The Georgia Department of Transportation estimates that there are about 4 motor vehicle fatalities per day – and that’s just in Georgia! While many of these collisions can be attributed to distracted, reckless, and intoxicated drivers, there is another type of motorist who is significantly contributing to the injury and fatality rates in our state: the rideshare driver.
Rideshare drivers in the United States have been linked to a significant and devasting increase in:
- Nighttime traffic accidents and fatalities
- Pedestrian injuries and fatalities
- Weekend traffic accidents and fatalities
Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare drivers are reportedly responsible for a 3% increase in traffic fatalities on a national scale. Unfortunately, Uber and Lyft – the two rideshare giants of the transportation industry – are equally guilty of mass hiring inexperienced, reckless, and occasionally felonious drivers. In other words, these companies prioritize their daily earnings over the safety of their customers.
Who Is Liable for a Rideshare Accident?
When an accident occurs, a rideshare company (and their insurer) can deny liability because their drivers are “independent contractors,” not employees. However, this doesn’t mean that you are without recourse. However, if you plan to sue the company directly, you absolutely need to retain the services of an innovative and experienced car accident lawyer before taking legal action.
Depending on the scenario, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim against:
- The rideshare driver
- An at-fault third party driver
- A car manufacturer
- A mechanic
- The rideshare company
Personal injury is an incredibly nuanced legal field. Before ordering a ride, you need to understand that Uber and Lyft do not own, operate, or maintain the vehicles utilized by rideshare drivers. The companies have developed this business model to avoid responsibility for manufacturing defects and maintenance issues. Also, a rideshare driver’s personal liability insurance policy is not intended for commercial use. If you make a claim on this policy, the adjuster can – and likely will – reject it. Your only option at that point is to file a civil suit directly against the driver, who may not have the means of mitigating of injury-related expenses. This policy also applies if your vehicle is hit by a rideshare driver. Uber and Lyft do provide third-party liability coverage, but, as previously stated, they are notorious for denying claims. Your best option may be to file a claim against the at-fault driver and then benefit from the company’s uninsured/underinsured insurance policy. Because there are so many variables, your best option is to seek legal representation immediately after an accident.
So, how can you protect your right to damages? If you’re a driver or a rideshare passenger, follow these 15 steps after a collision:
- Call 911 as soon as possible.
- If you’re a passenger, take a screenshot of your rideshare receipt.
- Check that everyone involved – drivers, passengers, pedestrians, etc. – are unharmed; if not, provide what assistance you can until help arrives.
- Take pictures of the accident scenes, your injuries, insurance information, and the damaged vehicles.
- Help first responders complete the accident report.
- Do not leave the accident scene until you are given permission.
- Write down the names and badge numbers of any police officers handling the accident.
- If possible, talk to witnesses and jot down their names, phone numbers, and statements.
- Seek immediate medical assistance no matter the perceived extent of your injuries.
- Request copies of the completed accident report and your updated medical record.
- Refrain from posting about the accident on your social media accounts (don’t yell at the company on Twitter).
- Notify your insurer about the accident and contact an experienced legal representative to manage your case.
- Keep an ongoing record of any accident-related expenses, including lost wages, medical bills, receipts, etc.
- If a claims adjuster from the defendant’s insurance company calls, immediately direct them to your lawyer.
- Take daily notes about how your accident injuries are impacting your personal life, job duties, and daily activities.
Do You Require Personal Injury Representation?
Contact the car accident attorneys at The Dickinson Law Firm if you require legal representation after a rideshare collision. Our trial-tested legal team can deftly manage every detail of your case – no matter the complexity – and help you pursue monetary damages that mitigate your injury-related debts and projected expenses.
Contact The Dickinson Law Firm at (770) 766-7739 to schedule a free consultation today.