In the past, if you wanted to get a ride somewhere, you either had to call a cab company, try to hail a taxi – or get a loved one to take you. Now, it’s easier than ever to tap a few buttons on an app and a car will show up to take you where you need to go. But just because it’s easy doesn’t necessarily mean that using a rideshare app is safe.
Companies like Uber and Lyft are incredibly popular – with Uber averaging as many as 14 million trips per day. However, the drivers don’t have any sort of special training – or even drive vehicles that are inspected and maintained by these companies. Instead, they generally only need a driver’s license for a period of one year and drive an eligible four-door vehicle – that’s it!
People who drive for Uber or Lyft are not considered employees. Instead, they are considered independent contractors. For this reason, and because they are driving their own vehicles, it can be hard to figure out who is responsible for a rideshare accident.
At Bross & Frankel, we fight for the rights of injury victims. If you have been involved in an Uber accident, we will fight for your rights. Our law firm offers free initial consultations, and never charges a fee unless we recover money for you.
Who Will Pay for Damages in a Rideshare Accident?
If a rideshare driver was negligent in causing an accident, then there are two potential options for recovering damages: the driver’s personal car insurance policy and/or the rideshare company’s commercial liability insurance policy. Coverage under a commercial policy is based on what exactly the driver was doing at the time of the accident.
There are three possible scenarios that may apply in a rideshare collision. First, if a driver is not working or the app is off, then their own insurance policy will cover damages from a crash. This may make it difficult to fully recover, as the driver may have purchased an insurance policy with relatively low limits.
Second, if the driver has the app on and received a ride request when an accident occurred, then accident victims may be able to file a claim against the company’s insurance policy. However, the policy limits for this type of personal injury claim are typically lower. For both Uber and Lyft, the coverage includes up to $50,000 in bodily injury per person, up to $100,000 in bodily injury per accident, and up to $25,000 in proper damage per accident.
Third, if the driver is on their way to pick up passengers or currently has a passenger in their vehicle when the accident occurs, then the rideshare company’s full commercial policy is available. Uber and Lyft’s commercial insurance policies both have $1,000,000 limits. Anyone injured in the accident may be able to recover through this policy, including passengers in the vehicle, pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers and passengers of other vehicles.
These types of cases are often more complex than a typical motor vehicle accident. A skilled New Jersey personal injury lawyer can evaluate the facts of each case to determine who may be liable for the accident. They will then seek compensation from the negligent driver, the rideshare company, and any other responsible parties.
Who Is at Fault in a New Jersey Rideshare Accident?
In New Jersey, personal injury lawsuits are based on a theory of negligence. This is a legal concept that is defined as the failure to use the care that a reasonable person would in a similar situation. When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, a driver can be negligent in any number of ways – such as texting and driving, running a stop sign, driving under the influence, or simply not paying attention to the road.
To recover financial compensation in a personal injury lawsuit, the victim (plaintiff) must prove that the other driver (defendant) acted with negligence. There are four elements of negligence:
- Duty: the driver had a duty of care to use reasonable care when operating their vehicle.
- Breach: the driver breached (violated) that duty.
- Causation: the driver’s violation caused injuries to someone else (the plaintiff). This may also be referred to as “but for” or proximate causation (i.e., but for the driver’s breach, the accident would not have happened and the plaintiff would not have been injured).
- Damages: the victim suffered losses.
In a Lyft or Uber accident, the plaintiff must show these elements, in the same way, that they would if the driver was not working for a rideshare company. For example, if an Uber driver was speeding and crashed into another vehicle, they will be held financially responsible for any injuries that occurred. The driver had a duty to use reasonable care while driving, breached that duty by speeding, and then caused an accident, which caused injuries to other people.
The main difference between rideshare accidents and other types of car crashes is who can be sued for your losses. If you were involved in an auto accident with a person who wasn’t working for a rideshare company, then their insurance company will be responsible for your losses. If that same at-fault driver was working for Uber or Lyft at the time of the collision, then a question arises as to which insurance policy applies: the driver’s personal policy or Uber’s commercial policy.
Who Is Liable in an Uber Accident?
As with most legal questions, the answer is: it depends. If the rideshare driver was doing something negligent – such as engaging in reckless driving – then they will probably be held responsible. However, if another driver caused the accident, then they may be liable for the collision.
Because these cases can be complex, it is important to work with accident attorneys who understand the nuances of the law surrounding rideshare accidents in New Jersey. If you have been hurt in a rideshare accident, reach out to Bross & Frankel today to schedule a free consultation.
What Happens If You Get Hit By a Lyft or Uber Driver?
If you’re driving your car and a rideshare driver hits you, then they will be responsible for any losses that you may have – including medical bills, property damage, and more. Depending on what the driver was doing at the time – off the clock, waiting for a ride request, or transporting a passenger – Uber or Lyft’s commercial insurance policy may apply. Otherwise, the driver’s personal injury policy (or your own PIP) coverage may pay for your damages.
Each rideshare accident case is unique and requires a careful analysis of the facts and law. If you have been injured in a rideshare accident, reach out to our law firm for a free consultation. We’ll fight for your right to fair compensation – and justice.
Can I Sue Uber After an Accident?
If an Uber driver was responsible for a crash, then you can file a personal injury claim against the company and its insurance company for your injuries. The amount that you are able to recover will depend in part on what the driver was doing at the time of the collision, along with the nature and extent of your injuries. Similarly, if you were hurt in a Lyft accident, you can file a claim against the company and its insurer.
At Bross & Frankel, our New Jersey rideshare accident attorneys are dedicated to helping injury victims get the compensation that they are entitled to under the law. We’ll use our extensive knowledge of the law and experience handling personal injury cases to get you maximum compensation for your losses. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.
Help for Rideshare Accident Victims
After a car accident, you may be overwhelmed by physical and emotional pain, the need for ongoing medical care, and mounting bills. If the crash involved a rideshare driver, you may be even more stressed at the thought of taking on a major corporation like Uber or Lyft. An experienced attorney who understands the intricacies of these types of cases can help.
Based in Cherry Hill, Bross & Frankel represents clients throughout New Jersey. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee in personal injury claims unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to speak to a New Jersey rideshare accident lawyer, contact us today at 856-795-8880 or fill out our online contact form.