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Ride Sharing Accidents

As the landscape of our roads and highways changes, so do trends for the drivers who traverse it. In years past, outside of public transportation, individuals had limited options if they were without a means of transportation for themselves. Frustration from expensive and inconvenient taxi services combined with technological advancements brought rideshare programs to users in a way unlike anything before. Now, anyone in need of a ride need only open a rideshare app on their phone, type in a destination, and a rideshare driver will take care of the rest. While convenient, the ubiquity of rideshare giants like Lyft and Uber has come at a high cost for some passengers, and has created a new web of problems for drivers and users alike.


Rideshare programs have raised safety questions for rideshare drivers, rideshare passengers, and others who share the roads with them. More cars on the roads can mean an increased chance of suffering an accident. While rideshare apps were created to decongest roads and prevent incapacitated drivers from getting behind the wheel, the ease of making additional income for rideshare drivers means more and more cars on the roads. Those that have been involved in a ridesharing accident know firsthand the nightmare of complex legal issues that can potentially unfold involving multiple insurance policies, compensation for medical bills, and determining liability – or who is at fault.

Common Causes of Rideshare Accidents

While ridesharing can be a source of positivity by eliminating DWIs and DUI risks, it’s not foolproof with regard to road safety. In fact, traffic deaths have increased by 2% to 3% every year since rideshares gained popularity among users in 2011. While 2% to 3% may not sound substantial, the statistic translates to the loss of nearly 987 lives annually. In addition to more drivers on the road, rideshares have been linked to an increase in car accidents due to the following common causes:

Unfamiliar Locations

Uber drivers are often asked to navigate unfamiliar areas of town in order to complete trips. This means that in addition to driving, drivers must focus on other factors such as street signs and the rideshare application itself.

Distracted Driving

It’s a scene any rideshare passenger has witnessed: the driver using the rideshare application on their phone while driving you around. It is widely known that distracted driving – particularly the use of cellphones – has been the catalyst to an increase in pedestrian, motorcycle, and car accidents in recent years; and rideshare accidents are not immune to its dangers either. Other forms of distracted driving that inhibit a driver’s ability to pay attention to the road include talking on the phone, texting and using social media, as well as listening to music with headphones.

Speed

For rideshare drivers, each trip equals financial income, and drivers feel pressure to accept and complete as many trips as possible. Speed is a top cause of all types of auto accidents, and ridesharing crashes are no different. Speeding not only increases the severity of car accident injuries, it can also cause fatalities.

Exhaustion

It’s common for drivers to use rideshare apps as a second job or “side hustle” to make additional income. Because choosing to drive and accepting trips is just as easy for drivers as it is for passengers to request a ride, drivers may choose to pick up driving shifts at the end of their regular workday. Exhaustion can have a devastating effect on a driver’s ability to focus and react to numerous situations on the road.

Sexual Assault

Anytime you enter an Uber or a Lyft vehicle, you run the risk of being harmed by the driver. The companies do not provide sufficient safety measures. Recent reports and lawsuits have shown the companies received thousands of reports by riders that their drivers sexually assaulted them.


Frequently Asked Questions About Ride Sharing Accidents

I was hit by an Uber or Lyft driver, what do I do now?

The first thing to do after any car accident is to make sure everyone involved is ok and to call emergency services. Make sure to get the names, contact information, and insurance information from all parties involved. If there were witnesses to the accident, make sure to get their contact information as well. Then take as many pictures, videos, and other visual evidence of the scene as you can. Once the police arrive, give them your statement and make sure to ask for a copy of the police report or the police report number. Having a police report to back up your claim will be critical in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver.

After the accident occurs, report it as soon as possible to Uber, Lyft, or the rideshare service the driver of the vehicle that hit you was working for. You have to start the claims process with the rideshare service as quickly as possible making sure to only relay the facts of what happened. The rideshare company’s insurance provider may not want to cooperate or will attempt to blame the accident on your actions. It is essential to have your own legal counsel to fight the uphill battle you will face against a rideshare company’s team of high-powered and high-priced lawyers and insurance agents.

Who is liable in a rideshare accident?

There may be more than one liable party in a rideshare accident. An injury victim must be able to establish that someone was at fault for hitting their vehicle or otherwise causing them physical injury and that the accident resulted in injury-related damages. You may or may not be able to file an insurance claim against the Uber or Lyft driver’s personal auto insurance depending on when and how the accident occurred. Because the driver was using their vehicle for work purposes, their personal auto insurance carrier will likely deny the claim if the driver was transporting a passenger at the time of the accident. Uber and Lyft offer their drivers liability insurance policies that can kick in when their personal insurance policies deny an accident claim. It is entirely possible to hold Uber or Lyft responsible for the damages resulting from a rideshare accident, but you will need legal help to ensure it is done properly.

How common are rideshare accidents?

There are an estimated three million Uber drivers in the United States driving at any given time. According to a study conducted by the University of Chicago, since the inception of rideshare services in the United States, outside of typical taxi cab companies, there has been a three percent increase in vehicle accident fatalities. The study also showed that the increase of drivers on the road indirectly led to an increase in daily car accident deaths overall as more drivers are attempting to speed through cities with their passengers to get the best rating possible.

What happens if you get into an accident with an Uber driver?

If you get into an accident with an Uber driver, start by treating it like any other car accident. Exchange information, survey the damage to your vehicles, and make sure to get medical treatment for your injuries. Report the accident to the police who will create their own report stating their findings. Once all information is gathered, report the accident to Uber and begin the claims process. If the Uber driver was actively transporting a passenger, Uber may be required to pay for the resulting damages to your vehicle and/or for your medical costs. Uber may ask you to provide a statement regarding what happened during the accident. If they do this, make sure to have your legal counsel available to speak on your behalf. Uber will attempt to deny liability for the rideshare accident and having legal support on your side will protect you from its predatory tactics.

Does Uber pay if you get in an accident?

Because Uber drivers are considered independent contractors, whether or not Uber will pay for your rideshare accident injury claims completely depends on if the driver was working at the time of the accident. Uber has a commercial liability insurance policy for each of their drivers that can pay up to $1 million in case of a serious crash. That compensation is meant for injury-related expenses and property damage. Specific circumstances must apply, though, to be able to access that compensation. Uber may try to deny your claim, or its insurance provider may deny your claim, citing a variety of reasons. These reasons may include allegations that the Uber driver not on duty at the time of the incident or that you or another driver was at fault. With experienced legal counsel by your side, Uber can be held accountable for its driver’s negligence and your resulting injuries.

Houston Ride sharing Injury Lawyers

If you or a loved one was involved in a ride sharing accident, you do not have to fight corporations and their insurance carriers on your own. You need the guidance of a seasoned attorney with your best interests in mind. Determining factors like who is at fault are often complex legal matters the attorneys at Adame Garza are skilled at resolving. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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