According to the Department of Transportation, ridesharing refers to the act of sharing transportation, which includes the sharing of both car and van journeys. Ridesharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, have become progressively more popular, which has also resulted in the likelihood of car accidents involving these vehicles. If involved in a rideshare accident, discover the steps to take immediately afterwards and how Jason English Law at (512) 454-7548 can assist with making a successful personal injury claim.
Understanding Rideshare Companies
Rideshare companies offer a service that allows customers to hire one of their freelance drivers for transportation purposes. This typically involves a driver using their own vehicle to transport customers from one location to another, although occasionally customers use this service to transport packages. Customers usually access this service through an app on their smartphone and pay for their trip with the card they store on the app.
These companies have grown in popularity, as they are typically cheaper to use than standard taxis and more convenient than using a personal vehicle. Due to this increased demand for ridesharing platforms, there is evidence suggesting that this is also leading to an increase in car accidents. Research by the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago suggests that fatal car accidents have grown by almost 3% as of 2011, due to the growing demand for ridesharing apps. As a result of this increase in rideshare incidents, many individuals may have encountered injuries and damages because of the liable party.
Who Is Liable After a Ridesharing Accident?
Typically, the liability for a rideshare accident falls on the party at fault. It is important to prove the following elements to demonstrate that the accident occurred as a result of their negligence:
- That the individual owed a duty of care, which is typically easy to prove as all drivers possess a duty to follow traffic legislation and drive with care
- That the individual breached this duty by failing to drive with care and follow traffic legislation
- That another individual received injuries due to this breach from the other person
Identifying the liable party is similar in a ridesharing accident to that of a regular car accident. Here, though, the key difference is how insurance claims work when the injured individual attempts to gain compensation from the liable party.
How Much Can a Victim Claim from a Ridesharing Accident?
In a standard car accident, the majority of drivers claim against the liable party's insurance policy to gain compensation. These policies, however, contain a clause that makes them invalid when the driver is using the vehicle for commercial reasons, such as when operating as a driver for a ridesharing company. Due to this lack of insurance cover in this scenario, ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft give their drivers $1 million in liability insurance coverage. However, it is important to note that the precise amount a victim can claim depends on the stage of the transaction that the driver is in with the customer, which includes:
- The driver is yet to log in to the ridesharing app. In this case, no insurance coverage is available, although the driver's personal insurance may cover any damages caused.
- The driver is currently logged into the ridesharing app but is yet to accept a customer's ride request. Here, the ridesharing company provides coverage for when the driver causes the accident, which is a maximum of $50,000 per person and $100,000 in total for each accident.
- The driver accepts a ride request and is travelling to the customer to collect them. Here, the coverage is $1 million.
- The customer is currently in the vehicle. In this scenario, the coverage is a maximum of $1 million, in addition to some coverage for any damage caused to the driver's vehicle, alongside coverage for uninsured drivers.
Who Can Make a Claim After a Ridesharing Accident?
In addition to passengers in the ridesharing vehicle, other individuals can make a claim after a ridesharing accident, including:
- Pedestrians and cyclists who received injuries due to the ridesharing accident
- Drivers using a ridesharing platform who gained their injuries due to the negligence of another driver
- Individuals in other motorized vehicles who received injuries as a result of a crash that a driver using a ridesharing platform caused
- Relatives of those killed in a ridesharing accident
Steps to Take After Experiencing a Ridesharing Accident
After experiencing a ridesharing accident, immediately follow the steps below to improve the chances of a successful claim:
- Contact the police as soon as possible to ensure the documentation of the accident, including all witnesses and involved parties. This also ensures that there is a police report available to support a claim.
- Get medical assistance, if needed, as soon as possible and document any medical bills and trips to the hospital.
- Take as many time-stamped pictures as possible before leaving the scene of the accident, from multiple different angles, and try to get details from witnesses, as this can help to demonstrate who was at fault.
- Get insurance details from all involved drivers in the incident and try to get pictures of everyone's driver's license, insurance documents, and license plates.
- Keep the ridesharing receipt, which typically contains vital details that are key for pursuing a claim, such as the driver's name, when the trip took place, and the pickup location.
- Consider getting legal assistance by speaking with Jason English Law, who can help to make sure that the ridesharing accident claim is correctly handled. By contacting a legal representative, they can advise on the steps to take to preserve vital evidence and improve a victim's chances of gaining the most compensation by helping them navigate the insurance processes.
Discover if You Can Make a Claim Following a Rideshare Accident
If involved in a rideshare accident, particularly if injured, it is possible that you can make a claim to cover the cost of your loss of earnings, medical bills, damage to property, and emotional distress. Discover if you can make a claim following a ridesharing accident by contacting Jason English Law at (512) 454-7548, who can help identify whether you can gain compensation for your injuries and losses.