Rideshare Accident Lawyers
Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft are popular alternatives to taxi services and buses across the country. Rideshare services are in demand year-round, and around the clock. According to a 2019 report by Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans using ridesharing services has more than doubled since 2015, to 36% of American adults.
In Upstate New York, June 29, 2017 marked the first-day ride-hailing services were available, and since that time, the ease of using your cell phone to request a ride has been revolutionizing public transportation being offered in big metropolitan areas such as New York City for years.
In many areas, rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft are not regulated as heavily as the taxi companies, which can make understanding your rights as an injured passenger in an Uber or Lyft accident complicated and confusing.
A rideshare car accident lawyer has the experience to help individuals that have been injured in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver and vehicle to navigate through this complex situation. If an Uber or Lyft driver does not provide proper and reasonable care for their passengers and an injury results, the injured party may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the driver and the company for recklessness, gross negligence or carelessness, depending on the situation.
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UBER AND LYFT LAWSUITS RELATED TO ASSAULTS
Over the past several years, numerous civil cases have been filed against Uber and Lyft alleging that they have been negligent in their hiring practices and performed inadequate background checks on their drivers, as well as failing to monitor drivers for any violent or inappropriate conduct after they are hired. As a result of these negligent hiring practices, many U.S. riders have been subjected to rape, sexual assault or gender motivated violence or harassment.
By having an inadequate hiring process, rideshare companies have put dangerous and unsafe drivers behind the wheel, many with previous criminal records or crash histories. Over just the past few years this has led to…
- Alleged assaults by driver or other passengers
- Alleged sexual assaults and harassment by drivers
- Accidents resulting in serious injuries and property damage
- Wrongful deaths at the hands of drivers
In 2019, Uber released its first crime report revealing that there were 3,045 sexual assaults related to rides in the United States in 2018. Uber also reported there were 235 “Non-consensual sexual penetrations,” 9 “fatal physical assaults,” and 58 crash-related deaths. Lyft has committed to working on releasing a similar report, though none has yet been released. There are also many other incidents that go unreported.
We have also seen ridesharing crimes, such as assaults, including sexual assaults, turn out to be more common at “high crime times” like weekend nights when riders are more likely to be intoxicated. Additionally, there is no dividing partition between the passenger and driver in the vast majority of rideshare ride options, and this can lead to disastrous consequences as well.
In response to the lawsuits that have been filed against them, Uber and Lyft have attempted to revamp their business model to include new safety features for their riders.
On June 25, 2020, Lyft announced their riders can connect with ADT (a well-known security company) from the app. Their riders can tap “Alert 911 silently” and an ADT agent will contact 911, share the location and car’s details, and update the rider in “real time” with a status of the 911 request.
Uber has also added an emergency button in their app to connect riders and drivers directly to 911 in case of an emergency.
These new safety measures allow riders to quickly receive emergency help if they ever feel unsafe while driving in a ridesharing service.
UBER AND LYFT LAWSUITS RELATED TO CAR ACCIDENTS
Rideshare driving has many unique features, and some common causes of Ridesharing accidents, include the following:
Speeding: Rideshare drivers have the freedom and flexibility as to how much they drive and when they want to drive because they work as independent contractors. Many are driving as a part time job to supplement income. The more drives they complete, the more money they can make. This may encourage unsafe driving and promote speeding. Oftentimes, a passenger is the one pressuring the driver to get somewhere quickly, such as to the airport so they can catch a flight; and, the driver feeling obliged to appease their customer, may overlook driving safely, to guarantee a better rating in the app.
Distractions: Rideshare rides are full of distractions. A rideshare driver must have a map app open to get directions where to go, and to be able to locate their passengers. Once the ride starts, oftentimes, the driver can also be distracted by conversations in the car, especially if the passengers are intoxicated or rowdy.
Drowsy driving: Since a driver can make his or her own hours, they may think they can handle more rides, even when they are overtired and should no longer be driving. The appeal of making more money can increase reckless behavior if a driver is not fully alert and focused on the road, and encourage driving even when the driver is too tired and should be calling it a night.
What Is A Rideshare?
Ridesharing is simply the modern-day term for a carpool or a method of transportation in which a passenger travels in a vehicle driven by its owner for a fee. These riders request a rideshare by setting a pick-up and drop-off location via an app such as Uber or Lyft. Rideshare companies are now available to Upstate New York residents and are a popular way to travel around town.
HOW UBER AND LYFT ARE DIFFERENT THAN TRADITIONAL TAXI SERVICES
Issues With Passenger Security
If you own and operate a taxi service in New York State, you have specific rules and regulations to abide by. However, with Uber and Lyft, anyone could operate as a driver if they had a valid driver’s license, a vehicle and their own car insurance. These rideshare companies did not originally require the following…
- Law enforcement or fingerprinting background checks for drivers
- Personal interviews with drivers
- Special driver’s license requirements
However, in recent years, ride share companies have tightened up their background checks and have developed policies on criminal background checks and re-running driving records to check for issues such as driving violations, impaired driving, and violent crimes.
Issues with Insurance After Rideshare Accidents
When using public transportation, such as taking a taxi or bus, you are protected by specific insurance policies purchased by the companies that own these vehicles to cover themselves and the employees they hire to transport passengers. However, when using a rideshare company such as Uber or Lyft, the driver is not considered an employee of the company, rather, they are designated as an “independent contractor”; and, as such, there may be issues as to whether the driver’s own vehicle insurance or the Transportation Network Company (TNC), such as Uber’s or Lyft’s, insurance is available to cover the accident and any injuries resulting therefrom.
Once an Uber or Lyft driver’s app is on, that person can receive ride requests. Potential riders would use their Uber app to ask for an idle driver in the area to take them to the destination. During this time, the NYS law insurance requirements for Uber or Lyft are applicable to cover damages in the event of an accident while driving “on the clock” without any passengers in the vehicle.
Once Uber riders request a ride and fill out the required fields for the trip including their current location and final destination, the app will connect drivers with them to get them to their end point. At this time, the rider will receive information about the driver including their name, vehicle type, and license plate number. When the driver is close, the rider will be notified via the app. Once an Uber driver or Lyft driver is assigned a passenger or the passenger has already been picked up, the car is now considered a commercial vehicle. This means NYS laws insurance requirements for Uber’s or Lyft’s commercial insurance policy will apply in the event of a car accident.
New York State law requires TNC’s , such as Uber or Lyft, to provide liability coverage for its drivers, as follows: if you’re driving alone to pick up a passenger the TNC must carry $75,000 per person/$150,000 per accident of Bodily Injury Liability; and $25,000 of Property Damage Liability for damaging another person’s car or other property. However, when you are transporting a passenger, the TNC must carry $1.25 million for both Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability.
In New York State, your personal auto insurance policy will not cover accidents while driving for Uber or Lyft. NYS insurance policies have a list of exclusions and “driving-for-hire” is on that list. As such, from the time the driver turns on the ride-sharing app to the time they turn it off, there is no coverage under their personal auto policy for liability or physical damage to their car.
As such, if the app is turned off, a driver is “off the clock” and will not be receiving any requests for rides. At this time, there is no insurance coverage from the TNC since you are not driving on the Uber or Lyft platform during this period; and, as such, you are not covered by the TNC’s insurance policy for driver-partners. Any accidents that occur in a car while not driving with Uber or Lyft should be covered by the driver’s own personal automobile insurance coverage that they purchased on their own.
TYPES OF RIDESHARE ACCIDENTS WE HANDLE
At Brindisi, Murad & Brindisi Pearlman we are experienced personal injury lawyers that have the knowledge to guide you through a rideshare accident lawsuit if you are seriously injured while using a rideshare company and one of the following occurs…
- Injured in a car accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver
- A pedestrian injured by an Uber or Lyft driver
- Assaulted by an Uber or Lyft driver or passenger
HOW A RIDESHARE ACCIDENT LAWYER CAN HELP
It is the responsibility of rideshare companies and their drivers to provide a safe environment for their passengers, drivers, other commuters, and pedestrians. Companies such as Uber and Lyft have the responsibility to provide adequate warnings and safety measures if there are risks associated with rideshare drivers and the vehicles they drive. The rideshare company could be held liable in a car accident lawsuit for injuries sustained if a rideshare driver fails to fulfill that duty.
A personal injury lawyer with experience in rideshare car accidents can help guide people injured through the process.
People injured in Upstate New York may be eligible to recover money to pay for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
A personal injury lawyer with experience in rideshare car accidents can also help families that have suffered a loss from a loved one who has died in a rideshare car accident. You may be entitled to bring a wrongful death claim to cover funeral expenses and other economic losses incurred because of losing your loved one, such as the loss of income to your family. Lawsuits involving rideshare auto accidents can be complicated involving various types of insurance policies that could provide coverage for your personal injury damages.
Why Choose Brindisi, Murad & Brindisi Pearlman As Your RIDESHARE ACCIDENT Lawyer?
Brindisi, Murad & Brindisi Pearlman are experienced personal injury attorneys with the knowledge and compassion to fight for members of our community. It is not fair that rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft allow their drivers to put your life at risk and our team of rideshare accident lawyers know the unique laws associated with rideshare injury cases. The People’s Lawyer knows how to get you the compensation you deserve. We have helped hundreds of personal injury victims in New York, let us help you. If you’ve been seriously injured due to an Uber or Lyft accident in Upstate New York, contact The People’s Lawyers today for free legal advice.
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