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Rideshare Accidents

Virginia Rideshare Accident Lawyers

Why Are Rideshare Accidents different than other Auto Accidents

Auto accidents involving rideshare vehicles are different than an auto accident involving two personal vehicles. The first difference is, unfortunately, auto accidents involving Uber or Lyft vehicles can lead to catastrophic injuries for those involved. The second difference is there are many additional considerations that go into rideshare accidents when determining liability, as the rideshare company may also be liable. Finally, the complexity of the auto insurance policies that are at play in rideshare accidents.

Why do Uber & Lyft Accidents lead to Catastrophic Injuries?

Due to the sheer physical forces involved when cars that weigh thousands of pounds crash into each other, all auto accidents have the potential to lead to catastrophic injuries. Uber and Lyft auto accidents are more likely to lead to catastrophic injuries for the reasons below:

  • Distracted Driving
    • The Uber and Lyft apps ask their drivers to look at their phones to accept or decline rides from passengers; as such, rideshare drivers almost always look at their phone while driving.
    • Distracted driving leads to high-speed auto accidents as the driver often does not have an opportunity to brake before a collision.
  • Drunk Driving
    • Uber and Lyft offer a popular service to avoid drunk driving potentially leading to many Uber and Lyft rides going to and from areas with a heavy bar presence, such as Old Town, Clarendon, Ballston, Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, U Street, and many other areas in Virginia and Washington D.C..
    • Drunk driving normally occurs in areas that have a heavy bar presence and regularly occurs late at night/early in the morning, unfortunately putting Uber and Lyft drivers and passengers at high risk of being catastrophically injured due to a drunk driver.
    • Drunk driving collisions can cause catastrophic injuries as drunk drivers regularly travel at high speeds, ignore traffic signs and signals, and their reaction time is impaired leaving them unable to brake before impact.
    • Drunk drivers transfer the tremendous physical forces of their vehicle traveling at a high speed on to the Uber or Lyft vehicle which can impact all occupants inside the rideshare vehicle.
  • Pedestrian Accidents
    • Uber and Lyft vehicles normally pick up and drop off passengers in areas that have a lot of pedestrians.
    • Drivers are looking at their phone to try to find passengers and passengers are walking around looking at their phone trying to find their rideshare driver.
    • This can lead to auto accidents involving pedestrians in parking lots, in designated pick-up areas, and/or in crosswalks.
    • See why pedestrian accidents are often catastrophic.
  •  Drivers not knowing the area
    • Uber and Lyft drivers are instructed where to drive based off the passengers’ request, often requiring drivers to use their GPS on their phone while driving because they are asked to navigate to geographical areas that they are unfamiliar with.
    • Driving in unfamiliar areas can lead to drivers missing traffic signals and symbols, and ultimately causing high-speed auto accidents.
  • Speeding
    • Uber and Lyft drivers are paid based on the number of rides they complete, unfortunately incentivizing them to complete more rides in a shorter time span.
    • Some rideshare drivers will drive in excess of the speed limit in order to complete more rides.

Who is At-Fault for Causing Uber & Lyft Accidents

Liability, or who is at fault for causing the car crash, requires different considerations in Uber and Lyft accidents. In an auto accident involving two drivers using their personal vehicles, liability is determined by which driver was negligent. In Uber and Lyft accidents, the negligent driver will be liable for the personal injuries suffered by the parties involved in the auto accident. In auto accidents where the rideshare driver is not at-fault, Uber and Lyft must still provide underinsured motorist coverage to all passengers inside the Uber and Lyft vehicle.

What Happens When Uber or Lyft Driver is At-Fault for Auto Accident

In Uber and Lyft accidents where the rideshare driver is at fault for causing the collision, Uber and Lyft may also be held liable for the personal injuries suffered by those in the auto accident. There are many factors at play in determining whether Uber and Lyft can also be held liable for the injuries passengers have suffered in a rideshare auto accident. In Virginia, an employer is liable for all damages caused by the negligence of their employee while the employee is acting within the scope of their employment. Uber and Lyft attempt to avoid liability by classifying their drivers as independent contractors instead of employees.

Uber and Lyft may also be held liable for their driver’s negligence if they did not complete the background checks required by Virginia law (V.A. Code § 46.2-2099.49). The Virginia law requires Uber and Lyft complete the following steps before allowing their drivers to work for them:

  • Confirm the driver is at least 21 years old.
  • Confirm the driver has a valid driver’s license.
  • Complete a criminal history search of the driver
    • A criminal history search must be completed every 2 years after the initial search.
  • Complete a sex offender search of the driver.
  • Must obtain and review a driving history report of the driver
    • Must be completed every year
  • Implement a strict zero-tolerance policy regarding drivers using drugs or alcohol while driving.

At Curcio Law, we have extensive experience with Washington D.C. and Virginia Uber and Lyft auto accidents, and we fight for our clients to hold Uber and Lyft accountable for injuries caused by their drivers.

Insurance Requirements for Uber and Lyft Vehicles

Whether you are a driver or passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, you can rest assured that there will be substantial auto insurance available if you are involved in an Uber or Lyft auto accident. Virginia law requires certain insurance requirements depending on the circumstances of the Uber and Lyft ride (V.A. Code § 46.2-2099.52). Below is an explanation of how much auto insurance will be available to you if you are injured in a rideshare accident:

Uber and Lyft drivers injured due to the negligence of another driver:

  • If the Uber/Lyft app is not on:
    • The liability limits of the at-fault driver.
    • Your personal auto policy will provide underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.
    • Any UIM coverage from any relative that lives in the same residence.
    • Medpay, or no-fault coverage may be available
  • If you are injured while an Uber/Lyft passenger is in your vehicle:
    • The liability limits of the at-fault driver.
    • Uber/Lyft will provide $1 million in underinsured motorist coverage.
    • Your personal UIM coverage will stack on top of the Uber/Lyft UIM coverage.
    • Any UIM coverage from a resident relative will stack on top of the UIM coverage above.
    • Medpay, or no-fault coverage may be available.

Uber and Lyft Passengers:

  • If Uber/Lyft driver is at-fault:
    • $1 million in coverage from Uber/Lyft.
    • Your personal UIM coverage.
    • Any UIM coverage from a resident relative.
    • Medpay, or no-fault coverage may be available.
  • If Uber/Lyft driver is not at-fault:
    • The liability limits of the at-fault driver.
    • $1 million in UIM coverage from Uber/Lyft.
    • Your personal UIM coverage.
    • Any UIM coverage from a resident relative.
    • Medpay, or no-fault coverage may be available.

If you are injured by Uber/Lyft driver, but are not a passenger:

  • If the Uber/Lyft driver has the app on, but has not accepted a ride:
    • $50,000 in liability coverage from Uber/Lyft.
    • Potentially the personal liability limits of the driver.
    • Your personal UIM coverage.
    • Any UIM coverage from a resident relative.
    • Medpay, or no-fault coverage may be available.
  • If the Uber/Lyft driver has the app on and has either accepted a ride or is in the process of completing a ride:
    • $1 million in liability limits from Uber/Lyft.
    • Potentially the personal liability limits of the driver.
    • Your personal UIM coverage.
    • Any UIM coverage from a resident relative.
    • Medpay, or no-fault coverage may be available.

As you can see, insurance coverage can be complicated in rideshare accidents as there are multiple coverages and insurance carriers that are in play. As such, if you or a loved one is involved in any rideshare auto accident, please contact us. At Curcio Law, we use our 30+ years of experience to investigate all insurance coverages that are available to our clients, and we fight for our clients to receive the maximum amount of compensation available to them.

OUR RESULTS
  • "$2,000,000.00 Auto Pedestrian Hit by Car / Brain Injury"

  • "$2,000,000.00 Pedestrian Hit By Bus / Broken Foot, Surgery Complications & Partial Choroidal Detachment"

  • "$2,000,000.00 Wrongful Death Settlement"

  • "$1,900,000.00 Pedestrian Hit By Truck / Fractured Pelvis & Multiple Surgeries"

  • "$1,500,000.00 Auto Accident / Wrongful Death"

  • "$1,200,000.00 Auto Accident / Broken Neck, Punctured Lung"

  • "$847,500.00 Dangerous Dog Bite / Facial Injury, Scarring"

  • "$600,000.00 Tractor Trailer Crash / Neck Injury, requiring surgery"

  • "$595,000.00 (Jury Verdict) Auto Accident / Broken Foot"

  • "$546,905.00 Auto Accident / Neck injury, Herniated Disc"

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