Ridesharing services have become increasingly popular in Missouri, offering convenience and a cost-effective means of transportation.
With Uber and Lyft leading the way, many people utilize these platforms daily: but what happens when an accident occurs? These accidents present unique legal challenges and questions.
Are Rideshares Dangerous?
Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have revolutionized transportation. However, just as with any motor vehicle on the road, there’s a risk of an accident. A rideshare accident can be as minor as a fender bender or as severe as a major collision. One must consider the multiple factors that can contribute to a rideshare car accident, such as driver inexperience, vehicle maintenance, or simply the unpredictability of road conditions.
Moreover, rideshare drivers, in their eagerness to pick up and drop off passengers quickly, might sometimes engage in risky behaviors. This can put both the rideshare driver and the passengers at risk. Given the surge in the use of rideshare services, it’s essential to understand the potential dangers associated with them.
What Are the Most Common Rideshare Accident Injuries?
When a rideshare car accident occurs, the injuries can vary. However, certain injuries are quite common. A sudden stop or collision can cause passengers and drivers to experience a rapid back-and-forth neck movement, leading to whiplash. This injury can result in pain, restricted movement, and other symptoms.
The impact from a collision can easily break bones, especially in more severe car accidents, and a sudden jolt or hit to the head can cause a concussion. It’s paramount to seek medical attention immediately if you suspect you have sustained a concussion.
Finally, shattered glass, impact with hard surfaces, or loose objects inside the vehicle can cause injuries, as well. If you’ve sustained injuries in a rideshare accident, it’s crucial to get a thorough medical examination. Documenting your injuries can aid in any potential insurance claim or lawsuit.
The Number One Cause of Uber or Lyft Accidents Is the Same As Other Car Accidents—Distracted Driving
Distracted driving remains a significant concern on Missouri roads. Whether it’s texting, adjusting the GPS, or interacting with the ridesharing app, rideshare drivers are not immune to distractions.
Despite efforts from transportation network companies to ensure their drivers prioritize safety, the lure of mobile devices can sometimes be too compelling.
This distraction can lead to slower reaction times, missed traffic signals, and ultimately, accidents. As with other drivers, a momentary lapse in attention can lead to significant consequences for everyone involved in the accident.
Uber or Lyft Accident Stats Even Include Assault
While many people worry about the dangers of accidents while using rideshare services, there’s another alarming aspect: the risk of assault. It’s an unfortunate reality that not all rideshare drivers undergo thorough background checks. This oversight can sometimes lead to passengers sharing a vehicle with unsafe people.
Instances of assault, including sexual assault, have been reported among rideshare passengers. Ensuring one’s safety goes beyond just traffic safety. It’s also about understanding who’s behind the wheel.
As of 2019, 36% of Americans have used ridesharing services such as Uber or Lyft, a significant increase from just half that percentage in 2015.
During 2019 and 2020, Uber reported 20 fatalities and 3,824 sexual assaults during their rides, though 99.9% of Uber journeys did conclude without any safety incident. Between 2017 and 2019, Lyft reported 10 fatal physical assaults and 1,096 cases of sexual assault. Still, similar to Uber, over 99% of Lyft rides ended without any reported safety incidents.
As you can see, the risk is low but still real. It always pays to be careful, and no matter what kind of injury you’ve sustained in a rideshare incident, contact a lawyer to make sure your rights are protected.
Are Uber and Lyft Drivers Required To Carry Insurance?
Yes, both Uber and Lyft drivers are required to have insurance, but the coverage specifics can vary based on a few factors. Generally, these rideshare companies provide liability coverage for their drivers, but it’s contingent upon the driver’s status at the time of the accident.
When a rideshare driver is not logged into the rideshare app, only their personal insurance applies. When the driver is logged into the app but hasn’t yet accepted a ride request, a lower level of liability coverage is provided by their company. From the moment a rideshare driver accepts a ride request to the time the passenger is dropped off, a higher level of insurance coverage is in effect. This coverage includes both liability and property damage.
It’s clearly essential to determine the driver’s status at the time of the accident to understand which insurance policy applies.
The Rideshare Driver’s Insurance Company
The personal insurance company of a rideshare driver plays a role in rideshare accidents. Many personal auto insurance policies exclude commercial activities, which can include ridesharing, though a reputable company will ensure all drivers have the right insurance before allowing them to work as independent contractors.
If a rideshare accident occurs while the driver is not on an active ride or waiting for a request, their personal insurance may deny the claim if the driver doesn’t have the right insurance or has let their insurance lapse, leading to complications in securing compensation. Some drivers opt for rideshare endorsements or separate commercial policies to bridge this gap.
The Rideshare Company’s Insurance Coverage
Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft offer liability coverage for their drivers. However, the specifics of this coverage depend on the driver’s status at the time of the accident.
These companies provide significant liability coverage when a passenger is in the rideshare vehicle. But, if the driver is waiting for a ride request, the coverage is significantly lower, often just meeting the state’s minimum requirements.
Understanding whether the rideshare driver was “on the clock” at the time of the accident is pivotal. If the driver was not actively working (i.e., they were using their car for personal reasons without being logged into the rideshare app), then the company’s insurance may not apply. This distinction plays a crucial role in determining the path to compensation.
What if a Third-Party Driver Was at Fault?
In some cases, the rideshare driver might not be at fault. If another driver caused the accident, then that driver’s insurance company would be the primary source of compensation. As with any car accident, the insurance company will investigate to determine liability. It’s advisable to have a rideshare accident attorney guide you through this process, especially if multiple parties are involved.
If I Am Involved in a Rideshare Car Accident, What Steps Should I Take?
After ensuring everyone’s safety and seeking medical attention, gather as much information as possible. This includes the rideshare driver’s details, information about the ridesharing companies that might be involved, and details of any other drivers. Always report the accident to the rideshare company directly through their app.
Furthermore, consult with a rideshare accident lawyer to understand your rights and the nuances of rideshare liability. They can assist in ensuring that the correct insurance company is held accountable and that you’re adequately compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, and any other damages.
How a Kansas City Rideshare Accident Lawyer Can Help You After an Accident
After a rideshare accident, many victims find themselves grappling with unexpected medical bills, lost wages, and the stress of navigating the complexities associated with insurance claims. A rideshare accident attorney in Kansas City can offer invaluable assistance in such situations.
In any accident case, thorough investigation and evidence collection are paramount. This includes acquiring the police report, collecting witness statements, and obtaining any available traffic or security camera footage. An attorney can work diligently to gather all pertinent evidence that strengthens your rideshare accident case.
Insurance companies often prioritize their profit margins, which can lead to victims receiving inadequate settlement offers. An experienced rideshare accident lawyer knows the tactics these companies use and can negotiate aggressively on your behalf to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
As we’ve discussed, rideshare accidents involve complexities not seen in traditional car accidents. Was the driver logged into the app? Were they waiting for a ride request or en route to pick up a passenger? An attorney can help pinpoint these specifics, ensuring the correct insurance company is approached for a claim.
Finally, if negotiations don’t result in a satisfactory settlement, you might need to take the matter to court. An attorney will prepare your rideshare accident lawsuit, represent you in hearings, and advocate for your rights and interests throughout the process.
Contact a Ridesharing Accident Lawyer After an Accident Involving a Driver
Ridesharing services have undeniably transformed the way we travel, offering convenience and flexibility. However, like any mode of transportation, they come with risks.
If you or someone you know has been affected by a rideshare-related incident, contact us at Holman Schiavone, LLC at 816-399-5149 right away. Let our experienced team stand by your side.