Filing a Lawsuit After an Uber or Lyft Car Accident

Filing a Lawsuit After an Uber or Lyft Car Accident?

Filing a Lawsuit After an Uber or Lyft Car Accident?

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have transformed how we travel, offering convenience and flexibility unmatched by traditional transportation methods. However, as the number of rideshare vehicles on the road increases, so does the potential for accidents.

If you suffer injuries in a car accident as a passenger, driver, or even a third party involving an Uber or Lyft, you may wonder about your options for filing a lawsuit and seeking compensation for your injuries or damages. Never wait to consult a New Jersey rideshare accident attorney about your legal options.

What Are Rideshare Insurance Policies?

Ridesharing companies have comprehensive insurance policies designed to cover different scenarios that can occur during a ride. These policies are often layered and can provide coverage depending on the driver's status at the time of the accident:

Offline or Personal Use

When a rideshare driver is not logged into the app and is using their vehicle for personal reasons, their auto insurance policy is the primary source of coverage in the event of an accident. You must file any claims for damages or injuries with the driver's insurance provider.

The coverage amounts in this scenario depend on the driver's auto insurance policy, which varies by individual and can range from minimum liability limits required by state law to comprehensive policies that offer higher protection.

Available or Waiting for a Ride Request

Uber or Lyft Car Accident

The moment a driver logs into the rideshare app and is available to accept ride requests, the coverage provided by Uber and Lyft kicks in, albeit at a more limited capacity until a ride is accepted. This coverage acts as a bridge between personal insurance and full rideshare insurance, providing:

  • Liability Coverage: Uber and Lyft provide liability coverage for their drivers in this phase, which can cover damages to third parties if the driver's insurance does not offer sufficient protection. This coverage typically includes up to $50,000 per person for bodily injury, $100,000 total per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 for property damage per accident.
  • No Comprehensive or Collision Coverage: In this phase, there is no comprehensive or collision coverage for the driver's vehicle unless the driver's policy includes it, and the rideshare company's coverage might only apply as secondary.

En Route to Pick Up a Passenger or During a Trip

Rideshare companies provide the most comprehensive coverage from when a driver accepts a ride request until they drop off the passenger. This coverage includes:

  • Liability Coverage: They offer significantly higher liability coverage, exceeding one million dollars per accident. This coverage encompasses bodily injuries and property damage to third parties.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: This coverage protects passengers and potentially the driver if another at-fault driver lacks sufficient insurance. Coverage limits for these situations also typically reach one million dollars.
  • Contingent Comprehensive and Collision Coverage: This applies to the driver's vehicle in case of damage during a covered trip, regardless of who is at fault, with a typical deductible ranging from $1,000 to $2,500. The coverage is up to the actual cash value of the vehicle or repair costs, provided the driver maintains personal comprehensive and collision insurance.
  • Understanding these details is important for anyone involved in a rideshare accident, whether you're a driver, passenger, or third party. It's also why consulting with a legal professional experienced in rideshare cases can be beneficial.

A rideshare accident lawyer can break down your insurance coverage and advocate for the compensation you deserve based on the specifics of the accident and the coverage in effect at the time.

What Damages Are Available After a Rideshare Accident?

After an accident, several types of damages may be available to you, ensuring that you receive full compensation for your losses.

Damages in the context of personal injury law refer to the monetary compensation awarded to an individual who has suffered harm due to another party's wrongful or negligent actions. Three main types broadly categorize these damages: economic, non-economic, and, in some cases, punitive damages.

Here's a detailed look at each category.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are compensation for financial losses directly resulting from the accident. These are quantifiable costs that can be documented and calculated.

Common types of economic damages include:

  • Medical Expenses: This covers the cost of medical care associated with the injuries sustained in the accident, including hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitative therapies. It also considers any future medical care that you may require.
  • Lost Income: If the injuries prevent you from working, You may receive compensation for the income lost during your recovery period. This includes salaries, income, bonuses, and other benefits.
  • Loss of Earning Capacity: In cases where injuries lead to long-term disability or a diminished ability to earn, compensation can include the difference between your expected earnings before and your earning capacity after the accident.
  • Property Damage: If the accident resulted in damage to your property, such as your vehicle, You can receive reimbursement for repair or replacement costs.

Non-Economic Damages

Pick Up a Passenger During a Trip

Non-economic damages compensate for losses that are not financial but significantly impact your life. These damages are subjective and can vary greatly from one case to another.

They include:

  • Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering include the physical pain and emotional distress suffered as a result of the accident. It includes ongoing discomfort, fear, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, and the impact of physical disfigurement or scars.
  • Emotional Distress: Separate from pain and suffering, emotional distress covers psychological impacts such as depression, insomnia, and anxiety that result from the accident.
  • Loss of Consortium: Loss of consortium compensates close family members, typically spouses, for losing companionship, affection, and support due to the injuries.

Punitive Damages

Courts may award punitive and compensatory (economic and non-economic) damages, although they are less common. Courts may award punitive and compensatory (economic and non-economic) damages, although they are less common. The availability and criteria for punitive damages vary by jurisdiction.

Seeking Compensation

To successfully claim these damages, documentation and evidence are key. Medical records, pay stubs, receipts, personal journals documenting pain and suffering, and witness statements can all support your claim. Working with a knowledgeable lawyer can help identify and accurately calculate all potential damages, maximizing your compensation.

Steps to Take After a Rideshare Accident

If you've been involved in a rideshare accident and are now considering your next steps, you must prioritize your health and legal rights. Here's a guide to navigating you through the process after the accident.

Prioritize Your Health

First and foremost, your health should be your top priority. If you haven't seen a healthcare provider, it's wise to do so—even if you feel fine. Some injuries, especially car accident-related ones, may not manifest symptoms immediately.

Visiting a doctor ensures that any hidden injuries are diagnosed and treated early. This step is beneficial for your health and important for your legal case, as it provides documentation of your injuries directly linked to the accident.

Organize Your Documentation

Rideshare Accident

Gathering all relevant documents and pertinent information will be immensely beneficial as you consult with a lawyer, ensuring a more thorough and productive assessment of your case.

This includes:

  • A copy of the police report, if available.
  • Medical records and bills related to the accident demonstrate the extent of your injuries and the costs incurred for treatment.
  • Photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and any damage to your personal property.
  • Correspondence with insurance companies, including any claims you've filed.
  • Records of missed work or other financial losses due to the accident.

Having these essential documents ready can significantly expedite the initial consultation with a lawyer, enabling them to assess your case more efficiently and accurately.

Consulting a Rideshare Accident Lawyer

When you're ready to seek legal advice, look for a lawyer experienced in rideshare accidents. These cases can involve complicated legal and insurance issues, making experience in this area very valuable.

During your consultation, be sure to discuss:

  • The lawyer's experience with rideshare accident cases.
  • Their assessment of your case, including potential challenges and the compensation you might expect.
  • The process they will follow to pursue your claim.

Most Rideshare Accident Attorneys Work on a Contingency Fee Basis

Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means you won't pay any upfront fees for their services. Instead, the lawyer's fee will be a percentage of your settlement or award.

This arrangement aligns your lawyer's interests with yours and ensures that legal assistance is accessible, regardless of your financial situation. Ensure that you discuss the specifics of the contingency fee agreement during your consultation, including the percentage and the potential deduction of expenses from your settlement.

When to Consider Filing a Lawsuit

There are situations where filing a lawsuit may be the most appropriate and effective course of action:

Disputed Liability

Liability disputes arise when the parties involved in an accident cannot agree on who is at fault. Rideshare accidents can complicate matters further due to the involvement of multiple parties, including the rideshare company, the driver, and potentially other drivers.

  • Investigation and Evidence: A thorough investigation is needed to establish fault in disputed liability cases. This involves collecting and analyzing evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and traffic camera footage. An experienced lawyer can leverage their resources to build a strong case on your behalf.
  • Legal Experience: Disputed liability cases often require legal intervention to resolve. Lawyers with experience in rideshare accidents can offer significant advantages, including understanding how to present evidence effectively and argue against opposing viewpoints. They can also negotiate with insurance companies, which might be inclined to minimize their payout.
  • Resolution: Parties sometimes resolve these disputes through negotiation, but if they cannot agree, they may also lead to litigation. You may file a lawsuit, and the case can proceed to trial, where a judge or jury will determine liability based on the presented evidence. 

Inadequate Insurance Coverage

Rideshare Accident Injury

Insurance coverage issues often surface in rideshare accidents, especially when the damages or medical expenses exceed the policy limits of the involved parties.

  • Understanding Policy Limits: Rideshare companies provide insurance coverage with specific limits, which may be insufficient in severe accidents. Personal insurance policies of the drivers involved might not cover commercial activity, leading to gaps in coverage.
  • Pursuing Additional Compensation: When insurance does not cover all damages, you may need to seek additional compensation. This can involve identifying other liable parties or using underinsured motorist coverage, if available. Having legal guidance is the best way to explore these avenues and understand the full scope of your coverage and rights.
  • Legal Action for Fair Compensation: Initiating a lawsuit may be necessary to recover the full extent of your losses. This step involves proving the extent of the damages and the inadequacy of insurance coverage to cover these costs. A skilled lawyer can advocate for your needs, ensuring you receive fair compensation for your losses.

Severe Injuries

Serious injuries stemming from rideshare accidents can have profound and lasting impacts on your life, often resulting in substantial medical bills, lost income, and enduring long-term suffering.

  • Quantifying Damages: Calculating the full extent of damages in severe injuries involves considering current and future medical expenses, lost income, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. Legal counsel can help accurately quantify these damages and ensure accounting for all potential future impacts.
  • Expert Witnesses: In cases of severe injuries, lawyers often enlist the help of medical professionals, economists, and life care planners to testify about the extent of injuries, the necessity of long-term medical care, and the financial impact on the victim's life. Using professional testimony can substantiate compensation claims. 
  • Maximizing Recovery: Pursuing a lawsuit with the help of an experienced rideshare accident attorney can significantly increase the chances of recovering the full extent of your losses. A lawyer will negotiate on your behalf and is prepared to take your case to trial if necessary to achieve the best possible outcome.
Richard Reinartz, Rideshare Attorney in New Jersey
Richard Reinartz Rideshare Accident Attorney in New Jersey

Contact a Rideshare Accident Lawyer

If you've suffered an injury in a rideshare accident, seek legal help. A rideshare accident lawyer can provide the necessary support and resources to resolve your claim and secure fair and just compensation for your injuries.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today!