With a tap on a screen, Duluth residents and visitors can summon an Uber to take them wherever they want to go around the Twin Ports. Uber rides ferry them to and from Duluth International Airport, home from a night out in Canal Park, and over to campus to watch the puck drop at a UMD game. It’s easy, convenient, and affordable.
Unfortunately, an Uber ride—like any trip in a motor vehicle—can also end in an accident. Victims of those accidents deserve compensation for the injuries and losses they suffer. In Duluth, Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers can help them get it.
If an Uber accident in Duluth caused serious injuries for you or a loved one, contact us online or call our Duluth Uber accident lawyers for your free legal consultation.
About Our Team
Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers is an award-winning team of personal injury attorneys who represent clients in Duluth and throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. For nearly 15 years, we have devoted our careers to making sure that victims of preventable accidents and incidents receive compensation to help them heal from their injuries and rebuild their lives.
We have an impressive track record of success, having secured over $38 million in judgments, jury verdicts, and settlement payments for our clients since we opened our doors. Just as importantly, we’ve achieved those results by focusing on our clients’ unique, individual needs and priorities, and by committing to the communities we serve.
How Uber Accidents Happen in Duluth
An accident involving an Uber ride in Duluth can happen more or less the same way that any other crash can occur. However, some circumstances may contribute disproportionately to these accidents, due to how people use Uber, and how Uber drivers operate.
Uber is a popular, and responsible, option for riders who anticipate that they will drink during an evening out in Duluth. Using Uber to avoid driving after consuming alcohol, however, still comes with the risk of encountering other drivers who did not make the same choice to stay safe.
Uber drivers themselves may use alcohol. More commonly, however, an Uber accident involving alcohol can occur simply because many Uber rides happen during the peak hours for encountering a drunk driver.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that anything that takes your attention from the road constitutes a dangerous distraction to avoid while driving. Uber drivers, unfortunately, face challenges in the distraction department.
Driving for Uber means, first, using a screen-based app to connect with riders. Many drivers use those apps while their vehicle is in motion, putting themselves and others at risk by focusing their attention on the app, instead of on the road.
Also, once connected with a ride request, an Uber drive needs to find the rider. Oftentimes, that means paying more attention to people standing on sidewalks or road shoulders, rather than on the road ahead.
Finally, Uber passengers themselves can become dangerous distractions for drivers, particularly when a ride involves taking someone home from a night out in Duluth that involves drinking. A loud or unruly Uber passenger can increase the risk of the Uber car getting into an accident.
Speeding and Other Aggressive Driving
Uber drivers have a built-in incentive to speed and drive aggressively: the faster they can get to a rider and complete a trip, the sooner they can take a new ride request, and the more money they can make. Unfortunately, these dangerous driving behaviors increase the risk of deadly accidents.
Uber’s rating system for its drivers can curtail some of their worst impulses, since drivers risk losing their Uber gig if they frighten riders with their aggressive driving on Duluth roads. However, riders usually only rate the ride itself, which does not account for how dangerously the driver operates when heading to a meet-up with a rider, or when searching for a new ride request. In fact, Uber drivers may have a strong reason to drive aggressively before picking up their assigned riders, because riders can cancel a trip if they must wait too long for the driver to arrive.
Driving while excessively tired is as dangerous as driving drunk and contributes to the cause of numerous traffic accidents, according to research reviewed by The Sleep Foundation and the Minnesota Safety Council.
As a group, Uber drivers tick many of the boxes for drivers at the highest risk for drowsy driving. They drive long hours without breaks. They frequently drive at night, often after working a full day at another job. They may drive alone for a substantial portion of a shift.
Common Uber Accident Injuries
A Duluth Uber accident can result in serious injuries for Uber drivers, their passengers, drivers and passengers in other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists.
Common injuries for which the team at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers can help victims recover compensation include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI), in which a blow, jolt, or penetrating wound causes an injury to the brain that disrupts normal brain function. A TBI can lead to lasting cognitive, motor, and emotional impairments.
- Spinal cord injury (SCI), in which communication between the brain and body is interrupted, leading to loss of sensation and movement (paralysis) below the location of the injury on the cord.
- Complex and/or multiple fractures, which can require surgeries, extensive physical therapy, and long recovery times to heal, and which may yet leave victims disabled and unable to return to work or other daily activities.
- Soft tissue and orthopedic injuries, which may heal in time with proper care, but can leave victims battling chronic pain and can limit their mobility and productivity.
- Organ damage, which may have a profound impact on the victim’s day-to-day life and lead to long-term health complications.
These are just a few examples of the types of injuries a Duluth Uber accident victim might suffer. No matter what kind of injury results from a motor vehicle accident involving an Uber ride, the team at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers can help victims secure the compensation they deserve.
Why Uber Accidents Are Different
Up to this point, you may think that an Uber accident doesn’t seem much different from any other traffic accident. To some extent, that’s true. Uber accidents are, after all, car accidents, and their causes and outcomes do not differ all that much from any other crash.
However, the fact that an accident involves an Uber ride can have a substantial effect on a crash victim’s rights. That’s why lawyers like the team at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers focus on them as a separate accident class.
Simply put: getting into an accident involving an Uber car, no matter if you are the Uber driver, the Uber passenger, a driver or passenger of another vehicle, a cyclist, or a pedestrian, means potentially having the ability to seek compensation from a large, supplemental insurance policy that Uber provides to its drivers. Here’s how it works.
By law in Minnesota, an Uber driver must carry the following insurance in addition to his or her own auto liability insurance coverage:
For periods when logged-in to the Uber app and searching for a ride request: No less than $50,000 coverage against death or bodily injury to one person in any accident; $100,000 against of death or bodily injury to two or more persons in any accident; and $30,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.
For periods when the driver is engaged in a ride: No less than $1,500,000 for death, injury, or destruction of property of others.
These coverages are far higher than the minimum insurance coverage Minnesota requires all licensed drivers in the state to carry. They cover anyone injured in an accident with an Uber driver, not just Uber passengers.
The fact that the higher-value Uber insurance only applies during periods when the Uber driver is engaged in Uber-related activities, however, makes determining the driver’s status at the time of a crash extremely important. That status could, quite literally, mean the difference between securing full payment for accident injuries, or only partial payment.
For that reason, it is important to hire an attorney who is well-versed in Uber accident cases, like a member of the team at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, to represent you after you get hurt in an Uber accident in Duluth.
Frequently Asked Questions About Duluth Uber Accidents
How do I know if I can get coverage under the extra Uber insurance?
You may need to take quick action to secure evidence of the Uber driver’s status at the time of the accident. The skilled Uber accident lawyers at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers know where to find that evidence and the steps to take to secure it right away so that it does not go missing.
Do you represent Uber drivers who get hurt in accidents?
Yes, we do. Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers have the skill and resources to represent any victim of a Duluth motor vehicle accident, including an injured Uber driver. We strongly believe that anyone who gets hurt in a crash caused by someone else’s wrongful actions deserves to receive compensation for their injuries and losses.
Can I sue Uber, the company, for my injuries in Duluth?
It’s possible, depending on what happened. Under current law, the mere fact that your accident involved an Uber driver would usually not make Uber, the company, liable for your injuries and losses. However, if Uber itself made unreasonably dangerous decisions, or took unreasonably dangerous actions, that played a contributing role in causing the accident that injured you, then you may have a claim against Uber for damages. Speak with an experienced Uber accident attorney from Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers to explore your options.
Can I keep using Uber for rides while my case is still pending?
As a general matter, it should be ok for you to keep using Uber rides to get around Duluth while you have a claim pending against Uber’s supplemental insurance for your injuries and losses. Taking an Uber ride should not affect your rights as an accident victim.
However, the unique facts of certain Duluth Uber accident cases might make it wiser for you to explore your transportation alternatives for the time being. For example, if your claim alleged known safety lapses by Duluth Uber drivers as a group, then continuing to use Uber might undermine your arguments.
Ask one of our lawyers about whether the nature of your Duluth Uber accident case makes it preferable to turn to other transportation options until your case resolves.
What damages would a Duluth Uber accident claim cover?
Under Minnesota law, you may have the right to claim compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including emergency care, hospital stays, rehabilitation, and medication;
- Other expenses you would not have had if you hadn’t gotten hurt in a Duluth Uber accident;
- Any income you lost, or may lose in the future, from missing work because of your injuries;
- Your pain, suffering, reduced quality of life, and harm to your personal relationships; and
- Punitive damages, if clear and convincing evidence shows that the party who caused the Uber accident acted with blatant disregard for your safety and wellbeing.
The potential amount of these damages depends on the nature and severity of your injuries, the strength of the case you have to make, the skill of the lawyer you choose to represent you, and the size of the financial resources available to pay damages to you (i.e., does Uber’s supplemental insurance cover your injuries?).
We Are Your Uber Accident Lawyers in Duluth
Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers fight to make sure victims of motor vehicle accidents involving Uber cars receive the full compensation they deserve. Contact us online or call our Duluth office at (218) 729-0628 to speak for free with a member of our team about your case.