Ridesharing services have transformed the transportation industry landscape in the U.S. and across the world. You no longer need to look for and/or wait for a taxi, use a bus, or even hire rental vehicles for transportation. You can just open an app, click a button, and have a driver pick you up wherever you are.
While Uber and Lyft have permeated the lives of most Americans, many users don’t have a positive experience. There are a few inherent weaknesses in the core business model of ridesharing companies, which makes the vehicles more prone to accidents, thereby placing the passengers and pedestrians at more risk of being hurt or injured. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a ridesharing accident, get in touch with one of our trusted Boca Raton Uber accident lawyers at Englander Peebles Law. Our personal injury attorneys will do everything in their power to seek justice on your behalf and fight for your rights, schedule your free consultation today at (561) 510 7780.
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Uber and Lyft Accident Statistics
Before 2010, fatal car accident rates had hit their lowest levels in over half a century. There were a total of 32,885 traffic fatalities in 2010, which was the lowest number since 1949. However, since then the fatality numbers have been increasing. Coincidentally, Uber was launched in 2009, while Lyft was launched in 2012. Could this rise be linked to the rise of ridesharing services? Let’s take a look.
A study conducted by Rice University in conjunction with the University of Chicago found out that in cities where Lyft and Uber had launched, there was an increase in the total number of reported fatal accidents. These fatal auto accident rates increased by about 2% to 3% in each city, equaling an additional 1,100 additional fatalities every year.
Research also pointed out that the increase in Uber and Lyft accidents could partly be related to something referred to as deadheading. This refers to the time ridesharing drivers spend searching for new passengers, between fares. It accounts for about 40% to 60% of the total driving time, which translates into an increase in the level of congestion on the roads.
With over three million Uber drivers recorded in 2018, which partly explains the rising concerns about safety and congestion among ridesharing companies.
Common Injuries in Uber and Lyft Accidents
When using a ridesharing service, customers expect the drivers to drive safely and abide by the laws. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Lyft and Uber accidents have been increasing as more and more people use their services. Our lawyers in Boca Raton, FL, frequently see the following injuries after Uber accidents:
- Injury to the passenger caused by the negligence of an Uber and Lyft driver.
- Property damage as a result of negligence from the Uber and Lyft driver.
- Injury to a passenger because of the negligence of another Uber driver.
- Injury to a third-party caused by the negligence of an Uber and Lyft driver.
- Injury to the Uber and Lyft driver as a result of the negligence of another driver.
- Injury to the Uber and Lyft driver as a result of their own negligence.
- Driver and passenger injury caused by a malfunctioning or defective vehicle part.
Who Can Be Found Liable in an Uber Accident?
Liability in Ridesharing accidents can include:
The Rideshare Driver
The Lyft or Uber driver can be held liable for the accident if they failed to take proper care of their passengers during a ride. In such cases, compensation claimed can be filed against the personal insurance coverage of the driver. When a passenger sustains injuries because of the Uber/Lyft driver’s negligence, your lawyer can help you recover damages from the personal insurance carrier or the driver.
The Rideshare Company
Uber or Lyft can also be held liable for the actions of their driver. Although Uber and Lyft drivers are not employees of these companies but independent contractors, it’s possible for your lawyer to argue shared liability in some cases. The ridesharing companies will most likely deny liability, but a good lawyer can help you pursue damages from them, especially if the personal insurance cover of the driver isn’t sufficient for your damages.
When a third party is responsible for the accident, you have the right to seek compensation from their insurer. An example of such a situation is when the Uber/Lyft accident occurs due to lack of or poor road signage, such as when the road was under maintenance. Another motorist could also be liable, or even a vehicle manufacturer in cases where a vehicle was poorly manufactured thereby leading to the accident.
In such an instance, you want to contact an Uber accident lawyer for help. The lawyer will guide you through the steps you need to take, help you collect the necessary evidence, and file your claim in time. It’s always advisable to contact an attorney as soon as possible since you have a limited time window within which to file a claim in Florida. In case this time window expires before you file a claim, your case will automatically be invalidated.
How are Uber Accident Cases Different from Regular Car Accident Cases?
Unlike regular car accidents, Uber and Lyft accident claims will be handled based on the period in which the ridesharing driver was in when the accident occurred. For example, if an Uber driver hits you while not driving an Uber passenger, everything will go through their personal car insurance. Simply having Lyft or Uber branding on a car doesn’t necessarily mean that the driver is on the app.
In case the driver was on the app but was not on an active ride, then they will be covered under Uber or Lyft’s liability insurance. This comes in at $50,000 for bodily injury per person, $25,000 for property damage from Uber and $30,000 from Lyft, and $100,000 per accident for bodily injury.
For cases where the driver was on their way to pick a passenger or already had a passenger in their car, the liability coverage limit amounts to $1 million, plus another $1 million for underinsured or uninsured motorists. This coverage doesn’t just cover the passengers; it also covers the driver in case they are injured as well.
Does Uber Have a $1 Million Insurance Policy For Accidents?
Uber requires their drivers to have a certain level of insurance when they join the company. The policy covers the driver’s activity at the time of an Uber accident in Florida. If the driver is driving for personal reasons and isn’t available to accept rides on the app, the policy isn’t in play. Instead, the personal policy of the driver will be in effect.
It’s only when the driver is in the process of transporting a passenger or picking up a passenger that the $1 million insurance policy comes into effect. Both the passenger and the driver are covered by this $1 million liability insurance policy. A third party will also be covered under the same policy if they are injured in the crash.
What Type of Compensation Can I Receive After an Uber Accident?
Florida allows you to recover the following types of damages in an Uber accident claim:
Economic or special damages are the actual costs incurred for medical treatment, lost earnings, property damage, estimated future medical expenses, future lost earnings, and any other out-of-pocket expenses.
The medical expenses should include all expenses that the victim had to pay out over the entire course of receiving treatment and should account for what the future medical costs will be. These expenses tend to add up rather quickly, particularly in cases where the plaintiff became permanently disabled and therefore in need of lifelong nursing care and adaptive devices.
Lost wage calculations will account for both the time the plaintiff had to spend away from work due to the injuries sustained (regardless of whether it was paid or unpaid time off) and the work that they will likely miss in the future. If the plaintiff is permanently unable to resume work, or their capacity to work is reduced permanently, their lifetime lost wages may be accounted for here.
Non-economic damages are awarded upon the assessment of elements such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of companionship or consortium (spouse or partner).
Pain and suffering is the most common form of non-economic damages, which juries also tend to award compensation generously. In many cases, the responsible parties and their insurers prefer offering a settlement to avoid it. The insurance companies will typically employ a “pain multiplier” strategy to get a fair number that factors in all financial damages multiplied by a given number, which the insurance adjuster believes is appropriate (typically ranges between 1.5 and 5.0).
Emotional distress is often linked to pain and suffering damages and can be a bit harder to prove. Medical diagnoses and psychiatric records of post-traumatic stress disorder are some of the evidence you need to prove your case.
Loss of consortium or companionship is also tied to pain and suffering quite closely. Victims usually pursue these damages if the injury considerably altered the relationship between the plaintiff and their family members, or when wrongful death occurs.
Punitive damages are specifically designed to offer additional punishment to the defendant for especially egregious or grossly negligent actions and are usually awarded at the discretion of the court. In most cases, the judge will want to make an example of the defendant and will be on the idea that the compensatory damages are not enough to deter the defendant or members of the public from engaging in similar actions in the future. They may also be awarded if the judge feels that the other damages don’t amount to reasonable punishment.
Should I Accept a Settlement From Uber Without a Lawyer?
In cases involving personal injury, it’s always important to review the settlement offer thoroughly before making a decision. However, this is a task you want to delegate to your Uber accident attorney. Since they routinely deal with the ridesharing companies and their insurance companies, they will be aware of the tactics that they use when giving settlement offers.
While not all insurance companies are in the business of taking advantage of injury victims, most settlement offers will be disadvantageous to the victim. It’s easy for some victims to accept these settlements because the injury victim didn’t examine the offer properly. They simply don’t know when a settlement is too low to even cover for their damages, expenses, and suffering.
When an insurance company is pushing to respond to their settlement offer, it’s understandable if you aren’t sure what to do. The key here is to avoid making an uninformed decision at all costs. Ensure that you thoroughly consider all of your options and get in touch with an experienced lawyer if you need help deciding.
Are There Any Time Limits to File an Uber Accident Claim?
When dealing with a Lyft or Uber accident claim, it’s important to stay within Florida’s statute of limitations. The state of Florida limits the time window within which you can file an Uber accident case to only four years from the date of the accident. Your insurance company will have its own time limits for filing a claim. You are also required to file a police report within ten days from the time of the accident in Florida. Uber also requests that you should notify them in case of an accident as soon as possible. You can reach them via their help hotline 24/7.
Be sure to stay within these requirements to safeguard your eligibility to collect the compensation you need and deserve for your damages.
Contact a Boca Raton Uber Accident Lawyer Today
Without an Uber/Lyft accident lawyer by your side to help handle the case on your behalf, you will be at the mercy of large corporations that don’t really care about your wellbeing. The companies you will be dealing with are known to use unscrupulous tactics like offering small settlement amounts and/or delaying payments. Many victims find themselves desperate, which often leads them to settle for a quick settlement just to move on from the incident. However, having a good representation will compel the insurance companies to look at your case differently.
You have the right to seek the justice and compensation you deserve for your damages. Let the professional Uber accident lawyers at Englander Peebles help you recover the compensation you deserve. Our phone line is always available 24/7 at (561) 510 7780. Get in touch with our Boca Raton injury firm today and schedule your free consultation with our top lawyers.