Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of injury and death across all age groups in America. Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft claim to make our roads safer by providing alternate means of transportation to people who are intoxicated, tired, or otherwise unable to drive themselves. Until recently, there was little information contradicting these claims.
However, new research suggests ridesharing services may actually be contributing to an increase in traffic fatalities. A recent study conducted by the University of Chicago indicated that the arrival of ridesharing services in U.S. cities was associated with an increase of roughly 3 percent in the number of motor vehicle crashes and fatalities.
Were you hurt in a Waldorf rideshare car accident? Contact a knowledgeable injury attorney at Trollinger Law LLC as soon as possible. You could be entitled to significant compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Contact us today for a free consultation.
Common Causes of Rideshare Car Accidents
Rideshare drivers are not professionals. Most people who work for services like Uber and Lyft are everyday drivers looking for supplementary income sources, not trained commercial operators.
The common causes of rideshare car accidents are essentially the same as the causes of any crash. Rideshare accidents frequently occur because of:
- Distracted driving: If a rideshare driver is focused on a rideshare app, GPS, or passenger while driving, they can become too distracted to concentrate on the road.
- Impaired driving: Rideshare drivers sometimes sit behind the wheel for long hours waiting for a fare. If they abuse alcohol or drugs while they wait, the risks of an impaired driving crash increase exponentially.
- Drowsy driving: When drivers hit the road with inadequate sleep or remain on duty for too long, they can become dangerously fatigued. According to the National Safety Council, a drowsy driver is just as dangerous as a drunk driver.
- Driver inexperience: Although most rideshare companies require all drivers to be at least 21, plenty of rideshare drivers are still young and inexperienced. Inexperienced drivers are more likely to commit driving errors and cause wrecks.
- Reckless driving: Running red lights, speeding, lane weaving, tailgating, and failure to yield the proper right of way are all examples of reckless driving.
How Does Insurance Work in a Rideshare Accident?
In most car accident cases, injury victims are limited to claiming compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance provider or their own insurance company. But depending on the status of the rideshare driver at the time of the crash, your options for seeking compensation after a rideshare accident can be very different:
- If the driver was off duty: Drivers who are not actively offering rides through a rideshare app are considered off duty, which may mean their personal car insurance policy solely covers them. In Maryland, basic liability insurance policies cover $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident in bodily injury and up to $15,000 in property damage.
- If the driver was on duty but not carrying passengers: Rideshare drivers who are available for rides but not actively transporting or traveling to pick up passengers are considered on duty in a limited sense. For accidents involving inactive, on-duty drivers, most rideshare companies’ insurance policies kick in with coverage up to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for bodily injuries and up to $25,000 for property damage.
- If the driver was carrying or picking up passengers: Drivers who are actively carrying passengers or on their way to pick up a fare are fully covered by rideshare liability insurance policies. This means up to $1 million for most rideshare companies for bodily injury and property damage per accident.
Who Is Liable in a Waldorf Rideshare Car Accident?
To limit their liability, rideshare companies hire their drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. This means that even though it’s possible to file compensation claims against companies like Uber and Lyft, you usually can’t sue these companies for the actions of their drivers.
Keep in mind that your legal options after a rideshare accident depend heavily on the facts. Potentially liable parties may include:
- Rideshare drivers: If you can demonstrate that a rideshare driver was at fault for an accident, they may be held financially responsible for your injuries and crash-related losses. In most cases, you’ll file a claim with the rideshare driver’s personal auto insurance provider.
- Other drivers: If the driver of another vehicle was fully responsible for the accident, you could recover compensation from them by filing a claim with their insurance carrier. If a rideshare driver and another driver each shared part of the blame for a wreck, you might even have the option to file multiple claims.
- Passengers or pedestrians: Not all rideshare accidents are the result of driver negligence. If a rideshare passenger or other pedestrian is intoxicated, distracted, or otherwise negligent, they may unexpectedly step into or block traffic. This can lead drivers to swerve into other vehicles in an attempt to avoid striking vulnerable people on foot.
What Should I Do After a Rideshare Accident?
If you were involved in a Maryland rideshare accident, you might be feeling overwhelmed and unsure about what to do next. Some of the most useful steps you can take to protect your legal rights and boost your chances of maximizing your recovery include:
- Seeking prompt medical attention
- Gathering as much evidence as possible from the accident, including witness statements and photos of the scene
- Maintaining a record of all accident-related losses and expenses, such as medical bills, repair costs, and lost wages from missed time at work
- Writing down everything you can recall about the accident while it’s still fresh in your mind
- Following your doctor’s treatment plan exactly as prescribed
- Avoiding social media activity while your claim is pending since even innocent posts or comments could undermine your case
- Contacting a Maryland rideshare accident lawyer for a free consultation
How Long Do I Have to File a Rideshare Accident Lawsuit?
If you plan to file a rideshare accident lawsuit, you should be aware of Maryland’s statute of limitations and how it could affect your case. A statute of limitations is a law that establishes specific time limits for initiating certain types of legal action.
In Maryland, the statute of limitations requires all personal injury lawsuits to be filed within three years of the date of the injury. When it comes to rideshare accidents, this means you must file your claim for compensation within three years of the date of the accident.
If you wait too long and attempt to file a lawsuit after the three-year statute of limitations has expired, the court will likely dismiss your case. This means you will lose your right to sue as well as your negotiating leverage in any insurance claims you file.
Protecting Your Rights after a Ridesharing Accident
The attorneys at Trollinger Law LLC have years of experience serving injured people throughout Waldorf, Charles County, and Southern Maryland. We’ll protect your rights after a rideshare accident by:
- Explaining your legal rights and options for seeking financial compensation
- Conducting an independent investigation of the rideshare accident to uncover critical evidence and determine who was at fault
- Managing important deadlines, documents, and paperwork on your behalf
- Helping you locate the specialists you need to treat your accident-related injuries
- Communicating with other drivers, insurers, and lawyers on your behalf
- Working with expert witnesses such as medical professionals and accident reconstruction specialists who can provide evidence to support your claim
- Negotiating tirelessly to pursue full and fair compensation for your losses
- Represent you in court, if the other driver’s or rideshare company’s insurers refuse to make a fair settlement offer
Contact a Rideshare Accident Lawyer at Trollinger Law LLC Now
Figuring out who is responsible for a rideshare accident — and whose insurance applies — is not an easy task. You don’t need to investigate the driver’s status at the time of the wreck. Let the rideshare accident lawyers at Trollinger Law LLC get answers for you.
Our law firm believes justice should not be limited to only those who can pay. That’s why we offer free initial consultations and will charge no fees unless we obtain compensation for you.
Don’t let the chance for justice pass you by. Call or contact us today for your free case review. There’s no obligation.