Who is Liable for Rideshare Accidents?

Who is Liable for Rideshare Accidents?

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Rideshare vehicles are comfortable and convenient transportation within the community or while traveling in unfamiliar locations. But with the rise of the rideshare industry has also come a rise in overall car accident rates by about 3%. Not only do rideshare vehicles now separately transport individuals who might otherwise use public transportation and minimize the number of vehicles congesting traffic, but Uber and Lyft drivers often cruise the streets between customers while awaiting their bookings.

When you or a family member sustains injuries in a rideshare accident—either as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle or as a motorist in a separate car involved in a collision with a rideshare vehicle—it can be challenging to determine who is liable for damages. Major rideshare companies, Uber and Lyft, distance themselves from liability by maintaining their status as app-only companies existing to connect passengers with independent contractors. Fortunately, these companies require their contracted drivers to carry special liability insurance.

Proving Liability in Rideshare Accidents

In at-fault insurance states like Colorado, proving liability for a rideshare vehicle accident can be challenging. It often takes a skilled investigation by an experienced accident attorney to do the following:

  • Scrutinize the details of the accident report
  • Review eyewitness testimony
  • Examine evidence collected at the scene, including photos and videos
  • Consult with accident reconstruction experts

It takes a thorough examination of the evidence to identify the liable party in an accident. Driver fault causes the majority of car accidents, including rideshare accidents, but sometimes liability lies with third parties like a lax road maintenance organization or the manufacturer of a defective auto part.

Investigations of liability in rideshare accidents typically begin with the rideshare driver, since long hours of driving cause fatigue, especially in drivers who work for Uber or Lyft as a second source of income after full-time jobs. Rideshare drivers also face distractions from their rideshare apps and may exceed the speed limit in order to maximize the number of rides they achieve per shift.

What are the Legal Points of Liability in Rideshare Accidents?

As in all traffic accidents, proving liability in a rideshare accident requires demonstrating the following legal points through a preponderance of the evidence:

  • That the at-fault party owed a duty of care to take reasonable measures to prevent injuries to others on the roadway
  • That they breached this duty through an act of negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing
  • That the negligent breach directly caused injuries
  • That the injury victim suffered significant damages due to the injury

Once the evidence shows clear liability, a skilled car accident lawyer in Westminster can make a compelling case for compensation by sending an evidence-based demand package to the appropriate insurance company. In rideshare accidents, determining which insurance policy covers the damages presents an additional challenge.

How Does Rideshare Insurance Work?

The insurance policies used by rideshare drivers work on a tiered plan, with coverage depending on the stage of the rideshare experience. The following structure details the coverage in place during specific stages:

  • When a rideshare driver uses their vehicle for personal reasons, their private insurance is in place
  • When the driver turns on their rideshare app and awaits a booking, their rideshare insurance is in place with up to $25,000 in property damage coverage, $50,000 per person in bodily injury coverage per person, and $100,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident
  • When the driver has a passenger booked and is on the way to a pickup location and during the trip with the passenger, the top tier of coverage is in effect, providing up to $ 1 million in property damage and personal injury coverage.

Because a rideshare accident requires substantial investigation, it’s important to consult with an attorney with experience navigating this special area of accident liability.