Increasing numbers of people around Massachusetts and the country use mobile apps like Uber and Lyft. Ridesharing is used for routine trips, bad weather and nights out drinking. Although rideshare services are convenient, the drivers may not be careful. Special considerations come into play when their drivers are involved in an accident. It is important to retain an attorney who understands that the insurance coverage for a rideshare accident is different than that for individual drivers or taxicabs. The Quincy personal injury attorneys of Brabant & Huynh may be able to represent you if you sustained serious injuries in a car accident involving an Uber or Lyft vehicle.Accident Liability
Rideshare accidents can be caused by speeding, improperly maintained vehicles, failure to obey traffic signs and signals, failing to drive appropriately for weather conditions, drunk driving, distracted driving, or texting while driving. In order to recover damages, you will need to establish another’s fault. When a rideshare accident is the result of an Uber or Lyft driver’s negligence, you’ll need to establish: (1) the driver owed a duty to use reasonable care, (2) this duty was breached, (3) causation, and (4) damages. For instance, if your Uber driver is texting a prospective passenger while driving through an intersection and his vehicle is T-boned [broadside collision], resulting in you suffering traumatic brain injuries, you would have grounds to sue him.Insurance Coverage
Coverage issues in cases involving Uber or Lyft can be complicated. The first question, if you’re injured in a rideshare accident, is to determine whether the Uber or Lyft vehicle was in service at the time of the accident. This is important because it may dictate whether the rideshare company’s insurance or another driver's insurance should cover serious injuries that have arisen.
By law, Uber and Lyft are required to purchase significantly more coverage than taxicab companies do. They are required to have $1 million in coverage any time they are carrying a paslinksenger. If you are injured while riding in an Uber as a passenger and its driver is at fault, your serious injuries should be covered by Uber's policy; the same holds true for Lyft. Depending on the particular facts, you may be able to hold the company responsible for its negligence or its negligent hiring, supervision, or training.
Uber and Lyft must also buy insurance coverage related to accidents involving their drivers that will kick in if their drivers are simply available on the apps, or are headed out to pick up passengers who booked them. This coverage is less than what’s available when a driver is carrying passengers.
If you were injured while driving or riding in a different vehicle that collides with a rideshare vehicle, the calculus of fault is different. When there aren't passengers in the rideshare vehicle, and the driver isn't going to pick up a passenger, only his personal policy will provide coverage for your injuries. You will still need to establish his negligence or other fault. Assuming you are the driver of the vehicle with which the rideshare driver collided, you should be prepared for the possibility that he and the company will assert the rule of comparative negligence. Under this rule, your damages will be reduced by an amount equal to your fault, and you’ll be barred from recovery if you’re 51% or more at fault for the accident.Joint and Several Liability
There may be situations in which an Uber or Lyft driver’s negligence combines with the negligence of another driver, such that someone else is injured. For instance, if a Lyft driver rear-ends another driver, whose brake lights are out, both may bear responsibility for the resulting pedestrian accident. Massachusetts follows the rule of joint and several liability state. Under this rule, any defendant found at fault for an accident can be held responsible for the total amount of damages owed to the accident victim.Retain Our Seasoned Quincy Car Accident Attorneys
You might assume that taking a rideshare is safe. However, this is not always the case. The Quincy attorneys of Brabant & Huynh may be able to represent you or a loved one who was harmed in a rideshare accident. We also represent car accident victims in Dorchester, Mattapan, Milton, Dedham, Canton, Stoughton, Randolph, Holbrook, Braintree, Weymouth, Hingham, Brockton, Bridgewater, Avon, Hanover, Abington, and Norwell. Call us for a free consultation at (617) 934-0913 or complete our online form.