries. She also developed fibromyalgia immediately after the collision and also suffered from significant PTSD that required psychological counseling.
  • Another client was a passenger in the back of an Uber. The Uber driver ran a red light and smashed into a car in an intersection. The collision left our client with significant back injuries. Our client’s statement about fault resulted in Uber’s insurance company accepting 100% responsibility for the accident.

We’ve received countless other calls from victims of rideshare accidents, many with minor injuries who proceeded to represent themselves in filing a claim with James River Insurance – the insurance company Uber uses (for the collisions I’ve handled at least).

It is unknown how many Uber & rideshare accidents there are in Illinois. This is mainly because, in Chicago at least, police reports do not have a place to notate whether the accident involved a rideshare service or not.

Who do you pursue if you are involved in an Uber & rideshare accident?

Uber and Lyft both provide coverage for accidents involving its drivers. When a rideshare driver turns on the app coverage begins. Uber/Lyft provide $50,000 in liability insurance if an Uber driver causes an accident while the app is on, but before he/she accepts a ride request. Once a ride request is accepted the insurance increases to $1,000,000 per incident AND the rideshare driver is protected if he/she is hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. The insurance coverage returns to $50,000 once the passenger exits the vehicle.

The state of Illinois mandates that rideshare drivers carry insurance. Often, your typical personal insurance policy will not provide coverage as it was not anticipated in your insurance contract that you would utilize your vehicle for commercial activities. As such, many Uber and Lyft drivers purchase additional or commercial insurance. The cost of adding these policies to an existing personal insurance policy is often minimal and can be as low as an additional $15.00 per month.

One insurance is established, your case will face the same challenges that all auto accident cases face:

  • Establishing liability
  • Obtaining sufficient value for the property damage
  • Getting the appropriate medical treatment
  • Avoiding gaps in medical treatment
  • Negotiating with a stingy insurance company
  • Negotiating medical bills and liens upon settlement

You can also recover for your lost wages if you are injured in an Uber & rideshare accident. For passengers, the same process is used including verifying your wages through the use of a lost wages verification form. For rideshare drivers, establishing lost wages is often simple. The Uber app documents how much a driver makes on a weekly basis. To establish the lost wages claim, we can download the data and present it to an insurance company to document how much money you made on a weekly basis in the months prior to the accident.

If you would like to speak with an Uber & Rideshare Accident Lawyer, feel free to contact my office at 312-848-9783 My consultations are always free and I am more than happy to discuss your options with you.

 

Personal Injury Settlement Amount

Personal Injury Settlement Amount
Personal injury settlement amount

My clients who were injured in an automobile or other motor vehicle accident often ask: how much is a reasonable personal injury settlement amount? That is a very difficult question to answer and in typical attorney form, I can only answer “it depends.”

For a broader discussion of the value of a case, see my recent blog article entitled “How Much is my Case Worth?”. In short, it depends on several factors such as the severity of your injury, the amount of insurance there is, and what insurance company you are dealing with, among other factors.

Included in many personal injury settlement amounts are compensation for:

  • Property damage – your vehicle but also your damaged cell phone, clothing etc.
  • Pain and suffering – but how do you measure your pain and suffering?
  • Lost wages – we will contact your employer to verify the amount of money you lost
  • Mileage and other expenses – keep a mileage log for example
  • Medical bills – In Illinois, you can recover for the total cost of your medical bills
  • Loss of enjoyment – you lost time playing catch with your son or daughter due to your injury
  • And more

In my practice, the primary reason my clients are limited in the amount they recover is that the person who caused the accident has a small insurance policy. In the state of Illinois, the minimum policy is $25,000.00 and most people have just that. In addition, not all but many of my clients, unfortunately, don’t have enough uninsured or underinsured (UM/UIM) insurance to protect themselves.

So how does that affect your settlement? Let’s look at two cases my office recently settled. In the first case, our client was able to tap into multiple policies and thus obtain an adequate recovery. In the second case, our client did not have a sufficient UIM policy and her recovery was thus limited.

  1. Bicycle accident settlement $93,000.00+

Our client was riding his bicycle when he was hit from behind. He went down and suffered a fractured wrist, transverse process fractures, and lacerations, abrasions and contusions. The driver of the car that hit him only had a minimum insurance policy. However, our client had a large underinsured motorist policy. As such, we were able to recover against his own policy and obtain appropriate compensation for his injuries.

  1. Motorcycle accident settlement $100,000.00

As a Chicago motorcycle accident attorney, I had a client who was the passenger on the back of her husband’s motorcycle. A car cut them off and they went down. Our client suffered a fractured wrist and an aggravation of a pre-existing injury – a spinal stimulator that was placed in her back was damaged and had to be replaced through surgery. The defendant had a $100,000.00 policy. However, based on the severity of an injury, her pain and suffering and her medical bills, this case could have garnered a much larger settlement. However, our client did not have enough underinsured motorist protection. As such, our client was limited to the $100,000.00. Fortunately, we were able to negotiate down her medical bills in order to net enough to compensate her.

$100,000.00 sounds like an adequate personal injury settlement amount. However, medical bills and attorneys’ fees and costs are paid out of the settlement. As such, the net recovery is much smaller.

Often, when a defendant has a small insurance policy, clients want to sue the defendant personally for their injuries. That is an option, however, in most cases, it is not practicable. Most people who have assets have insurance to protect those assets. If the defendant has a small auto insurance policy, he/she probably doesn’t have many assets to protect.

Practical scenario:

You are injured in an auto accident and you file a lawsuit against the defendant. The defendant has a $50,000.00 auto insurance policy. You win a judgment of $100,000.00. The insurance company writes you a check for $50,000.00 and you try to collect against the defendant for the balance of $50,000.00. The defendant determines he cannot pay you. So, what does he/she do? File for bankruptcy. Practically speaking, that ends your case.

Consequently, in most cases, our clients are limited in their recovery to the amount of the defendant’s insurance policy.

In sum, it is difficult to determine what is a reasonable personal injury settlement amount. That determination is made on a case by case basis. Just because a friend or relative recovered a certain amount in his or her case, does not mean you will have the same experience.

If you need help determining what to demand in a Glenview auto accident case, contact Barry Zlotowicz at 312-848-9783 for a free consultation.