A rideshare service matches customers looking for transportation with private car drivers. Typically, consumers use a mobile app to book and pay for these rides. The industry is worth an estimated $61 billion and is projected to reach $220 billion by 2025. Rideshare company Uber contracts approximately 3.8 million drivers across the globe. One in every four adults uses a ridesharing service at least once per month in this country. Even if these private drivers are licensed, experienced, and their vehicles are safe and operational, rideshare accidents still happen.
Rideshare accidents occur for all of the same reasons other car accidents occur. Hired drivers may feel pressure to transport passengers promptly or complete one ride quickly to pick up another passenger. That urgency may increase the risk of speeding and other aggressive driving behaviors.
Mobile phones are part of the job for rideshare drivers. However, distracted driving is both hazardous and illegal in most states. It only takes two to three seconds for a driver to look away from the road or take their hands off the wheel for a severe crash to occur.
Fatigue can also be a factor in rideshare accidents. Driving for a hired car service is a second job for many people. Someone who works two positions is likely to feel tired or dizzy. However, drowsy driving is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Fatigue affects the body much as alcohol does. It impacts decision-making, reaction time, and coordination to increase the chance of an accident.
What Should I Do After a Rideshare Accident?
If you are one of the millions of people who depend on rideshare services for quick and convenient access to transportation, you should know what to do if you are ever involved in an accident.
First, seek immediate medical attention. This applies to any car accident. Visually assess you and any other individuals at the scene to determine if anyone is hurt. Call 911 for assistance.
Report the accident to the police and clearly explain what happened. If the rideshare driver looked at their phone, appeared impaired, or fatigued, you need to share this information.
Next, collect contact information from your driver and others at the scene, including witnesses. Take pictures of the accident scene, including damage to the rideshare vehicle and other property.
Because rideshare accidents are not as straightforward as other car accidents, you should consider contacting a lawyer with experience handling similar cases. They will assess your situation, advise of your rights, and recommend the best legal course of action to recover compensation for your injuries.
In some cases, insurance is sufficient to cover one’s losses. In others, further legal action is necessary to pursue compensation for all of the ways a severe accident has changed a person’s life.
How Is Fault Determined in Rideshare Accidents?
Liability and compensation for Uber and Lyft accidents depend on several factors. It must be shown the driver was at fault. To determine fault or negligence for a car accident, you must prove the following elements:
- Duty: In this case, the rideshare driver had a duty of reasonable care to operate their vehicle safely according to local traffic laws.
- Breach: The driver breached that duty by driving carelessly, recklessly, or negligently.
- Causation: The driver or defendant’s careless act directly caused the crash and injuries to the passenger or plaintiff.
- Damages: The plaintiff suffered injuries and other losses due to the accident. Some damages may be compensable.
Suppose you attend a party and do not want to drive home, so you book a rideshare service to transport you from your event to your home. The driver runs a red light during that ride home, colliding with another vehicle coming from the opposite direction. The force of the crash propels your body against the side of the vehicle, leaving you with cuts, bruises, and a fractured arm. You are left with painful injuries, significant medical bills, lost income, and pain and trauma from the accident through no fault of your own. In this situation, you have grounds to bring a claim against the rideshare driver who breached their duty to drive safely.
Keep in mind that while the driver is negligent in this example, that is not the case for all rideshare accidents. Other drivers can cause a rideshare crash. Sometimes, auto defects in the vehicle make it unsafe to drive and can cause an accident. Some crashes occur due to poor road conditions, bad weather, or pedestrians not paying attention and entering the roadway.
Fault is determined on a case-by-case basis after careful evaluation of the evidence from the scene.
Are Rideshare Drivers Insured?
In most cases, rideshare drivers carry insurance provided directly by their employer. Uber and Lyft, for example, both provide up to $1 million in coverage for personal injury and property damage claims. If you are injured as a passenger in one of their vehicles, you may be able to file a claim under these insurance policies. Coverage depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident. It largely depends on if the driver was engaged in job-related tasks at the time of the accident.
If your rideshare driver was at fault for an accident while transporting you, their employer-provided auto insurance should apply. If you were in another vehicle and were injured in a crash caused by a rideshare driver who was off the clock, the at-fault driver’s auto insurance should apply. If a rideshare driver was available for passengers but did not have a passenger in the vehicle at the accident, their insurance would likely cover the crash.
Even though the well-known rideshare companies provide insurance for their contracted drivers, getting them to payout is not that simple. After all, these are companies in business to profit. They want to pay out as little as possible. They often use the contractor status of the drivers who work for them to their advantage, using it to deny liability for the actions of reckless drivers. For this reason, a lawyer’s guidance is invaluable for rideshare customers and other motorists and pedestrians injured by rideshare drivers. Look for a lawyer with a track record of good results for cases against rideshare companies.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Will Advocate on Your Behalf if You Have Been Injured in a Rideshare Crash
If you have been injured in a rideshare accident that was not your fault, one of our Delaware car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can help. We will use every legal tool available to build a compelling case so you can focus on healing. Call us at 302-888-1221 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, Newark, and Middletown.