Rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft have become increasingly popular, including here in New York, as people look for alternatives to traditional transportation. As these companies have grown, so too have the number of passengers and motorists who have been injured in ridesharing accidents. You deserve to know your legal options if you or a family member have been hurt while using one of these services.
Here at Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C., our New York personal injury attorneys stand up for the rights of ridesharing accident victims. We’re passionate about fighting for justice and winning the compensation our clients need to get their lives back on track.
What Is Ridesharing Compared To New York Public Transportation?
Every New Yorker is well aware of the various modes of public transportation available to them, such as taxies, buses, subways, and trains. The primary difference between these traditional services and a rideshare company is convenience. Uber and Lyft, which are among the most popular rideshare companies, are user-based. A passenger can directly request a driver to come pick him or her up, instead of finding a cab, catching a train, or waiting for the bus.
This on-demand service uses an app that is downloaded onto a user’s phone. When the user wants a ride, he or she accesses the app to request and pay for a nearby driver. Users can even track the location of their drivers with the app’s GPS navigation.
Another important distinction between ridesharing and traditional transportation is regulatory oversight. Taxis, buses, and trains are highly regulated in New York. Their drivers and operators are trained professionals. For instance, New York City cab drivers are required to attend taxi school, and companies are regulated by the Taxi & Limousine Commission. Rideshare drivers, on the other hand, are just ordinary motorists who work as independent contractors for companies like Uber. They have no special training as drivers.
What Injuries Could A Passenger Sustain In A Ridesharing Accident?
Since rideshare drivers use their own personal vehicles, accident injuries are the same as those of any other car accident. They include:
- Neck and spinal cord injuries, e.g. muscle strains, whiplash, and herniated discs
- Head injuries, e.g. traumatic brain injuries, concussions, and skull fractures
- Other bone fractures such as broken arms and legs
- Back problems
- Internal organ damage
Some rideshare accidents are so severe that victims suffer permanent damage and disability, coma, or death. No matter how minor your injuries seem, it is vital that you seek immediate medical attention if you have been in a rideshare accident. Many injuries are not apparent until long after the accident, or they may appear minor at first and gradually worsen with time. Failure to obtain medical treatment could also jeopardize your ability to collect damages later.
How Do I Recover Damages?
Because ridesharing companies do not consider their drivers to be employees, liability can sometimes be more complicated. Uber, Lyft, and other companies have tried to distance themselves from drivers who cause accidents. Since these companies are still fairly new, laws and regulations are constantly changing to keep up. Our firm works to ensure that anyone liable for an accident victim’s injuries is held accountable.
Another complicating factor is insurance. The two major ridesharing companies, Uber and Lyft, require their drivers to carry personal automobile insurance policies on their vehicles. Many of these companies also have their own insurance policies that cover drivers. The amounts of coverage vary from one company to another.
Whose insurance policy will apply depends on whether the driver was working for the rideshare company at the time of the accident. If an accident occurs while the driver is not on duty, then anyone who is hurt by the driver will need to rely on that individual’s private insurance policy. If the driver causes an accident while the ridesharing app is on and he or she is waiting for a ride request, the ridesharing company’s insurance may cover the accident up to certain limits. Those limits are increased when the driver is en route to pick up, and actually driving, passengers.
Not all automobile accidents are the fault of the rideshare driver. When other motorists or parties are responsible for an accident, proving liability is that much more challenging. After a wreck, your attorney’s job will be to investigate the circumstances and parties involved to determine who is liable and to what extent. Your lawsuit may involve multiple defendants, so speak to a Nassau County ridesharing accident attorney right away.
Steps To Take If You’ve Been In A Ridesharing Accident
After a ridesharing accident, call 911 to report the wreck and request an ambulance for any injuries. Remember to not neglect your injuries, since doing so could make them worse. The police will usually take a report from the scene with basic information such as the identity of the parties and vehicles involved. You will want to obtain a copy of this police report later, and your attorney can help with that.
Next, take your own notes about how the accident happened and under what circumstances (including time of day and weather conditions). If possible, take a picture and video of the accident scene, including the license plates of the vehicles involved. Get the insurance information of all drivers involved and obtain the names, addresses and phone numbers any witnesses to the crash. Of course, attend to your injuries first; everything else comes second and only if your condition allows.
Then, start gathering your medical records related to your treatment. Also document lost time from work and other financial losses stemming from the accident. These records will prove vital in ensuring you receive fair compensation. If you were the driver of an involved vehicle, timely notify your insurance company of the accident.
Retain a knowledgeable attorney at your earliest convenience. If you are contacted by an insurance adjuster, you will want to refer all communications to your lawyer. Insurance companies are notorious for trying to deny valid claims and underpay accidents. Before you talk to them, reach out to us.
Contact Our New York Ridesharing Accident Attorney
Every ridesharing accident is unique, and you can be sure that the at-fault drivers and other parties will be defended by their insurance companies and lawyers. Now is the time to level the playing field by talking to a rideshare accident lawyer. Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. is ready to work on your case today. Contact us for a consultation regarding your case.
Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. help clients with their ridesharing accident claims throughout New York including Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens, and Brooklyn.