The car insurance industry estimates that the average American will be involved in three to four traffic collisions throughout the course of their lifetime. Interestingly, this statistic has been skewed – and not in our favor – by the recent popularity of rideshare services. The authors of a new study, “The Cost of Convenience: Ridesharing and Traffic Fatalities,” claim that “the arrival of ridesharing is associated with an increase of approximately 3% in the number of motor vehicle fatalities and fatal accidents.” As alarming as this statistic may be, it’s important to note that it doesn’t even include the thousands of passengers and drivers who are severely injured by reckless, fatigued, and distracted rideshare drivers each year.
Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare services are constantly hiring new and inexperienced drivers to meet the evolving needs of this demanding consumer base. However, many of these drivers are pressured to engage in risky driving behaviors just to maximize their daily profitability. For example, a rideshare driver has a short period of time to accept a new fare before its claimed by another network driver. This sense of competition – or desperation – keeps drivers on their cell phones at all times so they don’t miss a lucrative opportunity. Naturally, this distracted driving behavior results in numerous car accidents and pedestrian fatalities each year.
This leads to another issue: to make money, these drivers are ferrying passengers for excessive lengths of time despite experiencing hunger, fatigue, and dehydration. Rideshare drivers are considered “independent contractors,” not employees, which means they don’t operate on a company-mandated schedule. The individual driver is responsible for determining their own hours and how long they’re active on the transportation network. Unfortunately, the average driver is willing to ignore safety rules for a big paycheck, even if it means putting their passengers in danger.
In an article for Medium, Uber driver Tally explains this profitable but dangerous mindset: “That means on say, Saturday I would do 28 trips and Sunday I would do 27 trips, which equals to a total of 55 trips in a 2 day period. Now you might be thinking: That’s a lot of trips to do in 2 days or That’s a lot of money to make in one day.”
It’s important to remember that rideshare “employees” are not professional drivers. Although Uber and Lyft have decreased the number of DUI arrests across the country, neither company can guarantee the quality or sobriety of their drivers. In fact, drivers from both companies have been arrested in Florida on DUI charges in the past. If you’re the passenger of an intoxicated driver, it’s critical that you stop the ride and escape the vehicle before a fatal accident occurs.
A traffic collision can be a startling and overwhelming experience, especially if you’re the passenger of a rideshare driver. After all, most people hire Uber and Lyft drivers to avoid this exact situation. Even so, there are certain steps you must take to protect your claim and take control of the accident scene.
If you’re injured in an accident involving a rideshare driver, follow these steps to protect your right to damages:
Many of these steps also apply if a rideshare driver collides with your vehicle. No matter the circumstances of the accident, it’s vital that you seek immediate medical attention as soon as possible. An experienced medical professional can assess your condition, refer you to specialists, and prescribe an effective treatment program that facilitates your recovery process. Plus, your updated medical record can serve as critical evidence in your case.
Many plaintiffs struggle to obtain damages after a rideshare accident due to complicated insurance matters and liability issues. Rideshare companies, including Uber and Lyft, are technology companies, not taxi services, and they can deny liability after an accident because their drivers are independent contractors. It’s not impossible to sue these companies directly, but it will be difficult to secure compensation without the assistance of an experienced attorney.
You may have grounds to file a claim against the following parties:
Personal injury claims are usually filed against rideshare drivers and/or third-party entities. However, these insurance policies rarely cover the extent of a victim’s medical debts, so it’s important to discuss your options with a legal representative. At The Pittman Firm, P.A., our trial-tested lawyers can investigate your case, negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company, and even help you pursue additional damages through Uber or Lyft’s $1 million uninsured/underinsured motorist policies.
Contact The Pittman Firm, P.A. if you’re ready to pursue damages by filing a personal injury claim. Our skilled legal team has over 30 years of experience and a comprehensive understanding of this challenging legal process. With our help, you can secure a beneficial settlement or verdict that alleviates your injury-related debts and safeguards your standard of living.
We’re available 24/7 and provide our services on a contingency fee basis. Contact The Pittman Firm, P.A.at (850) 764-0383 to schedule a free consultation.