Recovering for Injuries Sustained in an Uber or Lyft
Ridesharing is a form of transportation in which the customer connects to an independent driver who is registered on a mobile app. The customer requests a ride, and the app links up one of the rideshare drivers to the customer. The company takes a cut of the ride’s overall cost.
In Arizona, and elsewhere, ridesharing services (such as Uber and Lyft) have become increasingly common over the years. Still, despite its ubiquity, many injured plaintiffs are unsure of their rights under the law and how they can secure adequate damages in a rideshare accident scenario (car, truck, etc.). If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a rideshare vehicle, then you may be entitled to damages, but the dispute may be complicated by a number of issues.
Let’s take a peek at some of the basics.
Whether you are likely to receive damages will depend — in many cases — on the insurance coverage. In Arizona, rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft pay for liability insurance coverage of up to $1 million to cover accidents involving their drivers. This liability insurance may vary depending on the circumstances.
For example, suppose that you are riding as a passenger in an Uber when the driver crashes the car. Given that the driver had already picked you up and was taking you to your destination, you would be entitled to the full $1 million of insurance coverage.
Now, if a driver has not yet picked their passenger up, but is on his way to do so when he injures someone, then a reduced amount of liability coverage will apply (i.e., $100,000 in most rideshare insurance policies).
Suing the Rideshare Company
If you’ve been injured by a rideshare driver, then you may want to bring an action against the company directly. The problem, however, is that Arizona law defines Uber and Lyft drivers as independent contractors. As such, you cannot apply vicarious liability principles to rideshare companies. If you wish to impose liability on a rideshare company directly, you’ll have to prove that they contributed to your injuries through independent negligence.
For example, suppose that you are injured by a rideshare driver who is operating their vehicle extremely recklessly. You later discover that the driver does not have a license. After further investigation, it turns out that the rideshare company did not do their due diligence and determine whether the driver had an active license before allowing them to register and use the service to pick up customers. Given their inability to perform an adequate background check, you would likely have a negligence claim against the company for damages.
Contact Hirsch & Lyon for a Free Consultation With an Experienced Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer
Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have substantial experience litigating car accident claims — including rideshare-related accidents — on behalf of those who have been injured due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party. In fact, unlike many of our competitors, our firm exclusively provides legal services to those who are involved in a motor vehicle accident dispute, giving us depth of insight into the unique issues typical of such litigation.
We are capable of anticipating how the opposing counsel is likely to react to our claims, and how best to circumvent the barriers raised over the course of litigation. Our specialized approach has served us well over the years — we have recovered over $100 million in damages for our clients, in trial verdicts and negotiated settlements.