Rideshare programs and apps are gaining popularity in cities around the country. While most people choose between Lyft and Uber, there are several other rideshare apps in Chicago. Our Chicago rideshare accident lawyers handle crashes involving these drivers regularly.
A rideshare is an arrangement in which a passenger travels in a private vehicle driven by the owner/operator of that vehicle. The driver is typically a stranger and the passenger agrees to pay a fee in exchange for transit.
Ridesharing is a convenient and inexpensive option for commuters. It allows the passenger to hail a driver at almost any location to reach their destination.
Ridesharing apps are more flexible than public transportation as the passenger can control the route and pickup time. Further, most ridesharing programs allow carpool options, keeping costs lower.
Ridesharing apps are seen as convenient, accessible, and a great resource for those looking to travel around the Chicago area. Further, some limited data suggests that ridesharing apps are helping to reduce the number of drunk and impaired drivers on public roadways. This can improve safety and reduce the frequency of drunk driving accidents.
Seeking Recovery for Rideshare Drivers
Passengers are not the only people who can get injured in ridesharing accidents. Rideshare drivers may ﬁnd themselves involved in, and injured from, accidents and incidents behind the wheel. Physical injuries can lead to signiﬁcant medical and economic consequences for rideshare drivers, particularly when the injuries keep them away from work and unable to earn fares. Property damage, typically to a vehicle, can put a driver out of work for the immediate future. Modern vehicles are becoming harder and far more expensive to repair.
Rideshare drivers have the same rights to the road as any other motorist. Unfortunately, pursuing compensation from an at-fault driver, a large insurance corporation, or a multi-billion dollar rideshare company is rarely a simple task for anyone, including a rideshare driver. When a rideshare driver is injured or suffers property damage on the job, they deserve to have someone in their corner. This is where the trusted car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes come in.
Drivers' Rights to Compensation
Drivers for a rideshare service have a right to receive compensation for injuries they sustain in the course of their work, including:
- The costs of medical care necessary to treat an injury, from emergency medical care through long-term therapy.
- The economic impact of wages lost because an injury prevented the driver from returning to work, and of future economic opportunities the injury forced the driver to forego.
- The expenses associated with services the driver needs to retain to manage day-to-day life while recovering from or living with an injury, such as childcare or keeping house.
- The non-economic impact of an injury, such as the physical pain and emotional suffering it causes, and its detrimental effects on a driver’s quality of life and close, personal relationships.
At Abels & Annes, we believe hard-working rideshare drivers deserve this compensation. Rideshare drivers are skilled professionals, and an essential aspect of modern transportation—they deserve the same protections as any other motorist, particularly when providing a service to others. We can help drivers recover the compensation they deserve no matter if it requires chasing down insurance coverage, taking legal action against a rideshare company, or suing an at-fault party.
If you’re on your way to pick up a rider or carrying one in your vehicle, Uber covers you with a $1 million policy—more than the personal policies that most Uber drivers or other motorists carry. Unfortunately, Uber’s insurance company is no more likely to offer an adequate settlement on a valid claim than any other insurance company. That’s where the Uber and Lyft accident lawyers at Abels & Annes come in.
Rideshare Accident Insurance Coverage
Proving fault can be tricky in a claim involving a rideshare driver—whether you were a passenger in the rideshare or you were hit by a rideshare driver. If a rideshare driver causes an accident involving your own vehicle, that driver and the rideshare company may be held liable. In these cases, your lawyer will pursue compensation from their insurer. If you were the passenger of an Uber or Lyft and the driver causes an accident, again, you should be able to recover damages since you were clearly not at-fault. However, responsibility changes if the Uber or Lyft driver was off-duty at the time of the collision.
When it comes to liability in rideshare accidents, there are three main categories of an Uber or Lyft accident:
- App was off
- App was on but with no passengers
- The app was on with a passenger or going to pick up a passenger
If the App Is Off
When a driver is not logged into the rideshare app, the driver is not actively working. Therefore, rideshare company insurance is not actively responsible for the driver. If the app is offline, then any accident that the driver causes will be the responsibility of the driver.
When the App Is On Without Passengers Onboard
If an Uber or Lyft driver has their app on and is waiting for a passenger to request a ride, ridesharing insurance does offer some coverage. This takes effect if the rideshare driver was the at-fault party. In this case, injury claims can be lodged against both the driver’s personal auto insurance and the rideshare company’s insurance coverage.
Both Uber and Lyft have similar policies regarding liability while drivers are logged in to their apps and waiting on a passenger. They both cover limits of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per occurrence for injuries, and $25,000 for property damage. The driver’s personal insurance coverage amount will vary. However, to be eligible to drive for Uber or Lyft, drivers must carry minimum amounts of legit auto insurance coverage.
During a Ride or On The Way to Pick Up a Passenger
When a rideshare driver is on their way to pick up a passenger, or if a passenger is in the vehicle, the ridesharing company’s insurance will be active. Uber and Lyft have made clear that their insurance coverage is supplementary and takes effect if the driver’s own insurance denies coverage or is not sufficient to cover damages in an accident. Currently, Uber and Lyft both offer up to $1 million in third-party liability. Both companies used to provide $1 million in uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage for rideshare drivers and passengers, but in recent years those amounts have been greatly reduced.
Rideshare Insurance Coverage Complexity is Reason to Hire a Car Accident Attorney
Rideshare accidents are not cut and dry or one size fits all. Liability depends on the status of the driver’s operation and whether they were logged in to the rideshare app. And at the end of the day, auto insurance carriers try to maintain their profits by not paying compensation to accident and injury victims. This is why it is essential to contact a Chicago rideshare injury attorney after being involved in a car accident with Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare service. Abels & Annes can help you determine who to file a claim against and how much compensation you may be entitled to. If you were involved in an Uber or Lyft accident, contact us online or call us for a free case evaluation.
Common Injuries from Rideshare Accidents
Getting into an auto accident can cause all sorts of injuries, ranging from soft tissue to severe, permanent, and life-changing injuries. All accidents are different, and all injuries are unique. But there are some injuries that commonly result from a car accident. These include:
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occur when the head is struck or penetrated with great force. This type of injury can range from minor, such as in a concussion, to more severe, causing serious and permanent brain damage. TBIs can also cause temporary loss of consciousness, coma, brain death, vegetative state, and death.
Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are another type of injury that can occur after a car accident. These injuries occur when great force is applied to the back and neck, causing damage to the spinal column and the muscles and nerves surrounding it. Spinal cord injuries can result in either incomplete or complete paralysis. Incomplete paralysis refers to some loss of function below the site of the injury. By contrast, complete paralysis refers to the total loss of function below the site of the injury.
Internal injuries can include damage to the organs, as well as internal bleeding. These types of injuries can be severe and may require emergency surgery to repair. Internal injuries may be overlooked or go undiagnosed since adrenaline can mask initial pain after a car accident. Additionally, internal injuries can’t be readily seen by the naked eye. This is why it’s crucial to seek medical attention for your injuries immediately after a car accident.
Broken Bones and Fractures
Broken bones often occur in auto accidents. This injury often just requires that the bone is set and then put into a cast to heal in its proper place. However, car accidents sometimes cause crushed bones or multiple fractures that require more extensive care. In these cases, surgery may be required to repair the bone breaks. More serious fractures usually require more treatment and longer recovery times.
Losing a family member to a car accident is devastating. It is always unexpected and traumatizing for the victim’s loved ones. When someone else’s negligence causes a family member’s death, you can file a wrongful death claim to get justice and compensation for your damages.
Causes of Rideshare Accidents
Rideshare accidents may be caused by the ridesharing driver, or they may be caused by another driver while you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft.
Other than the common causes of car accidents like speeding and failure to yield, rideshare accidents do have some unique circumstances that can result in a collision. For example, drivers are often on their phones when they are working for Uber or Lyft, much more than they would be otherwise. They have to coordinate picking up riders, using navigation, and alerting the app to what stage in the process they are in. The use of a cell phone while on the road is a clear distraction that increases the risk of a collision.
Chicago Rideshare Car Accident FAQ
Over the past decade, ridesharing has revolutionized how Chicagoans get around town. Hailing an Uber, Lyft, or Via has become as (if not more) common than hailing a cab for anyone who needs to get from their office in The Loop to a game in Wrigleyville, or from a club on Halsted or Rush Streets back home to a dorm room in Evanston. Taking a rideshare is convenient, affordable, and (hopefully) safe.
However, accidents involving rideshare cars happen. Victims of those accidents often have lots of questions about their legal rights. They wonder if the fact that they suffered injuries in a crash involving a rideshare vehicle, either one they were riding-in, or one that collided with them, affects whether and how they can obtain compensation for their injuries.
Below we answer some frequently asked questions about Chicago rideshare car accidents. For answers to more detailed questions about a rideshare crash that injured you or a loved one, contact an experienced Chicago rideshare car accident attorney today.
I got hurt in a Chicago rideshare car accident. How can I pay my bills?
Chicago rideshare car accident victims generally have the right to take legal action against anyone whose unreasonably dangerous decisions or actions led to the accident and their injuries, so call the Chicago rideshare lawyers at Abels & Annes.
Every Chicagoland rideshare car accident has unique circumstances, of course, but speaking broadly, rideshare car crash victims can often take legal action for damages against one or more of:
- A rideshare driver whose dangerous actions behind the wheel causes a crash;
- Another motorist whose actions lead to a crash with a rideshare vehicle;
- In extremely rare cases, a government agency if it failed to fix or warn drivers about an unreasonably dangerous, preventable road condition that caused the accident; and
- The rideshare company itself, either as the employer of the driver or if its decisions or actions contributed to the accident or the harm the victim suffered.
Seek the advice of an experienced Chicago rideshare car accident lawyer to learn who may owe you damages for your injuries and losses.
Are my rights different because I got hurt in a rideshare car accident, as compared to one that does not involve a rideshare?
Yes and no. A rideshare car accident is still fundamentally a car accident. As a victim, you have all of the rights anyone would have in any accident, regardless of whether it involved a rideshare car. For example, a motorist responsible for causing any Chicagoland car accident will typically carry auto insurance that includes at least some liability coverage for crash victims. As owners and drivers of personal vehicles, rideshare drivers carry that kind of insurance, just like anyone else, and it will typically cover at least some of the costs of the victims’ injuries and losses.
However, the involvement of a rideshare car can affect your rights and the amount of money potentially available to compensate you. Most significantly, rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber provide supplemental insurance for their drivers that covers victims for injuries sustained in an accident involving one of their drivers.
Further, different levels of insurance apply depending upon the driver’s rideshare car status at the time of the crash. The insurance provides a lesser-level of coverage for accidents that happen when the driver was merely logged-in to the dispatch app, and a greater level of coverage if the driver was actively engaged in traveling to or providing a ride. The insurance provides no benefit at all if the driver was not using the rideshare app at the time of the crash.
Those distinctions—not logged-in/logged-in but not dispatched/logged-in and dispatched—can mean the difference between receiving full compensation for an injury and receiving only some (or none). Consequently, they make moving quickly to secure evidence of the driver’s status at the time of the crash very important.
By seeking the help of an experienced Chicago rideshare car crash lawyer as soon as possible after a crash, you can give yourself the best chance of securing that evidence and (potentially) benefiting from supplemental insurance coverage provided by the rideshare company to its driver.
What do I do if I’ve been involved in a rideshare accident?
When you’re involved in any car accident, including a rideshare accident, you might be scared and stressed out. But knowing what to do to protect yourself can make the situation a lot more manageable. Do the following after you’ve been involved in a car accident:
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention. If you are injured, contact 911 or go with emergency medical services immediately. If your injuries are not too serious, follow these other steps as well.
- File a Police Report. All injury accidents should be reported to the police. Not only is it the law, it is also a very important piece of evidence for a personal injury claim. Do not let anyone talk you out of calling the police after a rideshare accident, including your Uber or Lyft driver. Further, ask the police officer for crash report information, as sometimes they fail to list passengers.
- Exchange Information. As a rideshare passenger, make sure to collect contact and insurance information for all of the drivers involved in the collision. It is also a good idea to take a screenshot of your rideshare app to document your ride.
- Take Photos of Evidence. Photographic evidence of the accident scene, the vehicles, any injuries, as well as anything like skid marks can be helpful in proving a personal injury case. Further, take pictures of driver’s licenses and insurance cards.
- Do Not Sign Anything. Do not agree to any terms or speak with any company representative without an attorney’s counsel. You do not need to make any official statement to an insurance company. Contact a qualified Uber or Lyft accident attorney prior to filing an injury claim.
Did I have to be a rideshare passenger to receive the benefit of the supplemental insurance?
Generally speaking, no. The supplemental insurance provided by rideshare car companies to their drivers in Chi-town broadly covers all injuries and harm caused by an accident. So, you do not need to have been the rideshare driver’s passenger to benefit from it. In fact, the rideshare driver does not need to have had a passenger in the car at all for the insurance to apply. As we described above, the extra insurance covers victims of a crash that happens when the driver is logged in to the app, albeit at different levels depending on the driver’s status.
How much money can I get for my rideshare car accident claim?
That depends on the facts and circumstances of your crash. Broadly speaking, Chicago victims of rideshare car crashes can take legal action seeking compensation for:
- Medical and non-medical costs associated with their injuries;
- Past and future lost income resulting from getting hurt and missing work and/or suffering a disabling injury that prevents the victim from working;
- Their pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life and relationships owing to the accident and injuries; and
- In cases involving extreme conduct that led to the rideshare car accident, punitive damages.
The amount of damages that fall into each of these categories can vary based on the severity of the injury, length and prognosis of recovery, and victim’s age, income, and overall state of health.
An experienced Chicago rideshare accident injury lawyer can evaluate your claim and determine the maximum amount of damages you arguably have a right to receive, as well as the most effective way to secure as much of those damages as possible from parties who have a legal liability to you.
To learn more, contact the skilled Chicago rideshare accident lawyers at Abels & Annes today for a free case evaluation.
Our Chicago Uber Accident Lawyers Can Help Uber Drivers, Too
The Chicago legal team at Abels & Annes can help you obtain the money you deserve after sustaining an injury as a rideshare driver. We are prepared to analyze your unique situation and to explore all paths available to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, our assistance can include:
- Review of police reports;
- Investigation of the accident scene;
- Input from experts when required;
- Interviewing witnesses;
- Analysis of recovery options under all insurance policies and against all potentially liable parties;
- Reviewing medical records and bills;
- Settlement negotiations;
- Negotiating to reduce medical bills at the time of settlement;
- Filing a lawsuit and going through the litigation process;
- Handling a mediation or arbitration;
- Trying the case in front of a judge or jury; and
- Pursuit of an appropriate legal strategy, whether in or out of court.
Rideshare drivers are quickly becoming an essential aspect of our economy, and millions of Americans rely on rideshare drivers to get them where they need to be, whether for work or for pleasure. Accordingly, rideshare drivers should have an ally when the unexpected happens, even if that means going up against a large insurer or rideshare company to ensure you are made whole under the law. Trust Abels & Annes to protect your rights as a rideshare driver and to pursue the compensation you deserve.
The legal team at Abels & Annes is available 24/7 for free consultations. Our Chicago rideshare accident lawyers will speak with you and answer questions about your options.
If you were injured in a rideshare accident with Uber or Lyft, contact Abels & Annes, P.C. at (312) 924-7575 for a free case consultation.