As the number of ride-sharing cars and companies continue to grow, so do the the number of vehicles on the roads. In New York, there are an average of three fatalities per day due to automobile accidents, and an average of about 12,468 injuries and emergency room visits per day.
With 50 million tourists per year, including both foreign and American travelers and day-trippers, New York City is a heavily populated location with millions of cars on the road. Safety is of utmost importance, and when you get into an accident you can be seriously injured.
But what happens when you are injured while in an Uber, Lyft or Via vehicle? Are you able to sue Uber or Lyft directly? Or is it the individual driver who is at fault, as they are the driver and sometimes, the owner of the vehicle? What if you’re the driver? Uber, Lyft, and Via accidents can be confusing, and you’ll want a qualified and experienced Uber accident lawyer to assist you throughout the process.
Uber was founded in 2009, Lyft and Via a few years later in 2012, and the newest addition of Juno is 2016, making ride-sharing its own industry. People are making money via this gig economy as rideshare drivers, the technology has continued to improve so that more people are using the service, and this new industry has literally changed the way people get around.
Whether you are a ride-sharing passenger, an Uber, Lyft, Via, or Juno driver, in another vehicle altogether, a pedestrian, motorcyclist, or biker, you may be able to get compensation for your medical expenses, treatment, lost wages, and any pain and suffering the accident has caused, and if your vehicle was involved, vehicle repair costs.
What should you do if you have been involved in an accident?
- Call the police and wait for them to arrive at the scene of the accident
- Make a police report
- Seek immediate medical attention if necessary
- If you are the driver: Exchange information with the other driver, such as name, address, telephone number, driver’s license number, name of insurance company, and policy number. Take pictures of yours and the other driver’s license and insurance card.
- Get the names of any passengers involved
- Take down the names of any witnesses, even if the police also speak with them.
- Contact an attorney as soon as possible!
After an accident, Uber may reach out to you to ask you to provide an “official statement” regarding the accident. Do not do this! You are not legally obligated to give this statement, and Uber’s legal team or insurers may try to use that statement against you if you choose to file a claim against them. Because Uber drivers are independent contractors, you will be encouraged to file a suit against your driver instead of Uber as a company. Speak with an attorney before making any statements or decisions.
How can you stay safe as an Uber passenger?
- Wear your seatbelt at all times inside of a vehicle
- Do not distract the driver with photos or annoying them in any way
- Help the driver by watching out for construction areas or road debris
- Help the driver be aware of other vehicles, pedestrians, bikers or other people in the vicinity
- Watch for directions or GPS navigation, to help the driver keep their eyes on the road
Taxi and car service drivers may not always give you the best experience, but they are employees, which means they had to be screened and background-checked, as well as having all paperwork and licenses for the job, the correct insurance, and have the backing and protection of a larger company behind them. A company which also hold insurance. Taxis and car service vehicles are regularly inspected, serviced, and maintained by the company and are held to certain specific standards.
Unlike a New York City taxicab, Uber, Via, and Lyft vehicles are usually privately owned and are maintained and serviced by the owner of the car. While this does allow for lower rates than some taxis and car services, it also can present some unique challenges. For one thing, a major concern is whether rideshare passengers are protected in case of an accident. Who is at fault in these accidents?
Uber and Lyft drivers are not as regulated and are private citizens, not employees. In fact, Uber has distanced themselves from the operation and maintenance of their drivers’ private vehicles by saying that they really only provide the platform to connect drivers with passengers.
After an Uber driver struck and killed a 6 year old girl in San Francisco in January 2014 between fares, Uber claimed no responsibility. Uber says they have a $1 million commercial insurance policy, but because the driver who killed the child was between fares, the insurance policy did not cover him, only UberX drivers who were actively taking a fare. As The Verge reported, “Uber has said on many occasions that it’s a technology company, not a transportation provider.” In November of 2014, the first Lyft passenger was killed, and determining fault and liability was again a challenge.
Motor vehicle accidents that occur while in a ride-sharing vehicle can be complicated and difficult to determine liability, negligence, or any fault. You should speak with an Uber accident attorney as soon as possible about making a claim and bringing an Uber accident lawsuit.
What can you get compensation for?
- Medical bills and expenses
- Ongoing treatment
- Occupational/physical therapy
- Lost wages from being out of work to recover
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Vehicle repair
It can be very frustrating trying to determine who is at fault for your injuries and who can be held liable. Let an experienced ride-sharing collision attorney assist you and make it easier every step of the way.
We can help you if:
- You were injured as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle
- You were the driver of a ride-sharing vehicle and are injured
- You were in a vehicle that was involved in a collision with a ride-sharing vehicle
- You were a bystander (pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist) injured in an accident involving an Uber, Lyft, or Via vehicle.
Contact us today at the Offices of Ronemus & Vilensky to speak to a top personal injury and Uber accident attorney. We work for you.