The popular ridesharing service Uber may have been born in San Francisco but it has really taken off in bigger cities like Los Angeles. However, as the number of ridesharing drivers increases in our cities, so do the likelihood of an Uber accident in Los Angeles. As an experienced Uber accident attorney in LA, I’ve seen injury victims struggle for months trying to get compensation from Uber drivers and their insurance companies after an Uber accident in Los Angeles that causes serious injuries. The way these innocent people are treated is simply not fair.
But, unfortunately, that’s Uber for you.
Traditionally, if a victim was involved in an accident while riding in a cab, the cabbie or the cab company would be held legally responsible (thus financially liable) for any injuries. However, Uber has gone out of its way to limit its own liability and does not consider drivers employees. Getting a fair settlement after an Uber accident in Los Angeles can be much more difficult than a regular car accident.
Los Angeles Uber Accidents
Understanding Los Angeles Uber Accidents
An Uber accident in Los Angeles, when you look at the circumstances of the collision, isn’t really much different than any other car crash. These accidents are caused by the same things, involve the same types of injuries, and cause similar types of physical and emotional damage. The major difference is that the Uber driver is often responsible for the crash, not the victim.
Top Causes of Uber Accidents in Los Angeles
Speed is the number one contributing factor to the majority of car accidents in Los Angeles. Even travelling five or ten miles over the posted limit drastically reduces a driver’s response time and ability to control their vehicle. Speed also greatly increases a victim’s risk of serious or life-threatening injuries.
Because ride share drivers make more when they pick up more fares, they literally have a financial incentive to put their own passengers – and pedestrians or motorists on the road around them - at unnecessary risk. They often rush, push the limit, and break the law—thus we have seen an increase in speed-related to almost every Uber accident in Los Angeles.
Failure to Stop
Related to speed, and not wanting to miss out on fares, failure to come to a complete stop at signs and signals is also a leading cause of the typical Uber accident in Los Angeles. Drivers in a hurry have a tendency to “bend the rules” when it comes to stop signs, slowing or yielding rather than coming to a full stop. Unfortunately, doing so can dramatically increase the risk of a crash—especially deadly “T-Bone” crashes that place passengers right in the path of oncoming traffic.
Everyone knows that when you’re behind the wheel you need to be alert, awake, and ready to respond to changing road conditions and traffic patterns in a moment’s notice. When you’re tired, you simply can’t do that. Your body’s reaction time is slowed as is your mind’s ability to process the information it’s receiving.
The Uber driver platform makes it easy for drivers to work whenever they want for however long they want. This can lead to drivers working when they are sleepy, exhausted or overworked. Uber driver fatigue is very common. Many Uber drivers have been found at fault where fatigue was a major factor in their Uber accident. These drivers often report being overworked, driving for hours without sleep or even a break, and simply failing to see the danger into which they were driving. You do not want to be in a car with a fatigued Uber driver.
I have put in 2 12 hour Saturdays. Definitely the best day to do it in my opinion. Sometimes the demand is there and its hard to stop. You think you will stop hours before but a couple fun customers and teases of surge keep you driving until your rump is sore.
It takes more hours in L.A. to make what we did even 4 months ago.I will do 12-16 hours on friday and Saturday to make what I used to in 9.My weekly total number of hours is usually right at 40. Longest was 18 hours, 10am Sat to 4am Sun a few weeks ago.
Do Rideshare Companies Do Anything to Limit Driver Fatigue?
Even in jurisdictions like New York where Uber drivers are limited to logging 10 hours a day of passenger time, driver fatigue is rampant. (It should be noted that Lyft “limits” its drivers in most jurisdictions to a mere 14 hours in driver mode, requiring 6 hour break in between every 14 hour shift of driver mode.) Passenger time for Uber is when a passenger is in their Uber vehicle. It does not include the hours where drivers may be looking for or waiting for users to make trip requests, the time spent driving to pick up passengers, or any time they wait for riders to get to in their vehicle. So,essentially, an Uber driver could be in their car for much longer than 10 hours before hitting this 10 hour limit.
Does Uber Encourage Rider Fatigue?
An Uber accident in Los Angeles related to fatigue is way more likely than with a traditional taxi situation where cab drivers had limited work hours. This isn’t the hard-working Uber drivers’ fault. Who can resist when Uber turns on surge pricing and offers various financial incentives to keep drivers on the road longer. (e.g. “Quest” by Uber are money bonuses given to drivers for completing a certain number of rides in a given time frame.)
Most Uber Drivers Are in Unfamiliar Territory
It’s just so easy to spot an Uber or Lyft vehicle in Los Angeles. And I’m not talking about the black “U” or pink Lyft stickers in the windows. I’m talking about how poorly the car is being driven. The majority of Lyft or Uber drivers are not residents of Los Angeles. A lot of them come in from the suburbs to make “the big bucks” in the big city. These drivers are not familiar with the LA area, its streets or the traffic. This causes them to drive really slowly, or too fast, make last-second turns (without turn signals of course), stop in the middle of the street for no apparent reason (usually to pick up a passenger) and make other “rookie” driving mistakes.
It’s all about the App
On top of all that, the ride share driver’s focus isn’t usually on the road around them, it’s on their phone – either they are fiddling with the Uber or Lyft app, or they are staring at their GPS – part of the app - trying to find their next passenger or drop-off point. This is a dangerous combination for passengers, pedestrians and other motorists. It’s almost as if the driving part is an after-thought. It’s all about the App (ok, great… now I’m humming “All about the Bass.”) – this terrible app-focused mindset is what leads to Uber accident after Uber accident in Los Angeles.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
The rideshare drivers aren’t the only ones who get overworked. The long hours on the road take their toll on the Uber and Lyft drivers’ cars too. Most traditional taxicabs are owned by the cab company and maintained by a company mechanic. They also must be regularly inspected and licensed to be on the road. Ridesharing cars are simply a private citizen’s every day transportation. They are only required to pass annual state inspections—everything else is up to the owner.
Sadly, frequently in an Uber accident in Los Angeles, there is some inability or unwillingness on the part of the driver to maintain their car in a safe and professional manner. Brake and tire wear can turn a relatively safe vehicle into a ticking time bomb. Even something as simple as not swapping wiper blades when they’re warn can reduce visibility and increase the risk of an Uber accident in a rain storm.
Common Injuries after an Uber or Lyft Accident
We’ve taken a look at the many factors that cause Uber accidents in Los Angeles and have seen they are very similar to other types of crashes. But the types of injuries that most victims suffer in these accidents can be very different.
Head and Neck Injuries
Uber passengers typically ride in the back seat. In this position, a victim’s head will likely shift violently forward or to the side in a crash and may even strike the rear of the front seat or window. This impact can cause head trauma, facial injuries, even concussion and traumatic brain injuries—which can have lasting lifelong effects.
Knee and Lower Limb Injuries
Something we don’t often see in normal car accident cases, but frequently with our Uber accident clients are leg injuries. If the leg comes into contact with the rear of the front seat the impact can cause irreparable damage to the delicate joints in the lower limbs. Knee trauma is a common injury seen by ER crews treating victims of an Uber accident in Los Angeles and may require multiple surgeries to correct or can leave victims with lasting leg pain and reduced mobility for life.
Hand and Wrist Injuries
If the passenger sees an accident about to happen, their normal response is to throw their hands out to protect themselves. Unfortunately, physics is not your friend when you’re involved in a car crash. Your body weighs too much (and is travelling too fast) for you to stop yourself with your hands. These types of crashes can cause broken fingers, disjointed wrists, torn ligaments, and fractured arms—any of which could require seeing a special type of surgeon to repair the damage. In my 20 years of practice as a personal injury attorney, I can attest that hand and wrist injuries can be some of the most complicated to treat and heal. They are very common in Uber accident cases, and we are seeing a rise of these in our practice.
Protecting Yourself after an Uber Accident in Los Angeles
After an Uber accident in Los Angeles the insurance company is not on your side. You need an experienced Uber accident attorney to fight for you and get the significant settlement you’re entitled to. You may even need to take your case to court if the at fault parties push back hard enough.