In the past ten years, rideshare services have become a popular transportation option for millions of Americans. With the massive growth of the rideshare industry has come an unintended but inevitable downside: the rise of rideshare accidents.
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in an accident involving a rideshare car—whether as a passenger, occupant of another vehicle, pedestrian, or cyclist—you may receive significant compensation from the at-fault parties and their insurers.
Let's discuss the challenges that victims of rideshare accidents face and the role of an experienced Marietta rideshare accident lawyer in securing maximum damages.
Understanding Rideshare Services
Rideshare services, also known as transportation network companies (TNCs), use the internet, specifically smartphone apps, to connect passengers with individual drivers who use personal vehicles to provide rides. Rideshare platforms transform private car owners into part of a massive, decentralized taxi fleet.
Uber and Lyft are the two most prominent rideshare service providers in the United States and globally. Both companies have a similar operating model. They employ a sophisticated algorithm to match passengers with drivers in real time based on the location and destination of the user.
To become a rideshare driver, individuals must meet specific TNC requirements for their chosen company. These may include being at least 21 years old, having a valid driving license, a smartphone, and a vehicle meeting company standards. Prospective drivers must pass a company background check and have the minimum personal auto liability insurance for the state where they registered their car.
State laws further require rideshare drivers to carry a separate, supplemental liability insurance policy covering harm to accident victims that drivers might cause while logged in to their ridesharing apps. This supplemental insurance protects any accident victim, not only a rideshare passenger.
It covers significantly greater damages than ordinary personal auto liability coverage and specifically includes:
- Accidents a rideshare driver causes while logged in to a rideshare app and awaiting a connection with a passenger. The coverage is usually at least $100,000 per accident for death or bodily injuries, $50,000 per person for death or physical injuries, and $25,000 for property damage.
- Accidents the rideshare driver causes while logged in and connected with a passenger (from the moment of connection until completion of the ride). Typical coverage is at least $1 million per accident in total death, bodily injury, and property damage coverage.
Victims of rideshare accidents may benefit from significant financial protections that other accident victims rarely have.
The Harm a Rideshare Accident Can Cause
Rideshare accidents can lead to physical, emotional, and financial hardships like other automobile accidents.
Bodily injuries are the most immediate and visible harm rideshare accidents cause. They can range from minor scrapes, bruises, and whiplash to severe injuries such as fractures, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and even fatalities. The severity of the injuries largely depends on factors such as the speed at which the accident occurred, the vehicle size, and safety measures in place.
The trauma of involvement in a rideshare accident can lead to significant emotional distress. This can manifest as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. It can also result in victims losing their ability to enjoy or partake in normal day-to-day activities.
The heavy financial impact of a rideshare accident starts with the costs of immediate medical treatment and hospital stays. Other costs may include physical therapy, medication, and long-term care for severe injuries. There's also potential for loss of income if injuries prevent a victim from working, either short-term or permanently.
After a rideshare accident, it's possible that private property, such as the vehicle and any items inside, may suffer significant damage. Nearby buildings and structures along the roadside may also incur damage.
Seeking Compensation for a Rideshare Accident
Who Is Responsible for Liability?
Anyone who causes a rideshare accident through unreasonably dangerous actions or omissions can incur liability for the victim's harm.
Every rideshare crash differs, but liable parties could include:
- A rideshare driver who drives carelessly or recklessly.
- A rideshare passenger whose distracting behavior leads to the driver losing control.
- A driver of another vehicle whose negligence leads to a ridesharing car collision.
- An establishment that serves alcohol to an underage drunk driver who then crashes into a rideshare vehicle.
- A manufacturer of defective automotive parts that play a role in triggering an accident.
- A road agency or contractor who creates unreasonably hazardous road conditions that lead to the accident.
These are just some examples. As experienced Marietta personal injury lawyers know, in any rideshare accident, multiple parties could deserve at least some of the blame for what happened. A rideshare accident victim can typically seek compensation from all of them simultaneously.
Potential Compensation for Rideshare Accident Injuries
Rideshare accident victims have the right to pursue compensation to cover the many expenses and losses resulting from the accident.
These may include:
- Medical bills.
- Rehabilitation costs.
- Lost income and job benefits.
- Lost future earnings.
- Property damage.
- Pain and suffering.
- Diminished quality of life.
- Scarring, disfigurement, or loss of bodily function.
In cases of particularly reckless behavior, victims may also seek punitive damages. These damages go beyond compensation for the harm you suffered and aim to punish the negligent party and deter similar conduct by others.
In tragic cases where a rideshare accident inflicts fatal injuries, the deceased victim's surviving spouse or family members may seek wrongful death damages, including compensation for losing the victim's financial support, services, guidance, companionship, and consortium.
An experienced rideshare accident lawyer can evaluate the details of your losses to calculate the maximum amount of damages you could claim. Speak with a rideshare accident lawyer today to learn about the types and amounts of compensation a liable party may owe you after a rideshare crash.
Frequently Asked Questions About Rideshare Accident Cases
Navigating the legal process after a rideshare accident can be challenging. Below are answers to some of the most common questions asked by clients. If you're a victim of a rideshare accident, these insights may clarify certain aspects of your potential case.
How Much Compensation Can I Get as a Rideshare Accident Victim?
Accident victim compensation varies on a case-by-case basis. Several factors can impact the compensation you receive for damages. These include the extent of your injuries, the quality of your legal representation, your attorney's expertise and history of success, the financial resources of the responsible parties, and whether you can access any additional insurance that the rideshare driver may have. The most reliable way to learn about the amount of compensation you may seek is to speak with an experienced rideshare accident lawyer.
How Long Before I Receive Payment?
The timeline for receiving compensation after a rideshare accident is flexible, as it can depend on many factors, such as the complexity of the case, the number of involved parties, and the willingness of insurance companies and defense lawyers to negotiate a settlement.
Some instances can conclude in a matter of months. Others might take a year or more. Hiring an experienced rideshare accident lawyer is the most likely way to expedite the process and increase your chances of securing a swift and fair outcome.
Will I Have to Take a Huge Rideshare Company to Court to Get Paid?
It's unlikely. Most rideshare accident cases involve seeking compensation from an at-fault driver and their insurance company. Even if a rideshare driver caused the crash, you would file your claim against them and their insurer or the rideshare company’s insurance company, not the rideshare company. Talk to a skilled rideshare accident lawyer today to learn more.
Protect Your Rights After a Rideshare Accident
Your decisions and actions after a rideshare accident can influence the likelihood of securing fair compensation for your losses. Here are some suggestions to protect your interests.
Focus on Recovering From Your Injuries
Prioritizing your health and well-being after a rideshare accident improves your chances of a complete physical, emotional, and financial recovery. Seek immediate medical attention, even if your injuries are not initially severe.
You must obtain medical care immediately to ensure your health and chances of receiving total compensation. An insurance company may argue that delaying medical treatment suggests your injuries are not severe or that the accident didn't cause them.
Follow your doctor's advice on treatment and recovery plans. This could involve appointments with specialists, physiotherapy, or ongoing medication. Ensure you keep all your medical records and receipts, as they are crucial pieces of evidence in your case for compensation.
Be Cautious About Quick Insurance Settlement Offers
Liability insurance companies sometimes offer victims quick settlements shortly after a rideshare accident. It's almost always a mistake to accept them. Early offers rarely amount to anything close to what victims have the right to receive for their losses, and accepting them can forfeit your right to seek additional compensation later.
Before responding to any settlement offer, speak with an experienced rideshare accident lawyer. Often, a lawyer can negotiate with the insurer on your behalf and get you far more than initially offered.
Hire a Knowledgeable Attorney Immediately
The sooner you hire a personal injury attorney after a rideshare accident, the better. An experienced rideshare accident lawyer can scrutinize your case, analyze the evidence, identify all potential sources of liability, and develop an effective legal strategy.
They can also handle all the communications and negotiations with insurance companies on your behalf, giving you the time and space to focus on your recovery. They can take immediate steps to meet critical legal deadlines in your case, ensuring you don't inadvertently lose out on valuable rights to compensation.
Contact an Experienced Rideshare Accident Lawyer Today
If you or someone you love recently sustained injuries in a rideshare accident, you may have valuable rights to compensation. Don't wait to seek legal help. Contact an experienced rideshare accident lawyer in your area today for a free consultation.