Filing a Lawsuit After an Uber or Lyft Car Accident

May 1, 2024 | Jarrett Blakeley
Filing a Lawsuit After an Uber or Lyft Car Accident

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have transformed how we travel, offering convenience at the tap of an app. However, as these services grow in popularity, so does the likelihood of accidents involving their drivers. With millions of rides completed daily, accidents involving rideshare vehicles are almost inevitable.

One avenue for compensation after a rideshare accident is filing a lawsuit. However, it is not always immediately clear if you can file a lawsuit. Even if you have a case, you need a lawyer to determine who to file a lawsuit against.

A rideshare accident attorney will address many of your concerns following an Uber or Lyft car accident. During these difficult times, legal counsel can place you on the right path to recovery.

 

Types of Rideshare Accidents Eligible for a Lawsuit

In several circumstances, you may recover compensation through a lawsuit or insurance coverage after an Uber or Lyft car accident.

These include:

Uber or Lyft Car Accident
  • You suffered an injury in a car accident as a passenger in a rideshare. You may recover compensation if you were riding as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft when your driver got into an accident. Whether the rideshare driver or another motorist was at fault, you can recover damages through an insurance policy or lawsuit.
  • You were walking or cycling and were hit by an Uber or Lyft driver. Not all rideshare-related incidents involve passengers. If you were walking or cycling and a rideshare driver hit you, this may constitute grounds for legal action. Rideshare companies carry third-party liability insurance that may cover your expenses and damages from the accident. Alternatively, you can file a lawsuit against the liable party(s).
  • You were in another car involved in an accident with a Lyft or Uber driver. If you were driving or were a passenger in another vehicle involved in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, you might also recover compensation. These scenarios often involve navigating both the rideshare company’s insurance and the personal insurance of the drivers involved, making the situation more complicated.

In any of these scenarios, you may consider filing a lawsuit as one avenue for compensation. However, before you initiate legal action, you should discuss the specifics of your case with an attorney. Getting legal counsel will ensure that you clearly understand your options and the likely outcome of your case.

Who Can Be Held Liable for an Uber or Lyft Accident?

The question of liability is one of the legal issues that must be addressed before taking legal action after any rideshare accident. And it makes sense why. If you do not know who yo can hold liable, you do not know who to file a lawsuit against. Below are some of the potentially liable parties in Uber or Lyft accidents:

An Uber or Lyft Driver

If the rideshare driver was negligent—for example, by violating traffic laws or being distracted—they can be held responsible for the damages. However, this situation adds another layer of complexity as the victim can seek compensation directly from the driver or through their rideshare company’s insurance.

It largely depends on the driver’s status during the crash. If the accident occurs while the passenger is in the vehicle, Uber and Lyft provide $1 million in liability coverage.

Another Negligent Motorist Involved in the Crash

Accidents are not always the fault of the rideshare driver. Other motorists on the road may also act negligently or recklessly and thus can also be at fault. Negligent behaviors can include speeding, running a red light, or any other action that leads to an accident with an Uber or Lyft vehicle.

In such cases, the negligent motorist’s insurance is typically the first source of compensation, provided that they have one. Statistically speaking, about one in seven drivers on U.S. roads are uninsured.

The Rideshare Company

Determining when Uber or Lyft can be held directly liable is complicated. Generally, these companies classify their drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, which allows them to limit their liability.

However, you can hold the company liable, especially if you can prove:

  • The company failed to conduct proper background checks;
  • The company did not provide adequate safety training or
  • The driver was acting within the scope of their “employment.”

Both Uber and Lyft carry third-party liability insurance coverage, which can come into play depending on the driver’s status at the time of the accident.

Automakers or Manufacturers of Vehicle Parts

If an accident involving Uber or Lyft is caused by a vehicle malfunction, such as brake failure, liability may extend to the manufacturer of the vehicle or the defective part. You can pursue product liability claims can if you can prove that a fault in the vehicle or part directly led to the accident.

Local Municipalities or Road Authorities

Poor road maintenance, inadequate signage, malfunctioning traffic signals, or unsafe road designs can sometimes lead to car accidents. In such situations, you can hold the municipality or government authority responsible for maintaining the road liable through a lawsuit.

Multiple Parties

Several parties may share liability in many rideshare accidents, especially involving multiple vehicles or factors. Under the legal doctrine of comparative negligence, various parties bear liability based on their contribution to the accident. Comparative negligence laws vary from state to state.

In Florida, for example, the doctrine of modified comparative negligence applies, which allows each party to recover damages regardless of their percentage of fault (Fla. Stat. § 768.81).

However, suppose you are a passenger in any vehicle involved in the Uber or Lyft car accident and have not contributed to the crash. In that case, comparative negligence laws should not concern you much, as you will be entitled to the total damages.

Settling Out of Court vs. Filing a Lawsuit After a Rideshare Accident

After an Uber or Lyft accident, the victim typically has two options to recover compensation for their damages and losses. The first option is settling an injury claim outside of court, while the second option is litigation.

When deciding whether you should settle out of court or file a lawsuit, you must carefully consider several things together with your rideshare accident lawyer:

  • Is there any insurance coverage available? Rideshare companies generally provide insurance coverage for accidents involving their drivers, not to mention that every driver is supposed to have their personal insurance coverage. However, insurance coverage may not always be available to injured victims. For this reason, you need to determine whether any insurance coverage is available before pursuing a compensation claim.
  • Is the insurance coverage enough to cover your damages and losses? If there is any insurance coverage available, you need to evaluate it with your legal counsel to ensure it is sufficient to cover all your damages and losses (both current and future). If the coverage alone would not cover your needs fully, you might need to consider taking the matter to court.
  • Are you prepared to take risks, given that lawsuits can be unpredictable? Filing a lawsuit can be a gamble, with outcomes never guaranteed. Court decisions can be unpredictable. And while you may recover more compensation than what a settlement offered, you can also end up receiving less—or even nothing. Consider your willingness to take this risk.
  • Are you willing to wait longer for compensation if you file a lawsuit? Legal battles through litigation can be lengthy, often taking months or even years before the final trial occurs. Settling out of court typically offers a quicker path to compensation. However, a quick settlement should never pay you less than you deserve, and you can negotiate higher amounts with the help of a rideshare accident attorney.
  • Are you comfortable with the added financial burden of a lawsuit and attorney’s fees? Pursuing a lawsuit can be expensive. Beyond the initial filing fees, costs can include attorney’s fees (unless your attorney works on a contingency basis), court costs, and expenses related to gathering evidence (i.e., expert witness fees). Evaluate whether you are in a position to shoulder these potential costs without the possibility of immediate reimbursement.

Often, the injured victim needs legal counsel to provide them with an unbiased opinion and help them make an informed decision based on the specific facts of their case.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Filing a Lawsuit After an Uber or Lyft Car Accident

You probably have many questions after a rideshare accident with an Uber or Lyft driver before you take legal action to recover compensation.

If you suffered injuries, always have a rideshare accident lawyer evaluate your situation in a free consultation as soon as possible. They can answer your specific questions regarding your rights and options, given your circumstances.

What is the average Uber/Lyft car accident settlement worth?

The average settlement arising from a claim filed by a victim of a rideshare accident can range significantly. Many factors come into play when determining how much an injured victim may receive. These factors include the severity of damages, the liability of the driver and Uber/Lyft, the availability of insurance coverage, and many more.

What damages can I recover after an Uber or Lyft car accident?

Depending on the severity of the rideshare accident and the impact of the injury on your life, you can recover damages for your:

  • Medical bills
  • Loss of income
  • Reduced or lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Diminished quality of life

You might seek additional forms of compensation, depending on the nature of your losses. Consulting a rideshare accident attorney allows you to understand what compensation you can seek and how much you may recover.

What is the statute of limitations for claims arising from rideshare accidents?

The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit after a rideshare accident varies by state. Generally, you have a limited time after the accident date to initiate legal action.

Depending on your state’s laws, this period can range from one to several years. In Florida, for example, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years from the accident date (Fla. Stat. § 95.11).

Do I need a rideshare accident lawyer when filing a lawsuit after an Uber or Lyft accident?

Insurance companies make navigating the legal system alone intimidating and overwhelming.

For this reason, never hesitate to begin working with an attorney to:

  • Explain your legal rights and options (whether you should engage in out-of-court settlement negotiations or proceed with litigation);
  • Investigate the accident and gather necessary evidence (the success of your lawsuit depends on the availability of evidence that bolsters your case);
  • Negotiate with insurance companies (you don’t want the insurer to use manipulative tactics against you, do you?);
  • File your claim correctly and on time (abiding by the procedural requirements is essential for protecting your right to compensation) and
  • Maximize the compensation you receive (your attorney will ensure that you are not settling for less than you deserve and that all your damages and losses are being accounted for in the lawsuit).

Having a rideshare accident attorney manage your case can reduce stress and allow you to focus on your recovery. Besides, knowing that a professional will protect your legal rights give you the peace of mind you deserve during these stressful times.

Consultations are free with no obligation, so discuss a possible lawsuit against Uber and Lyft with a local personal injury lawyer today.

Jarrett Blakeley

Firm founder Jarrett Blakeley fights to get maximum compensation for all of Blakeley Law Firm’s clients. He has been practicing law since 2006 and takes great pride in representing the rights of injured individuals against the insurance companies and the law firms that represent them. He has successfully represented thousands of clients and recovered tens of millions of dollars on their behalf. Mr. Blakeley strives to give all of his clients personal attention and maximum effort and seeks to instill a firm culture that prioritizes customer service and compassion for the injured over all else. Fighting for the injured is Jarrett Blakeley’s greatest passion and he looks forward to fighting for the injured for the rest of his career.

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