Filing a Lawsuit After an Uber or Lyft Car Accident

May 8, 2024 | By Francis Firm Injury Attorneys
Filing a Lawsuit After an Uber or Lyft Car Accident

If you or a loved one suffered an injury in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft vehicle, you may recover financial compensation when you can show that someone else was to blame for your injuries.

However, you will need to cross numerous barriers first. The entire rideshare insurance system makes itself convoluted and confusing, which is precisely the way that the insurance companies want it. They figure that you may go away entirely or take less money than you deserve if you end up exhausted and discouraged.

You should hire an experienced rideshare accident attorney to establish and fight for your right to financial compensation. Insurance companies know that you mean business when they see that you hired a lawyer and will treat you differently. Otherwise, you can end up in a precarious legal position with no hope of getting the compensation you deserve after an accident.

A rideshare accident lawyer understands the challenges of these types of cases and can help you gather the necessary evidence to build a strong claim. They will investigate the accident, collect witness statements, review medical records, and consult experts when necessary to determine the true extent of your injuries and the impact they will have on your life.

Armed with this information, your lawyer will fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.

Most people settle their rideshare accident claims directly with the insurance companies. However, getting full and fair financial compensation through the claims process is never a given.

You may have no choice but to file a lawsuit against the responsible driver in court, where the insurance company must defend the case. Everything depends on the facts and circumstances of your own case.

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The Dangers of Rideshare Accidents

A businesswoman sits in the backseat of a taxi, her attention fixed on her cellphone. The driver navigates the streets as the woman conducts her business on the go, relying on a rideshare app for her commute.

The rideshare accident system leads to more accidents for several reasons, including:

  • Drivers are often distracted because they have one eye on the app, either to tell them where they are going or to get customers in the first place.
  • Rideshare drivers often drive late at night, sometimes after working an entire shift at another job. Thus, they might be tired behind the wheel.
  • Drivers may speed because they think that they can take more passengers.
  • Rideshare drivers often do not know where they are going because they are on unfamiliar roads.

When You May Recover Compensation in a Rideshare Accident Case

You can receive financial compensation when you have suffered an injury by someone else’s negligence in a rideshare accident.

There are two possibilities for whom you can sue:

  • If you were a passenger in the Uber or Lyft driver’s car, you could sue either the rideshare driver or the motorist in the other vehicle, depending on who was at fault for the accident. If both drivers shared fault, you may file a claim against both insurance policies.
  • If you were the driver of a car in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, you could sue the rideshare driver if they were at fault for the accident.

Your Uber or Lyft accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate the crash to determine who was to blame and who you may sue.

You Need to Go Through the Insurance Company to Get Compensation

You must file a claim against the driver’s insurance policy if you want compensation. Uber and Lyft provide insurance to their drivers, but the amount of coverage depends on the state where your ride took place.

Usually, the levels of insurance coverage for a rideshare accident are:

  • If the driver did not have the app on at the time of the accident, their personal car insurance coverage should cover the damages. Rideshare companies require that drivers provide proof of insurance before they are allowed to drive. However, some insurance companies will refuse to cover any claim if they think the claim relates to rideshare driving.
  • If the driver has the app on but has not accepted a ride request, the insurance coverage will be $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident for injuries, and $25,000 in property damage per accident.
  • If the driver has accepted a ride request or has a passenger in the car, up to $1 million in coverage for the accident is available. Certain states may require more coverage.

Some drivers may have purchased additional coverage because they could be personally liable for the excess damages. $1 million is on a per-accident basis, and multiple claimants can try to get their piece of that coverage. $1 million is not as much as you think when there are serious injuries involved in the accident.

The Rideshare Insurance Companies Have Developed a Bad Reputation

A woman holds her phone, its screen displaying a ride-sharing taxi service app. In the background, a car waits, symbolizing the convenience of ordering a ride with just a few taps on her mobile device.

Uber and Lyft work with many of the usual suspects—major insurers that an experienced lawyer will know well—when providing insurance for their drivers. Lyft even goes so far as to refer to these companies as their trusted insurance partners.

One tip to remember is that if Uber and Lyft trust an insurance company, you certainly should not.

These insurance companies include:

Uber and Lyft pay insurance companies huge premiums, and they want to keep as much of the premiums for themselves as possible because they become profits.

The last thing these companies want to do is pay you money because it comes from their accounts. Therefore, you must fight tooth and nail to get total financial compensation for your injuries.

Your Uber or Lyft Accident Case May Settle Without a Lawsuit or Trial

The hope is that you can resolve your legal matter through the insurance claims process. You may first try to deal directly with Uber or Lyft’s insurance company to reach a settlement agreement because you can resolve most rideshare accident cases without requiring a lawsuit.

However, litigation is an essential tool you have at your disposal, either filing an actual court case or using the threat of a lawsuit. You only have this credible threat when you hire an experienced rideshare accident attorney.

The overwhelming majority of personal injury cases will reach a settlement without needing a trial. However, this only happens after some time. You may need to go through a lengthy legal process to deal with the insurance company, whether through the informal claims process or the more formal litigation process.

Why Insurance Companies Are Afraid of Uber and Lyft Accident Lawsuits

You can always file a lawsuit against the responsible driver for the accident. Insurance companies will step into their shoes to defend them from the lawsuit and may still try to negotiate a settlement agreement with you before your case goes to trial.

An Uber or Lyft lawsuit rarely goes to trial because insurance companies have too much to lose from many perspectives:

  • A jury can order insurance companies to pay more than they offered you in a settlement agreement (sometimes, significantly more money).
  • Insurance companies can be liable to the driver in a bad faith claim (if they could have settled the claim but did not).
  • Insurance companies need to hire lawyers to defend the case. Sometimes, they pay their attorneys hourly, whereas other times, they will pay their attorneys a flat fee for the case. Either way, insurance companies bear their own litigation costs while your attorney works for you on a contingency basis. 

Understanding that a lawsuit will be your last resort in a rideshare accident case is essential. You will only go to trial if you cannot reach a settlement agreement. The odds are that you will settle the case before trial, whether in the initial phases of the lawsuit or after discovery.

How a Rideshare Accident Court Case Works

A lawyer diligently reviews a lawsuit document in a law firm office, embodying the essence of legal consulting.

If you do have to file a lawsuit, these are the phases of the case that you should know:

  • You will begin the lawsuit by filing a complaint and serving it to the other party. The complaint will set forth the facts of your case and the legal grounds for relief. Insurance companies will file an answer to your case, where they respond to the individual allegations that you have made. They have 30 days from the time you file the complaint to submit their answer.
  • The defendant will usually file a motion, asking the judge to dismiss the case for various reasons. The judge will rule on the motion to dismiss before the case proceeds further.
  • The most important part of your case is the discovery process, where you can seek evidence from the defendant. Your attorney can conduct depositions, where they may question the rideshare driver and any other witnesses the defense proposed using at trial. Insurance companies will also take your deposition, which can be crucial to your case. Insurance companies may be more willing to settle your case if you are well-prepared and effective in the discovery process.
  • Your case will go to trial if you do not reach a settlement agreement. Your attorney will call you and your witnesses to testify before the jury. The insurance company’s lawyer will also cross-examine you, and the defense will present its case to the jury. You will be the one who must carry your burden of proof to persuade the jury. At the end of the trial, the jury will decide whether the defendant is liable and how much they must pay you.

Why You Need a Lawyer for Your Rideshare Accident Lawsuit

Rideshare accident victims need an experienced attorney who knows the system. These cases can be complex, and you are up against insurance companies with a financial motivation to pay you as little as possible.

They will only give you enough money to pay for your injuries if you loudly demand it and will pay you no mind if you try to deal with them on your own. They only take note of you and learn that you mean business when you approach them with the help of a rideshare accident lawyer.

The time to hire a lawyer is as soon as you have suffered an injury in an accident. While you may dread dealing with the legal process, it is something that you have to do if you want a settlement check for your injuries.

The good news is that, with the help of a lawyer, you do not have to immerse yourself in the day-to-day details of your case. Your attorney will make the calls and deal with the insurance company. They will draft the claim and handle the settlement negotiations on your behalf.

You will only need to make the critical decisions in your case, and you will only do that after your lawyer has given you their advice and recommendation.

Your lawyer will advocate for your best interests throughout the entire legal process, giving you the peace of mind and confidence to focus on your recovery.

Hiring a Lawyer Does Not Cost Anything from Your Own Pocket

If you wonder how much it will cost to hire an attorney, you should know that your attorney does not work for you for free. However, they will only get paid if you win your case. Here, winning means receiving a settlement or a jury award. Then, your lawyer gets paid a percentage of the proceeds of your case before you receive your share.

If you do not win your case, you have no legal obligation to pay your attorney for their time, and your lawyer will not hit you with a bill for their services at any point during or after the case, though you may need to pay certain court costs and fees.

Thus, the way that the system works should make it easy for you to get the legal help you need.

After a collision, consulting a rideshare accident lawyer as soon as possible is important. They will provide you with the legal knowledge and guidance needed to face the potential process of filing a lawsuit.

With their help, you can maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation and holding the responsible parties accountable for their actions.

Don't hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer to protect your rights and secure the compensation you deserve. Consultations are free.

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