The ridesharing concept has become ever more popular among the public. It allows anyone with an automobile and a license to offer taxi service. No special training or qualifications are needed to join one of the two big rideshare companies—Uber and Lyft—and offer transport to people at any time of day. An online app is the only thing that stands between a passenger and driver, which makes the service convenient for both.
With this ease and efficiency comes problems. Because rideshare drivers are not professionals, they are not subject to the same regulation and control as normal taxi drivers. This has put reckless, in attentive, and negligent drivers in the position of transporting unsuspecting Lyft and Uber users.
Rideshare Accidents on the Rise
Since 2011, traffic accidents have increased nearly 3%. Researchers attribute this rise to the rideshare phenomenon. Studies show that rideshare drivers spend 40%-60% of their time searching for passengers, a practice known as deadheading. This has led to an increase in congestion and incidents of collision.
Drivers can be aggressive and inattentive as they hunt for their next fare and not concerned at all about the safety and well-being of their passengers. If you have been the victim of an accident that was caused by a rideshare driver, you do have legal options.
Your first step should be to contact a ridesharing accident lawyer. You will need an Uber accident lawyer or Lyft accident lawyer to help you figure out how to get the money you are entitled to. The latter point must be stressed: you deserve compensation for any injuries you suffered owing to the greed and irresponsibility of a rideshare driver.
You may not have to file a lawsuit straightaway. Indeed, Uber has a standing policy of giving passengers up to $1 million dollars if they have been injured in an accident caused by one of their drivers. However, before you agree to any settlement offer, you should have your lawyer review the deal.
If the rideshare company refuses to settle, then you will need to pursue a lawsuit. Before you file a formal claim, you should have a legal strategy, or the beginnings of one, in place. During the initial consultation your lawyer will ask you to recall the circumstances and events that led to the accidents and all that happened afterward. Your Uber accident lawyer or Lyft accident lawyer will be interested in the particulars of the accident and the medical prognosis for your health. These facts will form the basis of your legal strategy.
After the Accident
If you are still alert and conscious after a rideshare accident, you should make sure that everyone is alright. You should then dial 911 to get emergency services on the scene. If you or any of your fellow passengers have been hurt but you are still mobile, you should try to take as many photos of the scene as you can. These may prove crucial in any future litigation.
If you believe you have been severely injured, you should not move. You should instead wait for the ambulance to arrive. If the collision was bad enough, it may leave you unconscious. An especially bad accident can put you in the hospital for weeks or months. You will not be able to earn any income during this time and you will eventually have to face a range of medical bills, including expenses for rehabilitation treatment and prescription drug medicine. Even when you are ready to return to your job, you may be forced to reduce the number of hours you work or compelled to take a lowering-paying position.
You should not have to shoulder such a financial burden alone. The person who caused the accident should be held accountable for it.
Who to Sue?
If the rideshare accident has forced you out of your livelihood or caused a permanent disability, a $1 million settlement will not be enough. You may be entitled to much more than that. It may be possible to take the Uber settlement and sue the driver. However, if the driver’s insurance has inadequate insurance, this may not be possible.
Much of the law concerning rideshare liability has yet to be written. However, judges and juries across the country have set precedents that your lawyer can use to get you a good settlement. The legal system has slowly arrived at the conclusion that rideshare companies bear some responsibility for driver accidents and must on occasion be made to pay.
If you have been severely injured in a rideshare accident, you need not resign yourself to an inadequate settlement or try to fend for yourself. A ridesharing accident lawyer can help you get the money you deserve from Uber or Lyft.
What Your Lawyer Will Do
Lyft and Uber accident lawyers specialize in this field of tort law. They have extensive experience and expertise in gathering the facts, employing forensic evidence, introducing eyewitness and expert testimony, and bringing the relevant parts of law to bear on the case. Here are some of the specific actions your attorney will take to get you justice:
Gathering the Facts
The first thing your lawyer will do is review the official police report of the accident. They will then engage the services of professional investigators. The latter will re-examine the scene of the accident and re-interview those who witnessed it. They will gather any security camera footage of the accident and try to get footage that a witness may have captured on their phone.
Inquiries will also be made into the background, state-of-mind, and sobriety of the driver. If the rideshare driver has a history of violating traffic laws, your lawyer will find out about it. Many rideshare drivers take up the occupation part-time—to make ends meet at the end of the month. They look for fares after they have completed a gruelling shift at their main job or start driving after they have already worked two jobs during the day. The Uber or Lyft driver who caused the accident may have been too tired to be safe on the road.
It may also be the case that your driver decided to collect a few fares after drinking. This is perhaps the most reckless and dangerous thing that anyone in that position can do, but it happens all the time. If the driver’s BAC was above the legal limit or even near it, your lawyer can use that in making a case against the company.
Using Forensic Evidence and Expert Witnesses
Your lawyer will also bring in an auto accident reconstruction expert to develop a simulation of how the accident unfolded using the damage sustained by the vehicles involved in the crash and the evidence at the scene. This can go a long way toward proving the veracity of your version of events.
Your lawyer will also take statements from medical experts. The statements or testimony offered will explain the nature and extent of your injuries based on what has been documented by your physicians. Such experts will also explain why the injuries you sustained could have only been caused by the accident.
Leveraging the Law
In the end, your lawyer will need to prove that the accident was the fault of the rideshare driver, that you were injured as a result of it, and that Uber or Lyft is liable and should pay you a specific amount in damages. Your lawyer may be able to produce enough evidence to compel the respondent to offer you a settlement that is commensurate with all that you have suffered and endured.