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Ridesharing services have become ubiquitous in cities across the country and have quickly become a standard form of transportation. Rather than taking a taxi, people will often rely on an uber to get home safely after a late night or avoid traversing a major city on busy days. However, the widespread use of ridesharing services has resulted in additional traffic concerns for everyone on the road.
Uber and Lyft drivers are not immune to traffic accidents, and being contracted drivers makes handling their collisions more complex than dealing with a regular car accident. Navigating a situation like this as a driver or even a passenger can be confusing. Look to the experienced Uber and Lyft accident lawyers at Sweeney Merrigan Law for reliable legal advice. Request a free consultation online or call us at (617) 391-9001 to make an appointment.
People often rely on services like Uber and Lyft to travel safely when it would otherwise be unsafe. For example, rideshare drivers often serve as designated drivers for bar and club patrons. Unfortunately, Uber and Lyft have specific drawbacks that can make them unsafe.
Various parties have the potential to be at fault for a car accident, but the presence of a paid driver, an app, and a company behind it all adds new elements that can impact the safety of a trip. When a rideshare vehicle is involved in an accident, the most likely causes are:
To optimize their profits, Uber and Lyft drivers are frequently encouraged to complete as many trips as possible. In turn, drivers are incentivized to engage in risky behaviors such as speeding, driving for long periods, and continually watching their app while driving. This behavior endangers the safety of the riders, other motorists, and the drivers themselves.
To ensure rider safety, Uber and Lyft also purport to conduct screenings or background checks on their drivers before allowing them to drive under their service. However, it may not be impossible for drivers with concerning driving records and backgrounds to get through the screening process.
Rideshare accidents involve multiple parties that could share culpability. The primary parties you may be concerned with are the paid driver (an independent contractor) and the company allowing them to use their platform to complete rides. Still, other motorists or pedestrians may also be involved.
Ultimately, fault in an Uber or Lyft accident will be held by the party that caused the accident. This party might be:
Passengers in rideshare vehicles may not be held liable for the accident unless they interfered with the driver or vehicle.
With multiple potential parties involved, you may have to deal with a more complex claim process while pursuing fair compensation. Because rideshare businesses employ their drivers as independent contractors, it would likely be challenging to launch a suit against Uber or Lyft if one of their drivers causes an accident. Regardless, you can still seek compensation for your injuries and other losses through other means, such as insurance and a personal injury claim against the driver.
When you’re the passenger in a rideshare accident, the process of filing claims and pursuing compensation is likely unclear. You do not own the vehicle, weren’t driving, or know the driver beyond what the app tells you. In these cases, the ridesharing company’s third-party liability coverage would most likely apply to you.
Uber maintains auto insurance on their driver’s behalf to help protect drivers and their passengers in a covered accident. Should a driver experience a collision while en route to pick up a rider or complete a trip, Uber has $1,000,000 in third-party liability insurance, covering bodily injury and property damage to someone or something other than the driver or their vehicle.
On the other hand, dealing with insurance companies is rarely simple, and most insurance companies will hunt for any reason to deny a claim or minimize a settlement. Your chances of winning an insurance claim improve when you engage an experienced ridesharing accident lawyer to represent you.
It’s critical to take action as soon as possible after being involved in an accident. You only have a certain amount of time to file a claim after a car accident. In Massachusetts, there is a statute of limitations for filing an accident claim.
Massachusetts imposes a two-year filing deadline. Victims of car accidents must file a lawsuit within two years, beginning on the day of the accident.
When you’re involved in a rideshare accident, you should generally treat the situation like a regular car accident. Even if you are the passenger, you need to take comparable precautions to protect yourself financially from damages like injuries, medical expenses, and property damage.
After an Uber or Lyft accident, it may benefit you to do the following:
Talking to professionals, completing reports, and collecting evidence could prove valuable for pursuing fair compensation. Perhaps the most valuable step you should take is to contact an experienced ridesharing accident attorney. You may need someone to help you navigate the complex nature of rideshare accidents and develop a strategy to help you navigate the claims process.
At Sweeney Merrigan Law, we have experienced rideshare accident lawyers on our staff who may be able to secure a favorable outcome for your claim. Our firm is so experienced in rideshare cases that one of our attorneys was recently interviewed by the prestigious American Bar Association about rideshare liability. Attorney Victoria Santoro Mair, a seasoned litigator and partner of our firm, was interviewed for the American Bar Association’s Insider TIPS Podcast.
While rideshare accidents are similar to regular car accidents, key differences could impact how your case should be addressed. As a client of our firm, you can expect to receive trustworthy legal counsel from a sympathetic lawyer who has successfully resolved numerous personal injury cases. Call (617) 391-9001 to make an appointment or send in a request for a free consultation.
Attorneys at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP have been recognized and honored by several of the top legal associations, including SuperLawyers, National Trial Lawyers Association, and Best Lawyers.
Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP is a highly successful personal injury law firm serving Massachusetts since 2011.
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