In today's day and age, it's not uncommon to use a rideshare service to get to various destinations around your city. Because of the limited public transportation options available in Kansas and the long distances between destinations, those without access to a car rely on companies like Uber and Lyft to get around.
Unfortunately, rideshare companies don't always hire the most experienced drivers. Car accidents happen all the time. Some of these accidents involve another driver that is part of a rideshare program and has paying customers in the vehicle. If you were harmed or injured as a passenger in a rideshare, you have legal options. Joseph T. Welsh, Attorney at Law has experience litigating rideshare accident cases and is eager to help you today.
Rideshare services have increased in popularity over the last few years. They act as alternatives to taxicab services and generally offer rides at lower rates. Almost anyone can sign up to be a rideshare driver to make money on the side, meaning that nearly everyone with a valid driver's license can use his vehicle to transport passengers.
People use cell phone apps exclusively to access rideshares. Some of the most popular rideshare apps include Uber and Lyft. You can find services from both companies in almost any large city in the U.S. With the increased presence of rideshare apps, accidents involving their drivers are increasing in frequency.
Rideshare apps haven't been around for very long and the law has yet to catch up with this new method of transportation. Unlike rideshares, taxicab companies are typically required to follow strict rules and regulations regarding business practices and insurance.
In recent years dozens of lawsuits have been filed against rideshare companies due to their drivers' negligence. Scrutiny from the public is prompting lawmakers to create laws regarding passenger safety and insurance when they're in a rideshare.
Anyone riding as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle involved in an automobile accident is covered by up to a $1 million commercial liability policy carried by both rideshare services. Passengers might file personal injury claims with either the driver or rideshare company if the Uber or Lyft driver was at fault. Similar to cases involving private passenger cars, some drivers didn't carry enough insurance at the time of the accident to cover the medical bills, pain, and suffering and lost income their passengers suffered, which is one reason rideshare companies like Uber carry million-dollar insurance policies.
If the driver of another vehicle caused the accident, this individual could potentially be held liable for damages experienced by the Uber or Lyft passengers through their automobile insurance company. If the other motorist is not insured or underinsured, an injured rideshare passenger can recover damages under the rideshare company's insurance policy.
Insurance coverage and the issue of liability becomes more challenging for individuals who are not rideshare passengers but who are involved in an Uber or Lyft accident as the occupant of another vehicle on the road, as a bicyclist, or pedestrian on the street. This is because rideshare companies classify individuals driving for them as independent contractors rather than employees. This can help drivers often avoid liability under certain accident circumstances.
In some cases, non-passengers may be able to hold the rideshare company liable if the Lyft or Uber driver was transporting their passengers for a fee. If there was no passenger in their vehicle at the time of the accident, non-passenger victims usually seek compensation from whoever is proved to be the at-fault party, often covered by a contingent insurance policy. Some court cases have ruled that Uber and Lyft commercial insurance policies are still in force even if the driver using the app did not have a paying fare in his car at the time of the accident.
Some court cases involve accident victims suing Uber or Lyft directly for negligence.
These cases attempt to prove that the rideshare companies themselves in some way failed to ensure customer safety. This includes hiring drivers who have such issues as criminal records for assault or sexual abuse, drivers with substance abuse issues or a history of accidents and poor driving performance, and drivers who have been previously arrested for driving under the influence.
Millions of car accidents take place in the United States each year. While some only result in damage to the car, drivers and passengers alike often incur severe injuries. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2015 there were a total of 335 traffic fatalities in the state of Kansas. Some of these crashes involve rideshare drivers, and their passengers often suffer the consequences.
Rideshare companies and their drivers have a duty to offer safe services for all of their passengers and regard the safety of others on the road. They must take responsibility for any risks presented during a rideshare and hold themselves accountable for damages that occur due to their negligence.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a rideshare collision, seek legal counsel today. A reputable car accident attorney can help you get compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.
Attorney Joseph T. Welsh works tirelessly to help those affected by rideshare driver negligence by offering high-quality legal services. He focuses on personal injury law in Kansas and is eager to help you recover the damages owed to you. Contact the Law Firm of Joseph T. Welsh today at (620) 510-5030 to receive a free case evaluation.