GWC Injury Lawyers attorney Michael W. Kopsick recently obtained a $400,000.00 settlement for a pedestrian who sustained hip fractures when she was hit by an Uber driver.
Uber Driver Hits Teacher at Crosswalk
On November 1, 2016, Mr. Kopsick’s client, a 64-year-old teacher, was walking northbound across a major Chicago street within the crosswalk.
At that time, an Uber driver was approaching the street from the opposite direction. The Uber driver then made a sudden left-hand turn and hit Mr. Kopsick’s client, knocking her to the pavement.
Multiple Hip Fractures
As a result of this incident, Mr. Kopsick’s client was hospitalized with multiple hip fractures and internal bleeding. She needed crutches to walk and required months of physical therapy in order to recover from her injuries.
Mr. Kopsick’s client was unable to work while undergoing medical treatment, the cost for which was in excess of $95,000.00.
Was the Uber Driver on Duty?
“The key to getting my client the money that she deserved for her injuries,” said Mr. Kopsick, “was proving that the Uber driver was on duty when he hit her.”
Like other ridesharing services, Uber does not consider itself a traditional employer, and it insists that its drivers are independent contractors rather than traditional “employees.” Its drivers, as Uber and other ridesharing companies argue, can work as little or as often as they want to, have no direct supervisors to whom they report, do not receive benefits, and are not eligible for workers’ compensation. Even more importantly, the drivers use their own vehicles, which are required by law to be insured by their owners.
In the case of the Uber driver in question, he reportedly had state minimum insurance coverage on his vehicle, which would have severely limited the maximum amount of financial compensation that could be recovered for Mr. Kopsick’s client under most circumstances. Depending on what the Uber driver was doing at the time of the incident, however, there may have been significantly more funds available.
For ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft, a driver who does not have the company’s app turned on is not considered to be on duty, since he or she cannot receive potential fares. Therefore, only the driver’s own auto insurance would apply in the case of an accident. For Mr. Kopsick’s client, that would likely have capped the maximum financial recovery at $25,000.00, the current state minimum coverage available for a single injured person.
Alternatively, if the Uber driver had the company’s app turned on but had not accepted any fares at the time he struck Mr. Kopsick’s client, Uber would have classified him as being in Period 1. This status means that there could have been additional contingent insurance coverage available on top of the driver’s personal insurance. This contingent coverage would have been capped at $50,000.00, however, which would have still been inadequate compensation given the nature of the client’s injuries and the extent of her medical bills.
“If we could prove that the Uber driver had accepted a fare, though,” said Mr. Kopsick, “that would have been a much different story for my client.”
When an Uber driver is en route to pick up a fare that he or she has accepted – classified as Period 2 – or if that driver already has a paying passenger – classified as Period 3 – a large commercial policy could potentially be accessed in order to compensate somebody injured by the driver.
Fortunately, after investigating the matter, Mr. Kopsick was able to prove that the Uber driver was in the process of transporting a passenger for the company when he hit the pedestrian. He was therefore in Period 3, opening up the possibility for fairer financial compensation for Mr. Kopsick’s client.
Ultimately, thanks to his due diligence, Mr. Kopsick was able to settle the matter with Uber’s commercial insurance carrier for $400,000.00.
Illinois Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
As you may see, whether or not an auto accident involves an international ridesharing giant or simply an individual driver, it is essential to properly identify and pursue all possible avenues of recovery. Failure to do so could deny you the financial compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
For this reason, those who have been injured in an auto accident may find that they could benefit from the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney, like the Illinois pedestrian accident attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers, Illinois’ largest Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firm.
If you or a loved one has been injured, please contact GWC today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. Call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with one of our representatives.