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Who is liable for a rideshare accident?

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Ridesharing is commonplace throughout Brooklyn. Lyft, Uber, and even ordinary taxis play a significant role in getting individuals to work, school, and social gatherings. Some people enjoy the convenience of these transportation options, but they aren’t any safer than driving yourself. In fact, some statistics show that car accidents, including those that are fatal, have actually increased since ridesharing services have become active.

But if you’re reading this post, then you or a loved one has probably been injured in a car accident involving one of these ridesharing companies and you’re wondering what you can do. Fortunately, you might have some legal options at your disposal that can help you find accountability and recover compensation for damages suffered, but these matters can be pretty complex. So, let’s take a look at some of the challenges of these rideshare personal injury cases.

Who is liable?

In most car accident cases, you levy your claim against the driver who harmed you. That individual’s insurance company may then payout part of the claim, while any remaining damages can be sought from the negligent driver who caused the accident. While that still holds true to a certain extent in the rideshare context, it can get a little more complicated. One reason is because these drivers are oftentimes independent contractors who have a unique relationship with the parent company for which they drive.

So, if a rideshare driver causes an accident while completely offline, then the matter is treated like any other car accident. If, however, the driver was technically working but just waiting to pick someone up, then the rideshare company and its insurance company may be liable for a certain amount of the damages that have been caused. If the accident occurs while the driver is on his or her way to pick up a passenger or is actively giving a ride to a passenger, then the rideshare company’s insurance policy will be larger, meaning that a greater extent of your damages will be covered.

Why does this matter?

Knowing who is liable for your accident is important because you need to know who to approach to get the compensation you deserve. For example, if your injuries were suffered while a driver was on his or her way to pick up a passenger, and your damages exceed the driver’s ability to pay, then you need to know how to go after the rideshare company to ensure that you’re as fully compensated as possible.

Additionally, there may be disagreements in your case regarding exactly where the driver was at in the rideshare process. Rideshare companies and their insurance companies will probably try to avoid liability as much as possible, so they might argue that the driver was not yet providing any rideshare services at the time of the wreck. You need to be prepared to counter that, if possible.

Proving your case

Rideshare accidents are all too common, and they can leave individuals with serious injuries, which you might know all too well at this point. To recover the compensation that you or your loved one needs, though, you’ll need to not only prove negligence and causation, but also damages. Therefore, you’ll want to do everything you can to gather relevant evidence, whether that pertain to distracted driving, fatigued driving, drunk driving, or some other form of negligence. Witness accounts and police reports might help, but so, too, can hospital records and expert testimony considering that that evidence can speak to your incurred and expected losses.

But when going up against rideshare companies and their insurance companies, you need to be ready to anticipate strong defense arguments. In these instances, the blame will probably be shifted back to the driver who caused the accident or even you. This is shocking for many car accident victims, which is why you should put the work in now to ensure that your interests are as fully protected as possible moving forward. Fortunately, experienced and skilled law firms like ours stand ready to help Brooklyn residents who need an aggressive advocate on their side.