Rideshare Accidents

In today’s fast-paced world, rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft have become popular alternatives to traditional taxi services, offering convenient and affordable transportation options for millions of people.

However, as the demand for these services increases, so too does the number of rideshare-related accidents, leaving passengers, drivers, and other road users at risk of suffering severe injuries or even fatalities. Worse yet, navigating the legal landscape of rideshare accidents can be complex, involving multiple parties and varying levels of liability.

In this guide, we explore the dynamics of rideshare accidents, the factors contributing to these incidents, and the critical aspects of determining liability and seeking compensation for the damages sustained in such unfortunate events.

What Do I Need to Know About Rideshare Companies?

Rideshare AccidentsRidesharing services are companies that provide transportation at short notice. While the two most extensive rideshare companies in the country are Uber and Lyft, numerous others provide these types of services as well.

These companies operate by requiring you to download the company’s app and entering your personal information and payment details. Then, if you need to hail a ride, you can open the app and request one. After the driver drops you at your destination, the company automatically processes the payment using your information on file. When using rideshare services, the app handles all transactions, so there is no cash exchange with the driver.

Rideshare Companies and Their Legal Responsibilities

Rideshare companies, including Uber and Lyft, operate digital platforms that connect passengers with available drivers in the area. However, these companies also have certain legal responsibilities regarding the drivers and vehicles operating under their brand. For example, according to laws and regulations in most states, rideshare companies must conduct background checks on all drivers before allowing them to accept trip requests, confirm that drivers have current driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations, and provide liability insurance coverage for active rides.

The specific insurance policies vary depending on the company.

For example, Uber typically offers this insurance coverage:

  • Liability coverage: Provides coverage for bodily injury and property damage to third parties resulting from an accident during an active ride. The coverage limits can range from $50,000 up to $1 million.
  • Collision coverage: Covers damage to the driver’s vehicle from an accident during an active ride. Most rideshare companies provide around $25,000 in collision coverage.
  • Uninsured/underinsured: Covers bodily injury from an accident with another driver lacking sufficient insurance.
  • Contingent liability: Provides coverage for periods 1, 2, and 3—when a driver logs on to the rideshare app and waits to connect with a rider. Coverage limits vary depending on the company and state regulations.

To find out more about these insurance policies, consider reviewing them with a knowledgeable rideshare accident lawyer who can help you understand your legal options after a rideshare accident and determine the compensation you can pursue.

How Does Driver Status Affect Liability?

In rideshare accidents, the driver’s status at the time of the incident plays a vital role in determining liability. There are three main driver statuses:

Actively transporting a passenger:

When a driver accepts a trip request and transports the passenger to their destination, the rideshare company’s insurance coverage applies.

Waiting for a ride request:

When a driver logs into the rideshare app and waits to match with a passenger during period 1—the app is on and the driver is waiting for a match—and period 2—the driver accepts the match and proceeds to pick up the passenger—the rideshare company’s insurance may apply.

Using the vehicle for personal use:

When a driver does not log into the rideshare app and uses the vehicle for private purposes, their private auto insurance applies, and the rideshare company is not liable for any collisions. The driver may be responsible for any accidents during this period.

A driver’s insurance coverage, liability, and obligations to passengers can frequently change as their status shifts between personal use, waiting for requests, and actively providing rides. Determining a driver’s status at the time of an accident can present challenges, but a lawyer can do this, establish liability, and pursue compensation for you. Fortunately, working with an experienced rideshare accident attorney can help you take on this complex task.

What Injuries and Damages Can Follow a Rideshare Accident?

The injuries and damages that can result from a rideshare accident include:

  • Physical injuries: Injuries to passengers, drivers, or others, such as fractures, contusions, traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding, and whiplash. These injuries can vary widely in severity.
  • Emotional injuries: Mental anguish, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other emotional harms resulting from the trauma of a vehicle collision.
  • Vehicle damage: Repair or replacement costs for vehicles involved in the accident. This includes damage to the rideshare vehicle, passenger vehicles, and any other impacted vehicles.
  • Property damage: Destruction or damage to any property other than vehicles, such as fences, buildings, signs, and utility poles. Property owners may claim compensation for repair or replacement.
  • Loss of income: If injuries from the accident result in lost time from work, the injured parties can include lost earnings claims in a personal injury lawsuit.
  • Wrongful death: If a fatality occurs in a rideshare accident, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable parties to obtain compensation for loss of consortium, loss of future earnings, funeral and medical expenses, and other damages.

Thoroughly documenting all injuries, medical care, time missed from work or school, and property damage arising from a rideshare accident is critical for filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties. The extent of damages can have a significant impact on determinations of liability and the amount of compensation you receive, so capturing this evidence promptly is essential.

What Evidence Can Your Attorney Obtain?

You need an experienced rideshare accident attorney to collect and preserve evidence after a rideshare accident to determine liability, file an insurance claim, and build a solid personal injury case.

Work with an experienced rideshare accident attorney to secure critical evidence like:

  • Photographs or videos of the damage, injuries, accident scene, traffic signs, and road conditions.
  • Witness statements, which can provide testimony to help clarify how an accident occurs and who is at fault.
  • Police reports that include details such as the time, location, vehicles, drivers, passengers, traffic violations, citations, and diagrams relating to the accident.
  • Medical records that provide attorneys with information regarding the extent of your injuries and the costs you endure as a result of the accident.
  • Ride data that provides the lawyer with records showing the location and time of a request and where and when the ride ends. Data from rideshare companies and mobile phones may contradict statements from the other party and prove a driver’s status at the time of the collision.

The strength and persuasiveness of the evidence insurance adjusters and courts obtain can have a significant impact on the outcome of claims and lawsuits stemming from rideshare accidents. Therefore, you will need a lawyer to preserve as much evidence as soon as possible if you want to secure fair compensation and justice. Don’t assume that the police report or the other driver’s insurance company will determine liability in your favor without further investigation.

Your evidence may contradict the initial findings and prove that another party is more at fault or that injuries are more severe than initially apparent. These details matter, so collecting and maintaining evidence is a top priority after a rideshare accident occurs. Photographs, witness statements, medical records, and data from rideshare companies and mobile devices can all make or break your ability to recover damages.

The Statute of Limitations: Make Sure You Have Enough Time to File Your Case

Each state establishes time limits, known as statutes of limitations, for filing personal injury lawsuits. If you do not take legal action before the statute of limitations expires, you lose your right to collect compensation through the court system.

In most states, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is several years. However, rideshare accidents can involve complex legal issues, so the statute may expire quickly. Therefore, if such an incident involves you, promptly consult a rideshare accident attorney to understand the time constraints in your local jurisdiction.

While a statute of limitations encourages the prompt resolution of legal disputes and helps defendants avoid indefinite liability, it can limit your ability to recover damages if the complexities in your situation result in the late discovery of evidence or options for seeking recourse.

Exceptions to typical time limitations may apply in rideshare accident cases, but determining if grounds exist to pause or extend the statute requires swift legal consultation.

Dealing With the Insurance Company

Another issue you may face following a rideshare accident concerns the insurance companies dealing with the matter. While rideshare companies have insurance coverage, obtaining this money, even when you deserve it, can be challenging.

In truth, these insurance companies often will try to do everything to get you to say or do something that can hurt your case and reduce the amount of money you can obtain. That is why you should consider discussing your accident with an experienced rideshare accident lawyer before you speak to these providers. They can handle these conversations on your behalf and prevent the insurance company from hurting your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.

How Can Legal Representation Help in Rideshare Accident Cases?

Rideshare companies aggressively defend themselves against legal claims to limit financial liability, and insurance companies primarily serve the interests of their stakeholders. Injured passengers, drivers, and third parties often require experienced legal advocacy to understand their rights, collect and present persuasive evidence, and negotiate to obtain maximum damages from liable parties.

Fortunately, when you work with an experienced rideshare accident attorney, they can provide you with the knowledge and guidance critical for achieving justice in these complex situations. These legal professionals evaluate the details of an incident, the applicable laws, and damages to determine viable causes of action and strategies for pursuing settlements or judgments against appropriate defendants. They typically have the resources and knowledge to launch a thorough investigation, file insurance claims and lawsuits before statutes of limitations expire, challenge unfair offers, and take cases to trial if necessary.

Seeking legal counsel is usually prudent for anyone harmed in a rideshare accident. Attempting to handle legal claims and negotiations independently rarely results in adequate compensation for the losses sustained and allows rideshare companies and insurance providers to take advantage of vulnerable parties who are not fully aware of their rights.

An experienced accident lawyer can advocate for you and fight to overcome corporate biases and secure damages for your medical bills, property damage, pain and suffering, lost income, wrongful death, and all other accident-related harms.

Contact an Experienced Rideshare Accident Lawyer Today

Andrew Finkelstein Attorney

Andrew Finkelstein personal injury lawyer in New York

While rideshare services provide transportation benefits, they also pose risks that require addressing through fair regulation and safety standards. However, when accidents do occur, determining liability and understanding varying state laws, insurance policies, and degrees of fault among multiple parties often require legal assistance.

Comprehensive evidence collection, swift consultation with experienced rideshare accident attorneys, and compliant claims filing within limited periods are critical to securing compensation and a sense of justice after sustaining injuries or losses in a rideshare collision.

Do not wait any longer to get the legal help you need. Contact an experienced and skilled rideshare accident lawyer today for your free case evaluation.