As Shared Transportation Services Gain Popularity, Rideshare Accidents Are on the Rise
Unfortunately, as ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft continue to skyrocket in popularity, the number of rideshare accidents is also rising. In fact, the explosive growth of ridesharing services has amounted to a 2-3% increase in US traffic-related fatalities since 2011, equivalent to 1,100 car accident deaths a year.
When you hop into an Uber or another ridesharing service, the last thing you think of is whether the driver has insurance coverage. Maybe you’re an Uber or Lyft driver wondering about the protocol for ridesharing accidents, especially since you are spending so much more time driving. If you’re involved in a ridesharing accident, you may be unsure of what to do, whether you are a passenger or in the other vehicle.
Common Causes of Rideshare Accidents in Kansas City
- Distracted driving: The first thing you’ll probably notice when you sit down in your Uber or Lyft is the driver’s cell phone propped up on their dashboard. While this is a requirement of the job, it may also lead to distracted driving. Rideshare drivers must enter the route and address information and follow the map on the app in order to do their jobs effectively, all while navigating Kansas City traffic, construction, and winter weather. Sometimes drivers may chat with their passengers or answer questions about the area too, which can be an even greater distraction. According to the CDC, about eight people in the United States are killed in crashes that involve a distracted driver every day.
- Driver fatigue: Many rideshare drivers use Lyft or Uber (or both) as a secondary source of income. In fact, a recent survey shows that 69% of drivers have another full or part-time job in addition to their work with Uber. After wrapping up a long day at work, drivers then pick up after-hour shifts with a ridesharing service. Studies have shown that even a low level of fatigue can impair reaction times at least as much (or more) than being legally drunk.
- Poorly maintained vehicles: Uber and Lyft drivers are independent contractors and are responsible for servicing, repairing, and maintaining their own vehicles. If a driver fails to maintain his/her vehicles tires, brakes, windshield wipers, etc., it can lead to accidents.
Common Types Rideshare Accidents
- You are hurt while you are a rideshare passenger.
- You are hurt while you are driving your vehicle due to an Uber or Lyft driver’s negligence.
- You are wounded in a pedestrian or bicycle accident due to the carelessness of an Uber or Lyft driver.
What to Do Immediately After a Rideshare Accident
The protocol following a ride-share accident is the same as any other car accident:
- If anybody is injured, call an ambulance and tell the police you are hurt.
- Call the police to file an accident report.
- Don’t admit fault or apologize to anyone.
- Don’t move the vehicles until the police tell you to unless you are in a dangerous spot on the road.
- Get the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all drivers, passengers, and witnesses.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver(s).
- Take pictures of the scene and any damage to the vehicles or markings on the road.
- Stay in the rideshare vehicle if you are in a high-traffic area.
- Take screenshots of the rideshare app and receipt on your phone.
- Call Donovan Dodrill at Plaza Injury Law.
Because rideshare drivers are independent contractors, they are not required to have separate insurance policies. Compared to taxis or buses, rideshare services don’t carry insurance to protect the passenger when involved in an accident. This means that if you are hurt in a ridesharing accident, you won’t be able to use the driver’s insurance to cover your injuries.
When to Call a Lawyer After a Rideshare Accident
If you or any passengers are injured in a rideshare accident, you should absolutely contact an experienced attorney who specializes in car accident cases. That’s because decisions about who is at fault are critical to determining whether a person will be compensated for medical bills, lost wages, and/or pain and suffering. Laws for injuries vary by state, and it’s typically a complicated process. That’s why it’s best to find a lawyer who knows the law, has a proven track record of successful car accident cases, and who can guide you through the complicated process of filing a claim.
When you’re hurt on the road, you could be entitled to past and future damages. This includes costs of past medical treatment like the ambulance ride and ER bills, future medical treatment including therapy and doctor appointments, as well as pain and suffering. In the event you’re unable to settle your case without filing a lawsuit, an experienced personal injury attorney is essential to file motions, take witness and medical and expert statements, and to argue your case at trial. After all, an unsuccessful lawsuit without professional guidance means no compensation, unpaid medical bills, and the possibility of financial ruin.
What Type of Insurance do Uber/Lyft Drivers Carry?
Lyft and Uber both have liability coverage that changes with the stages of driving. For example, between the time that the driver turns on the ridesharing app and accepts a ride, they are covered up to $50,000 for bodily injury, $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 for any property damage. Between the time that the driver gets a match with a passenger and drops the passenger off, there is primary liability coverage of $1 million per accident and $1 million for uninsured and underinsured motorists. Some rideshare drivers will also carry their own personal insurance policies. These may provide additional coverage during the times they are not using the app to actively drive a passenger or drive to pick a passenger up.
Contact an Experienced Kansas City Car Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a rideshare accident, whether you were a passenger or an Uber or Lyft driver, contact Plaza Injury Law today. Donovan Dodrill will advocate on your behalf throughout the complex process of filing accident and injury claims to help you get the compensation you deserve.