Uber and Lyft are two of the largest rideshare platform services in the United States, although they are not the only ones. Rideshare companies provide a useful service, connecting people who need a ride with someone who is willing to provide it. This can be a convenient way to avoid the expenses of owning a personal vehicle or simply getting around after a fun night out.
However, the significant increase in rideshare services has also resulted in an influx of crashes. A University of Chicago research study revealed that motor vehicle accident fatalities have increased by about 3%, or 987 deaths per year, since the emergence of rideshare services. With more vehicles on the road, the number of motor vehicle accidents has also increased, jumping from 2 to 3.5 accidents/100,000 people since the emergence of rideshare services.
With more risks on the road, it is important that you understand your legal options for financial recovery if you are injured while riding as a rideshare passenger. The rideshare accident lawyers at Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. can explain your legal options after reviewing your case during a free and confidential consultation you can arrange by calling (312) 445-9160.
About Rideshare Companies
Rideshare companies are technically considered technology companies rather than treated like taxis in most jurisdictions. They connect willing riders with willing drivers through a platform.
In Illinois, rideshare companies fall under the umbrella of transportation network companies. As such, they are subject to the provisions included in the Illinois Transportation Network Providers Act.
Legal Status of Rideshare Drivers
Historically, transportation network provider drivers have been classified as independent contractors, rather than employees. This distinction has allowed many highly profitable rideshare companies to avoid civil responsibility for the harm their drivers cause. Additionally, it prevents drivers from being able to receive workers’ compensation benefits and other employee benefits. However, there has been a move to remove this legal insulation and to consider these drivers as employees.
Typically, when someone sues after a rideshare driver that was the fault of a rideshare driver, they are suing the driver as an individual, rather than the rideshare company. However, rideshare companies provide insurance to their drivers when they are actively on the app, so most claims are resolved through insurance claims through this insurance.
However, upcoming changes in the laws will impact this in Illinois, as explained later.
How a Rideshare Accident Lawyer Can Help
Rideshare services have not been around for that long, and the laws about them continue to evolve. It is important that if you are involved in a rideshare accident you work with a lawyer who is knowledgeable in this area of the law and stays up-to-date with the latest changes.
A rideshare accident lawyer can help you navigate the complex process of rideshare accident claims by:
- Investigating to determine how the accident occurred and who is responsible
- Reviewing all applicable insurance policies for coverage
- Preserving valuable evidence in your case
- Hiring expert witnesses, as necessary, to help establish causation and the full extent of your damages
- Answering your questions and addressing your concerns throughout the process
- Discussing your legal options and helping you to evaluate which is the best option for recovering compensation
- Handling communication and claim paperwork with insurance companies
- Negotiating for maximum compensation in or out of the courtroom
Learn more about how Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. can help when you contact us for your free case review.
Who Do I Sue After a Rideshare Accident?
Traditionally, rideshare companies were insulated from personal liability because their business model involved hiring independent contractors and the law did not impose liability on the companies. This left accident victims usually only with the options of 1) filing a lawsuit against the negligent rideshare driver (who may not have adequate resources to cover the accident damages) or 2) filing a claim with the rideshare insurance policy, which often involved aggressive tactics to avoid paying out on valid claims.
However, a recent change in the law in Illinois is opening a pathway to hold the rideshare company responsible for the damages that result due to their drivers’ negligence. Under a new law that will become effective on January 1, 2024, transportation network companies will be treated as common carriers under the law, so they will have the same type of legal responsibility as taxi drivers, bus drivers, airline pilots, and train conductors, which provides for the company that hires them to be vicariously liable for their negligence.
Additionally, the Transportation Network Providers Act states that having the required amount of insurance as required by Illinois law does not limit the liability of a transportation network company that arises out of an accident involving one of its drivers.
If another driver caused the accident, you would sue that driver. If they did not have insurance or had insufficient insurance, they could turn to the transportation network company’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
How Do I Prove Responsibility for a Rideshare Accident?
Whether you are suing the rideshare driver, another negligent driver, or the transportation network company, you will need evidence of negligence. Illinois is an at-fault state for car insurance, so the party responsible for causing the accident is responsible for the financial consequences they cause.
Evidence that may help show fault could include:
- Accident reports
- Photos of the accident scene
- The location and type of damage to all involved vehicles
- Videos of the accident, including those from dash cams, traffic cameras, or surveillance cameras
- Witness statements
- Cell phone records
- Medical records
- Repair reports and vehicle inspections
- Vehicle maintenance records
- Reports from accident reconstruction experts
An experienced rideshare accident lawyer can help identify the evidence that can help establish fault and work tirelessly to obtain it.
What Are a Passenger’s Rights After a Rideshare Accident?
If you are injured as a result of a rideshare trip, you have the right to pursue compensation against the at-fault party for the injuries you suffered in the crash. You have the right to submit your claim to the insurance company or companies for coverage. If your claim is denied or you are not offered a fair settlement amount, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Why Do I Need a Rideshare Accident Lawyer?
It is not uncommon following any type of motor vehicle accident for the drivers to try to blame each other for the accident. This is even more likely to occur when the at-fault party is a transportation network company or one of its drivers. By hiring a rideshare accident lawyer, you can ensure that your rights are protected. Your lawyer can fight for the compensation you deserve. If the insurance company tries to wrongfully deny or delay your claim, a lawyer can take appropriate legal action.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Rideshare Accident Claim?
If you were injured in a rideshare accident, you may be able to recover compensation for the economic and non-economic damages you suffered, which might include:
- Current, past, and future medical expenses and rehabilitation costs
- Lost income and employment benefits
- Costs for replacement services
- Reduced future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
An experienced lawyer can review your case and explain what damages might be available, based on your particular situation.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
Each state has separate deadlines to file a lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations. In Illinois, the statute of limitations is typically two years, however this can be shorter or longer depending on the specific circumstances of your case. If you fail to file a lawsuit within that time period, you can lose your right to recover compensation through the courts.
What Is My Case Worth?
Each personal injury case is different, so there is no average amount of compensation you can expect for your claim. Various factors can affect the value, such as:
- The nature and severity of your injuries
- The type of medical treatment you received
- Whether any of your injuries were permanent in nature
- The amount of time you missed from work
- The pain and suffering you endured
- The available insurance
An experienced rideshare accident lawyer can review your case and give you a better idea about the potential value involved.
Contact Our Experienced Rideshare Accident Lawyers for Legal Advice and Representation
When you stepped into that Uber or Lyft, the last thing you expected was to be injured. Rideshare accidents can lead to serious injuries, lost wages, and considerable pain and suffering. You shouldn’t have to shoulder this burden caused by someone else’s negligence.
The rideshare accident lawyers at Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. can help fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case consultation.
Related: Rideshare Accident Lawyers