Rideshare services are a convenient way in our modern high-tech world for people to get a ride to just about anywhere in their communities. Uber has an estimated 75 million regular customers, driven by three million operators in 600 cities across 65 countries worldwide. More than 15 million Uber rides are purchased every day.
In the first quarter of 2020, Lyft reported $21.2 million in profits, and its annual revenue for 2019 was $3.6 billion. This rideshare company operates in 644 cities across the United States and 12 in Canada, where the average Lyft rider uses the service roughly five times a month.
However, a study conducted by the University of Chicago and Rice University has revealed some worrying rideshare statistics. Namely, in the United States alone, ridesharing services have contributed to a 2% to 3% increase in fatal motor vehicle accidents since 2011, with as many as 1,100 fatalities annually. These figures do not even begin to take into account the thousands of rideshare drivers and passengers who are seriously injured every year.
Although rideshare services unquestioningly offer a valuable service to busy people looking for a ride, rideshare drivers are just as likely to be involved in an accident as any other driver. In fact, recent studies have shown they are more likely to be involved in or cause serious car accidents.
If you or a family member were injured in a car accident involving a Lyft or Uber driver, either as a passenger or another driver, it is important that you talk to an experienced Connecticut rideshare accident lawyer from Dehghani & Associates, LLC in order to understand your rights and how to protect them.
Unfortunately, the very nature of a rideshare driver's duties makes them prone to causing car accidents. Not all Uber or Lyft drivers are familiar with the places their passengers are going, so they frequently depend on GPS for directions. This pulls their focus away from their surroundings and away from the task at hand: safe driving.
To add to the problem, their phones constantly notify them any time another passenger orders a ride which contributes to the redirection of their attention away from the safe operation of their vehicle. When this happens and causes an accident, an experienced Lyft or Uber accident attorney will be able to obtain the rideshare driver’s cell phone records to determine if they were using their phone when the accident occurred.
Driver fatigue is another aggravating factor in rideshare accidents. Lyft and Uber drivers are not particularly well compensated for their work, so many of them have second jobs. This means working very late or very long hours is the norm for rideshare drivers. The result: a lot of exhausted, sleep-deprived workers behind the wheel.
Another major element in rideshare accidents is driver distractions that have nothing to do with GPS and phones. With new passengers on constant rotation in and out of their vehicles, many drivers are more focused on the people they pick up than what is happening on the roadway.
Connecticut has numerous laws and regulations that govern the hiring of a rideshare driver as well as the parameters of their employment. The most notable regulations include:
State law allows rideshare companies such as Lyft and Uber to operate throughout Connecticut. All transportation networks are required to register every year with the Connecticut Commissioner of Transportation. If they do not obey the law, they will be denied permission to operate within the state. In Connecticut, operating a rideshare company without valid registration is punishable by a fine of up to $50,000.
All Uber and Lyft drivers are required to submit to background checks. They must have a clean background check and a clean driving record before they can be employed by either rideshare company. Any Lyft or Uber driver working in Connecticut has passed a criminal background check that included fingerprints sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. After they are hired, the background and driving record checks must be performed every three years. Rideshare companies are required to confirm that their drivers have not been convicted of driving while intoxicated in the past seven years.
If you witness anything unusual about your Uber or Lyft driver, such as signs of intoxication, make sure you report it to the company. A Connecticut rideshare accident attorney will have the skills and resources to investigate whether or not the rideshare company conducted a proper background check on the driver.
Uber and Lyft are prohibited from hiring any applicant who, in the last three years, has:
Also, Connecticut driving laws restrict the number of hours that Lyft and Uber drivers are able to work in a single day. Drivers can work no more than 14 consecutive hours and no more than 16 total hours in a 24-hour period. Even with these limitations in place, rideshare drivers can still amass a lot of hours on the road. Even the most conscientious of drivers is prone to mistakes if they drive for hours at a time, especially if they are tired.
Rideshare drivers must verify that the vehicle they use for work is properly maintained and in good condition. For instance, the tires must be in safe condition, and seat belts, taillights, and brakes must be in good working order. All Uber and Lyft vehicles must have four working doors, and may not be designed to transport more than seven passengers.
Rideshare companies are required to insure their drivers while they are on the clock. If a driver’s current status on the Uber or Lyft app shows they are available for hire, they have to be covered by a 50,000 per individual/100,000 per accident in bodily injury liability. If the driver is “engaged in the provision of a prearranged ride” then insurance coverage is increased to $1,000,000 per accident.
The driver’s personal auto insurance coverage might not be available when they are logged in to the rideshare app. In most cases, anyone who is injured by a working driver will only be able to seek compensation under the company’s insurance coverage. This is something an Uber or Lyft accident lawyer from Dehghani and Associates, LLC will be able to sort out when they contact the insurance company.
Determining liability in Uber or Lyft accidents can be complex. It is not uncommon for fault to be disputed in any type of car accident. When it comes to an Uber or Lyft accident, however, proving liability can be infinitely more challenging because so many third parties and insurance policies are involved.
In the event that the rideshare driver is not liable for an accident, the insurance company of the at-fault driver is typically the first insurer on the hook for any resulting injuries and damages. An experienced Connecticut rideshare accident lawyer will be able to determine if there are any other insurance policies from which the injured victim can seek compensation.
In the event that the driver liable for the accident does not have enough insurance to cover the victim’s losses, the rideshare company generally furnishes additional uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to the benefit of both passenger and driver.
When the Uber or Lyft driver is liable for an accident, their insurance policy will provide coverage for any passenger injuries. Drivers involved in a collision with a rideshare driver may or may not be able to have their losses covered by the company.
Liability in these cases hinges on whether or not the Lyft or Uber drivers were logged into their rideshare apps or on their way to pick up a passenger. If they were inactive on the platform, the other driver will have to file a claim with the rideshare driver’s personal insurance company. If the driver was working when the accident occurred, they can file a claim with the rideshare company’s insurer. If you find yourself in this situation, an experienced Connecticut Uber or Lyft accident attorney can help.
Once you file your personal injury lawsuit, you will probably be wondering how much your case is worth and whether you will be able to collect fair compensation.
There is no predetermined value for a rideshare accident and since no two are exactly the same, the total damages a victim may be eligible for varies by quite a wide margin. Generally speaking, the more serious the injuries, the higher the payout.
Common forms of damages for an Uber or Lyft accident case include:
Soon after your accident, you are going to get a call from an insurance company. Having to speak to an insurance adjuster is already a high-pressure situation but in this case, anything you say could be twisted, taken out of context, or used against you. A simple statement that you made in response to one of their cleverly-worded questions could prevent you from collecting fair compensation.
Fortunately, you do not legally have to talk to anyone from the insurance company. Besides providing some very basic details about your accident, you can simply refer them to your Uber or Lyft accident attorney at Dehghani and Associates, LLC for any further questions.
As a rideshare passenger, you are entitled to just financial compensation if you are injured in a rideshare accident.
Being injured in a car accident involving a rideshare vehicle as a passenger or another driver can be frightening and overwhelming. Even though Connecticut has laws that are designed to protect you, you must take steps to safeguard your best interests against insurance companies who hope you don’t know any better. The best way to ensure your rights are protected is to reach out to a Connecticut Uber or Lyft accident lawyer from Dehghani and Associates, LLC as soon as possible after your rideshare accident.
At Dehghani and Associates, LLC, we have the experience to quickly and accurately determine who is at fault for the accident, as well as which insurance policies you may be able to pursue for financial compensation. They can also calculate the value of your claim and make sure you do not get strongarmed by an insurance adjuster into accepting a lowball settlement that does not even begin to cover the full extent of your damages.
Our attorneys work on a contingency fee, so you pay no upfront costs and you owe us nothing unless we collect compensation for your losses. Call (203) 773-9513 to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced Connecticut rideshare accident attorneys today.