If you suffered injuries in an Uber or Lyft accident, you might be considering the possibility of a lawsuit. But pursuing this type of case is tricky. It involves understanding complex laws and dealing with big companies. Fortunately, a knowledgeable rideshare accident attorney can help.
Understanding Ridesharing Services
Ridesharing services are modern transportation solutions that connect passengers with drivers through a digital platform, typically a mobile application. These services have revolutionized urban transportation by offering an accessible, user-friendly alternative to traditional taxi services.
Users can quickly request a ride with their smartphones, and nearby drivers respond to these requests.
Uber, which began operating in San Francisco in 2010, is a pioneer and a dominant player in the ridesharing industry. It’s not just a car ride service. Uber has expanded its offerings to include food delivery with Uber Eats and freight transportation through Uber Freight.
Lyft, which started operations in 2012, is another major player in the ridesharing market. Like Uber, Lyft offers a range of ride options, from shared rides to more luxurious options. The company’s app shares many of the same features as Uber’s, such as fare estimation and ride tracking.
These services’ flexibility and ease of use have made them popular among a wide range of users, from young adults to business professionals. Additionally, rideshare services allow individuals to earn income as drivers with flexible schedules.
As a result, ridesharing services have changed how people travel in cities and introduced new risks for American road users.
Do Uber and Lyft Increase Accident Risk?
Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have significantly changed road traffic use throughout the U.S. in little more than a decade.
Since Uber started in 2010, these companies have seen massive growth. For instance, Uber facilitated 1.9 billion rides in one quarter of 2019 alone, and Lyft provides over a million trips daily.
Even though they make up a small portion of road use in the U.S., rideshare trips account for up to 13 percent of vehicle miles traveled in some cities.
Uber, Lyft, and ridesharing companies insist they make our roads safer by providing convenient alternatives to drunk driving and public transportation.
Unfortunately, recent research suggests ridesharing could lead to more traffic accidents. This increase comes from having more cars on the road at any given time, including ride-hailing vehicles traveling without passengers half of the time.
More cars mean a higher risk of crashes, injuries, and deaths. Ride-hailing cars are often newer with better safety features, but their frequent use means more wear and tear, which increases crash risk. Also, ride-hailing drivers are often younger males with less driving experience, which makes them more likely to cause accidents.
Factors like driver distraction and fatigue can also contribute to rideshare accidents. Many Uber and Lyft drivers watch their rideshare apps and navigation systems constantly, which reduces their attention on the road.
And because rideshare drivers are independent contractors, many work exhausting hours at unusual times to increase their earnings, increasing drowsy driving crash risk.
One University of Chicago study links the introduction of ridesharing services with increased traffic deaths. Since these services started over a decade ago, there has been a three percent yearly rise in crash deaths or 987 additional deaths annually.
How Do Liability and Insurance Work After an Uber or Lyft Accident?
Understanding liability and insurance coverage after an Uber or Lyft accident requires knowing the specific phase of the rideshare trip during which the accident occurred. Rideshare companies have unique insurance policies that activate based on the driver’s status in the ridesharing app at the time of the crash.
In some states, the requirements for rideshare company insurance are higher or have additional stipulations. In an Uber or Lyft accident, a lawyer can handle these complex insurance scenarios and determine the appropriate course of action based on the applicable state laws.
When the Driver Is Not Logged Into the App
In this phase, the driver is operating their vehicle for personal use, not as a part of the rideshare service. Therefore, any accident that occurs during this time falls under the driver’s personal car insurance policy.
Uber and Lyft do not provide any insurance coverage in this situation. As a result, the coverage limits will depend on the driver’s personal liability policy.
When the Driver Has Logged in but Hasn’t Accepted a Ride
If a driver logs into the Uber or Lyft app but hasn’t yet accepted a ride request, the rideshare companies provide limited liability coverage. This coverage acts as a backup to the driver’s personal insurance.
If the driver’s personal insurance doesn’t apply or is insufficient, Uber and Lyft offer coverage that typically includes liability for bodily injury and property damage. These limits can vary by state but usually include up to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for injuries, and $25,000 per accident for property damage.
When the Driver Has Accepted a Ride or During a Trip
From the moment a driver accepts a ride request until the trip concludes in the app, both Uber and Lyft provide their highest levels of insurance coverage.
This includes a $1 million per-accident liability coverage policy covering bodily injuries and property damage. This $1 million coverage is a legal requirement for ridesharing companies in many states.
Additionally, this phase includes uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. These types of insurance kick in when another driver is at fault for the accident but lacks adequate insurance.
Additional Coverage for Passengers
Rideshare companies’ liability insurance policies protect passengers in Uber or Lyft vehicles during their rides.
If a passenger suffers harm in an accident, they can file a claim against the rideshare company’s insurance. This coverage is part of the $1 million policy active during the ride.
Filing a Lawsuit After an Uber or Lyft Accident
If you get into an accident involving an Uber or Lyft and can’t get fair compensation from an insurance claim, you might need to file a lawsuit. This process can seem daunting, but a lawyer can guide you and help you get the compensation you deserve.
First, your lawyer will review your case and insurance claim details to see if you have a strong case for a lawsuit. They’ll gather evidence, like the accident report, witness statements, and medical records. This evidence shows how the accident happened and how it affected you.
Next, your lawyer will figure out who to sue. It might be the rideshare driver, another driver in the accident, or a third party like a vehicle manufacturer. Each case differs, so your lawyer will identify the best strategy for you.
Then, your lawyer will handle all the legal paperwork and court filings. They know the legal process well and can navigate the court system effectively. This takes the burden off you and lets you focus on recovering from the accident.
Your lawyer will also negotiate with the other party. They’ll talk to the other side’s insurance companies and lawyers to demand a fair settlement for you. They can take your case to trial if they can’t reach a suitable settlement.
Uber and Lyft accident attorneys understand the law and how to argue your case. They also know the tactics insurance companies use and how to deal with them. A good lawyer can make a big difference in getting fair compensation after an Uber or Lyft accident.
How Do You Prove an Uber or Lyft Accident Claim?
Lawyers who work on Uber and Lyft accident injury claims must gather significant evidence to support these cases. This evidence allows them to show what happened and who is at fault.
Lawyers commonly use evidence to establish the facts and argue for fair compensation for their clients, including:
- Accident scene photos
- Video footage from traffic cameras
- Dashcam recordings
- Police accident reports
- Witness statements
- Medical records
- Medical bills
- Expert medical opinions
- Rehabilitation records
- Pain and suffering documentation
- Employment records
- Proof of lost income
- Eyewitness accounts
- Rideshare app data
- Phone records
- Text messages
- Email correspondence
- GPS data
- Vehicle repair receipts
- Vehicle damage assessments
- Insurance policy documents
- Accident reconstruction reports
- Weather and traffic reports from the accident date
- Traffic citations or police charges
- Breathalyzer or toxicology test results
- Statements from the rideshare company
- Social media posts
- Personal diaries or journals
- Photos of injuries over time
The Role of a Ridesharing Accident Lawyer
If you suffer harm in an Uber or Lyft accident and are considering legal action, the best thing you can do for your claim is to consult a personal injury lawyer. Attorneys have the knowledge and skills to handle every aspect of your case while you focus on your recovery. Here are some essential ways they can help you.
Evaluating Your Case
A lawyer first evaluates the strength of your case. They look at the accident details, your injuries, and any losses you suffered. This crucial step allows your lawyer to determine if you have a valid claim and what kind of compensation you might expect.
Your lawyer will review all the available evidence, like police reports and medical records, to build a strong foundation for your claim.
Collecting the proper evidence is critical to proving your claim. A lawyer knows exactly what evidence will support your case, from accident scene photos to witness statements.
They also collect this evidence, which can include obtaining police reports, securing surveillance footage, and interviewing witnesses. Thorough evidence-gathering strengthens your claim and makes it easier to negotiate with insurance companies.
Handling Paperwork and Legal Procedures
Legal claims involve a lot of paperwork and strict deadlines. A lawyer can handle all these legal filings on your behalf, ensuring everything is accurate and submitting it on time. This includes drafting legal documents, filing paperwork with the court, and meeting all relevant legal requirements.
Negotiating With Insurance Companies
Insurance companies often try to settle for the least amount possible. A lawyer can negotiate with them to demand a fair payout on your behalf. They have the skills and experience to deal with insurance adjusters, argue for a fair settlement, and prevent the insurance companies from taking advantage of you.
Your lawyer will fight to get you the maximum compensation possible, considering all your losses, from medical expenses to income losses.
Representing You in Court
If your case goes to court, having a lawyer is essential. They will represent you throughout the court process, from pre-trial preparations to presenting your case to a judge or jury.
Your lawyer will develop a strong argument, handle cross-examinations, and work to achieve a favorable outcome. Their job is to protect your rights and make your voice heard in the courtroom.
Providing Legal Advice and Support
Throughout the claims process, a lawyer offers legal advice and support. They can answer your questions, guide you on the best course of action, and explain complex legal terms and procedures. This support can make all the difference, especially during the stressful time following an accident.