Thanks to rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, individuals today can take advantage of a new variety of transportation options. Companies like these offer those who can’t or don’t wish to drive an opportunity to secure both group and private rides with little more than a few taps on a smartphone application. Working professionals, students, and those planning a night out on the town rely on these services to help them reach their destinations safely.
But what happens when a ride with a Lyft or Uber driver goes awry? What rights do victims have—and what compensation can they pursue—if they’re involved in a rideshare accident? Many victims have to battle with conflicting information in the time following their accidents. Drivers fearing legal penalties and not-so-transparent representatives from rideshare companies may further complicate the process. An experienced car accident attorney can help guide you through the process to keep your legal rights in tact.
Many of us rely on these services when we feel we cannot or should not drive ourselves. Whether we are trying to avoid frustrating traffic or we’re unable to drive after a few drinks, it’s not uncommon for us to turn to ridesharing as an active effort to avoid accidents. When a crash occurs, it can be a terrifying and wholly unexpected experience.
The time following a rideshare accident is often riddled with confusion. Many rideshare accident victims find that they struggle to contend with complicated and excessive paperwork following their crash, and many more receive paltry settlement offers that scarcely cover medical bills and fail to account for the extent of their suffering caused by the crash. Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have complex insurance policies. Most passengers are unaware of the policies and guidelines outlined for rideshare drivers, but understanding the factors that might come into play following an accident can be helpful.
Boohoff Law’s Commitment to You
Countless rideshare accident victims find themselves partnered with unreliable, careless, or unmotivated attorneys. If you or a loved one have been involved in a rideshare accident, you deserve to work with a knowledgeable and empathetic legal professional. Victims injured as a result of a rideshare driver’s negligence should seek a reputable attorney with a deep understanding of Washington law.
At Boohoff Law, we take focused steps to ensure that accident victims receive the compensation and assistance that they deserve. Our skilled legal team works tirelessly to aid in our clients’ pursuit of legal recourse after they are involved in a rideshare accident. We rely on:
- Meticulous investigation to turn up as much evidence to benefit your case as possible.
- Comprehensive preparation to ensure that both our team and our clients are well-prepared and informed before beginning the legal process.
- Extensive personal service to help us build meaningful relationships and help clients feel at ease.
- A retained team of litigation and medical paralegals to help our clients fight for their rights with specialized knowledge and assistance.
Rideshare Accident Injuries
Even minor rideshare accidents have the potential to cause serious injuries, but some crashes lead to catastrophic damage and bodily harm. Depending on the circumstances and the severity of the crash, victims may experience:
- Scrapes, cuts, and lesions;
- Head and neck injuries;
- Brain injuries;
- Back injuries;
- Chest injuries;
- Spinal cord and nerve damage;
- Herniated discs;
- Vocal cord paralysis; and
- Ligament damage.
An experienced medical professional must evaluate all of the injuries you sustain in a rideshare accident. Even if you don’t exhibit any negative symptoms after a rideshare accident, it’s best to visit a doctor to ensure your safety and wellbeing. Doctors may be able to pinpoint injuries that lie dormant for a period of time or that haven’t worsened to the degree where they’re noticeable yet.
Potential Rideshare Accident Causes
The same factors that increase the risk of all other vehicle accidents impact the likelihood of experiencing an accident during an Uber or Lyft ride. Unfortunately, relying on another party for transportation means that the situation is largely out of passengers’ hands.
Every driver puts themselves at some risk when they head out onto the road. Other drivers can cause accidents even if you behave and drive flawlessly. Still, drivers can generally take steps to ensure that they’ve done all they can to ensure their own safety. Rideshare passengers do not have this opportunity.
A rideshare accident may be caused by the Uber or Lyft driver, but could also be the fault of other drivers on the road. Your driver or those in the vehicles around you may:
- Be inattentive or distracted while driving;
- Make improper turns or execute other improper maneuvers;
- Park illegally;
- Drive while intoxicated;
- Exhibit signs of road rage or aggressive driving; and/or
- Have to grapple with dangerous road or weather conditions.
Distracted driving, in particular, tends to be a common issue for rideshare drivers. These drivers rely on the rideshare company’s application to view GPS maps and receive driving directions. Paying too much attention to maps, getting distracted or confused by directions, and other similar issues can all greatly increase the risk of a crash.
All of the above factors have the potential to put both drivers and passengers at risk. If you notice that your driver is engaging in any of these behaviors or exhibiting signs of intoxication, it is in your best interest to leave the vehicle as soon as it’s possible to do so safely. Never allow another individual to put your wellbeing in harm’s way and don’t hesitate to contact authorities if you believe that your rideshare driver is doing something illegal.
Immediately After Your Accident: The Steps Victims Should Take
Enduring a rideshare vehicle accident can be a life-altering experience. Many victims find themselves at a loss following their accident regardless of what type of accident it was. Where should they go? Who should they call? Who do they need to talk to? Even the most basic and obvious guidelines are easily forgotten in the aftermath of a crash.
If you or a loved one is concerned about the steps to take following a rideshare accident, it’s important to keep calm and have a plan. Utilize the following as a guideline to inform your actions after a rideshare accident:
- Ensure the health of all parties involved in the accident. Some accidents only result in minor injuries, but others can lead to catastrophic damage to the human body. Be sure to call 911 and ensure that each victim is seen by an emergency response team. A lack of pain or visible injuries does not mean that an individual is safe and unharmed—only a trained medical professional can determine that.
- Collect information from all involved parties. This includes license plate numbers, insurance information, and even a number where you can contact the other parties involved in your accident if need be. Take pictures of any visible injuries and any damage to the vehicles. The Uber and Lyft apps make it easy for rideshare passengers to see driver information; consider taking a screenshot of the driver’s page for future reference.
- Contact your insurance agency. When you do, be sure to emphasize that the accident is still under investigation. You will likely receive calls from the insurance companies covering other parties involved in the crash, too. Be cordial, but avoid the temptation to accept a low settlement offer.
- Seek out a trusted and knowledgeable rideshare accident lawyer. Your legal rights clearly state that you are at liberty to fully investigate the accident and receive an appropriate settlement. Partnering with a rideshare accident attorney will help you work through the complicated process of settling your case. Take the initiative to put yourself and your rights first: hire an experienced, proven legal professional to help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one fell victim to a rideshare accident, you may be struggling to understand who can be held liable for your injuries. Uber and Lyft passengers may need to pursue compensation from a third party involved in their accident, or they may need to contact the rideshare’s insurance company.
If another driver hit the vehicle you were in, the process may be relatively simple. These accidents are often handled much the same way as typical non-rideshare accidents. You or your loved one can file a claim against that driver’s insurance company just as you would if they’d injured you while you were driving your own vehicle. If the driver does not hold ample insurance to cover your needs, you may be able to receive additional coverage from the rideshare company’s insurance carrier.
Many Uber and Lyft accidents can also be traced back to the rideshare driver. If your driver caused the accident, you’ll need to file a claim with the rideshare’s insurance company. Uber is known to carry a $1 million liability insurance policy, which is often a helpful source of compensation for victims who sustain injuries in rideshare accidents. Lyft’s terms and coverage are similar.
Navigating the Web of Insurance
A majority of rideshare accidents end up involving three insurance agencies:
- The rideshare company’s insurance company;
- The rideshare driver’s personal and private insurer; and
- The insurance company covering any other driver involved in the accident.
This can prove overwhelming for an accident victim who doesn’t understand where to begin pursuing compensation. Many rideshare crash victims must endure multiple insurance companies working together with one common goal: to try to diminish the victim’s injuries in hopes of offering them a low, unfair settlement.
With so many insurance companies involved in the time that follows a rideshare accident, it becomes easy to see why turning to a legal professional for help is the best choice. A trustworthy, seasoned attorney can help you untangle the mess of paperwork and communication you may receive from these companies. Your lawyer may also help you stand up for yourself against such companies in court.
Victims’ Options When Insurance Companies Fail to Pay
Unfortunately, many rideshare accident victims find themselves being denied the compensation that they deserve after they are injured. Rideshare insurance companies can and do refuse to pay victims after some crashes. After retaining a lawyer that you feel you can trust to keep your best interests in mind, you have a few options to help you move forward.
Victims can fight the rideshare’s insurance company if they feel they may have enough evidence to prevail in court. If you elect to follow this path, your attorney will need to help you prove that the rideshare’s insurer denied your claim illegally. A legal professional will be able to help review the terms of the relevant rideshare policy and ensure that you have a case before getting caught up in a legal tug-of-war.
Technically, you also have the option to directly sue the driver who was transporting you at the time of the accident. Some private insurance companies will cover the damages caused during an accident that can be traced back to the rideshare driver if that driver holds a personal policy with the insurance company. Rideshare drivers are like any other drivers on the road, though, and may not have adequate insurance of their own.
Partner With Boohoff Law’s Seattle Rideshare Attorneys
Rideshare services have become immensely popular in recent years. With Uber pulling in over eleven billion dollars’ worth of revenue worldwide in 2018, there’s no question that more and more individuals are turning to these services for their transportation needs. Most passengers, however, are not aware of their rights or the steps they should take if they are involved in an accident while they’re utilizing one of these services.
That’s why the team at Boohoff Law is dedicated to educating and guiding our clients through the time after a rideshare accident. Our skilled team of attorneys works closely with clients to determine the damages and losses they’ve sustained, which the attorneys use to help them collect the compensation they rightfully deserve.
If you’re interested in seeking the advice of one of our compassionate and talented attorneys, please don’t hesitate to call us at (877) 999-9999 or contact us today.