Filing a Lawsuit After an Uber or Lyft Car Accident

November 13, 2023 | Gary Annes
Filing a Lawsuit After an Uber or Lyft Car Accident

More and more people today rely on ridesharing companies, like Uber and Lyft, to get from place to place. Individuals may summon a ridesharing vehicle to transport them to work, a local downtown area, or a destination while on vacation. However, with the increased number of ridesharing vehicles on the road comes the possibility of serious accidents that involve these vehicles.

Sometimes, Uber and Lyft accidents occur when the operator of the ridesharing vehicle behaves carelessly or recklessly under the circumstances. However, at other times, these accidents happen when a third-party driver negligently causes a collision with an Uber or Lyft vehicle.

Filing a Lawsuit After an Uber or Lyft Car Accident

If you suffered injuries in a ridesharing accident, you may be eligible to recover various types of monetary compensation and damages. Sometimes, a personal injury lawyer can file a claim against the at-fault driver's insurance company. A lawyer might also pursue a claim against the ridesharing company's corporate policy. An experienced car accident attorney can determine the available avenues of insurance coverage in your case and file a claim on your behalf with the appropriate insurance company. Moreover, suppose the insurance company refuses to compensate you fairly for your injuries. In that case, your Phoenix rideshare accident attorney may file a lawsuit in the court system, seeking the full monetary damages you need and deserve.

Every step of the way, your lawyer will advocate for your legal interests, answer your questions, and handle the legal aspects of your case until it reaches an efficient resolution.

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How Do Rideshare Accidents Frequently Happen?

Rideshare accidents typically occur when operators of rideshare vehicles or third-party drivers commit an act of negligence. Driver negligence can take multiple forms, usually involving one or more traffic law violations.

Common violations that may lead to a rideshare accident include speeding, tailgating, failing to use turn signals, and failing to yield the right-of-way at the proper times.

A rideshare accident may also happen when a driver exhibits road rage or operates their vehicle recklessly or carelessly. Road rage may involve various negligent driving maneuvers, including weaving in and out of traffic without using a turn signal, speeding, or tailgating other vehicles.

A rideshare accident may also happen when the rideshare driver or another driver operates their vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. DUI is a serious criminal offense, and upon conviction, a driver may experience severe penalties, including jail time, monetary files, and loss of driving privileges.

In addition, if a drunk driver causes a car accident, they may have to pay civil damages through their insurance company.

Drunk driving is dangerous and frequently leads to accidents because alcohol and other substances severely impair a driver's physical and mental capacity. For example, an intoxicated driver may experience dizziness, nausea, or blurred vision, preventing them from seeing other vehicles nearby.

Additionally, a drunk driver might suffer various cognitive impairments, including limited concentration, disorientation, inability to judge distances, delayed reaction time, and delayed reflexes. As a result, an intoxicated driver may be unable to react quickly enough to an emergency situation, bringing about a severe accident.

Finally, some accidents happen when the rideshare vehicle operator or another driver becomes distracted while behind the wheel.

Distracted driving can take multiple forms, but some of the most common types include texting and driving, combing one's hair or applying make-up, eating and drinking, roughhousing with vehicle passengers, listening to loud music, and programming a GPS navigation system.

When a driver turns their head away from the road, even for just a second or two, they may not see another vehicle and bring about a severe crash.

If you suffered injuries as a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, you need to consult an experienced rideshare accident attorney as quickly as possible after your accident.

Your lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine your eligibility for filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer can also identify all potentially applicable insurance policies and file a claim on your behalf with the appropriate insurer, seeking the monetary recovery you need and deserve.

Injuries in Rideshare Accidents

Victims of rideshare accidents may suffer extremely serious injuries, depending upon certain factors. Those factors may include where they sat in the vehicle, their bodily movements at the time of the collision, the force of the crash, the number of vehicles involved, and other accident-specific circumstances.

Common examples of rideshare accident injuries include:

  • Full and partial paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Internal bleeding
  • Internal organ damage
  • Facial contusions
  • Scarring
  • Open lacerations
  • Bruises
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Rib fractures
  • Complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries
  • Eye injuries
  • Nerve damage
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Death

Upon suffering any of these injuries in a rideshare accident, you should consult with a medical professional as quickly as possible. Depending on your circumstances, that medical professional can refer you for additional medical treatment.

For example, you might need to follow up with your primary care doctor, undergo imaging studies (including MRIs and X-rays), undergo a medical procedure, or attend physical therapy sessions.

Following your accident, you must complete all your related medical treatment. Doing so helps to increase your chances of fully recovering from your injuries. It also shows the insurance company handling your claim that your injuries are severe and warrant sufficient monetary compensation.

While you focus on getting the medical treatment you need, your attorney can begin handling the legal portion of your case. Specifically, they can investigate your accident, determine all applicable insurance coverage avenues, and assemble a settlement demand package on your behalf.

Insurance Coverage in a Rideshare Accident

In some situations, Uber's corporate policy becomes effective when a rideshare passenger suffers one or more injuries in an accident. Uber's corporate insurance policy generally has coverage limits of $1 million per accident – and $1 million in the aggregate if two or more passengers sustained physical injuries in the same rideshare accident.

Generally, the Uber corporate policy becomes effective whenever an Uber driver uses their phone app to accept a fare. The Uber corporate policy remains in effect until the passenger exits the rideshare vehicle upon arriving at their final destination.

An Uber insurance policy of $1 million also applies to uninsured and underinsured motorist accident scenarios. In an uninsured accident scenario, the at-fault driver has no motor vehicle insurance coverage to supply the accident victim with monetary compensation.

In some cases, this is because the other driver simply does not have any coverage, while at other times, it is because the at-fault driver fled the accident scene. This latter scenario is called a phantom vehicle accident.

In contrast, in an underinsured motorist accident scenario, the at-fault driver has some insurance coverage, but it is insufficient to adequately compensate the accident victim for the full amount of their losses. In that situation, the accident victim can exhaust the at-fault driver's insurance policy limits and subsequently turn to the underinsured motorist policy for additional compensation.

In cases where an Uber driver has not accepted a fare but has their phone app activated, the applicable policy limits are $50,000 per person, $100,000 in the aggregate, and $25,000 to cover property damage to the vehicle.

Sometimes, Uber drivers are responsible for a rideshare accident. In that situation, the Uber driver's individual insurance coverage may provide accident victims with the compensation they need after suffering injuries in their accident.

Different insurance coverage may apply whenever an accident victim suffers injuries in a Lyft vehicle. For example, if the Lyft driver does not have their phone app on and they are in an accident, their own insurance policy becomes effective. At this time, however, a passenger is not in their vehicle.

In cases where a Lyft driver has their app activated and is awaiting a fare – and the motor vehicle accident happens – the Lyft policy may come into play. Under that policy, coverage amounts are $50,000 per individual, $100,000 in the aggregate, and $25,000 for property damage.

In cases where a Lyft driver has a passenger in their vehicle, and the driver is on the way to the passenger's desired destination, the amount of Lyft corporate coverage is $1 million.

Additionally, that coverage limit remains until the passenger reaches their final destination. The Lyft corporate policy also allows for underinsured motorist coverage and uninsured motorist coverage during this timeframe.

A knowledgeable rideshare accident lawyer in your area can determine which policy is effective at the time of your accident. Your attorney can then make the appropriate claim under the applicable policy and pursue the monetary damages you deserve for your injuries.

Recoverable Monetary Damages for a Rideshare Accident

Recovering Monetary Damages for a Rideshare Accident

Upon suffering injuries in a rideshare accident, you may be eligible to recover various types of monetary damages, assuming you can satisfy the legal elements of your claim or lawsuit.

Specifically, you must demonstrate that the rideshare driver or another driver behaved unreasonably or carelessly under the circumstances, such as by violating a traffic law. Additionally, you must show that this violation was the actual and foreseeable cause of the traffic accident and your injuries.

If you can fully satisfy your legal burden of proof, then you may be in a position to recover various types of monetary damages, either through a favorable settlement offer from the insurance company or via litigation in court.

In general, the more serious an accident victim's injuries, the higher the monetary compensation they will receive in their case. Other factors that may affect an accident victim's monetary damage award include their medical treatment, the total cost of their medical care, and whether or not they had to take time off work following their accident.

First, an injured rideshare accident victim can recover their past medical expenses. Additionally, they may pursue compensation for their anticipated medical costs if they suffer a permanent injury and will likely undergo medical treatment, such as physical therapy or additional surgeries.

If the accident victim had to take time off work to treat their injuries, they may bring a claim for lost income. Similarly, if they had to take a pay cut after switching jobs due to their injuries, they can bring a claim for loss of earning capacity.

In addition to economic damages and out-of-pocket losses, injured rideshare accident victims may receive compensation for their intangible losses. These types of damages compensate accident victims for their emotional and mental distress, pain and suffering, inconvenience, loss of spousal companionship and consortium, permanent disfigurement or disability, long-term or lifetime care costs, loss of the ability to use one or more body parts, and lost quality of life.

Your attorney can determine which of these damages you can recover, given the facts and circumstances of your case and the specific injuries you suffered in your accident.

Your lawyer will then do everything possible to maximize your overall monetary award. For example, your lawyer can aggressively negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf in pursuit of a high monetary settlement offer.

If the insurance company still refuses to offer you fair settlement compensation, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the state court system.

At that point, your lawyer may:

  • Represent you at a discovery deposition.
  • Attend in-court proceedings with you, such as settlement conferences.
  • Litigate your case to a resolution at a civil jury trial or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding, such as binding arbitration or mediation.

Throughout the process, your lawyer can explain the pros and cons of various legal options, allowing you to make intelligent and informed decisions.

Talk with a Knowledgeable Rideshare Accident Lawyer about Your Case Today

If you suffered injuries in a recent rideshare accident, you need to talk with experienced legal counsel as quickly as possible. A knowledgeable rideshare accident attorney in your area can explore insurance coverage options and file a personal injury claim with the appropriate insurance company on your behalf.

Your lawyer can then handle all settlement negotiations for you and, if necessary, litigate your case to a resolution in the state court system.

Gary Annes Author Image

Gary Annes

Partner

Personal Injury Lawyer With Over Twenty Years Of Experience

Gary Annes, a partner at Abels & Annes, P.C., has dedicated over two decades to practicing personal injury law, specializing in auto accidents, premises liability, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and sexual abuse. Since earning his law degree in 1995, Gary has led numerous jury trials, and adeptly resolved cases through arbitration and mediation, securing millions in compensation for his clients.

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