Rideshare Accident Lawyer
Since the advent of ridesharing apps like Uber or Lyft, transportation has become much more convenient for travelers who don’t own cars, live in places with no public transit, or simply don’t want to drive. However, ridesharing apps are not perfect. Like in any other vehicle, there is always a chance of getting into an accident while ridesharing.
A rideshare accident may be more complicated than a regular car accident. First of all, who would be liable for your injuries? The rideshare driver or the company? Moreover, how would you know if the driver was on duty at the time of the accident? Who would pay for your damages if a driver is off duty?
Questions like these may arise when you get into a rideshare accident, and they can be challenging to answer without legal help. To ensure you get proper compensation for your damages, having an experienced rideshare accident attorney is a must.
Call the rideshare accident lawyers at Injury Lawyers Team, sponsored by Rosenfeld Law Offices, to schedule a free consultation today. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
What is Ridesharing?
Ridesharing is a transportation service that allows passengers to book rides through an online application. Fares are pre-determined and can be paid through cash or online payment channels. Compared to taxis, booking a ride through a ridesharing app may be cheaper, more convenient, and accessible.
Although dozens of ridesharing companies have emerged in recent years, the two most popular ridesharing services in the US are Uber and Lyft.
Are Rideshare Drivers Trained?
Many rideshare drivers undergo training before they are allowed to drive under a rideshare company. For Uber, drivers must undergo background checks and drug tests, a training program on how to use the app and navigation systems, and a training course on sexual harassment.
On the other hand, aspiring Lyft drivers must complete a mandatory safety training program, pass a background and DMV check, and undergo Lyft’s community safety education program.
Despite these precautionary measures, however, rideshare accidents still occur. Unfortunately, most are caused by negligence.
What Are the Requirements For Ridesharing Drivers?
Rideshare companies have minimum standards to ensure their customers’ safety and security. For instance, Uber and Lyft require that their drivers:
- Meet the minimum age requirement
- Have a valid driver’s license and proof of residency in your city and state
- Have at least one year of licensed driving experience
- Have proof of car insurance
- Pass background checks and safety screenings
- Have a smartphone to use the app
Additionally, Uber and Lyft require that ridesharing vehicles are four-door vehicles in good condition and less than 10-15 years old. Some states have specific rules on which vehicles are acceptable for ridesharing use.
Why Do Rideshare Accidents Occur?
The common causes of rideshare accidents are similar to those involving regular cars, such as:
- Distracted Driving: Rideshare drivers have to use their smartphones to book rides, navigate routes, and track their time on duty. This constants smartphone usage creates a distracting environment for drivers, increasing the risk of an accident. Other behaviors, such as texting, eating, and grooming while driving, are common causes of distracted driving.
- Intoxicated Driving: Drugs and alcohol impair a driver’s concentration, coordination, judgment, and reaction time. An intoxicated rideshare driver is less likely to obey traffic laws, behave appropriately with passengers, and react to dangerous situations before it’s too late.
- Aggressive Driving: Driving behaviors such as speeding, tailgating, and running red lights increase the risk of car accidents. Hence, apps like Uber and Lyft allow passengers to rate drivers to prevent this dangerous behavior.
- Poor Road Conditions: Lack of safety features, inclement weather, and poor road planning create dangerous road conditions that may cause an accident.
- Lack of Vehicle Maintenance: Defective parts in a car, such as faulty airbags or balding tires, can increase the risk of an accident. Unfortunately, drivers under rideshare companies are independent contractors responsible for maintaining their personal vehicles. Some do not have the resources to fix their cars, increasing the risk to passengers and themselves.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Rideshare accident victims may suffer the following injuries:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord trauma
- Cuts and bruises
- Soft tissue injuries
Who is Liable For a Rideshare Accident?
Rideshare drivers have varying insurance coverage depending on their status during the accident. You may be dealing with multiple insurance companies if you are injured in a ride-sharing vehicle accident.
Depending on the case’s circumstances, you could recover compensation from one or more insurance companies. Different scenarios may include:
- The driver is off-duty. A rideshare driver is considered “off-duty” if they are not accepting passengers. Their company’s insurance may not be liable for paying for damages if the accident occurs while the driver is off-duty. In this scenario, you may only be able to file a claim against the driver’s personal insurance.
- The driver is in-between passengers. You might be able to file a claim against the driver’s personal auto insurance policy and the rideshare company if the accident occurred when the driver is technically on the clock but is in between passengers. This scenario typically occurs when the driver has just dropped someone off or is on the way to pick up a passenger.
- The driver is carrying a passenger. The rideshare company’s insurance might be liable for your damages if the accident occurred while you were in the vehicle. This rule applies if the driver hits your car while carrying a passenger.
On top of personal car insurance, some drivers purchase separate rideshare insurance coverage. A driver may be able to use this personal rideshare insurance coverage to pay for your injuries.
These policy rules apply to passengers inside and outside the vehicle during the accident. If you were not a rideshare passenger, it might be impossible to determine the driver’s status during the accident.
In this case, a Lyft or Uber accident attorney will help you recover compensation by filing against the driver’s personal insurance and the rideshare company.
What to Do if You Get in a Car Accident Involving a Rideshare Vehicle
Whether you are a passenger or another driver, there are specific steps you should take if you are involved in a rideshare accident, which are:
- Call Emergency Services. Call an ambulance to the accident scene to ensure that anyone injured will receive prompt treatment. The police will also arrive to document the incident.
- Document The Scene. Unless you have to go to the hospital for immediate treatment, take photos and videos at the scene. Write down as many details as you can remember, including how fast you were going, the direction the other driver was traveling, and the time and date the accident occurred. Also, determine the driver’s status (carrying a passenger, off-duty, or between passengers).
- Get Everyone’s Contact Information. Gather the contact information of everyone involved in the accident, including the other driver and any passengers present.
- Seek Medical Treatment. See a doctor even if your injuries seem minor. Some injuries take days or even weeks to manifest into physical symptoms. You must get treatment for any underlying injuries and have a record of them to use in your personal injury case.
- Report the Incident to Uber or Lyft. File a report on the ridesharing app if you were injured in an accident as a rideshare passenger. Reporting the car accident to the company may lead to a representative reaching out to you.
Filing a Rideshare Accident Claim
A rideshare accident can be challenging to navigate because you might deal with more than one insurance company. Also, just like any other car accident, proving negligence in a rideshare accident can be tedious.
Due to these difficulties, you must have a personal injury attorney to handle your ridesharing accident case.
The Role of Your Rideshare Accident Attorney
Your rideshare accident attorney will help you:
- Determine how and why the accident occurred
- Establish the liability of the at-fault driver
- Determine the extent of your damages
- Estimate the value of your settlement
- Identify the insurance companies liable for your injuries
- Gather evidence to support your rideshare accident claim
- File your claim against responsible parties
- File your claim in civil court, if necessary
Rideshare companies provide liability insurance coverage to drivers depending on their status during the accident. Generally, if the driver is off the clock, you may have to seek compensation from the driver’s personal insurance policy.
On the other hand, the rideshare company’s liability insurance and the driver’s personal auto insurance may be liable if the driver is on-duty. Unlike taxi drivers, ridesharing drivers can choose when they are active. A driver is considered on the clock when they are:
- Transporting a passenger
- Logged into the app and waiting for a ride request
- On their way to pick up a passenger
You could also file a claim with your car insurance company if you are partially to blame for the accident. However, do not admit fault or sign any document without consulting a personal injury lawyer.
As you can see, you may be dealing with multiple insurance carriers if you are involved in a Lyft or Uber rideshare accident. For this reason, you must have a rideshare accident attorney to determine who should be held responsible for your damages.
Substantial evidence is the key to building a solid rideshare accident claim. Your attorney will help you gather relevant forms of proof, such as:
- Photos of your injuries
- Medical records
- Screenshots of the rideshare details
- Pictures of the accident scene
- Surveillance footage, if available
- Photos of car damage
- Witness testimonies from other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians
- Expert testimony
Compensation For an Uber or Lyft Accident
By filing a personal injury claim against at-fault parties, you could recover financial compensation for:
- Medical Bills: Compensation for medical treatment costs, including hospitalization, surgery, therapy, medication, and emergency transportation. You may also be entitled to compensation for future medical expenses if your injuries are expected to be long-term.
- Disability: Compensation for disability-related damages, such as reduced earning potential, mobility aids, and rehabilitation, if you become permanently disabled from the accident.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical and non-physical injuries, including physical pain, mental trauma, emotional anguish, etc.
- Loss of Quality of Life: Compensation for your reduced quality of life following the accident.
- Lost Wages: Compensation for wages, income, and benefits you have lost while recovering from your injuries.
- Property Damage: Compensation for repairing or replacing personal belongings lost or damaged in the ridesharing accident.
- Wrongful Death: Compensation for death-related damages if your loved one dies in the accident, including funeral and burial costs, pre-death medical bills, grief therapy, etc.
Your Uber or Lyft accident attorney will estimate the potential value of your settlement during your free consultation. This estimation will help ensure you receive fair compensation for your damages.
After filing a personal injury claim against the liable party’s insurance company, you may receive a settlement offer. At this point, you have two choices:
- Accept the offer or;
- Have your rideshare accident lawyer negotiate for a better settlement value.
Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft will not offer you maximum compensation, so tread carefully. You can no longer sue for additional damages when you accept the settlement offer. Consult a rideshare accident attorney if you are unsure if the offer is enough to cover your losses.
Other Legal Options
Car accident cases don’t always settle out of court. You may have to pursue other legal options if:
- The insurance company refuses to make a better offer or;
- The Uber or Lyft driver denies responsibility for the accident or;
- The rideshare company denies liability for the accident.
Your Lyft or Uber accident lawyer could help you file a personal injury lawsuit if any of these scenarios happen. During litigation, a judge or jury will determine if the Lyft or Uber driver is responsible for the accident and identify who should pay for your damages.
Your rideshare accident lawyer will serve as your legal representation throughout the process.
However, not all personal injury cases are destined for court. To avoid litigation, your attorney could help you pursue other dispute resolution methods, such as arbitration or mediation, which are less expensive and time-consuming than a trial.
How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?
Insurance companies may or may not have specific deadlines for filing a claim. Some companies require claimants to file within 30 or 60 days. Others give more leeway or don’t impose deadlines as long as you file a claim within a “reasonable amount of time.” In any case, you must file your claim as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline and losing critical evidence.
If you have to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation, you must follow your state’s statute of limitations on personal injury cases. Deadlines vary from state to state, but they are generally strictly imposed. The court may refuse to hear your case or dismiss it if you file it outside the statute of limitations.
How to Stay Safe When Using Rideshare Services
When you get into an Uber or Lyft, the driver is ultimately responsible for your safety. Nevertheless, you can help prevent getting into an accident by following these safety tips:
- Don’t Be a Distraction. Avoid shouting, moving, or doing anything that will distract the driver. Regular conversations are acceptable but try not to take away too much of your driver’s attention from the road.
- Check Out the Driver’s Profile. Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft allow you to check driver profiles before booking a ride. Choose a driver with good reviews.
- Get Out at the First Sign of Trouble. If you get into a rideshare vehicle and notice red flags (e.g., the car smells like alcohol, the driver looks sleepy), don’t hesitate to cancel the ride. The minor inconvenience is worth staying safe.
- Buckle Up. Wear your seatbelt whenever you get into an Uber or Lyft, especially if you are in the front seat. While it may not necessarily prevent a rideshare accident, it can help reduce the risk of injury and death if it does happen.
- Report Bad Drivers. Report negative incidents to Uber or Lyft, such as when drivers violate traffic laws or behave inappropriately with you. Reporting bad drivers will help protect other passengers from potential accidents and other negative experiences.
Discuss Your Case With a Rideshare Accident Lawyer Today
Rideshare services are convenient, but ridesharing is not 100% safe
Motor vehicle accidents involving ridesharing drivers are often complicated. First, there is the problem of whose insurance coverage should pay for the damages. Second, determining the status of a ridesharing driver is challenging unless you were in the car with them at the time of the accident.
Were you injured in an accident involving a rideshare vehicle? Did someone else’s negligence cause the accident? If so, you need a skilled personal injury attorney to help you with your case.
The rideshare accident attorneys at Injury Lawyers Team have the skills and experience to navigate these complexities. With the help of our personal injury lawyers, you could receive maximum compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other losses.
Call our Uber or Lyft accident attorneys today for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
Our rideshare accident attorneys handle all accepted cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay for our legal services unless we win your case.