Uber Fatal Car Accident Law Explained
Michigan’s Uber fatal car accident law allows dependents and/or family members who have lost a loved one in a crash to pursue the following types of claims after a deadly crash: (1) a claim for No-Fault survivor’s loss benefits; and (2) a claim for wrongful death damages against the at-fault Uber driver.
No-Fault benefits after an Uber fatal car accident
The dependents of a person who was killed in an automobile crash can seek No-Fault benefits after an Uber fatal car accident. These benefits are called “survivors loss benefits” and they provide dependents with the financial support their loved one would have provided had he or she not lost his or her life in the automobile crash.
To make a claim for survivors loss benefits, the dependents of the victim of the deadly crash must file an application for No-Fault benefits with the responsible auto insurance within ONE YEAR from the date of your crash. (MCL 500.3145(1)) Failure to file the No-Fault application on time – within one year from the date of the crash – will result in the victim’s dependents losing all of their legal rights to claim No-Fault survivor’s loss benefits.
The auto insurance company responsible for paying survivor’s loss benefits will depend on who the victim of the deadly Uber crash was:
- Uber driver – The claim for No-Fault survivor’s loss benefits will be filed with his or her auto insurance company.
- Uber passenger – The claim for No-Fault survivor’s loss benefits will be filed with the passenger’s insurer or the insurer of his or her spouse or a resident relative or with the auto insurance company that insurer the Uber vehicle.
- Other victims – Generally, the claim for No-Fault survivor’s loss benefits will be filed with the victim’s insurer or the insurer of his or her spouse or a resident relative or – if no coverage is available through any of those sources – with the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.
Wrongful death damages after an Uber fatal car accident
The dependents and family of a person who was killed in an Uber fatal car accident can sue the at-fault Uber driver for damages under the wrongful death act.
A wrongful death lawsuit must be brought by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. The damages for wrongful death after a deadly crash can include compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering, loss of financial support and loss of society and companionship.
If the at-fault Uber driver is determined to be an Uber employee, then Uber may be liable – along with the driver – under the “respondeat superior” doctrine which makes an employer liable for its employee’s negligence that occurs within the scope of the employee’s employment.
Liability insurance coverage after an Uber fatal car accident
Michigan law requires that all Uber drivers carry liability insurance with the following minimum limits to provide coverage after an Uber fatal car accident:
- On-duty liability coverage ($50,000/$100,000) – There must be liability coverage “in the amount of at least $50,000.00 per person for death or bodily injury” and “$100,000.00 per incident for death or bodily injury . . .” (MCL 257.2123(2)(a); 257.518b(1)(a)(i))
- Liability coverage while transporting passengers ($1 million) – There must be liability coverage “with a minimum combined single limit of $1,000,000.00 for all bodily injury or property damage.” (MCL 257.2123(3)(a); 257.518b(1)(b)(i))
This liability coverage may be provided by auto insurance liability policies maintained by the Uber driver, Uber or a combination of both. (MCL 257.2123(5) and (6))
Uber fatal car accident settlements
There are many factors that influence how much money can be recovered in an Uber fatal car accident settlement.
The lawyer that a victim’s dependents and family members choose to help them is one of the most important factors. Insurance companies use claims software to evaluate exposure and risk for automobile crashes. Having an experienced lawyer with an established history of successful settlements and trial verdicts can increase an automobile crash settlement by 3 to 4 times more.
The attorney whom you choose to hire matters.
The bottom line is that attorneys who are known for going to trial can settle cases for significantly more money and often much faster.
Protecting your rights
The first thing that dependents or family members of a deadly Uber crash victim should do to protect their rights after a deadly Uber crash is consult with an experienced lawyer.
Unfortunately, many claims adjusters either are not upfront with all the insurance benefits that the family is entitled to under the No-Fault law, or the calculations are wrong, or the survivor’s loss benefits do not include everything a family is allowed, such as funeral and burial expenses, replacement services, social security benefits, disability benefits, and pension compensation.
Grieving family members must be very careful when directly contacted by an insurance company after a deadly Uber crash. In states like Michigan that do not have bad faith laws, these family members can be easily taken advantage of by misrepresentations made by an insurance company for an at-fault negligent Uber driver.
One common example is when a representative or claims adjuster either deliberately or negligently fails to disclose additional policy limits or assets of the at-fault Uber driver – or other responsible parties – that would have been applicable to a settlement.
Similarly, an insurance claims adjuster or representative for an at-fault Uber driver has no duty to warn family members of the deceased that by accepting a settlement offer they will be violating contractual policy language and voiding the family’s right to collect underinsured motorist coverage.
Need help? Call Michigan Auto Law For A Free Consultation
If you have tragically lost a loved one in an Uber fatal car accident and would like to speak with an experienced attorney, call toll free anytime 24/7 at (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our injury lawyers. You can also get help from an experienced accident attorney by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website.