Uber, Lyft and Rideshare Accidents
Uber, Lyft and other rideshare services typically use GPS, cell phone app and electronic payment technology to connect drivers to riders with the mutual goal of low cost rides. Although neither party gives out any personal information, the service has found a way to heavily rely on trust and accountability through reviews of both drivers and riders. Time is saved for all as the app displays the cost, expected wait time and driver location, all viewable through real-time GPS. Even paying for the service is more efficient with preloaded credit cards that automatically charge the rider once they have reached their destination.
Study Shows Uber Drives More Passengers Than Traditional Taxi Services
According to one paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2016, Princeton economists Judd Cramer and Alan Krueger say Uber drivers now spend more time driving passengers and log more miles than traditional taxi services. They analyzed data from five cities including Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle, and concluded that the overall reason behind the finding is Uber’s efficiency, citing such things as:
- Uber’s more efficient driver-passenger matching technology;
- The larger scale of Uber than taxi companies;
- Inefficient taxi regulations;
- Uber’s flexible labor supply model and surge pricing more closely matching supply with demand throughout the day
Uber Crashes on the Rise
In 2016, an article published by The New York Post cited traffic accidents involving Uber in New York had tripled between the years 2014 and 2016, from 534 to 1,672. The article linked distracted driving as a possible contributing factor as many drivers work for more than one transportation network company, meaning more than one electronic device to watch within the vehicle.
“The devices can be quite distracting,” said Nancy Soria, vice president of Green Taxis of New York. “On Twitter, a passenger said her driver was watching a movie. Some of them do things like that. Some of them work for Uber and Lyft and other companies. They are constantly in between.”
Seattle Uber Accident Kills One
In March, 2017, one man was killed after an Uber driver, who had been traveling north on Holman road, crashed into his 1997 Honda Accord. The victim’s Honda slammed into a tree, severing the vehicle in half and trapping the man inside. The Uber, a 2007 Nissan Xterra, was carrying a 40 year old female passenger at the time. That vehicle went two blocks further and ultimately crashed into a Shell station, causing a fiery explosion and narrowly missing another innocent bystander before impact.
The Uber driver and passenger survived the accident. A witness estimated the Uber to have been traveling at speeds of 90-100 miles per hour before losing control.
What to do in Case of a Rideshare Accident
Whether you are a driver or passenger involved in a rideshare accident, the insurance process can become complicated quickly as there are coverages available through both the ridesharing service and the drivers’ own policy.
In 2015, a Seattle law went into effect requiring rideshare drivers to maintain commercial insurance which covers the vehicle immediately when the driver logs into the app and for the duration of the shift.
Despite requirements by both the City of Seattle and Uber, rideshare drivers still may not carry the required insurance.
According to Uber’s website, there are different coverages available through a company policy depending on the drivers’ status at the time of the accident, such as “waiting for a request, on the way to pick up a rider, while a rider is in the car”, and more.
If you are a passenger involved in a rideshare accident:
- Rideshare drivers are classified as independent contractors which means insurances coverages alternate depending on whether the driver has the app turned on or not.
- The driver is insured by his personal/commercial auto insurance plan when he does not have a ride request, even if the rideshare app is turned on.
- When a driver accepts a ride request, the vehicle and passengers are to be covered by the rideshare services insurance plan. This coverage will end when the passenger has reached their destination and the app is turned off.
Steps to take at the accident scene:
- Call 911 for police and any emergency services needed
- Take photos of the damage to all cars involved and the scene of the accident
- Obtain the license plate and driver’s license information of all drivers
- Collect contact information from any witnesses
- Take notes about the accident so that you don’t forget any important details
- Do not admit fault. Do not argue. Stay calm.
Potential Damages in a Rideshare Accident Claim
In addition to medical expenses, ambulance bills, vehicle repairs, etc., many times there is lost income because the injured party will be forced to take time off work, reduce hours, or even stop working altogether. These are referred to as “hard costs” related to your injury claim.
We believe there are many non-economic damages that are important to your claim as well. Emotional issues such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, humiliation, embarrassment and emotional anguish all contribute to the amount of compensation you may be eligible for. Frequently, accident victims are left with overwhelming feelings of confusion and fear which reduces quality of life and causes anxiety about the future.
To complicate matters, sometimes automobile accidents will call for legal action and sometimes not. Or, sometimes it will be clear who caused the accident but the negligent party may not admit fault because they want to avoid liability. As automobile accident cases can quickly become complex and there is no set formula in calculating damages, it will be important that you consult with an attorney experienced and knowledgeable in both personal injury law and insurance law. It will be critical to determine negligence as soon as possible as a first step in holding the appropriate party accountable for their actions.
We believe that all citizens have the right of access to the courts. For many years, we have helped thousands of people in Washington state realize the maximum in financial justice. We will aggressively and relentlessly fight for your rights when you have been injured due to the negligent or careless acts of others.
In addition to seeking justice, we will:
- Listen to your needs, questions and concerns.
- Assist with the complexities that result from an auto collision.
- Help restore health, peace, and tranquility to your life – we handle the legal issues so you can focus on healing.
Assistance with Dealing with Insurance Companies
To say the least, insurance policies and insurance related laws are complex. Both can easily confuse even the most insurance savvy persons among us.
Insurance companies have lawyers on their side who are looking to pay out as little as possible on auto accident claims, if not deny liability altogether. A personal injury attorney who is well versed in the laws pertaining to your case as well as all procedural rules can obtain a settlement in instances when a claim may have otherwise been denied or when it’s necessary to fight for the maximum in financial justice.
We’ve been practicing for over 30 years and are well-known throughout the Pacific Northwest as a reputable, leading injury firm. We have a reputation among insurance companies as being tough and diligent. We know how insurance companies work and we are not easily intimidated.
Your concerns and needs matter to our firm. We are not about passive representation, but about active and engaging representation. We will will:
- Answer your questions
- Return your phone calls
- Keep you up to date on your case
- Walk you through the litigation process and ensure that you understand.
Our talented lawyers have decades of experience in personal injuries and wrongful death suffered in all types of accidents. We are a full service law firm that has been serving Seattle and surrounding Western Washington for years. Successful legal representation makes a world of difference for accident victims. Our attorneys are about delivering this difference and they have the experience to do so.
Contact Us Today and Let Us Help
Our car accident attorneys are dedicated to getting you the justice and compensation that you deserve after an auto accident. Call Phillips Law Firm today at 1-800-708-6000. We are waiting to assist you 24/7, offering a free case evaluation. We have a no fee promise. That means if we don’t recover anything for you, you don’t owe us anything.