Ever since Uber started in 2009, ridesharing has become a popular and inexpensive form of transportation. Lyft followed in 2015 and is now serving 321 cities. Atlanta is listed fifth for the best ridesharing city, and the number of rideshare drivers in the state of Georgia has exploded.
Accidents involving rideshare services are complicated and the law is new. If you’ve been in a Lyft or Uber accident, you need an experienced rideshare accident lawyer in Atlanta from John Foy & Associates on your side to help you recover damages from your injuries.
What to Do If You Were in an Uber or Lyft Accident
Anyone who is in any type of vehicle accident should call the police immediately. The police will make a formal report that will be used as the record of the accident. Too often, accounts of an accident vary as time passes, and it’s your legal obligation to notify the police when there are injuries, death, or property damage.
Write down the make and model of the vehicles involved, take down the license number and name of the other driver, take lots of photos, and see if there are any witnesses. Note the condition of your rideshare driver. Was he or she driving recklessly? Could he or she be drunk? If you need medical attention, call an ambulance.
Your rideshare driver may contact the police themselves, and they should since they were the driver, but you can still take photos to help your case for later. Also, if there were witnesses, take down their contact information.
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What Rideshare Drivers Should Do If They’ve Been in an Accident
Rideshare drivers who have had an accident should contact their company immediately to make a report. If the company reaches out to you, do not speak with the company or their insurance representatives without consulting with an Atlanta rideshare accident attorney first.
Don’t let an insurance agent lull you into believing that you’re dealing with anything other than a multi-billion dollar company that only wants to protect its interests. You have more rights than you may realize.
How Ridesharing Works
Ridesharing companies hire independent contractors to use personal vehicles for offering rides. These companies use software to help drivers and passengers connect and plan trips. Once the trip is complete, the app handles paying for the service.
It is an extremely convenient system with less friction than traditional taxis. However, there are significant liabilities for passengers who use these systems. In a normal taxi accident, the regulations and insurance policies are much more favorable to injured passengers.
Yet that doesn’t mean you’re without recourse. There are liable parties and you can pursue compensation with the assistance of a rideshare accident lawyer.
Liable Parties in Uber and Lyft Accidents
In Georgia, you must prove that the responsible party is more than 50% liable for the accident to claim damages. However, since you were a passenger, you are not at fault and are eligible to recover damages. Furthermore, rideshare drivers are supposed to have personal insurance policies and they are covered by corporate policies while they are on the clock.
Uber carries insurance on a car from the minute their driver accepts a trip to its conclusion. Uber Black, Uber SUV, and UberTaxi (where applicable), however, are covered under the commercial partner’s insurance company. Lyft also has very clear insurance policies for its drivers, with amounts differing when a ride is in session versus when a driver is between rides.
Wrongful Death Caused By a Rideshare Accident
If your loved one suffered a wrongful death because of a rideshare accident in Atlanta, you may be eligible to pursue damages from the person or persons responsible on their behalf. Damages can include everything from lost wages from your loved one’s financial support, loss of consortium, and funeral and burial costs. A lawyer can help you fight for justice after tragedy.
Like passengers, you will be eligible to pursue damages from both the driver’s and their employer’s insurance policies. Our rideshare accident attorneys will choose the path that best fits your needs for compensation.
Damages You Can Recover from an Uber or Lyft Accident
Accident victims are entitled to recovery from medical costs, repairs for car damage, and pain and suffering, among many other damages. In addition, if the driver is criminally at fault (i.e., driving under the influence), you are entitled to punitive damages which go above and beyond your costs of the accident and are meant to punish the driver for disobeying the law.
If you’re unable to work after your accident, you can include lost wages in your claim. If you’re no longer able to work in the capacity you were able to before your accident, your Atlanta rideshare accident attorney can include the loss of future earnings as well.
Limit on the Damages You Can Recover After a Rideshare Accident
The Georgia Supreme Court has eliminated a cap on damages you can recover after suffering injuries in a rideshare accident. Therefore, it’s important to go over all the elements of your accident with your attorney to make sure you’ve covered every damage to which you are entitled.
The lack of a cap means that we don’t have to hold back on pursuing damages. Our Atlanta rideshare accident attorneys will study your case from every angle and help you gather the evidence we need to seek as much money as possible for your compensation.
Can I Sue a Rideshare Company Directly?
While this would be a wonderful way to seek compensation, these companies have set up legal structures so that they are not liable if one of their contractors gets into an accident. Neither you, nor the drivers for that matter, can sue the company easily.
Instead, to help them cover accidents, they offer their own insurance policies and insist drivers carry their own policies as well. Uber’s policy, for instance, has a million dollar limit. This is more than sufficient for most cases, though we are not afraid to fight for more if your case requires it.
Uber and Lyft Car Accidents Compared to Other Auto Accidents
Unlike typical car or truck accidents, there are multiple insurance policies involved in a ridesharing accident—the rideshare company’s, the driver’s, and yours. However, similar to any auto accident, insurance companies want you to settle quickly.
Once you do so, you sign away any right to recover additional damages from that accident. Never agree to give a statement or agree to a settlement in writing or over the phone without first speaking with an attorney. You could be leaving a lot of money on the table.
Atlanta Uber and Lyft Rideshare Accident Lawyers Will Manage Your Case
After seeking medical attention following a crash, you will want to speak with an Atlanta rideshare accident lawyer. An attorney can guide you through legal processes for your case and manage your claim in several ways, including:
- Investigating the accident to determine fault and liability
- Collecting evidence to support your claim
- Look into the time reports from the rideshare driver
- Establishing your damages and your case value
- Handling all communications and paperwork
- Negotiating a settlement with the insurance adjuster
- If necessary, taking the at-fault party to trial
What If the Uber or Lyft Driver Has No Passengers When They Hit You?
Georgia, along with a few other states, passed legislation regulating ridesharing companies and requiring them to cover their drivers as soon as the driver and app user connect via the app. That means coverage is required for drivers who accept a fare but haven’t yet picked up their passengers.
Your law firm’s investigators will dig into the facts of your accident to see if the driver was on the clock or just driving for personal use. Either way, you can get representation from a rideshare accident lawyer in Atlanta for your case.
Common Issues With Rideshare Companies
With controversy surrounding rideshare companies, the complexity of collision cases can be quite overwhelming. Some common problem with rideshare companies, such as Uber and Lyft, that could be used against them in your case include:
Lack of Driver Training
The only requirements to be a rideshare driver is a driver’s license and a vehicle that is in decent condition. There is no driver skill test conducted by Uber or Lyft to determine if that driver would be a proper candidate to provide ridesharing services to the general public. The risks involved with no background check or driving test, could be the reason for an accident.
No Proper Regulation
Ridesharing companies have been given a new classification known as Transportation Network Companies (TNC), but few regulations have been written yet. Unfortunately for passengers, this lack of regulation makes them vulnerable to negligence and reckless behavior.
Unclear Insurance Policies
There are many loopholes with rideshare companies’ insurance policy set-up. There is no regulated verification as to whether the driver has insurance. The driver could be uninsured or underinsured. Also, even though Uber and Lyft have their own insurance policies, there is no guarantee that they will pay up and could turn the blame on you or the driver.
Rideshare Accident Attorneys in Atlanta Can Help
Without a personal injury attorney representing you, you will be at the mercy of a large sophisticated multimillion-dollar company that really doesn’t care if you’re taken care of. Insurance companies look at cases very differently if they know you’re represented.
You only have one chance to get what you deserve, so let the Atlanta rideshare accident lawyers at John Foy & Associates help you. We’re the experts at personal injury law and offer our services on a contingency-fee basis. Our phone line is staffed every day of the year, so call us or contact us online today.