Ridesharing has become a popular alternative to public transportation as people look for fast and convenient ways to get from one place to another. When someone uses a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft, they expect that the trip will be safe. These companies even promise users that they can depend on their services. Despite these assurances, people throughout the country get hurt in a ridesharing accidents each year.
If a ridesharing accident was caused by someone’s negligent actions, the victim may have legal recourse. Pursuing compensation, however, requires retaining an experienced law firm. Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP advocates for rideshare accident victims by demanding the compensation they deserve.
What Is Ridesharing?
Ridesharing is a method of transportation by which a private motorist offers to use his or her own vehicle to drive a passenger from one place to another. Users download an app to their phones which connects them with drivers in their area. To patronize the rideshare service, users log on to the app and request a driver in the vicinity to pick them up.
There are three main differences between rideshare programs and traditional forms of public transportation like taxi cabs, buses, and trains:
- The driver uses his or her own vehicle, which may or may not have been inspected or maintained to the same degree as a cab or bus
- The driver is a regular civilian motorist, not someone who has been specially trained to operate an automobile or other vehicle
- The vehicle is insured for private use, not commercial use
Because of these factors, ridesharing accidents are different from other automobile accidents. And therein lies the difficulty for victims who try to collect compensation after getting hurt.
Why Ridesharing Accidents Happen
One step that ridesharing victims must take is to try to determine how the accident occurred. Personal injury claims are based on negligence. That means the defendant engaged in some act or omission that was unreasonably unsafe in light of the circumstances. On top of that, it’s the victim’s job to prove his or her case in court.
Ridesharing accidents occur for essentially the same reasons that most automobile wrecks do, including:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Speeding, running red lights, or violating other traffic laws
- Distracted driving due to cell phone use, disruptive passengers, and more
- Environmental conditions such as poor weather
- Hazardous road conditions, including those caused by construction zones
- Reckless driving, meaning driving in a way that disregards the safety of others
- Aggressive driving and road rage
- Mechanical problems with the vehicle
These and other causes of ridesharing accidents are typically attributable to a person or entity’s negligence. For example, the rideshare driver may have been speeding at the time of the accident. Or another driver could be liable, or perhaps an employer for failing to properly screen an irresponsible driver. Still, in other cases, governmental entities can be held accountable, as with accidents caused by dangerous construction zones. Maybe the vehicle’s mechanic or a car parts manufacturer bears some blame for the crash.
There may be more than one party that shares liability for a ridesharing accident. Sorting out how the wreck took place, and who might be responsible, is why victims should retain a knowledgeable accident attorney.
The Challenges Of Ridesharing Accident Lawsuits
After a typical automobile accident, the driver or passenger can file a claim through the driver’s automobile insurance. But insurance typically does not cover drivers who were operating their vehicles for commercial use at the time of the crash. In response to this, some rideshare companies provide their own liability coverage which may pay for a victim’s losses.
Still, actually using this coverage can be difficult. Every rideshare company has its own insurance and its own rules for when it applies. And the rules can be complex. For instance, there may be a difference in coverage depending on whether the rideshare driver was on the way to pick up a passenger when the accident happened or whether the driver already had a passenger.
Regardless of which insurance company is required to pay for a victim’s injuries, you can expect to have to fight for it. Insurance companies work hard to deny claims, even legitimate ones that should be covered according to the policy. Insurers also try to pay as little as possible. That may not be enough to adequately compensate you for your injuries.
Rideshare accidents are also challenging because victims usually have damages that stretch into the future. For instance, the victim could require months or years of rehabilitation that will last long after the accident claim is either settled or decided by a jury. The victim may not be able to return to the same career he or she once had, which means years of lost future income and benefits.
Projecting these future damages is never easy. Expert witness testimony is typically required to explain what the victim’s injuries are today and how they will impact the victim in the future. Whether your case settles or is decided in court, you only have one chance to get the damages right. Failure to estimate an adequate amount of future damages can therefore be costly.
Contact Our D.C. Ridesharing Accident Attorney
When you retain Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP, you have a dedicated attorney that thoroughly investigates your accident and stands up to the insurance companies. Where possible, we work hard to settle out of court. But if necessary, we will take your case in front of a jury. We also have a reliable network of expert witnesses who can explain the value of your case and support your demand for monetary relief. If you were injured in a rideshare accident, it’s time to discuss your legal options. Give us a call today.
Koonz McKenney Johnson & Depaolis serve residents of Washington DC including those living in Capitol Hill, Columbia Heights, Downtown District of Columbia, Foggy Bottom, Georgetown, and Mount Vernon.