Know Your Rights And Legal Options After A New Jersey Uber Or Lyft Accident
The use of Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing services continues to be a popular means of transportation. The ease and relatively low expense of a ridesharing service can make them attractive options. With the rising number of rideshare apps and drivers on the road comes an increase in accidents involving those drivers. When such accidents occur, the legal implications can be complex. Who is responsible for injuries? What insurance applies?
At Goldstein & Goldstein, LLP, we have over 50 years of combined legal experience in motor vehicle accident cases. Our attorneys are dedicated, meticulous and ready to fight for you in maximizing compensation from all potential sources.
Common Causes Of Rideshare Accidents
Rideshare crashes can occur for basically the same reasons as any other type of motor vehicle accident, including speeding, aggressive driving, inexperience, failure to obey traffic laws, and fatigued or impaired driving. There are also some accident causes and hazards that are either unique to rideshare drivers or at least much more prevalent among them. They include:
- Distractions caused by the rideshare app and GPS. Drivers must be constantly checking their smartphone for updates and information, and that can be very distracting. If they experience a problem with their GPS, that can also lead to an accident.
- Failure to properly park while picking up and dropping off passengers. Rideshare services are not cabs, but many rideshare drivers behave like cab drivers. That sometimes means double parking, blocking traffic and stopping in dangerous areas to facilitate a quick pickup or drop-off. This puts everyone at risk.
- Driving in unfamiliar areas. Although they are likely to be using GPS, rideshare drivers can get into an accident simply because they are unfamiliar with their surroundings. This includes behaviors like making last-second turns, missing stop signs and failing to keep a lookout for pedestrians.
When you contact us, we will fully investigate the circumstances that led to the crash in order to determine who was at fault.
What Should You Do If An Uber Or A Lyft Driver Crashes Into You?
It is difficult to know what to do in the moments following a car crash. The adrenaline is flowing and it can be hard to think straight. When you get into an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, it adds an additional, complicating factor. If you are involved in an accident with a rideshare vehicle, you should:
- Make sure that everyone involved is safe and contact the paramedics if necessary
- Contact the police
- Report the accident to Uber or Lyft
Reporting the accident to the rideshare company as soon as possible is critical because it notifies the rideshare company of the accident and starts the potential insurance claim process.
What Should You Do If Your Uber Or Lyft Driver Gets Into An Accident?
It is confusing enough to think about the right steps to take after you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident, but when you are using a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft and the driver gets into an accident, it can feel even more complicated. Once everyone is safe and the police have been called, report the accident to the rideshare company. In addition, gather as much information as you can from the scene of the accident. Take photos, talk to witnesses and exchange contact information. It is also a good idea to write down what happened so you can remember the details.
How To Report A Rideshare Accident When You Are An Uber Or Lyft Passenger
In the day and age of smartphones and communicating through phone apps, when something goes wrong it can be difficult to know what to do. After reporting the accident to the police, both the Uber and Lyft apps allow you to report an accident or incident immediately through the app. Follow the respective app instructions to report your accident. You may also report an accident on the Uber or Lyft websites.
What Happens If You Get Into A Rideshare Accident In New Jersey?
Most personal driver’s insurance will not apply if the driver is driving for profit. However, the good news is that Uber and Lyft maintain insurance to protect third parties in the event of an accident. If your injuries were the result of a rideshare driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to make a claim for damages through this insurance coverage.
How Long Do You Have To Report A Rideshare Accident In New Jersey?
Under New Jersey law, you have to file an accident report, if none was filed at the accident scene by the Lyft or Uber driver, within 10 days. The statute of limitations on a lawsuit, however, is two years from the date of the accident. Early consultation with an accident lawyer is the best way to preserve your rights to future compensation.
What Damages Can You Recover In A New Jersey Uber/Lyft Accident?
In general, you can receive both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include things like the cost of your medical bills, your lost wages and the value of any lost or damaged property. Your noneconomic damages can include things such as your pain and suffering and diminished quality of life. In rare situations, you may even qualify for punitive damages, which are meant to punish someone for their intentional or reckless behavior.
To some extent, the damages you can recover are limited by the defendant’s insurance coverage. That is why it is so important to explore all the potential defendants and avenues for compensation.
Can You Bring A Personal Injury Lawsuit Against Uber Or Lyft?
Personal injury claims against Uber or Lyft can get very complicated. Lyft and Uber drivers are usually classified as independent contractors, and Uber and Lyft often try to remove themselves from lawsuits. Your ability to sue Uber or Lyft depends on who was at fault for the accident and whether your driver was “on the clock” or not. It requires an experienced evaluation to determine if Uber or Lyft should be a defendant in any given lawsuit.
How Can A New Jersey Rideshare Accident Lawyer Assist With Your Case?
At Goldstein & Goldstein, LLP, after your initial consultation, we start by stepping in between you and the insurance companies involved. That way, you can focus on healing, while we handle the phone calls and questions. An experienced accident lawyer can immediately move to preserve evidence that supports your claim, identify who might share in the liability for your injuries and negotiate from a position of strength on your behalf.
Auto Accidents Are About Insurance, And We Know Insurance
All lawsuits involving motor vehicle accidents are about insurance. In the case of ridesharing accidents, insurance concerns can be tricky. Our experienced lawyers can get to the bottom of your case by asking questions such as those below.
Who was at fault for the accident? It could be your ridesharing driver, another motorist, a combination of the two or someone else entirely. Determining fault will be crucial to the success of your case.
Was the driver properly insured? Like everyone else, rideshare drivers are required to have a personal auto policy that meets the minimum required coverage in New Jersey. This personal coverage will be in addition to supplemental coverage provided by the ridesharing service.
Was training or failure to investigate the driver an issue? Rideshare companies are responsible for thoroughly vetting their applicants, including criminal history and driving record. They must also ensure that drivers are properly trained on company policies and procedures.
Which insurance company needs to offer fair compensation? This could include the rideshare driver’s policy, the rideshare service’s policy or your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
It Is Important To Identify The Rideshare Driver’s Work Status At The Time Of The Crash
Both Uber and Lyft have several different tiers of insurance coverage based on the rideshare driver’s status at the time of the accident. Because of this, coverage can change from one minute to the next, depending on what a driver is doing. Here are the tiers of coverage, according to Uber’s website:
Tier 1: Driver is not logged into the app and is inactive. The driver’s personal insurance policy applies and rideshare company assumes no liability or coverage.
Tier 2: Driver is logged into the app and waiting for ride requests. If an accident occurs under these circumstances, the rideshare company’s insurance will provide bodily injury coverage of up to $50,000 per person or $100,000 per accident. Property damage coverage is capped at $25,000.
Tier 3: Driver is on the way to pick up a passenger or is transporting a passenger. This is the highest tier of coverage. Uber’s insurance provides up to $1 million of liability coverage as well as some variable uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and property damage coverage.
As you can see, the costs incurred by the insurance company (and the rideshare company by extension) vary widely. As such, both parties have a strong incentive to dispute driver status at the time of the crash, if at all possible. This is one reason why you need an experienced and aggressive attorney advocating for you.
Get A Free Case Evaluation – Contact Us Today
In New Jersey, you generally have just two years to take legal action after a rideshare accident, but it is a good idea to seek legal help much sooner than that. To learn how we can help you, contact us to schedule a free initial consultation. You can reach out online or call 973-675-8277. You have nothing to lose, as we only accept a fee if we obtain fair compensation on your behalf.
We are located in East Orange, New Jersey, but do most of our work in Newark. Our office is easily accessible through public transportation. We can provide assistance in French Creole and Spanish as well as English.