Phoenix Rideshare Accidents

Types of Rideshare Accidents

Lawyers Helping Injured Passengers in Phoenix

Ridesharing services have become incredibly common and largely overshadow the taxi industry. These services offer a quick and convenient way to contact drivers through cellphone apps to arrange rides. People also like them because payment of tipping is handled through the app and cash exchanges are not required. Because ridesharing services have seen explosive growth, many of the legal issues that they raise have not been addressed. This includes understanding the role that multiple auto insurance policies may play after a crash as well as whether rideshare services can treat their drivers as independent contractors instead of as employees. At Abels & Annes, our committed Phoenix car accident attorneys are available to assist people who have been injured in all types of rideshare accidents.

Common Types of Rideshare Accidents

A rideshare accident can cause a wide array of injuries to occur. Whenever a stranger is picking up an unfamiliar person in a crowded or busy area, this creates additional chaos and increases the chances that someone may not use appropriate caution. One of the most common types of rideshare accidents is a pedestrian accident. While a driver is busy attempting to locate a rider, he or she may not be paying sufficient attention to pedestrians near his or her vehicle.

Rideshare drivers are also often in a hurry, either looking for their next fare or hurrying to meet a rider who is waiting for a ride. When a driver is feeling rushed, he or she may cut more corners and engage in unsafe driving behaviors like speeding, ignoring traffic laws, and tailgating other vehicles.

Common Injuries from Rideshare Accidents

Just like any other traffic accident, passengers in a rideshare vehicle can suffer from a multitude of accident-related injuries like:

  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Paralysis
  • Amputations
  • Death

And when it comes to passengers themselves causing harm, rideshare accidents have been linked to dooring accidents, which are accidents where a bicyclist is struck with a car door as a passenger enters or exits the vehicle. These accidents create many questions about liability such as whether the ridesharing service is liable to the injured bicyclist.

Seek Compensation after a Rideshare Accident

If you were involved in a rideshare accident, it is critical that you understand your legal options and how to seek compensation. You may have a claim against multiple parties involved in the incident including the driver of the vehicle in which you were riding, the driver of another vehicle involved in the crash, and/or the rideshare company.

Employee vs. Independent Contractor Issue

An important issue in this context is that rideshare companies generally try to classify their drivers as independent contractors rather than employees so as to avoid liability for collisions, among other things. However, a seasoned car accident attorney can help you argue that rideshare drivers are employees who are subject to substantial control by rideshare companies, and that those companies should therefore be legally responsible for their drivers’ negligent conduct.

Rideshare Insurance Coverage

It is also critical to understand Arizona’s rideshare liability laws. These laws require rideshare drivers to maintain $250,000 in liability coverage to cover damages sustained by passengers in their vehicles. Further, and while each company is different, both Lyft and Uber maintain $1 million insurance policies to cover accidents involving their drivers, but these policies only apply if the rideshare app is in use.

For example, if the accident took place while you were being transported as a rider through the service, these policies should apply to your damages. But if a rideshare driver is using the app while awaiting notification to pick up a new passenger at the time of a crash, Lyft and Uber’s coverage will only be $50,000 per person and $100,000 per incident.

Further, if the app was off and you were struck as a pedestrian, then you may only be able to assert a claim for damages against the driver and his or her individual auto insurance policy. Finally, in some situations your own insurance coverage could even be triggered. An experienced lawyer can help determine which parties are responsible for different types of rideshare accidents.

The Burden of Proof and Damages

To recover compensation following a crash involving a rideshare company under any of the circumstances described above, you will need to show that the driver who caused the accident failed to use reasonable care and skill at the time of the crash and that you would not have suffered injuries but for the driver’s lack of due care. If you prevail in establishing liability, categories of damages you can collect include amounts for your past and future medical costs, lost earnings, loss of future earning capacity, and more.

Contact a Phoenix Attorney for a Consultation

Rideshare accidents are incredibly complicated and a relatively new area of the law. This can make it even more challenging for an accident victim to receive the timely and appropriate compensation that he or she deserves from a party who acted negligently in connection with a rideshare service. Rideshare companies can be very large and have ample resources to battle any claims of negligence against it or its drivers. At Abels & Annes, our Phoenix lawyers are available to discuss your rideshare accident and whether we can help you fight for the outcome that you deserve. Call us today at (602) 819-5191 or contact us online to get started.

Rideshare Insurance Coverage

Car Accident Lawyers Assisting Injured Victims in Phoenix

Ridesharing services have become incredibly popular, especially in crowded cities like Phoenix where parking can be difficult to find. This relatively new way to get from place to place has come with some legal issues, including those related to rideshare insurance coverage in the event that an accident takes place. If you were involved in a collision while using a rideshare service, you should speak to an experienced Phoenix car accident attorney about your right to compensation.

At Abels & Annes, we are prepared to assist you with your potential legal claims. Regardless of whether the driver of the vehicle in which you were riding is at fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. The ridesharing coverage laws are evolving on a state-by-state basis, which is all the more reason to retain an experienced legal professional to help you protect your rights.

Establishing Liability in Accidents Involving Ridesharing Services

Rideshare companies include services like Uber and Lyft that use drivers to offer rides to people who use their apps. This makes it easy for individuals who are visiting a city for vacation or work to get around, while also providing local residents with a simplified way to travel. Some people find these services more convenient than a taxi service because of the ease of calling a car using the app.

While very convenient, a rideshare service creates serious risks for passengers if the driver does not pay attention and adhere to the rules of the road. Many drivers in rideshare services are working for commissions and eager to ensure that they can pick up enough riders. For this reason, many of them rush around and may engage in dangerous diving practices like speeding, tailgating, and road rage.

The Independent Contractor vs. Employee Rideshare Issue

In general, ridesharing services attempt to treat drivers like independent contractors. However, this is an ongoing legal issue. In reality, these drivers act like employees.

Each driver contracts with the rideshare service to perform driving services, and operate by the rules and regulations of the company. The rideshare service describes itself as a marketplace that connects drivers with people seeking rides. By attempting to define the drivers as independent contractors, the ridesharing service attempts to not be held vicariously liable for any careless or reckless actions on the part of the drivers.

On the other hand, accident victims and their lawyers argue that the drivers are employees under a significant amount of control of the rideshare companies. Therefore, Uber and Lyft should be liable for the negligent actions of their drivers.

Rideshare Insurance Coverage

Although each rideshare company is different, Uber and Lyft both carry $1 million insurance policies to cover situations where a driver gets into an accident. However, this $1,000,000 coverage only applies if the rideshare is carrying a passenger or is on the way to pick up a ride.

If a driver is using the app and is waiting to be assigned a fair, Uber and Lyft still provide insurance, but only $50,000 per person and $100,000 per occurrence. If the driver was not using the app at the time of the accident, you will most likely have to make a claim through his or her insurance carrier if you are involved in an accident.

To make matters even more complicated, not all insurance companies will extend policies to rideshare drivers. This is why Uber and Lyft provide insurance coverage, but the situation may be different with another company. And when it comes to traditional taxi services, taxi companies are required to provide a company-wide insurance policy.

In rare circumstances, your own auto policy or a rideshare passenger’s insurance could come into play. Determining which policy is triggered and whether you are entitled to coverage may involve complex legal analysis, and a skilled car accident lawyer can help.

For example, if the accident happens as a result of the passenger’s negligence, such as a passenger opening a car door into a bike lane and striking an approaching cyclist, then the passenger may be partially liable for the damages. Further, if there is an accident with low limits or no insurance, your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage could apply. Each situation is different, however, and the best way to determine the dynamics of the insurance policies involved in your situation is to speak to knowledgeable legal counsel.

Meet with a Compassionate Car Accident Attorney in Phoenix

Obtaining advice from an experienced car accident lawyer can help you ensure that your legal rights are asserted to the fullest extent, and that you pursue the compensation that you deserve in a timely fashion in a case involving rideshare insurance coverage. The dedicated Phoenix legal team at Abels & Annes is available to discuss your situation in a free and confidential consultation. Call the office at (855) 749-5299 or contact us online to get started.