Ride-hailing services, most notably Uber and Lyft, have become a mainstay of many regions of the United States due to their affordability, convenience, and accessibility. They have garnered a reputation as being safe alternatives to driving home from a late night—as evidenced by the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Uber partnership. In addition, some people simply believe that using these apps is safer than walking or waiting for public transportation at certain times of the day or in certain areas.
However, these apps have their own dangers associated with them. In fact, Uber and Lyft drivers are prone to being involved in traffic collisions for two key reasons:
- They often attempt to navigate an app in addition to an unfamiliar road.
- They are not required to have any specific certification beyond a driver’s license.
If you have been injured in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, there is legal recourse available to you to hold them accountable for their negligence. At Peterson & Associates, P.C., we can walk you through the steps of pursuing compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability, and any other damages.
Types of Uber and Lyft Accidents
Typically, Uber and Lyft injury claimants tend to fall into one of the following categories:
- Uber and Lyft passengers. Often, claimants are ride-hailing app users injured as passengers in an Uber or Lyft.
- Uber and Lyft drivers. Uber and Lyft drivers are not always at fault for accidents; sometimes, another party on the road is responsible for an accident.
- Other motor vehicle drivers. This category includes passenger car drivers, motorcyclists, large truck drivers, and any other motorist injured by a rideshare driver’s negligence.
- Pedestrians and bicyclists. Particularly in heavily populated areas, negligent Uber and Lyft drivers may injure those on the road who are not traveling in vehicles.
Each of these above parties has the legal right to bring the party that harmed them to justice through a legal claim and may find the help of a lawyer greatly beneficial.
Proving Negligence in Uber and Lyft Accident Claims
Any claimant pursuing a legal claim must prove the four following elements to win their case and recover compensation:
- The other party owed you a standard of care;
- The other party engaged in some form of negligence that went against this standard;
- The negligence led to an accident; and
- The accident caused an injury that led you to incur specific losses.
Common Forms of Negligence
Negligence can come in various forms but often includes:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving while distracted (e.g. texting while driving)
- Driving without regard for the law
- Speeding or driving recklessly
- Transporting too many passengers in a vehicle
- Fatigued driving
Uber and Lyft drivers are often guilty of driving while fatigued because they usually drive for these apps as a side hustle. In addition, they are often found guilty of distracted driving, as they have to pay attention to the road, app, and customer all at once.
What to Do After an Uber or Lyft Accident
Being involved in an Uber or Lyft accident is essentially the same as being involved in any other motor vehicle crash. Therefore, what you should do afterward boils down to following the same rules of thumb:
- Take stock of your injuries and surroundings.
- Make sure the other parties involved are okay.
- Call 911 if emergency medical attention is needed.
- Call the police to file a report.
- Swap insurance and contact information with the other parties.
- Use your cellphone to take pictures of the accident scene.
The only real difference is that you will need to report the accident to Uber or Lyft. This can easily be done through Uber’s or Lyft’s website or app. At this point, many accident victims wonder what is next, as Uber and Lyft do not provide any details about when they will get back to you. This is undoubtedly frustrating, especially when coping with a severe injury and struggling to afford medical care.
Often, the most appropriate next step is to contact an Uber and Lyft accident attorney to expedite the claims process and to ensure that your claim will not be compromised. For instance, even if Uber or Lyft does respond promptly to your accident report, it is likely that you will be transferred from department to department or told that there is nothing that can be done. Or they may direct you to an insurance agent who will then attempt to add deductions to your claim to reduce its value or deny it altogether.
By hiring a lawyer, these parties will know that you mean business. From our experience, simply leveraging the possibility of litigation is enough to get them to own up to their actions and compensate you as the law mandates.