Rideshare accident claims are challenging. Despite the fact that ridesharing has been around for over a decade, its legal liability is still evolving. The success of your injury claim will depend heavily on the skills of your attorney.
At Ricci Injury Lawyers, we have years of experience handling complex personal injury matters. Our Uber and Lyft accident lawyers throughout North Carolina have the dedication and resources you need to recover the compensation you deserve.
What is a Rideshare Accident Attorney?
An Uber and Lyft accident attorney focuses on the complexities of ridesharing liability. Lawmakers have struggled to regulate the “sharing economy.” Every industry has regulations to ensure safety. Designating liability when people are hurt is an essential aspect of developing safety measures.
Personal injury attorneys are an integral part of law development. They fight for the rights of those injured in preventable accidents. When a judge finds a party liable for damages, the case may influence the decisions in subsequent cases involving similar facts.
When Do You Need an Uber Accident Lawyer?
Uber and Lyft accidents tend to be more convoluted than other motor vehicle collisions. Insurance companies may use the murkiness of rideshare liability laws to pass the blame. Proving fault is often challenging in Uber and Lyft accidents. In addition, rideshare laws are new and become more defined with each case.
People injured in Uber and Lyft accidents frequently find insurance companies more difficult to work with than other negligence cases. It is not uncommon for claimants to have their legitimate injury cases denied, forcing them through a complicated appeals system.
Who is Liable in a Rideshare Accident?
In addition, understanding who is at fault in a rideshare accident is difficult. Should the driver be held liable or the ridesharing company? Every Uber and Lyft accident is unique. Each will have a different set of variables that will need to be evaluated.
Rideshare Laws Are Still Being Defined in the Courts
Ridesharing companies are considered a part of the “gig” economy. Both Uber and Lyft have deflected responsibility over motor vehicle accidents in the past, claiming their drivers are independent contractors. Insurance companies have denied coverage to drivers using their vehicles in service of Uber and Lyft, claiming accidents outside of personal use go beyond the limits of their policies.
Between the circumstances of the collision and the evolving liability and insurance laws in rideshare accidents, injury victims can get lost in the shuffle. An Uber accident lawyer is needed to protect the rights of those hurt in rideshare collisions.
Can an Uber Accident Attorney Help You Sue for a Rideshare Accident?
An Uber or Lyft accident lawyer can help you sue in a rideshare accident. However, personal injury cases are time-sensitive. If you or a loved one have been hurt either using a rideshare service or by the driver of a rideshare service, it is important to contact the Ricci Injury Lawyers as soon as possible.
Rideshare claims come with many hurdles. Lyft accident attorneys can:
- Navigate those hurdles while keeping your best interests in mind
- Build an injury claim and file it on your behalf
- Negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company
The most important step in filing any claim is determining who is liable. An Uber accident attorney can investigate your collision and hold the responsible parties accountable.
What Damages Can Rideshare Accident Lawyers Recover?
Our North Carolina rideshare accident lawyer can recover the full compensation you deserve. While Uber and Lyft accident claims are challenging, the rideshare accident attorneys of Ricci Injury Lawyers can evaluate the details of your case and estimate the value of your claim. You may be entitled to numerous types of legal damages in civil court.
After a collision, victims may suffer a wide range of serious or debilitating injuries. Medical expenses can add up quickly. Claimants may be able to recover compensation for the following costs:
- Medical treatment, including multiple surgeries to set severely broken bones
- Multiple follow-up doctor visits to remove pins and sutures
- Lengthy stays at the hospital and intensive care
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Home healthcare, including wound care
- Medical equipment, including crutches or wheelchair
- Home modifications
In most cases, claimants will fully recover from their injuries. However, in cases of catastrophic and permanent damage, claimants may need a lifetime of medical care.
Pain and Suffering Damages
Pain and suffering damages are difficult to estimate. Pain is not tangible, presenting a unique problem for a jury or judge to understand and place a value on suffering.
Most claims calculate pain and suffering based on the following elements:
- The pain during the collision itself
- The physical and emotional pain while recovering
- The amount of pain experienced during medical treatment (e.g., resetting bones, inserting and removing surgical pins, and sutures)
- Psychological pain from anxiety
The psychological pain under pain and suffering damages differs from emotional distress damages.
Emotional distress damages are different from pain and suffering. Emotional distress is defined by a clinical diagnosis of a mental disorder caused by the Uber or Lyft accident. For example, the following mental diagnosis qualifies for emotional distress damages:
- Clinical depression
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
The above are the most commonly cited emotional disorders after a car accident. However, people can suffer a wide range of mental disorders brought on by a traumatic Uber or Lyft accident.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Loss of enjoyment of life damages pertains to your quality of life after a serious injury. Generally, when a person is so severely injured, they can no longer participate in the same activities they previously enjoyed.
For example, if a pianist suffers permanent nerve damage in their hand after a Lyft accident, they may be able to receive loss of enjoyment of life damages.
When a person is injured in an Uber or Lyft accident, they often miss several days, weeks, or months of work. A rideshare accident attorney can recover the wages missed as a result of the collision.
Loss of Future Earning Potential
If an accident victim’s injuries are so severe they can no longer perform the same level or quality of work, they may be entitled to recover the loss of future earning potential.
For instance, suppose a CPA suffers a debilitating traumatic brain injury, losing some memory and cognitive function. The CPA may never be able to return to the workforce at full capacity. The loss of future earned income potential calculates the wages they would have earned had the accident not resulted in permanent brain damage.
Do Rideshare Accident Attorneys Classify Uber and Lyft Drivers as Independent Contractors?
Since its conception, rideshare companies have considered their drivers as independent contractors. Uber and Lyft have sought to merely facilitate drivers finding people who need transportation, acting solely as third parties.
When a driver is involved in an accident, Uber and Lyft often pass the liability under the pretense that the driver is covered by their own insurance. Unfortunately, many insurance companies have put in their policies that they will not cover accidents that occur in service of a rideshare company.
However, legislation is continuing to develop to protect injured parties. For example, some states, like California, have sought to end the “independent contractor” shield companies use to dodge personal liability suits.
In North Carolina, legislation has defined Uber, Lyft, and other sharing services as transportation network companies (TNCs). Under the law, Uber must provide liability insurance while a driver is logged into the app and when transporting a passenger.
Does Uber and Lyft Provide Insurance Coverage for Their Drivers?
Uber and Lyft have started providing extra liability coverage for their drivers in some situations. For example, a Greenville Uber car accident may be covered by a third-party liability coverage under the following conditions:
- The driver is waiting for a ride request while the app in on
- The driver’s personal insurance does not apply
- If a driver is actively picking up or driving a passenger
Lyft also provides extra liability insurance if a driver opts in. Lyft’s coverage may apply when:
- A driver is logged into the app and waiting for a request
- A driver accepts a ride request
- A driver is transporting a passenger
Due to the nature of the rideshare service, driving periods are used to distinguish when a driver is covered by the company’s liability insurance and when they are not.
Why Do Insurance Companies Frequently Deny Rideshare Accident Claims?
Typically, when a person is injured in a motor vehicle accident, they file a claim through the at-fault party’s insurance company. Situations can become more complicated if the at-fault party is working at the time of the collision.
For instance, truck drivers who are involved in a car crash may be on duty at the time of the incident. An injured person may file an insurance claim with the truck driver or their employer. However, rideshare accidents have an added level of complexity.
Why Uber or Lyft May Deny Your Accident Claim?
Since drivers are considered independent contractors, companies like Uber and Lyft usually deny coverage, citing:
- The driver has personal insurance to use for a motor vehicle accident
- The driver did not purchase extra insurance coverage through the rideshare company
- The driver may not be “on duty”
Uber and Lyft regulate their drivers through their apps. A driver must click a button to show they are ready to accept rides. When someone nearby requests service, a GPS map pops up with their whereabouts and where they would like to go. A driver can then choose to decline or accept the ride.
Ridesharing presents a legal gray area that is often used to deny claims. Uber and Lyft may use the following examples as grounds to deny your injury claim:
- If a driver forgets to click the “accept ride” button and causes a car accident
- If you are a passenger and have arrived at your destination only to be injured in a rear-end car accident
If your rideshare injury claim is being denied, a Lyft accident attorney can fight for your rights and recover the compensation you need.
Why Might the Driver’s Insurance Company Deny Your Claim?
Generally, when people purchase their auto policy, they must state whether their vehicle will be used primarily for commuting or business. In addition, they are asked how many miles they drive a year on average.
Auto insurance rates are based on a wide range of factors, including the number of miles driven a year. More time on the road means the probability of an accident increases. If the vehicle is used primarily to drive people around town, that also increases the likelihood of an accident.
Insurance companies may deny injury claims, arguing that the policy only covers incidents that occur during personal use of the vehicle. Some auto insurance companies have begun adding clauses that specifically state they will not cover accidents that occur while using a rideshare company.
Insurance adjusters are trained to look for reasons to deny or minimize payouts. Rideshare companies present enough legal ambiguity that many legitimate claims can be denied.
How Can Uber and Lyft Be Held Liable in North Carolina?
Uber and Lyft can be held liable for injuries people sustain. However, claims are particularly challenging due to the ambiguity of the law, insurance coverage, and company policies.
For a car accident injury, Uber or Lyft may be held financially responsible when:
- A driver fails to meet the licensing requirements set by the state or company
- A driver fails to maintain a safe driving record
- A driver is facing serious traffic violations (i.e., DUI, reckless driving charges)
These are just a few of the situations that qualify for a personal injury claim. Rideshare companies owe their passengers a duty of care. Uber and Lyft fail in that duty if they employ drivers without credentials or unsafe records.
What Injuries Do Uber Accident Lawyers Represent?
Rideshare accidents can be devastating. In addition to passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and occupants in other cars can be seriously hurt in Uber and Lyft collisions. A Lyft accident attorney can represent a wide range of injuries, including:
- Head injuries and concussions
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken, dislocated, or fractured bones
- Back and neck injuries, including whiplash
- Spinal cord damage
- Internal organ damage
- Crush injuries and crush syndrome
- Soft tissue damages
- Amputations or limb loss
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
The consequences of an Uber accident or Lyft accident can be significant. Passengers often suffer serious injuries due to a rideshare driver’s negligent actions.
Should I Consult a Wrongful Death Lyft Accident Lawyer?
When the injuries sustained in a rideshare accident become fatal, surviving family members may file a wrongful death claim. The sudden loss of a loved one is unimaginable. Financial compensation will never ease a family’s grief.
However, a wrongful death claim can help a family in a number of ways, including:
- Offsetting unexpected costs
- Funeral or burial expenses
- Offsetting the loss of the deceased’s expected income
In addition, a wrongful death claim can help provide closure to the surviving family members. Lawsuits are about allocating blame. Compensation is a means of designating blame and preventing future accidents from happening. Speaking to a wrongful death attorney in Greenville, NC can help a family explore their options.
Is Ridesharing Behind the Rise in Traffic Collisions?
When Uber and Lyft burst on the scene over a decade ago, many people believed ridesharing companies would help reduce traffic accidents. After all, with fewer people using their own vehicles, it would make sense that fewer cars would be on the roads.
However, a recent study by the University of Chicago reported that traffic fatalities and motor vehicle accidents have increased. Since 2011, traffic deaths have risen by 3%.
Some of the contributing factors include:
- Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft are aggressively recruiting drivers, leading to more motorists on the road
- Many people taking public transportation switched to using ridesharing companies, prompting the need for even more drivers
Uber and Lyft are the largest ridesharing companies in the United States. However, other ridesharing companies are coming into the market. Recently, Wridz launched in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.
Why You Need a Rideshare Accident Lawyer to File a Successful Claim
Rideshare accident claims are some of the most difficult personal injury cases. Between the legal ambiguities and the special circumstances, rideshare accident victims are often left to pay for their own medical bills.
At Ricci Injury Lawyers in Greenville, we have the skills and resources to overcome the complexities of rideshare accident claims. Our Lyft and Uber accident lawyers will determine the liable party and prove their financial responsibility by:
- Investigating the Uber or Lyft driver to see if they elected or declined additional liability coverage
- Determining if the rideshare driver was logged on during the accident and had checked “accept ride”
- Making a note of the time and driving periods (e.g., waiting for a ride request, accepting a ride)
- Comparing insurance coverage from Uber and Lyft to the driver’s insurance policy information
A Lyft or Uber injury attorney can assess the details of your case and provide the best course of action to recover damages for your injuries.
Contact Our Lyft and Uber Accident Attorneys in Greenville, NC Today
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a rideshare collision, you deserve compensation. The Uber and Lyft accident attorneys of Ricci Injury Lawyers can employ several strategies to overcome denials and recover a fair settlement. Schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys today.