When the typical person thinks about rideshare apps, like Uber or Lyft, they think “safety” and “convenience.” Many choose to take Ubers or Lyfts when they've been out with friends, to avoid annoying parking situations, or even to get themselves to work. However, safety and convenience are among the last words victims of rideshare accidents would use. After an uptick in legal claims against notable rideshare companies, Uber and Lyft have begun releasing safety reports in which they detail the number of app-related accidents, assaults, etc. In 2017 and 2018, Uber reported 107 motor-vehicle fatalities. While rideshare companies have begun revealing app-related accident fatalities, they do not report data involving non-fatal accidents. Uber, specifically, claims the number of non-fatal accidents is more difficult to “define and track,” despite encouragement on their site for users to report accidents using the app (it's recommended that you speak to an Uber accident lawyer as soon as possible; your attorney will advise you how to go about reporting the accident). In this blog, we'll discuss what to know if you are in an Uber or Lyft accident. We'll cover everything from liability to insurance to other rideshare concerns, like assault.
Why Uber/Lyft Accidents Happen
Rideshare accidents happen for many of the same reasons other accidents happen, including:
- Distracted driving (this one may be more likely to cause ridesharing accidents due to required app usage and navigation during the operation of vehicles)
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driver fatigue
- Violations of the rules of the road
Major rideshare companies have received criticism for the lack of driver training, despite drivers having to use their phones while operating their vehicles to navigate and use the rideshare app.
Who's Responsible After a Rideshare Wreck?
As with all vehicle accidents in Arizona and New Mexico, the responsible party is determined by who was at fault for the accident. According to Uber and Lyft, their drivers are required to have private liability coverage and uninsured/underinsured driver coverage up to $1 million per accident. Both companies also have third-party insurance policies that pay up to $1 million per accident for personal injuries or property damage; these policies are utilized only after the driver's coverage has been exhausted.
What If the Rideshare Driver Wasn't At Fault?
If the rideshare driver wasn't at fault for the accident, the responsibility to pay damages would fall on the at-fault party. Rideshare passengers would file third-party claims to recover damages from the at-fault driver. In the event that the at-fault party is uninsured or underinsured, the rideshare driver's required uninsured/underinsured coverage could be a legal route for passenger recovery. This option may apply in the event that:
- The responsible party is unknown
- The at-fault driver does not have insurance
- The at-fault driver doesn't have enough insurance to cover injuries or damages
When these options fail, you may try to file a claim against the rideshare company. Be sure to consult a knowledgeable Uber/Lyft accident lawyer in Arizona or New Mexico.
Tips to Follow After a Lyft/Uber Accident
Follow these steps immediately after being involved in a rideshare app accident:
- Ensure all parties involved have not suffered severe injuries; if injuries have happened, be sure to call paramedics immediately.
- Call the local authorities to report the accident as soon as possible
- Take as many photos as you safely can. Document photos of vehicle damage, injuries, damage to surrounding items (light poles, guardrails, signs, marks on the road, etc)
- Obtain information from the other parties, including insurance information, contact details, and vehicle information
- Ensure the driver reports the accident to his/her company (the driver may be hesitant to report the accident to avoid any potential repercussions)
- Ensure the driver was logged onto the app when the accident occurred
- Contact a lawyer to understand how to best navigate the aftermath of a rideshare accident
Other Rideshare Concerns
Car accidents aren't the only concern when it comes to rideshare app safety. Unfortunately, both rideshare app users and drivers have been subject to various forms of assault due to the nature of the industry. From questionable hiring practices of top rideshare companies to untrained drivers, late-night pickups, and lack of adequate safety measures within the app, assaults are a prevalent concern for many. In various reports, both Uber and Lyft have disclosed data involving violent crimes, assaults, etc:
- From January 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2019, Lyft disclosed 4,148 app-reported sexual assaults
- In 2017 and 2018, Uber revealed about 6,000 sexual assault reports
- In the same years, Uber reported 19 fatal physical assaults
While these numbers are terrifying and shocking, the reality of the prevalence of rideshare injuries and assaults may be even worse as victims don't always feel comfortable coming forward. If you've been assaulted, you are not alone. There are various legal actions you may be able to take, depending on the specific facts of your case. To find out more, be sure to consult a personal injury lawyer.
Hiring an Uber/Lyft Accident Lawyer in Arizona or New Mexico
If you've been injured in an Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare company vehicle accident, you may have legal options to help you recover. You're entitled to recovery when it comes to injuries, medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, emotional and psychological trauma, and other damages related to the accident. To consult with one of our knowledgeable car accident lawyers in either Arizona or New Mexico, call or text us at 602-345-1818. You may also fill out our online form here. Don't delay your recovery – contact Impact Legal today!