Uber/Lyft Accidents, Ride Share Legal Battles and Finding Out Who is Liable

Passenger is sitting on the back seat of the car and using smart phone app to rate a driver. Taxi or modern peer to peer ridesharing concept

According to the research paper “The Cost of Convenience: Ridesharing and Traffic Fatalities,” rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have accounted for a 3% increase in traffic accident fatalities since 2011. Uber and Lyft drivers were involved in 97 crashes that led to 107 deaths between 2017 and 2018.[1]

Due to the increasing number of Ubers and Lyfts on the road, more people are getting in accidents. Beyond the approximately 100 wrongful deaths annually, what about the passengers in the backseat of an Uber/Lyft when that car is rear-ended? The passengers who now have life-altering back pain and neck pain?

What Do You Do if You’re in an Accident While a Passenger in an Uber or Lyft?

Individuals who drive for Uber or Lyft are technically independent contractors. But Uber and Lyft often have liability in the case of an accident. The fine print of the agreement the passenger signed before getting into an Uber or Lyft rideshare has some protections for passengers, but they can be quite vague.

That’s why it’s crucial for someone involved in an accident as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft to get in touch with a personal injury attorney who has won rideshare cases before. Only an experienced attorney has the tools and knowledge needed to sort out exact liability and what the passenger’s rights are.

Florida added new requirements for Uber’s liability coverage. Now, when Uber drivers have a rideshare passenger in the car with them, the driver has to be covered by a minimum $1 million liability policy. Further, when an Uber driver is online on the app but does not have a passenger in the car with them, they’re required to have up to $50,000 of coverage (or $100,000 if multiple parties such as other passengers are injured).

What are the Most Common Causes of an Uber or Lyft Accident?

As shown in the research paper cited earlier, rideshare cars are slightly more likely to be involved in an accident than non-rideshare cars. The most common cause of an accident in an Uber or Lyft is the driver is distracted. Distracted driving is not only the fastest-growing cause of accidents on the road, it’s also the leading cause of accidents in rideshare vehicles.[2]

Another common reason Uber/Lyft drivers are in more accidents than the average driver is the exhaustion factor. Most drivers work multiple jobs and tend to drive for Uber or Lyft late at night, and they also drive many hours nonstop, which leads to driver fatigue. Sometimes they don’t maintain their car properly, park in dangerous places, or they speed because they’re trying to push as many rides as possible into one day.

How do Lawyers Charge for Uber/Lyft Cases?

Lawyers will only charge on a contingency basis, which means they only charge if that lawyer gets a settlement for their client. Further, they will only collect after the client receives their settlement.

Who Else is Liable in a Rideshare Accident?

Individual cases do vary considerably, but some of the parties who could be held liable are:

  • Lyft the Company
  • Uber the Company
  • The Uber/Lyft Driver
  • Other drivers involved in the accident
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James (Jim) Magazine is a Florida Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer who has spent his career helping injured victims. Jim is licensed to practice law in the State of Florida since 1990 and is also admitted to practice at the Appellate level and admitted to the United States Supreme Court.