You can file a lawsuit against a rideshare company under certain circumstances. Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have faced legal actions from passengers, drivers, and even pedestrians in various situations. Common scenarios in which you might consider filing a lawsuit against a rideshare company might involve car accidents involving rideshare vehicles, driver misconduct, or accidents that occur while getting in or out of the Uber or Lyft.
Reasons People Might File a Lawsuit Against a Rideshare Company
There are various reasons people might file a lawsuit against a rideshare company. The most common of these include:
Accidents Involving Rideshare Drivers
If you were injured in an accident while riding in a rideshare vehicle and the driver’s negligence caused the accident, you may have grounds to sue both the driver and the rideshare company. Rideshare companies typically provide liability insurance coverage for accidents that occur during a ride.
If a rideshare driver engaged in misconduct, harassment, or assault during the ride, you can potentially file a lawsuit against the driver and the rideshare company. Rideshare companies are expected to perform background checks on their drivers and provide a safe environment for passengers.
Entering or Exiting the Vehicle
If you suffered injuries while getting into or out of the rideshare vehicle, you may be able to file a lawsuit in certain situations. Your rideshare accident attorney will consider the location of the vehicle when your accident occurred, any hazardous conditions that were present, and other factors that may have caused your injuries.
Common Causes of Rideshare Accidents that Lead to Lawsuits
Rideshare accidents happen for many of the same reasons that crashes occur in other types of motor vehicles. Some risks are elevated due to the nature of the rideshare driver’s job, however. For instance, overworked Uber or Lyft drivers may be more prone to fatigued driving because they spend more time behind the wheel. They are also more likely to be distracted drivers, since they usually must navigate through unfamiliar territory with GPS, along with monitoring the rideshare app.
Whose Insurance Covers a Rideshare Accident?
With the growing popularity of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, you may be wondering how does Uber insurance work? In Illinois, specific regulations and insurance policies govern the coverage provided to rideshare drivers and passengers in the event of a rideshare accident.
Insurance coverage during a rideshare trip typically varies depending on the different stages of the journey. Understanding these stages is crucial to determine which insurance policy applies in the event of an accident.
a) Offline or without passengers: During this stage, when a rideshare driver is not actively engaged in a ride, their personal auto insurance policy provides coverage. It is essential for drivers to notify their insurance provider that they are engaged in ridesharing activities to ensure adequate coverage.
b) Available or waiting for a ride request: Rideshare companies provide contingent liability coverage during this stage. If a driver’s personal insurance does not apply or is insufficient, or if the driver failed to maintain liability insurance entirely, the contingent liability coverage serves as a secondary policy. It typically includes liability for bodily injury, property damage, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
c) En route to pick up passengers: Once a driver accepts a ride request and is en route to pick up passengers, the rideshare company usually provides primary liability coverage. This coverage includes bodily injury and property damage liability.
d) Transporting passengers: When a rideshare driver has passengers in the vehicle, the rideshare company’s insurance policy generally provides coverage for liability and certain types of damages. This coverage may include liability for bodily injury, property damage, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Injured victims may be able to recover up to $1 million in a rideshare accident lawsuit if their crash occurred during this phase.
While rideshare companies provide insurance coverage during active rides, there may still be exclusions and coverage gaps that drivers and passengers should be aware of. It is important to understand these limitations to ensure appropriate coverage in case of an accident. Some common exclusions might include personal belongings of passengers, damage to the driver’s vehicle, and accidents that occur during a driver’s unauthorized use of the vehicle for ridesharing.
Grounds for Filing a Lawsuit Against a Rideshare Service
Before initiating a lawsuit against a rideshare company, it is essential to establish the basis for the legal action. Common grounds for filing a lawsuit include:
This involves demonstrating that the rideshare company or its driver acted negligently, breaching the duty of care owed to passengers or other road users, and that those actions or inaction caused injury to the plaintiff.
Rideshare companies may be held responsible for the actions of their drivers, as they are considered employees or agents of the company under certain circumstances.
Defective Vehicle Maintenance
If a rideshare accident occurs due to improper maintenance or defects in the vehicle, a lawsuit may be filed against the company for failing to ensure the safety of the vehicle.
Evidence in a Rideshare Lawsuit
Building a strong case requires collecting relevant evidence to support your claims. Key pieces of evidence may include:
- Accident Reports and Photos: Obtain a copy of the accident report filed with law enforcement, and take photographs of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any visible injuries.
- Medical Records: Gather medical records detailing your injuries, treatment, and related expenses. These records will help establish the extent of your damages.
- Witness Statements: Collect statements from witnesses who observed the accident or can attest to the negligent behavior of the rideshare driver.
- Electronic Records: Preserve any electronic evidence, such as ride history, communication with the rideshare company, or app data that may be relevant to your case.
How to File a Lawsuit Against a Rideshare Company Directly
Before filing a lawsuit, it is important to formally notify the rideshare company of your intent to pursue legal action. Your accident lawyers will provide them with a detailed account of the incident and the damages you have suffered. This notification may prompt the company to engage in settlement negotiations or take appropriate action.
To formally initiate the lawsuit, your rideshare accident attorney will prepare the necessary legal documents, including a complaint, outlining the claims against the rideshare company. The complaint will be filed with the appropriate court, adhering to the jurisdiction and procedural requirements.
During the discovery phase, both parties exchange relevant information and evidence. This process involves interrogatories, depositions, and requests for production of documents. Pretrial proceedings may also include settlement conferences or mediation attempts to resolve the dispute outside of court.
If the case proceeds to trial, your attorney will present your side of the story, including evidence and witness testimony, to a jury. The parties may reach a settlement agreement at any stage of the legal process, potentially avoiding a trial.
Damages and Compensation in a Rideshare Lawsuit
In a rideshare lawsuit, the damages and compensation that may be sought can vary depending on the specifics of the case, the extent of the injuries or losses suffered, and the applicable laws in the jurisdiction. A rideshare accident lawyer can help you understand the specific damages and compensation available in your situation. Here are some types of damages that may be sought in a rideshare lawsuit:
- Medical Expenses: This includes compensation for past and future medical bills related to the injuries sustained in the rideshare accident. It covers costs such as hospitalization, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and therapy.
- Lost Wages: If the injuries result in the victim being unable to work temporarily or permanently, they may seek compensation for lost wages and future earning capacity. This can include the income lost during recovery and any potential loss of earning capacity due to long-term disability.
- Property Damage: If personal property, such as a vehicle or other belongings, was damaged in the rideshare accident, the victim may seek compensation to repair or replace the damaged property.
- Pain and Suffering: This refers to the physical and emotional distress experienced as a result of the accident and the resulting injuries. Pain and suffering damages are subjective and can vary depending on the severity of the injuries, the impact on the victim’s daily life, and any resulting emotional trauma.
- Emotional Distress: In addition to pain and suffering, compensation may be sought for emotional distress caused by the rideshare accident. This can include anxiety, depression, fear, and other mental or emotional hardships resulting from the incident.
- Loss of Consortium: If the injuries sustained in the accident affect the victim’s relationship with their spouse or family members, damages may be sought for loss of consortium, which refers to the loss of companionship, affection, or intimacy.
In some cases where the actions of the rideshare company or its driver were particularly egregious or exhibited reckless behavior, punitive damages may be sought. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and deter similar conduct in the future.
Filing a Lawsuit as a Rideshare Driver
Rideshare driving comes with its own set of challenges, and drivers may encounter situations that lead them to consider filing a lawsuit against Uber or Lyft. If you’re considering filing a lawsuit as a rideshare driver, it’s essential to consult with a personal injury attorney who is experienced in cases like yours. An attorney can assess the merits of your case, guide you through the legal process, and help you understand your rights and options. Your lawyer can also advise you on any contractual agreements or arbitration clauses that may affect your ability to file a lawsuit.
Accidents and Personal Injury Claims
If you were involved in an accident while driving for a rideshare company, your first course of action is to ensure everyone’s safety and seek medical attention if necessary. Following that, you should consider filing a personal injury claim against the party who caused the crash. This may include other drivers, pedestrians, or even the rideshare company if they share responsibility.
Insurance Coverage for Rideshare Drivers
Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft typically provide insurance coverage for their drivers when they are actively engaged in a ride. This coverage often includes liability insurance, which can help cover the costs of injuries and damages in the event of an accident. However, the specific coverage and circumstances may vary depending on the rideshare company and the stage of the ride (e.g., waiting for a passenger, en route to pick up a passenger, or with a passenger in the car).
Additionally, to ensure passenger safety, Illinois enacted legislation mandating specific insurance requirements for rideshare companies operating within its borders. Effective July 1, 2015, the law requires rideshare companies to maintain primary liability insurance for their drivers. The minimum coverage limits set by the state are as follows:
- $50,000 for death and bodily injury per person
- $100,000 for death and bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage
Understanding your insurance coverage is crucial when considering legal action.
Safety and Security Issues that May Give Rise to Lawsuits Against Rideshare Companies
Rideshare drivers should have a safe and secure environment while working. If you encounter safety issues such as passenger harassment, threats, or assault, you have the right to report these incidents to the rideshare company and local law enforcement. Depending on the severity of the situation, you may have grounds for a lawsuit against the rideshare company or a legal action against another responsible party.
Consult with an Attorney
Filing a lawsuit against a rideshare company is possible; however, it entails various challenges that can make navigating the legal system without a lawyer even more difficult. Whether you are a passenger or driver, understanding your rights and responsibilities is vital to navigating the legal landscape. Although alternative dispute resolution methods may offer more expeditious routes, seeking the assistance of a rideshare accident attorney is crucial to evaluate your case’s viability and explore potential avenues for a successful outcome.