Posted in Blog on September 14, 2020
Driving your car is a joy and a pleasure. It gets you from one point to another quickly and conveniently. When on the road, you are careful to adhere to the rules and regulations that should govern all drivers. You are alert and conscientious and do not take unnecessary risks. This is not the practice of all drivers. And if you have been hit by someone who was reckless and negligent, then you should hold them accountable.
Road accidents have been on the rise in the last few years. Many experts attribute this trend to the expansion of the rideshare industry. Uber and Lyft dominate this business. They have recruited hundreds of thousands of drivers all around the country, and millions of people have used their services. One of the most disconcerting things about these rideshare companies is that anyone with a car and a license can drive for them. There is no rigorous recruitment, selection, and training process. Even drivers with questionable driving records can join the ranks of Uber and Lyft.
Most of these drivers work to meet ends meet at the end of the month. They use the fare they collect to supplement their income. Fares tend to be low for rideshare drivers—this is one of the great benefits enjoyed by the people who use the service. To meet their financial goals, drivers must collect as many fares as possible, which gives an incentive to many of them to break traffic rules.
Uber and Lyft require their drivers to carry a certain amount of insurance. They expect the insurance company of their drivers to pay for any expenses associated with an accident. However, not all drivers have the kind of insurance that will do so. If the driver who hit you has inadequate insurance, then the rideshare company is required to step in and pay the compensation owed to the victim.
Uber and Lyft have recently expanded the opportunity for drivers by allowing them to rent cars to offer ridesharing services. The companies have teamed up with rental car agencies across the country to make this happen. This has created more problems for liability. A driver who rents a rideshare car cannot have long-term insurance on it. Although the rideshare companies cover drivers of rideshare rentals who get into accidents, the policy says nothing about the expenses incurred by the other driver.
The rideshare companies have tried to use this loophole minimize the amount of money they have to pay out to accident victims. They believe that they can dodge liability by pointing out that the car is owned not by their driver but by the rental company.
You should not be put off by this seeming ambiguity. Your personal injury attorney certainly will not be.
If you were seriously injured in an accident with a rideshare driver—whether they own or rent the car—you may have little control over what happens to you in the immediate aftermath. You may not even be conscious of the events that take place after such an accident. You may need to be transported to the hospital and you may need to undergo serious treatment. As you heal and recover from the accident, you will need to confront the financial realities that result from it.
You will have medical bills to pay, and you will need to find a way to make up for the income you have lost. In the stress and strain of the moment, you will be tempted to take any settlement offered to you. The rideshare companies will take advantage of your distress by contacting you directly and offering you a low-dollar settlement. You should refuse it. In fact, you should tell them that you can make no decision until you have spoken with an attorney.
The important thing to remember is that your lawyer will be the only one looking out for your interests. If you were in a collision with a rideshare driver, the rideshare company, the insurance company of the driver, or the rental agency itself if the driver rented a rideshare car will all be looking out for themselves. You should never deal directly with any of these individuals. You should leave all communication and negotiation to your attorney.
One of the hardest things to do in a rideshare accident case, no matter the circumstances, is to affix liability. The rideshare companies know this and try their best to put make the question of who is responsible for giving relief to accident victims as complicated and frustrating as possible to answer. Although courts throughout the country are struggling to adapt to this new reality, personal injury attorneys are not.
The rise and expansion of the rideshare industry, and the subsequent increase of accidents involving their vehicles, have given rise to a new field of lawyers who specialize in these cases. You should choose a lawyer who has experience handling rideshare accident cases. They will have more insight into the points of law that can be successfully argued against them. They will also know the kind of evidence and testimony that work to pressure the rideshare companies into offering fair and adequate settlements
If you have been injured in an accident with a rideshare driver, the first thing your lawyer will do is establish the value of your case. This is done by reviewing your medical record, speaking to the medical team whose care you are under, and talking to your family to get a sense of how your injuries have impacted their lives.
Your attorney will also subpoena all relevant contractual documents and depose employees of the responsible rideshare companies. The main aim of your attorney will be to get as much money as possible for you and your family.