Phoenix Rideshare Car Accident Attorneys

Car Crashes Involving Uber, Lyft, and More

Ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft have been getting a lot of attention in the media lately. These companies use smartphone apps to connect people on the road with people looking for a ride. You open the app, drop a pin on your location, and a nearby driver responds, picking you up and taking you where you need to go. These ridesharing services are really just taxi services with a technological twist. And without the regulations to make sure passengers are safe.

Rideshare services are becoming very popular all over Arizona. In a city with a lot of traffic like Phoenix, more and more people are using an app to get to where they’re going. But, Uber and Lyft drivers aren't professionals. What happens when they get into accidents? Who is liable? Questions like this can only be answered by the best car accident attorneys in Phoenix. The Husband and Wife Law Team can help.

How Ridesharing Services Work in Phoenix

To understand the risks associated with ridesharing, you should know the difference between them and traditional taxi services.

Someone who needs a ride uses the Uber or Lyft mobile app and contacts an independent driver who is near. The driver picks the person up and takes them to their destination. After the person gets dropped off, drivers log the trip into the app. The fare is handled completely through the app, with the driver usually getting 80% of the fare. It's actually very easy and convenient.

The important part of how ridesharing works are the words "independent driver." When you call for a cab, you know the driver is an employee of a licensed taxi company that's fully insured in case of an accident. Rideshare companies hire drivers on what's basically the same as an independent contractor basis. Drivers are responsible for providing the car and use their own personal auto insurance coverage.

By working this way, Uber and Lyft are able to keep overhead costs low and be successful. Unfortunately, this system leaves passengers, other drivers and pedestrians sharing the road with these rideshare drivers in a tough spot if there's an accident.

Insurance Issues with Rideshare Services in Phoenix

It can be difficult to be sure that rideshare drivers are safe and responsible behind the wheel. Uber checks out the driving history of all its applicants and Lyft sends a representative to give a driving test for all potential employees. Uber requires its drivers to have an insurance policy of at least $1 million. As soon as the driver agrees to a trip with an Uber customer, the $1 million liability coverage kicks in. Lyft has similar rules about insurance coverage. The difference between the two is that the coverage terms for Uber apply in all 50 states, while Lyft's apply everywhere but New York. Despite how much rideshare companies try to hire safe drivers, accidents still happen.

Uber and Lyft Have the Same Basic Rules About Insurance Coverage

  • If an accident happens when the rideshare company's mobile app is off, only the driver's personal auto insurance is responsible. The company won't cover any damages that happen when the app is off.
  • If an accident happens when the rideshare company's mobile app is on, the driver's personal insurance and the company's contingent liability coverage will cover damages.
  • If an accident happens during the ride, the rideshare company's commercial insurance applies.

If you're in an accident with a rideshare vehicle that is driving a client, you're eligible to get financial compensation from both the driver's personal auto insurance and the rideshare company's commercial insurance. If you are a passenger in a rideshare vehicle and you are in an accident, you may also be eligible to receive compensation from the driver's personal auto insurance and the commercial policy as well.

Damages From Rideshare Accidents in Phoenix

If you're involved in accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, you can get financial compensation for your damages. Victims of accidents can get paid for the following types of damages:

  • Medical expenses (present and future)
  • Physical therapy expenses
  • Property damage
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of future earning capacity in case of a disability
  • Pain and suffering and emotional trauma

Assault Risks Associated with Ridesharing

While most people think the riskiest thing about getting into an Uber or Lyft is the possibility of a crash, there are other physical risks. You are, after all, getting into a stranger’s vehicle. There is often a false sense of safety with ridesharing vehicles. Several news stories over the years have shown just how dangerous this can be.

In 2018, a woman in San Diego called for an Uber after becoming intoxicated. She was so drunk she had asked the driver to stop so she could vomit. She passed out momentarily and awoke to the driver attempting to rape her. She escaped and called 911. The police found videos on the driver’s phone of his rape attempt on her, along with the abuse and rape of a number of other women and young teenagers. According to CNN, it was one of 103 cases of sexual assault or abuse by Uber drivers from the years 2014 to 2018.

Unfortunately, it’s not only passengers who have something to fear in an Uber or Lyft. In 2015, a female Uber driver was driving two intoxicated male passengers to a hotel after they had gotten drunk at a bar. Upon dropping them off, both men attempted to sexually assault her and even told her she’d be going back to the hotel with them. She was able to escape, but suffered severe injuries to her ribs, neck, shoulder, and teeth.

Sadly, these are just a few of the stories that have made news surrounding the physical dangers of Uber, Lyft, and other transportation network companies. Anyone who is physically assaulted in a rideshare vehicle has options for holding these parties liable. Not only can you press criminal charges, you can also file a personal injury claim for your injuries, including emotional distress.

What To Do After a Ridesharing Accident

Passengers should do whatever they would do after getting into an accident with their own vehicle.

This means calling the police out to the scene. They can then file a police report, which can be helpful in the future if you want to make a claim for injuries you sustained during the accident. In addition, you should write down as much as you can remember about the accident, as insurance companies will want to hear from injured passengers, as well. Also, take pictures of the scene, showing any property damage, skid marks, and anything else that could be used as evidence as to how the accident occurred.

It’s also important to remain at the scene and to collect information from all parties. This means writing down all names, contact information, and insurance information of any driver involved in the accident.

As soon as possible, get medical attention for your injuries, even if the injuries seem minor. A doctor will give you a full examination and ensure there are no hidden injuries, such as internal bleeding. Not only will seeking medical care get you back on the road to good health, it can also protect a future personal injury claim.

Phoenix Uber, Lyft, & Rideshare Car Accident Lawyers at The Husband & Wife Law Team Can Help

When you use a service like Uber or Lyft, your driver and that company have a duty to keep you safe. If they don't live up to that duty and you're injured in an accident, it only makes sense that you file a claim to hold them and the company they drive for responsible. To learn more about how we can help if you or someone you love have been in an accident with a rideshare driver, contact Breyer Law Offices, P.C. today. The Phoenix rideshare car accident attorneys at the Husband & Wife Law Team are ready to answer all your questions.

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