Find an Uber or Lyft Accident Attorney
In 2018, Business Insider and several other news media agencies shared a damning report for the rideshare business. It suggested that Lyft, Uber and other rideshare companies were responsible for the rise in deadly accidents. The researchers behind the study found that car crashes were at an all-time low in 2010 and then began to skyrocket in cities all around America once rideshare services started to operate in these areas.
Even without this report, thousands of Americans report car crashes involving rideshare services every year. If you have been injured as a passenger in an Uber or other rideshare car accident or lost a loved one, an experienced attorney can help protect your rights. Whether you want to expose safety hazards in the rideshare business, seek damages or both, our attorneys can help.
What Is a Rideshare Service?
A rideshare service is a platform that connects passengers looking for a ride with drivers willing to take them from one destination to the next. Most of these services do charge a fee, but there are some that allow people to carpool for free. The most popular for-profit rideshare services are Lyft and Uber.
In the beginning, most rideshare drivers operated personal vehicles that they either owned outright or financed. Over the years, rideshare giants have partnered with other companies to make it easier for drivers to lease or rent vehicles for ridesharing. This can further complicate the liability process.
What Are the Most Common Types of Rideshare Accidents?
Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare accidents can occur at three different stages. How states, insurance companies and rideshare companies treat accidents depends on which of these three stages or categories the accident falls into.
1. Logged Out
Most rideshare drivers make personal use of their vehicles for at least some part of the week. This may involve commuting to and from work, going to the grocery store or heading home after a day of driving. At these times, the driver typically logs out of the system. It is also not uncommon for rideshare apps to malfunction. If you are the last intended trip for the driver, he or she may turn off the app to avoid any further mishaps. As well, if the driver’s phone dies or loses signal, the app may log him or her out of the app while taking you to your destination.
On an ideal day of providing rideshare services, drivers go from one passenger to the next. This allows them to make money quickly and head home. Unfortunately, rideshare drivers often spend a lot of time logged in and waiting for a passenger. To pass the time or to move into zones with higher rates and more requests, a driver may begin to circle certain areas.
If the app malfunctions and drops your ride but the Uber or Lyft driver stays logged in, this could count as an on-call accident as well, even though you are actually in the vehicle and the driver intended to take you to your next stop.
3. On the Job
As the name implies, this refers to the period where drivers are logging a ride and actively taking you from Point A to Point B. This is the easiest type of rideshare crash case to handle as there are fewer discrepancies about who is responsible for what. In most of these cases, injured parties can hold the rideshare company responsible for damages. Unfortunately, the extent to which this holds true depends on state laws, the rideshare platform’s agreement with the driver and the insurance coverage the driver opted for.
What Do I Do After a Rideshare Car Accident?
Uber and Lyft accidents are incredibly complex, so you need an experienced attorney to determine what path to follow. If you are a rideshare passenger in an accident, consider taking the following actions.
If you or no one else is seriously injured, your first step should be to collect as much evidence as you can. This can include photos of the vehicles, the parties affected, the surrounding area and weather conditions. It’s also not a bad idea to take a screenshot of your in-app receipt for your ride. The last thing you want is for it to suspiciously disappear when you need it. This can help you in court or when negotiating with Uber for a potential settlement.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you are not seriously injured, you should always seek medical attention after an accident. This does not necessarily mean an ambulance ride to the hospital. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may decide to book the earliest appointment with your local doctor instead. Only a medical practitioner can determine if you are actually injured and how badly.
Try the Platform’s Accident Report Process
Most rideshare platforms like Uber and Lyft have an established method of reporting an accident. You can usually report this information via the app, but if you have no signal or the app glitches, consider alternative methods of reaching out to the company. You should also prepare for the possibility of the rideshare company trying to avoid responsibility.
Do I Need To Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer?
Rideshare services have only been around for 10 years or so. In some cities and states, they have been operating for even less time. Because of this, many jurisdictions are still struggling to come up with laws that properly address rideshare accidents. Rideshare platforms like Uber also do not always have clear guidelines on what to do after you have been in an accident.
Working with an experienced lawyer in your area helps ensure familiarity with the specific local laws and how they apply to your Uber accident, if at all. In some cases, your lawyer may even need to build a case that becomes the precedent for others, because it is so unique.
Going up against rideshare companies and their insurance providers can also be difficult. They have the resources to drag out cases and fight hard in court. You deserve an attorney willing and able to fight just as hard.