Since their introduction into the market, rideshare companies have become increasingly popular across the country. Ridesharing offers the flexibility, low cost, and convenience of getting around without a car and having a safe option for getting home after a night out.
However, as with any method of transportation, there is always the risk of an accident. If you are involved in a collision as an Uber or Lyft passenger, what are your options? Is the rideshare company liable for your injuries? Let’s take a look at some of the laws involved in recovering compensation in the case of a rideshare accident.
Rideshare Drivers: Employees or Contractors?
Both Uber and Lyft, as well as other popular rideshare companies, are particular about the way they refer to their drivers and the services that they provide. This is in order to shield the company from liability in the case of an accident or the wrong actions of a driver.
Generally speaking, an employer can be held responsible if his or her employee injures someone else while on the job. In addition, employees are owed many benefits that contractors are not.
To get around this, rideshare companies refer to their employees as contractors instead of employees. Despite these attempts, New Jersey courts have contested this classification when it comes to employment benefits.
However, there are certain situations where a rideshare company may still be found liable after an accident.
When a Rideshare Company May Be Liable
While passenger injuries can result from a car accident, a passenger can also be injured due to the intentional actions of a driver. Rideshare companies have put measures in place to protect passengers from these situations, meaning the riders have a reasonable expectation of safety.
For example, both Lyft and Uber require a driver to undergo a background check or safety screen before he or she can work with the company. In addition, these checks and screens must be performed every year for a driver to remain active. While these steps do not eliminate the chance of a driver injuring a passenger, they can reduce the risk.
However, the fact that a rideshare company has these measures in place does not always mean the rules are followed as they should. Depending on the circumstances, a personal injury lawyer may be able to prove that a company’s negligent hiring practices contributed to a passenger’s injuries, making the company liable for the injuries.
Options for Compensation After a Rideshare Accident
The first thing you should understand when involved in any type of car accident is the role fault plays in accident claims, which depends on the state where the accident occurred. For example, New Jersey is a no-fault state. This means, in general, compensation can be recovered from a person’s personal insurance coverage, no matter who was at fault.
However, even in a no-fault state, there are provisions for an injured person to recover additional compensation by means of a personal injury lawsuit. The options available will depend on the severity of your injuries and the type of insurance policy you have.
An insurance claim
The first option for compensation after a rideshare accident is your personal PIP coverage if you have a policy. Your PIP insurance policy covers you even if you are a passenger in another vehicle. If your damages after the accident amount to more than your PIP policy’s limits, you may be able to recover additional compensation by filing a claim with the driver’s vehicle insurance provider.
Both Uber and Lyft offer insurance coverage for their drivers in the United States. The amount of coverage depends on the status of the driver at the time of the accident and varies from $50,000 to $1,000,000 in liability coverage.
A personal injury lawsuit
Depending on the type of insurance coverage and severity of the injuries, a person injured in a rideshare car accident in New Jersey may have the option to recover additional compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. When possible, a lawsuit can help you in two major ways.
First, in the case of serious injuries, economic losses such as medical bills and lost wages are often much higher than an insurance policy may cover. A lawsuit can help you recover additional compensation for these losses to remove the financial burden after an accident.
Get the Facts About Your Case With a Free Consultation
Every car accident is unique, and some can be especially complex. If you have been injured as a passenger in a rideshare accident, you need reliable legal advice you can trust. A free consultation with the legal team at Judd Shaw Injury Law can provide you with the information you need to make important legal decisions.
Our attorneys can put their experience and knowledge to work for you and your family. Once we know the details of your case, we can help you understand the options available to you depending on your unique circumstances. Contact us 24/7 at (801) 845-9000 or complete our online form today to get a free case review.
Content edited by personal injury attorney Judd Shaw. From the beginning, Judd established a set of Core Values laying out the pursuit for excellence in client service. He is a regular host of the Working The Wow podcast, with the belief that providing an exceptional client experience is just as important as delivering a quality service or product. You can find us in Red Bank and Tom‘s River, New Jersey.