South Carolina Uber Accident Lawyer
Uber had a rocky start to business in South Carolina when the governor and state legislators ordered the company to cease operations soon after it first offered services in the state. Uber was granted a temporary license to operate in January 2015, and the Post and Courier reported in December 2017 that the transportation network company (TNC) was expanding into rural areas of South Carolina.
A TNC was defined in the Transportation Network Company Act enacted in July 2015 as “a person, corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or other entity operating in this State that uses a digital network, platform, or Internet-enabled application to connect a passenger to a transportation network driver for the purpose of providing transportation for compensation using a vehicle.”
TNCs are primarily limited to “ridesharing” services like Uber, which mainly operate through mobile apps. TNCs have become a popular alternative to public transportation or taxis because they provide on-demand service.
A South Carolina Uber crash quickly becomes complicated, especially when the driver was actively transporting a passenger. A critical factor in insurance considerations in these types of accidents is whether the driver was logged into the TNC digital network at the time of a crash.
Did you suffer severe injuries or was your loved one killed in an accident involving an Uber vehicle in South Carolina? You need help from an experienced auto injury lawyer to hold all negligent parties accountable.
Stewart Law Offices understands the complexity of rideshare accident claims, and our firm is prepared to do the work needed to help victims seek justice. Call us or contact us online to set up a free consultation.
Can I Sue Uber for an Accident in South Carolina?
Anyone who is injured in an accident caused by an Uber driver could be able to file a claim against Uber. Possible claimants may include other drivers involved in collisions with Uber drivers, passengers of other vehicles struck by Uber drivers, passengers in Uber vehicles, and various other pedestrians, bicyclists, and other parties who could be involved in a crash.
Uber may argue that it is only liable when a driver is logged into the company’s digital network. In all other cases, a driver’s insurance policy may be the only coverage applicable to an accident.
Uber requires drivers to be of the legal driving age and have a valid driver’s license, a four-door automobile, and at least one year of driving experience (or three years of experience if they are under 23 years of age). Uber also requires submission to criminal and driving background checks, as well as proof of insurance.
The victims of Uber crashes typically include other drivers and passengers in the vehicles involved. Some collisions can involve multiple cars.
In many cases, Uber will initially argue that the driver was not logged into the company network. In other cases, the company may try to claim that the driver was an “independent contractor,” and attempt to use that as an excuse to evade liability.
Uber may be more adversarial with claims filed by occupants of other motor vehicles, but the company may express a willingness to compensate its injured passengers. You should immediately question any settlement offer you might receive immediately after an Uber crash, as it is likely far short of what you are entitled to.
The nature of possible injuries people can suffer in an Uber crash is virtually limitless. Some of the most common injuries generally include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Internal organ injuries
- Neck injuries
- Nerve damage
- Muscle strains
Under South Carolina Code § 15-3-530, a person has three years to file an Uber injury lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits are also subject to a three-year statute of limitations, but the cause of action is the date of a person’s death instead of the date of the accident.
Uber Insurance Policy
When a driver is logged onto the digital network of a TNC and is available to receive requests but is not engaged in a prearranged ride, the Transportation Network Company Act requires minimum primary auto liability insurance of $50,000 for bodily injury per person, $150,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. When a driver is engaged in a prearranged ride, the required insurance is a minimum of $1 million.
Uber and many other TNCs operate under the following insurance systems, based on a driver’s status:
- Not Logged Into Digital Network — Any damages in an accident are covered by the Uber driver’s personal automobile insurance policy.
- Logged Into Network, But No Passenger Requests — Uber provides excess coverage for any damages exceeding the driver’s personal limits. Uber offers $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.
- Picking Up or Transporting Passenger — Uber has a $1 million liability and $1 million uninsured policy when drivers are actively involved in transportation services.
The specific causes of Uber accidents can play essential roles in possible company liability as well. Uber may try to claim that a driver who was operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol was violating a company policy. Some of the other possible causes of Uber accidents could include reckless driving, distracted driving, driver fatigue, or violations of other traffic laws.
Not all Uber accidents necessarily involve motor vehicle accidents. In April 2018, CNN reported that an investigation found 103 Uber drivers had been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers in the past four years.
The following month, Uber announced it was scrapping mandatory arbitration to settle sexual harassment or assault claims. In November 2018, Uber released a report outlining how it would categorize sexual misconduct, sexual assault, and rape claims against drivers in an attempt to be more transparent. An Uber spokesperson said the company had not yet concluded what information would be included in the report.
All people injured in an incident involving an Uber driver will want to make sure they have legal representation. A lawyer will be able to help you navigate the various issues that arise in resolving these claims.
Steps to Take After an Uber Accident
After any crash involving an Uber driver, you should always get prompt medical attention. Medical care is extremely important if you suffered injuries that involve delayed symptoms.
Always contact the authorities. You will want a police report later, and the officer will also perform an initial investigation of your case. This can be helpful when the officer concludes the Uber driver was at fault, though it is important to remember that the police do not have the final say on civil liability for a crash.
You should obtain an Uber driver’s information such as their driver’s license number and insurance information. Police officers should be able to assist you if an Uber driver objects to your request for any reason. If other people saw your accident, try to ask for their names and phone numbers as well.
Another extremely valuable step that victims can take is to photograph the crash scene. Use your cell phone to take multiple pictures of all aspects of the accident from various distances and angles.
Uber instructs people who have been involved in an accident to check on the safety of all parties and notify the police and paramedics as needed. The company then says you should contact them. You may want to avoid contacting Uber until you have a lawyer.
How Our Law Firm Can Help After an Uber Accident
Stewart Law Offices is prepared to immediately launch an independent investigation of your Uber crash to collect evidence quickly. Our firm can gain access to essential company records when there are disputes about whether a driver was on the clock.
Our lawyers are familiar with the tactics that rideshare companies attempt to use when they face accident claims. Stewart Law Offices is ready to fight to help you pursue all of the compensation you are entitled to.
If you sustained catastrophic injuries or your loved was one killed in an Uber crash in South Carolina, do not try to handle your injury claim on your own. Get help from an attorney who has experience with complex car accident claims.
Stewart Law Offices has office locations in Columbia, Spartanburg, Beaufort, and Rock Hill in South Carolina, as well a North Carolina office in Charlotte. You can have our South Carolina car accident lawyer your case when you call us or contact us online to receive a free consultation.