Navigating Ride Share Accidents: Your Guide to Uber Accident Claims and Legal Rights

February 19, 2024 | Car Accidents

Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing transportation options have exploded in Colorado Springs in the last several years. Instead of the hassle of booking a taxi or adjusting your schedule around when the Mountain Metro Transit runs, you can call up a ride on demand with a couple of taps. But just as the number of rides in the city has grown, so also has the number of traffic accidents involving a rideshare driver.

Distracted driving causes an average of 43 accidents per day, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. Lyft, Uber, and other rideshare drivers have more distractions than most, between checking their app for a fare, paying attention to GPS, or engaging with their passengers to get that 5-star rating. In a crash caused by the rideshare driver, there’s a good chance they weren’t paying proper attention to the road.

If you’ve been harmed in a collision involving a Lyft, Uber, or another rideshare vehicle, you have several legal options, whether you were a passenger in the rideshare or the other driver. We can help you explore them. Contact Earl & Earl, PLLC, today for a free consultation with an experienced Colorado Springs car accident lawyer.

Understanding Ride-Share Accidents

How do ridesharing accidents happen? If you thought an Uber or Lyft was a safer alternative to public transit or a taxi, think again. A rideshare driver can cause harm in any number of situations.

Types of Ride-Share Accidents

A ride-share accident could involve:

  • A collision between the rideshare vehicle and another car or truck
  • A pedestrian or cyclist struck by an inattentive rideshare driver
  • Passengers in a rideshare vehicle injured in a solo vehicle crash

Each of these victims has the same right to demand compensation from the rideshare driver and possibly Uber, Lyft, or another company the driver is contacted with.

Paying more attention to the Uber or Lyft app than the road isn’t the only reason a rideshare driver causes a crash, although it may be the most common way. Other ways accidents happen include:

  • Long hours in the car or driving fatigue
  • Inadequate driver training. Unlike taxi or limo drivers, rideshare drivers aren’t required to have a special class of license, certification, or professional training.
  • Maintenance issues with the rideshare vehicle

In some cases, the rideshare driver may have been drinking or under the influence of drugs when the accident occurred. These situations could involve criminal charges for the driver, as well as civil action taken by the victims harmed in the crash.

Determining Liability in Ride-Share Accidents

The crux of any rideshare accident injury claim is proving negligence on the part of the party who caused or contributed to the accident. Your lawyer sifts through the facts of the case and examines the evidence to determine who shares liability for the crash (and your injuries) and to what extent.

Uber and Lyft drivers in Colorado are considered contact workers with the rideshare company, not employees. Even though the rideshare driver may be an independent contractor, Uber or Lyft could still be held responsible for harm the driver causes while waiting for a fare or transporting one. If the driver is logged into the app, Uber and Lyft both extend insurance coverage for damages the driver causes.

Verifying the status of the driver when the wreck occurred will determine whether your Colorado Springs rideshare accident attorney names the rideshare company as a co-defendant in your claim. That status also determines which insurance policy covers damages the rideshare driver does: their own private policy, one offered through Uber or Lyft, or both.

Steps to Take After a Ride-Share Accident

Your safety comes first after a crash, so always call 911 for emergency assistance. Car accidents often cause “hidden injuries” that may not present symptoms right away. You could have a hairline fracture, internal organ damage, or soft tissue damage and not realize it until hours or a couple of days after the wreck. In addition, the evaluation from EMS directly ties your injuries to the crash – so the rideshare driver’s insurance company can’t argue that they were pre-existing conditions.

Once your medical condition is stable, you can turn your attention to legal matters:

  • Take photos or a video of the crash scene and your injuries if you can
  • Note any witnesses and get their contact information
  • Save all documents related to the wreck, including the Official Police Report and all your medical records
  • Report the accident to your own insurance company (not doing so could invalidate your policy)
  • Talk to an experienced Colorado rideshare accident lawyer

You aren’t under any obligation to give a statement to Uber, Lyft, the other driver’s insurance company, or any other party aside from the police officers at the scene and your own insurance company. In fact, you’re within your rights to refer all communication to your attorney. Our firm can handle conversations with the other party, protecting your interests and keeping them from twisting your words into an admission that you caused the wreck.

Legal Recourse for Ride-Share Accident Victims

Soon after the crash, there’s a good chance that the insurance company covering the rideshare driver will approach you with a fast settlement, especially if their client’s fault is clear-cut. You don’t have to take this offer, though, and you can be sure it’s a low-ball one. Insurance companies make money by not paying out large claims. Once you sign the settlement agreement, you can’t go back later and file a suit if it turns out the settlement doesn’t cover all your medical care or other losses.

You can talk to an attorney to properly value your case, ensuring it covers current and future medical care and any loss of earning potential due to your injuries. Your lawyer may negotiate a better settlement with the other party or decide to take your case to court in pursuit of your best interests.

Have You Been Hurt in a Colorado Ridesharing Accident? We Can Help!

Thinking about the next steps after being hurt in a collision with a rideshare driver can be stressful, especially when you’re trying to heal and recuperate. The Colorado Springs rideshare accident lawyers from Earl & Earl, PLLC, are here to help. We represent you in communication and negotiation with the rideshare company and its driver, fighting for your rightful compensation. Our mission is advocating for you – and you alone. Find out more in a free case review by filling out our online contact form.