If you or a loved one is injured as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle that’s involved in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, you deserve compensation for your injuries.
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Uber and Lyft are rideshare companies that have grown increasingly popular as transportation service providers.
The concept of ridesharing is simple: anyone with a car and a license can offer transportation services to anyone else for a fee. Uber and Lyft provide the virtual apps to connect drivers with passengers.
Rideshare drivers need not go through the effort and expense of becoming registered taxi drivers. However, the unregulated nature of ridesharing is not without risk to the public.
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How Uber and Lyft Have Benefited the Public
Before we get to the downside of the rideshare phenomenon, we should give the two companies credit for their successes. Uber and Lyft have put more vehicles at the service of the public. Their rates are cheaper, and their drivers tend to be more responsive than taxis. This makes it simpler for people to get home after they have been drinking. Some areas have seen a 15% to 62% reduction in DUIs and accidents, which amounts to hundreds of lives saved owing to the presence of Uber and Lyft.
Are Uber and Lyft Safe?
Although it is still too early to give a definitive answer to this question, it is important to look at the differences between rideshare drivers and taxi drivers. State and local governments require the latter to be fingerprinted and drug-tested and to undergo a criminal background check. In some states, Uber drivers must undergo a criminal background check and driving history check and must provide proof of insurance. However, accountability standards differ between the 2 classes of driver.
Taxi drivers who break the law are sanctioned by government authorities. The penalties can range from suspension to de-certification. Uber and Lyft drivers on the other hand may be charged with a series of misdemeanor offenses without the public ever knowing about it.
There has been some concern over the inadequate vetting process for rideshare drivers. Reports of sexual assault, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and other criminal acts have increased the pressure on Uber and Lyft to scrutinize their drivers more closely.
Uber and Lyft Accident Statistics
Ridesharing is still a relatively new phenomenon. There has not been time for multiple studies on the safety records of the 2 companies that dominate this industry. However, a recent study has given insight into the effects of Uber and Lyft on traffic safety. It concludes that the rise of ridesharing has increased traffic deaths by 2% to 3% in the United States since 2011. This is equivalent to just over 1000 deaths a year.
Researchers took statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and compared them to the dates that Uber and Lyft started offering services in specific cities. They then verified the accident rates in the latter relative to vehicle miles traveled. In all such cases, accident rates increased considerably.
Common Causes of Uber and Lyft Accidents
The things that make ridesharing so popular and successful as a business model also increase the risks it poses to the public. Most Uber and Lyft drivers are not on the job full-time. They do it to make ends meet, and usually take to the road after working 1 or 2 shifts elsewhere. A fatigued or overtired driver will not be as alert as they should be, which means they are more likely than not to get into an accident.
Rideshare drivers spend 40% to 60% of their time searching for passengers. This practice is known as deadheading, and it has led to an increase in traffic congestion, which has contributed to an increase in traffic accidents in the cities studied.
Competition among Uber drivers is fierce. Each one of them wants to catch as many fares as they can during their shift. This has led some drivers to speed and engage in other reckless behavior to meet their daily self-made quota.
What to do After an Uber or Lyft Accident
If you have been injured in a rideshare accident owing to the recklessness, negligence, or inattention of the driver, you do have legal options.
Your first priority after such an accident is to get yourself to the hospital. You will need to undergo a thorough examination by a medical professional and get treatment for the injuries you sustained. You should ensure that the results of your examination and the course of treatment you have undergone are properly documented.
While you are recovering you will need to contact a lawyer who specializes in Uber and Lyft accident cases. Representatives of the company will try to contact you. They may even offer you money to settle any future claims you may make. You should speak to no one. In fact, you should refer all such communication and correspondence to your attorney. The rideshare companies will prioritize their interests; your attorney will be the only one looking out for yours.
One of the key things to understand in such situations is that Uber and Lyft have gone through extraordinary lengths to distance themselves from their drivers. Technically, the people who use the apps of the rideshare companies to connect to passengers are not employees of these companies. The position of Uber and Lyft is that they are merely intermediaries between drivers and passengers and are not liable for any harmed caused to the latter because of the actions of the former.
The law has not completely settled this matter. But individual cases against Uber and Lyft indicate that the judiciary does not believe the rideshare position to be tenable. In any case, both companies provide up to $1 million for injuries and property damage resulting from an accident. This insurance takes effect only after you have exhausted the driver’s individual insurance. In order to make a claim against Uber and Lyft’s liability insurance, you will need to show that the at-fault driver insurance is not enough to compensate you for your injuries and other expenses.
A Tulsa lawyer who specializes in Uber and Lyft cases will know how to gather the evidence to demonstrate this.
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