It’s no secret that Lyft and Uber exploded into the California market because riders enjoy the convenience of requesting personal transportation with the push of a button. Unfortunately, with growth comes growing pains, and the increased use of rideshares has coincided with a spike in rideshare accidents.
If you were injured due to the negligence of a rideshare company and suffered a brain injury—whether as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian—you may be entitled to compensation. However, you will likely need a rideshare accident attorney on your side. Both rideshare companies use hard-hitting insurance providers with investigators, experts, and other professionals who aim to deny or minimize your claim. Contacting a rideshare accident attorney can help ensure maximum recovery for your injuries.
Rideshare Accident Statistics
According to a study by the University of Chicago, the growth of ridesharing services has correlated with about a 3% annual increase in the number of deaths from automobiles, or nearly 1,000 each year.
According to Uber’s 2017-2018 U.S. Safety Report, 98.6% of Uber rides were completed during that time period without any incident or accident. During that time period, Uber reported 97 fatal accidents involving 107 actual fatalities. That translates to .59 fatalities for every 100 million ride miles in 2017, and .57 fatalities per 100 million ride miles in 2018.
Common Rideshare Injuries
No different than other vehicle-related accidents, rideshare accidents can result in serious injuries and even death, as evidenced by the statistics above. Whether it’s Lyft or Uber, safety doesn’t seem all that important to them. Especially considering they see themselves as a technology company rather than a transportation service.
But a serious injury can require thousands of dollars in medical care, including ongoing doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. Even a minor injury can create high medical costs and pain and suffering. Rideshare accidents result in the same injuries as accidents involving other vehicles, including the following:
- Chest injuries,
- Rib injuries,
- Crushed trachea,
- Muscle sprains or strains,
- Broken bones and fractures,
- Jaw or facial injuries, and
- Pelvic injuries.
This is not an exhaustive list, and you may suffer other injuries.
But one of the most common injuries involves the brain, and these injuries might initially appear minor but turn out to be serious. Any time the brain suffers a sudden, violent force that causes it to move inside the skull, it causes damage. The resultant damage is called a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. If you hit your head during an accident, be on the lookout for common TBI symptoms such as:
- Blurry Vision,
- Changes in sleep patterns, and
- Memory problems.
It is not unusual for symptoms to appear anywhere from 24 to 72 hours after the injury. Even if you don’t feel injured, if you believe you may have hit your head during the accident, seeking immediate medical attention is highly recommended.
What to Do After a Rideshare Accident
The process of filing a personal injury claim begins immediately after the accident. Here are a few steps you should take to give your rideshare accident claim the best chance of resulting in a fair settlement:
- Call the police and request medical assistance;
- Take multiple photos of the accident scene from different angles,
- Take pictures of driver’s licenses, license plates, and driver’s insurance cards;
- Write down the weather conditions or get photos or video of it; and
- Write down witnesses’ contact details, and send them a text message to ensure you recorded the correct phone numbers.
After following these steps, reaching out to an attorney makes sense. Your attorney will help gather and preserve evidence, determine liability and potential parties, and calculate a potential recovery.
Is the Rideshare Company Liable?
The question of who is legally liable after an accident with a rideshare vehicle is being furiously debated in the California court system. As such, there is no clear answer. However, chances are, no matter who you allege is responsible, you will likely have to prove that the other party was negligent. An injured person must prove the other party failed to take reasonable care to prevent an accident. Then, you must prove that an injury occurred and that the other driver was the main cause of the injury.
Determining potentially liable parties, proving the elements of negligence, and proving your damages are best left to an expert. An attorney can help determine the responsible parties and pinpoint their potential level of fault.
How Insurance Plays a Role in Rideshare Accident Liability
To complicate matters further, even if a party is negligent, you might not receive compensation if there isn’t enough insurance coverage to compensate you.
In California, rideshare drivers must carry personal auto insurance policies for their vehicles to pick up and transport passengers. Additionally, rideshare companies offer supplemental liability insurance coverage to pay for injuries and property damage, depending on whether the driver was working when the accident happened.
The Three Periods of a Rideshare Driver’s Duties
California law categorizes a rideshare driver’s work duties into three periods.
Period one is when an Uber or Lyft driver is logged into the app and actively searching for riders but has not picked anyone up.
In period two, a rideshare driver has accepted a ride and is coming to pick up the passenger. According to state law, ridesharing companies must provide at least $1 million in primary commercial insurance coverage during this period. This coverage is only available if an injured victim files a claim with the driver’s personal insurance.
During period three, a passenger is in the rideshare vehicle and moving to the final destination. If an accident occurs during this period, the ridesharing company must offer $1 million in insurance coverage. Uber and Lyft must also offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
Which Policy Applies?
Which policy applies to your case depends on whether the driver was on duty at the time of the accident and whether the driver purchased a commercial insurance policy or a ridesharing endorsement for their personal policy.
Uber and Lyft provide adequate coverage to injured passengers. However, matters get tricky when an accident involves other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists, so reaching out to a rideshare accident attorney is your best bet at discovering these important details.
Average Settlement for Traumatic Brain Injury
In California, you may recover financial compensation for your injuries and other damages if you suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence. The amount of these damages will depend on many factors, such as how badly you were injured, the extent of your pain and suffering, and how your earning capacity has been affected.
Most personal injury cases settle out of court when attorneys for both sides meet privately to negotiate a settlement. The average settlement for a rideshare accident is difficult to predict but can range from thousands to millions. However, if your accident involves a brain injury, you can be sure the more severe and debilitating the TBI, the higher the settlement amount will likely be.
Rideshare Accident Attorney for TBIs
The lawyers at GJEL Accident Attorneys are top-rated California personal injury attorneys with a 99% success rate and a 10.0 Avvo Rating. We have helped accident victims for over 40 years. We will fight hard to get justice with no upfront cost to you. Contact one of our California-based locations today!
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