Uber and Lyft are rideshare services that have grown significantly in popularity throughout the country. By allowing smart phone users to access and use an app that connects them with available drivers, these services offer a convenient and affordable mode of transportation. Although customers pay fees in exchange for the rides they take through Uber and Lyft, there is no guarantee that those rides will be safe, especially if the negligence of drivers or others lead to preventable car accidents and injuries.
If you or someone you love were involved in an accident while using Uber or Lyft, or while driving your own vehicle, riding a bike, or walking near public roadways, it is important to understand your right to pursue a personal injury claim and recover the financial compensation you need to cover any medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering you incurred. To help you gain a better understanding of your rights, our St. Louis car accident lawyers at Meyerkord & Kurth have put together a list of some important facts and information you should know.
- Uber and Lyft drivers are not employees – Uber and Lyft classify drivers who use their apps as independent contractors, not employees. This allows them to skirt responsibility for wrecks and damages caused by drivers in certain situations, particularly when they are not transporting a fare or when they are not using an app. As such, there are unique insurance coverage concerns to address in these cases. For example, victims may be covered by the rideshare company’s commercial insurance policy if they were harmed while traveling as passengers, but not when they were harmed in wrecks caused by Lyft or Uber drivers who weren’t using the app at the time.
- Common accidents / injuries – Uber and Lyft don’t have the same types of qualifying criteria or regulations that other commercial drivers are subject to. This means drivers may pose unreasonable dangers to passengers, either because they have a history of poor driving or have criminal backgrounds that would otherwise preclude them from driving in other industries. In fact, there have been many cases where rideshare companies were held accountable for injuries and damages suffered by passengers at the hands of unfit drivers, including cases involving sexual assault and accidents caused by driver distraction, drugged or drunk driving, aggressive driving and traffic infractions, driver fatigue, and other acts of negligence.
- You were injured as a passenger – If you were injured in an auto accident that took place while you were a passenger in a Lyft of Uber, determining the underlying cause is an important first step. If an Uber or Lyft driver’s negligence caused your accident (such as if they violated a traffic accident), you can likely pursue a personal injury claim directly against Uber or Lyft, whose commercial insurance policy would cover your damages. If another motorist caused your accident while you were a passenger, Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy also covers your damages because you were a customer. This can be helpful in cases where other at-fault motorists are uninsured or even underinsured. Our legal team assists clients injured as rideshare passengers in pursuing the compensation they deserve from Uber or Lyft and / or the at-fault motorist.
- You shouldn’t trust the insurance company – After an auto accident, it is common for insurance companies or corporations involved in the wreck to reach out to victims. Be warned that these insurance providers and companies are not on your side; they are corporations that prioritize profits, and they often do everything they can to pay you as little as possible. Remember, you don’t have to provide a recorded statement or accept an initial lowball settlement offers – these are typical tactics used to get you to say something that can be used against you, or pay you less.
- You can work with a lawyer – It is your legal right to work with legal representation when initiating any civil personal injury lawsuit, and it is a right that when exercised, can make the difference in your case. By having experienced attorenys like those at Meyerkord & Kurth on your side, you can level the playing field with insurers, have someone who can help you obtain medical treatment and handle insurance company communications on your behalf, and benefit from the insight and experience of legal professionals who fight to maximize your financial compensation.
Uber and Lyft accidents can introduce unique legal issues during the personal injury claim process, which is why it is so important for victims and families to side with proven lawyers who can help protect their rights. If you wish to discuss a recent accident in which you were injured as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft, or in any other type of car accident involving a rideshare company, our award-winning legal team at Meyerkord & Kurth is available 24/7 to review your case, explain your rights, and discuss what we can do to help you through the process ahead. Contact us for a FREE consultation!