Rideshare services, like Uber and Lyft, have provided a convenient form of travel for millions of people around the country. In the U.S., Uber alone accounts for 14 million trips taken every day. Rideshare services have made trips to and from airports, restaurants, bars, and concerts faster and safer for travelers in New Orleans – saving time on parking and reducing the risk of drunk driving.
Much like other forms of travel, rideshare services carry potential risks. University of Chicago researchers found that ridesharing services in a city were associated "with an increase of approximately 3% in the number of motor vehicle fatalities and fatal accidents."
Whether you are a passenger, driver, or third party involved in a rideshare accident, it’s important to understand your rights.
What to Know About Rideshare Accidents
In a rideshare service, a passenger is transported in the driver’s personal vehicle in exchange for payment. Think of all of the potential risks of driving your own personal vehicle. You could collide with another car, bicycle, or pedestrian. These accidents also have the potential of occurring when a service like Uber or Lyft is involved.
However, there are additional legal stipulations due to the involvement of the rideshare company, Uber or Lyft, in providing this service. At Huber Thomas Law, we are experienced in handling rideshare accident claims, and we want to empower you with the knowledge below.
Common Causes of Rideshare Accidents
Knowing that accidents can occur in your own vehicle, you can quickly understand that these risks also apply to rideshare services. Below are a few of the common causes of rideshare accidents.
An accident can occur between a rideshare driver and another driver as a result of distracted driving. Distractions like phone calls, texting, navigation adjustments, or rideshare app interactions can keep a driver from maintaining focus on the road.
Reckless behavior like aggressive driving and disobeying traffic laws can cause harm on the road. An accident may occur as a result of a rideshare driver or another driver exhibiting aggressive or illegal behavior.
Some Uber and Lyft drivers, and other drivers on the road, may work long days and into the night hours. An accident has the potential of occurring if fatigue has impaired driving abilities.
Improper or Inadequate Maintenance
Rideshare drivers must keep their vehicles maintained and up to date in order to keep themselves and their passengers safe. If brakes, taillights, tires, or other vehicle components become worn, they have the potential to cause an accident.
Adverse conditions, such as rain or fog, can cause risks on the road. If a driver is unequipped to handle such weather, they may be at fault for any accidents that occur when driving during these conditions.
Uber and Lyft require that all drivers maintain the minimal requirements to operate an automobile. However, a rideshare driver or another driver on the road may lack experience or qualifications which can lead to an accident.
Many factors are usually at play when a rideshare accident occurs. An experienced legal team like Huber Thomas Law can evaluate the facts of the case and determine whether negligence was at play.
Potential Harm Resulting from Rideshare Accidents
Rideshare accidents can lead to physical, emotional, and financial harm. Below are a few of the impacts of a rideshare accident.
A physical injury from a car accident may be minor, including cuts and bruises, to major, such as broken bones, head injuries, or internal injuries.
An accident is a very traumatic experience. Those who have been involved in major vehicle accidents often experience emotional impacts afterward, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.
Accidents can occur that not only cause damage to one or more vehicles but also to surrounding structures, such as fences or poles. These may require replacements or repairs.
If an injury occurs that keeps an individual from working, lost wages are considered damages resulting from an accident. These lost wages can cause financial strain and impact a person’s livelihood.
The cost of ER visits, hospitalization, surgeries, and other medical treatments can add up. Medical expenses can be considered in a rideshare accident claim, as they impact the financial health of an individual involved.
After an accident, your safety should be your number one priority. Not only is it important to seek qualified medical evaluations, but also legal evaluations. A dedicated team like Huber Thomas Law can assess the damages that occurred as a result of the accident and determine the right compensation for you.
What to Do After a Rideshare Accident
As more people use rideshare services, accidents are more likely to occur. The legal field is quickly acclimating to this new area of law, and Huber Thomas Law has been at the forefront of representation in these cases. We bring our specialization in personal injury to these unique cases, helping our clients recover emotionally, physically, and financially.
Whether you are a passenger, driver, or third party involved in the accident, it’s important to know the proper steps to take.
Seek Medical Attention
Safety is the number one priority after an accident. Call for medical assistance if you or anyone involved has been injured as a result of an accident. Even if you do not feel injured at the moment, medical evaluation is essential. Some injuries may have delayed symptoms.
Call Law Enforcement
It’s necessary to contact the police and file a report that details the incident. This will be a vital document when submitting a claim for damages. Be sure to provide detailed information about the incident, including parties involved, location, and injuries sustained.
Report the Incident to the Rideshare Company
Rideshare companies have a process for reporting incidents. You will need to report the accident within your rideshare app, following their guidelines for doing so. The only information you need to provide is the date, time, and location of the accident, as well as any injuries or property damage incurred.
Gather Photos and Videos
Be sure to take photos and videos of the accident scene. Documenting the scene is important for both insurance and legal claims.
Make sure to gather all parties involved in the incident's names, contacts, insurance, and license plate information. In a rideshare accident, be sure to document who is who between the driver, passenger, and third-party involved – and identify the name of the rideshare company.
Get Witness Information
If there are any observers of the accident, obtain the name and contact information of these witnesses. Their stories may be valuable in legal testimony determining liability in a rideshare accident.
Do Not Admit Fault
Whatever you do, do not admit to any fault in the rideshare accident. This may be interpreted as an admission of guilt. If you believe you are at fault, withholding this sentiment is still important. An accident is complex, and it’s important to not make any assumptions.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance
Be sure to call your insurance company to report the accident, even if you were a passenger. Provide information and details about the accident and follow the directions your insurance company provides. Do not talk to the rideshare company’s insurance or representatives without legal counsel.
Find Legal Counsel
Your next step is to get a legal team in your corner. Huber Thomas Law will help you understand your rights and navigate the complexities of the incident and resulting claims.
Keep All Documents
As you navigate reporting the incident and recovering from injury, keep all documentation safe and secure. Documents like medical records, police reports, insurance correspondence, and other information may be used as evidence in legal proceedings.
Follow All Medical Treatment and Expenses
Be sure to keep up with your prescribed medical treatments and document all medical expenses related to the accident. These records will be useful in establishing damages and pursuing compensation.
How an Attorney Can Help After a Rideshare Accident
When dealing with insurance claims, medical bills, and lost wages after a rideshare accident, it’s important to find legal support. Rideshare accidents can be devastating, whether you were the passenger, rideshare driver, or even someone else on the road.
Our experienced team at Huber Thomas Law can walk you through the process of getting the compensation you deserve. We have helped bring numerous cases to trial, securing millions for our clients. We’ll help you navigate the complexities of rideshare accidents, deal with insurance companies, determine liability, and understand legal procedures.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if I’m a passenger in a rideshare accident?
If you were the passenger in a rideshare accident, follow the steps outlined above and summarized below.
- Seek medical attention.
- Contact local authorities to file a police report.
- Call your own insurance company, even though you were the passenger.
- Report the incident to the rideshare company; however, do not talk to the rideshare company’s insurance or representatives without legal counsel.
- Document the scene and gather contact information of all parties involved, including witnesses.
- Keep all medical, insurance, and police records.
- Seek legal counsel.
What should I do if the rideshare driver is at fault?
If you believe the rideshare driver was at fault, follow the steps outlined above. It’s important that you fully document the scene, including photos of the rideshare signage within their vehicle.
Remain calm and do not assume fault. Bring all evidence and a description of the incident to a legal representative. An attorney will be able to review the facts of the case and determine the responsible party's liability.
How can I determine liability in a rideshare accident?
Determining liability in a rideshare accident is a complex issue. It requires reviewing all evidence, including photos and videos taken at the scene and police reports. To determine liability, you must also understand local laws and regulations, as well as rideshare company policies.
A legal representative with experience in rideshare accidents can take this stressful analysis off your shoulders. At Huber Thomas Law, we fully understand the complexities of navigating rideshare accident cases. We’ll review all of the facts of the case and help you determine liability.
What damages can I recover in a rideshare claim?
The full amount of damages that one can receive in a rideshare claim depends on local laws and regulations, the extent of the harm, and facts regarding the incident. A few of the damages that one could seek compensation for include:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages
By working with Huber Thomas Law, we’ll take into consideration all of the harm done and ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
How long do I have to file a rideshare accident claim?
For the state of Louisiana, the statute of limitations for all vehicle claims is one year from the date of the accident. Do not hesitate if you have been injured in any way following a rideshare accident.
Seek Legal Support from Huber Thomas
A rideshare accident is a stressful experience. We seek to resolve your case and help you recover through clear communication, informed guidance, and personal attention. Choose Huber Thomas Law to represent your best interests in a rideshare accident case.