Uber/Lyft Accident and Passenger Rights
Uber and Lyft have revolutionized transportation accessibility, but accidents involving their vehicles can lead to serious injuries for passengers and pedestrians. In such situations, you may wonder about your legal options for recovering damages.
So, what happens if you’re involved in an accident as an Uber or Lyft passenger? Can you sue the ridesharing company or the driver?
While a lawsuit is possible, it’s important to note that you generally cannot sue Uber or Lyft directly. Instead, the driver of the Uber or Lyft vehicle is typically the target of legal action.
However, there is potential for compensation coverage through the insurance provided by the ridesharing companies. If that coverage falls short, you can pursue legal action against the driver and the relevant insurance companies with the help of an Uber/Lyft accident lawyer.
Safety Issues With Uber and Lyft
Uber and Lyft have faced criticism for lacking strict background checks on drivers. Unlike traditional taxi services, these ridesharing platforms do not utilize law enforcement or fingerprinting to screen potential drivers.
Instead, they rely on limited background checks that only go back seven years. As a result, numerous drivers with criminal records and histories of crashes have been approved to transport passengers.
The consequences of these lenient hiring processes are alarming. In just a few years since the beginning of Uber and Lyft services, there have been 15 reported deaths caused by their drivers. Countless more accidents have resulted in severe injuries and property damage. There is an immediate need for stronger safety regulations in the ridesharing industry, as innocent passengers bear these shortcomings.
Ridesharing Laws in New York
Rideshare companies are relatively new, and the legal landscape surrounding the Uber or Lyft accidents is still evolving. In New York, ridesharing has been legalized statewide, extending beyond just New York City. This expansion is likely to result in an increase in ridesharing-related injuries and fatalities throughout the state.
When seeking compensation for a rideshare accident, you must navigate specific laws. In New York, like in many other states, you must meet the serious injury threshold to file a personal injury claim under the no-fault rule.
This requirement ensures that injuries are significant enough to warrant legal action. If the injuries do not meet the threshold, you can only seek a settlement through an insurance company, regardless of the driver’s fault.
Rideshare drivers can design their schedules, often pushing themselves to work longer hours for increased earnings, even when it compromises safety. It can lead to drowsy driving, inattention, and, ultimately, car accidents.
Another factor contributing to negligence is the use of mobile devices by Uber and Lyft drivers to operate their services. When drivers divert their attention from the road to respond to new passenger requests, passengers’ safety in the vehicle is compromised.
Therefore, if the injuries caused by the accident are an exception to the no-fault rule, you can pursue a negligence claim against the responsible driver in court.
What Causes Uber and Lyft Accidents?
Uber/Lyft accidents can occur for various reasons. You should be aware of them. Let’s explore some of the most prevalent causes:
- Speeding: Exceeding the designated speed limit.
- Distractions: Diverting attention from the road due to mobile devices, rideshare apps, passengers, or other factors.
- Lyft/Uber Driver Fatigue: Operating a vehicle excessively tired or exhausted.
- Drunk Driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Breaking Traffic Rules: Violating established traffic regulations and laws.
- Illegal/Unsafe Turns: Executing turns in prohibited areas or without considering the safety of others.
- Tailgating: Following another vehicle too closely, leaving insufficient space for safe braking.
- Stopping Suddenly: Abrupt braking without proper warning to other drivers.
- Not Yielding the Right of Way: Failing to prioritize other vehicles or pedestrians as required.
- Vehicular Problems: Malfunctioning or faulty components of the rideshare vehicle that contribute to an accident.
- Unfamiliar Territory: Navigating unfamiliar roads or areas without proper awareness.
- Bad Weather: Adverse weather conditions that reduce visibility or affect road conditions.
What to Do After an Uber or Lyft Accident?
It’s normal to feel panicked or fearful after facing car accidents. However, taking a brief moment to gather yourself can significantly improve how you manage the situation. So, whether you’re a passenger or a ridesharing driver, knowing the right steps to take after an accident is essential.
Step 1: Move Away From Traffic
If it’s possible without risking your safety, the initial action to take following a collision is to move yourself and your vehicle(s) to a safe spot, preferably away from the main traffic area. This helps prevent potential hazards for both you and other drivers on the road. Once you’re in a secure location, you can then concentrate on evaluating the situation and taking any essential measures to address the aftermath of the accident.
Call 911 for First Aid
Check yourself and others involved for any injuries, and if necessary, dial emergency services for immediate medical attention.
File a Police Report
Suppose the car crash resulted in significant loss of property or caused personal injury. In that case, it’s essential to contact the police immediately to report the incident so they can investigate the cause of the accident and file an accurate report. By documenting the incident’s details, you protect yourself, your rights, and those of others involved in the accident. Don’t hesitate to contact the authorities, especially if multiple cars were involved or anyone sustained substantial harm.
Collect evidence related to the accident, such as the license plate numbers of all vehicles involved, insurance information, and any visible damages.
Document the Scene
Use your smartphone or camera to capture photographs of the accident scene, including the position of the vehicles, damages, and any relevant road conditions.
Contact Details of the Witnesses
If witnesses are present, ask for their names and contact information, as their testimonies may be valuable during the Uber or Lyft accident claims process.
Contact the Ridesharing Company
Inform the ridesharing company about the accident, sharing all the required information according to their instructions and reporting protocols.
Get in Touch With an Uber/Lyft Car Accident Attorney
Consult an experienced Uber/Lyft accident lawyer who can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and assist in seeking compensation for your damages.
By following these steps, you can ensure your safety, gather crucial evidence, and receive proper guidance from legal professionals to effectively navigate the aftermath of a ridesharing accident.
Damages You Can Recover in Uber/Lyft Accidents
Regarding Uber or Lyft accidents, the resulting injuries can be life-changing and, in the worst cases, lead to loss of life. While no compensation can fully relieve the pain and suffering, it can provide some financial relief.
Uber/Lyft accident lawyers possess the expertise to navigate such complex situations and identify the various types of damages that you may be eligible to seek compensation for. These damages may include, but are not limited to:
- Hospital and medical expenses incurred due to Lyft or Uber car accidents.
- Physical and mental anguish experienced due to the personal injuries sustained.
- Disability resulting from the accident.
- Lost wages due to the inability to work.
- Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life.
- Property damage caused by the Lyft or Uber rideshare accident.
- Compensation for wrongful death in the unfortunate event of a fatality.
Who Is Liable in Uber or Lyft Accidents?
After a car accident, determining responsibility becomes extremely important, and this applies to accidents involving Uber and Lyft as well. Figuring out whose insurance will cover the damages, understanding your involvement in the collision, and identifying the at-fault party are all crucial factors when it comes to pursuing compensation for any injuries sustained.
To gain a clearer understanding of these possibilities, it’s vital to take into account the unique details of the accident. This includes clarifying your role in the incident – whether you were the driver, a passenger, a pedestrian, or any other party involved.
Injured as a Passenger
If you get injured while riding as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, there are important points to keep in mind. The actions you take might differ based on who’s at fault for the accident. If the Uber or Lyft driver is responsible, you would generally submit your claim to the rideshare company. Conversely, if the accident is caused by another driver, your claim should be directed to that driver’s insurance policy.
An Uber or Lyft Driver Hit You
If you find yourself as a pedestrian, another vehicle’s driver, or a passenger in a different vehicle, and you’re involved in an accident caused by an Uber or Lyft driver who was either online or on a trip. In such a situation, your appropriate action would involve initiating a claim against the insurance policy held by Uber or Lyft. This is because the responsibility for the accident lies with the rideshare driver, making their insurance coverage applicable for addressing the damages.
Who Will Cover Your Insurance in an Uber or Lyft Accident?
After any car crash, the question of insurance becomes a top priority. Car accidents can result in significant financial burdens, and insurance plays a crucial role in bridging the financial gaps that may otherwise be impossible to cover. In the case of a car accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, multiple insurance factors come into play.
Firstly, all drivers, regardless of whether they drive professionally, are legally required to carry their insurance. However, drivers who transport passengers, including rideshare drivers for services like Uber and Lyft, typically have an additional layer called rideshare insurance.
Rideshare insurance is specifically designed to cover rideshare drivers while they are working. Standard personal insurance policies often do not cover ridesharing accidents, creating a need for rideshare insurance to fill this gap. The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission mandates that Uber and Lyft drivers have this additional form of insurance.
Furthermore, Uber and Lyft generally provide their drivers with supplementary insurance coverage. These rideshare companies typically offer around $50,000 coverage when the driver has not accepted a ride. You could claim compensation under supplementary if you were involved in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver who had their app turned on but had not yet accepted a ride.
Once a driver accepts a ride, a larger insurance policy with a limit of $1,000,000 goes into effect. This policy covers when a passenger is in the vehicle, or the driver is on their way to pick up a rider.
How Uber/Lyft Accidents Claim Process Works?
The amount of insurance coverage you can receive in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver depends on the driver’s situation at the time of the incident. Understanding their status is important to ensure you receive the proper compensation. Let’s explore different scenarios involving Uber and Lyft accidents and the related insurance coverage:
Case #1: The Rideshare Driver Has a Passenger or Is on the Way to Pick up a Passenger
Suppose you’re involved in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver who has a passenger or is en route to pick up one. In that case, you must initiate an insurance claim by submitting an incident notice through the company’s website or app.
During this situation, both Uber and Lyft provide significant insurance coverage. They offer $1.25 million for liability insurance per accident and $1.25 million for supplementary uninsured and underinsured bodily injury insurance per accident. Moreover, they have New York no-fault insurance, which provides coverage of up to $50,000 for everyone in the vehicle.
Case #2: The Rideshare Driver Has the App on and Is Waiting for a Ride Request
When the rideshare driver has the app on and is awaiting a ride request, the insurance limits offered by Uber and Lyft are lower. They provide $75,000 per person in bodily injury liability, $25,000 in property damage liability, and a maximum limit of $150,000 per accident. Additionally, both ridesharing services offer the mandatory $50,000 no-fault insurance as the state requires.
Case #3: The Rideshare Driver Does Not Have the App Turned On
If the rideshare driver doesn’t have the app turned on at the time of the accident, neither Uber nor Lyft will cover the incident. Instead, the driver’s insurance company will come into play. Depending on the circumstances, your no-fault insurance might also be involved. To proceed with your claim, you must notify your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance about the accident.
Contact Uptown Injury Uber/Lyft Accident Lawyer
At Uptown Injury Law, our team of Uber/Lyft lawyers is here to help you recover damages for Uber/Lyft accidents. With 15 years of experience, we’ve recovered over $100 million for clients in New York. Our team will ensure you receive fair compensation for injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us today at 855-233-8728 to schedule a risk-free consultation.
Are Uber and Lyft Liable for Accidents and Provide Compensation?
Not directly. Insurance companies typically bear the responsibility of covering damages caused by policyholders. However, in New York, ridesharing companies are mandated by law to offer insurance coverage to their drivers, including Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. These benefits should cover damages unless coverage is denied, in which case legal action may be necessary.
What Should I Do if I Have an Accident Involving an Uber or Lyft Vehicle?
If possible, it is crucial to remain at the accident scene until the police arrive to conduct an investigation. Their findings will play a pivotal role in determining fault and the extent of your injuries. Being present as a witness can provide valuable evidence. Add your version to the police report. However, if your injuries are severe, prioritize seeking immediate help from a medical professional and then reach out to an Uber/Lyft accident lawyer to understand and protect your legal rights.