Gone are the days of catching a taxi on the street or ordering car services. Calling a car is easier than ever.
At the touch of a button on your smartphone, you can have a car sent to you in minutes with one of the many rideshare companies on the roads today. We’ve all used apps like Uber and Lyft.
Rideshare services have many benefits, such as:
- An alternative to public transportation,
- An option for those without a car, and
- A way to prevent drunk driving.
But accidents can still happen no matter what cars are on the road. You can be injured as a passenger in a rideshare car just as you can driving your own car.
If you’ve been injured in a rideshare accident, our hearts go out to you and your family. We know this is a difficult and stressful time. You have a lot of questions about where to go from here.
One of them is, Who do I sue after a rideshare accident? There are specific laws governing rideshare accidents.
I Was a Passenger in a Car Accident; Who Do I Sue?
Rideshare drivers are not considered employees. They are independent contractors. Therefore, you cannot directly sue Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare companies.
However, you might still be able to recover damages from your injuries from their insurance company.
But the law is complicated. North Carolina has enacted laws regulating rideshare companies. One such law concerns financial liability.
Rideshare companies must carry liability insurance to cover their drivers if they get into an accident. Whether and how the policy applies depends on whether the rideshare driver has a passenger, is waiting for a passenger, or is logged out of the app.
If the rideshare driver has a passenger or is on their way to pick up a passenger, they are considered working.
North Carolina requires that rideshare companies have at least $1,000,000 in coverage for bodily injury and property damage.
Therefore, if you were hit by a rideshare driver or in the rideshare car as a passenger, you are covered by the rideshare car insurance.
If the rideshare driver is waiting for a passenger but has yet to accept one in the app when there is an accident, then the rule is different.
In this case, the rideshare company’s policy must cover a minimum of $50,000 for death or bodily injury to one person and a minimum of $25,000 for injury to or destruction of property.
If the injuries are more serious, other avenues may exist to recoup more damages.
When a rideshare driver is not on the app, they are not working for the rideshare company.
Therefore, the rideshare car insurance does not cover them for any liability incurred. But their personal car insurance does.
In North Carolina, every driver is required to have minimum car insurance coverage. They must have a minimum of $30,000 coverage for bodily injury or death to a person and a minimum of $25,000 for destruction of property.
Thus, the rideshare driver’s private car insurance covers any liability when the rideshare app is off.
To succeed in a rideshare accident lawsuit, you must prove your driver was negligent. The doctrine of negligence has four elements:
- Duty—all drivers have a duty to drive safely on the road;
- Breach of duty—the driver must have breached this duty by doing something or failing to do something;
- Causation—the rideshare’s driver’s breach must have directly caused the accident; and
- Damages—you, the passenger, must have damages like bodily injury or property damage.
These elements form the basis of your rideshare accident lawsuit.
You should know that a rideshare accident lawsuit turns on one central fact: who was at fault? North Carolina is a contributory negligence state.
That means that if you were at fault in any way for the accident, you cannot recoup any compensation. Even if you are only 1% at fault, you cannot recover damages.
Thus, rideshare insurance companies try their hardest to prove that you are at fault somehow. If they succeed, they don’t have to compensate you.
Note that as a passenger in a rideshare car, you can still be considered negligent even though you were not driving another car. If you distract the driver, act rowdy, or take the wheel from them, you can also be at fault for the accident.
Never speak to the insurance company alone. It is imperative to talk to a rideshare accident attorney who can guide you.
If you succeed in your rideshare accident lawsuit, you may be able to receive compensation that will lessen the financial burden the accident has placed on you and your family.
Examples of compensation you can receive include:
- Medical bills,
- Loss of income, and
- Pain and suffering.
Know that Uber passenger accident settlement amounts vary on a case-by-case basis.
You don’t have to deal with the aftermath of a rideshare accident alone. Our rideshare accident attorneys handle the entire lawsuit process from start to finish.
We can help you with the following:
- Investigating the crash,
- Reviewing medical documents from your injuries,
- Reviewing the police report,
- Filing paperwork,
- Speaking to the rideshare company,
- Negotiating with the insurance companies,
- Interviewing witnesses, and
- Pursuing your claim at trial, if needed.