How to Sue Uber After a Car Accident in Illinois: A Guide

Ridesharing services like Uber have dramatically transformed the way we travel. However, as these services have risen in popularity, so have the incidents of car accidents involving Uber drivers. While any car accident can lead to complicated legal proceedings, accidents involving Uber drivers add another layer of complexity due to the nature of ridesharing services and their business model.

Table of Contents

1. Understanding Uber’s Insurance Policy

One of the crucial aspects to understand before suing Uber is its insurance policy. Uber maintains a $1 million liability insurance policy that can cover damages and injuries resulting from an accident involving an Uber driver. However, the benefits of this policy are contingent on the driver’s status at the time of the accident, making it essential to understand the specifics of this policy.

2. Determining When to Sue Uber After a Car Accident

Suing Uber after an accident may be appropriate under specific conditions. It’s important to understand that while Uber provides an insurance policy, there are certain conditions that dictate when and how this policy applies. Here are the key conditions to consider:

  • a. Driver’s Status During the Accident
    The Uber driver’s status at the time of the accident plays a crucial role in determining whether you can sue Uber.

    • App Off: If the Uber driver was not logged into the Uber app at the time of the accident, Uber’s insurance does not cover the accident. The driver’s personal car insurance becomes responsible for damages.
    • App On, No Passenger:If the Uber driver was logged into the app but had not accepted a ride, Uber’s insurance provides limited liability coverage. If the driver’s personal insurance doesn’t cover the accident or isn’t enough, Uber’s insurance may cover up to $50,000 in injury liability per person, $100,000 in total liability per accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident.
    • On a Trip: If the Uber driver was on a trip (had accepted a ride and was either on the way to pick up a passenger or had a passenger in the vehicle), Uber’s $1 million liability policy comes into effect. This policy covers both third-party liability for personal injuries and property damage.
  • b. Severity of Injuries and Damages
    The severity of injuries and the extent of property damage are also important factors. If medical expenses and property damage exceed the limits of the insurance policy, or if there are serious injuries or fatalities, suing Uber may be an option to seek additional compensation.
  • c. Uber’s Negligence
    If there’s evidence of Uber’s negligence contributing to the accident, such as hiring a driver with a poor driving record or failing to properly inspect and maintain vehicles, you may have grounds to sue Uber.
  • d. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
    If the accident was caused by another driver who is uninsured or underinsured, and the Uber driver was on duty (app on), Uber’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage should apply. If Uber refuses to honor this coverage, legal action may be necessary.

3. The Process of Suing Uber in Illinois

  • a. Document the Accident
    Immediately after the accident, ensure everyone is safe and call for medical help if necessary. Document the accident scene by taking photographs of the vehicles involved, the location of the accident, and any visible injuries. Also, gather contact information from all parties involved and any witnesses.
  • b. Report the Accident to Uber
    Report the accident through the Uber app. Go to the “Trip Issues and Refunds” section, select the trip where the incident occurred, and then click on “I was involved in an accident.” Follow the prompts to report the incident.
  • c. Seek Medical Attention
    Even if you feel fine right after the accident, it’s important to seek medical attention. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent. A medical professional can provide a thorough examination and document any injuries related to the accident.
  • d. Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer
    Before taking any legal action, consult a personal injury lawyer who has experience with Uber accidents. They can guide you through the process and help you understand your legal options.
  • e. File a Claim with Uber’s Insurance
    Your lawyer will likely start by filing a claim with Uber’s insurance company. Uber provides a $1 million liability policy, which covers personal injuries and property damage during an active ride. The insurance company will investigate the claim and make an offer based on their findings.
  • f. Negotiation
    Your lawyer will negotiate with Uber’s insurance company on your behalf. If the insurance company’s offer is inadequate, your lawyer may counter with a higher amount. This negotiation process can take some time.
  • g. Filing a Lawsuit
    If negotiations fail to result in an acceptable settlement, your lawyer may recommend filing a lawsuit against Uber. In the lawsuit, you’ll officially state your claims and the amount of compensation you’re seeking. Uber will have a chance to respond to your claims.
  • h. Discovery and Pre-Trial
    Both sides will have the opportunity to gather evidence during the discovery process. This may involve exchanging documents, taking depositions, and hiring expert witnesses. Your lawyer will prepare your case for trial during this time.
  • i. Trial
    If the case goes to trial, both sides will present their evidence and arguments. The judge or jury will then decide whether Uber is liable for your damages and, if so, how much compensation you should receive.
  • j. Appeal
    If you’re not satisfied with the outcome of the trial, you may have the option to appeal the decision. However, appeals can be complicated and may require additional legal expertise.

4. Common Challenges in Suing Uber

Suing Uber after an accident in Illinois presents several challenges. Here are some common ones:

  • a. Determining Liability
    One of the main challenges in suing Uber is determining liability. Since Uber drivers are considered independent contractors, not employees, Uber often tries to avoid responsibility for accidents by claiming that they are simply an app connecting drivers and passengers.
  • b. Insurance Coverage
    Uber has a $1 million insurance policy that covers accidents while a passenger is in the vehicle or if the driver is on the way to pick up a passenger. However, if the driver is only logged into the app but hasn’t accepted a ride, the coverage drops significantly. If the accident happens when the driver is not logged into the Uber app, Uber’s insurance does not apply at all.
  • c. Multiple Insurance Policies
    Uber accidents can involve multiple insurance policies – the driver’s personal policy, Uber’s policy, and potentially other involved parties’ policies. This can lead to disputes between insurance companies over who is primarily responsible for covering damages.
  • d. Arbitration Clause
    When drivers sign up with Uber, they agree to an arbitration clause, which means that disputes will be settled by an arbitrator rather than in court. While this clause primarily applies to disputes between Uber and its drivers, it can potentially complicate matters for passengers as well.
  • e. Gathering Evidence
    As with any accident, gathering sufficient evidence to prove liability can be difficult. This can be especially challenging in an Uber accident as you may need to obtain information from Uber, such as the driver’s status at the time of the accident.
  • f. Time Limitations
    In Illinois, there is a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit. You generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a suit, which can be a challenge if injuries are not immediately apparent or if there are delays in the insurance claim process.

5. Conclusion: Seeking Justice After an Uber Accident

Despite the complexities involved, seeking justice after an Uber accident is not only possible, but with the right approach, it can also lead to fair compensation for your damages.

Please Note: This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you or a loved one is injured as a driver or passenger in an Uber accident, please consult with our professional Uber accident attorney to discuss your specific situation.