Ridesharing has become such a popular way to get around that Uber and Lyft vehicles have become practically unavoidable on America’s roads and highways. Unfortunately, rideshare drivers are prone to the same mistakes as any other motorist, which can result in serious collisions. If you were injured in an accident involving an Uber, Lyft, or other ridesharing vehicle, you might be wondering what you can do to get the medical care and financial security you need during this difficult time.
The Morgantown personal injury lawyers at Robinette Legal Group, PLLC can help. Our experienced Uber and Lyft car accident lawyers want to hold the at-fault party accountable and demand maximum compensation for your injuries and related losses. Let our experienced legal team deal with the insurance companies so that you can focus on healing. Contact our office for a free case evaluation with one of our Morgantown car accident attorneys.
West Virginia Rideshare Laws
West Virginia law requires rideshare drivers to have private auto insurance in addition to the insurance coverage provided by their employers. Rideshare companies must also conduct local and national criminal background checks on each driver and enforce a zero-tolerance drug- and alcohol-use policy. Drivers must be at least 19 years old and possess a valid driver’s license and proof of vehicle registration. They cannot have any of the following on their record:
- Three or more traffic violations in the past three years
- One major traffic violation in the past three years
- Certain felony or misdemeanor convictions in the past seven years
- Registration on the National Sex Offender Registry database
Who Is Responsible for Your Injury After a Rideshare Accident?
In most car accidents, any driver whose actions led to the collision could be liable for compensating anyone injured. If another driver hit the Uber or Lyft you were riding in, that driver or their insurance company is likely liable for your injuries.
However, multiple parties may share liability if an Uber or Lyft driver was responsible for the accident. Determining who is responsible will depend on what the driver was doing at the time of the crash.
The following three “periods” are taken into account when deciding who could be liable:
- The driver’s rideshare app was off at the time of the crash – If a driver was not using the app when the accident occurred, only the driver’s auto insurance would apply. West Virginia requires drivers to maintain $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury coverage.
- The driver’s app was on, and they were waiting for a ride request – If a driver was on the clock but waiting for a request, the insurance policies of Uber and Lyft will cover the accident. They hold $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $100,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident.
- The driver had accepted a ride request and was on the way to pick up a customer or had a customer in the car – Uber and Lyft will provide up to $1 million in liability coverage per accident, uninsured/underinsurance motorist bodily injury coverage, and contingent comprehensive and collision coverage up to the actual cash value of the car, with a $2,500 deductible for the driver.
Can You Sue Uber or Lyft Directly?
Because Uber and Lyft classify their drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, it is extremely difficult to hold these companies accountable for their drivers’ actions. It is much easier to pursue compensation through the companies’ insurance providers.
However, you could be able to sue the rideshare company directly if:
- The company did not properly vet the driver
- The driver attacked you
- The driver’s insurance isn’t enough to cover your losses
The Difference Between Rideshare Apps and Taxis
Taxis have been around since the invention of the automobile but are increasingly being displaced by rideshare services. Some of the differences between taxis and rideshares include the following:
- Taxi companies must comply with different, long-standing, and often extensive regulations, many of which rideshare companies have been able to avoid.
- Taxis calculate fares differently than rideshares.
- Taxi companies often require more training for drivers.
- Taxi companies require drivers to pass certain health and safety tests.
- Taxi cabs are commercial vehicles, while rideshare vehicles are personal vehicles.
What to Do After a Rideshare Accident in Morgantown, WV
If you are involved in an accident caused by an Uber or Lyft driver, you should take the following steps to protect your legal rights:
- Report the accident – Dial 911 to request police at the scene. A responding police officer will conduct an investigation and complete a police report that could become helpful evidence in your case. If for some reason, a report was not collected by an officer, go to the nearest police station to file a report.
- Gather evidence at the scene – Get the names, insurance information, and contact information of all drivers involved in the accident. Look for eyewitnesses and get their contact information. Take photos and videos of the scene and your injuries.
- Seek medical treatment – If you are injured, go to the hospital immediately. See a medical professional as soon as possible, even if you don’t have any apparent injuries, as the shock of an accident can mask pain. A doctor can examine, diagnose, and treat your injuries and add them to your medical record.
- Hire an experienced Morgantown car accident lawyer – Speak to an attorney before you talk to any insurance companies. An accident lawyer can discuss your legal options and help you pursue compensation.
What Compensation Is Available for Uber or Lyft Accident Injuries?
If you were injured in a rideshare accident, you might be to pursue compensation for the following monetary and personal losses:
- Medical bills for treating your injuries, including costs of future medical care
- Lost wages if you cannot work due to your injuries
- Loss of future income if your injuries cause permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life if you can no longer do daily activities
- Costs of repairing your vehicle or other property damage
How to File a Complaint Against Uber or Lyft
Uber and Lyft provide methods for riders to file complaints within their apps. You can also file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. However, if you were injured in a rideshare accident, you should do much more than file a complaint. A skilled rideshare accident attorney can help you file an insurance claim against the company’s liability insurance to seek compensation for your injuries and other losses.
Contact the Rideshare Accident Lawyers at Robinette Legal Group, PLLC Today
If you were injured in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, contact the rideshare accident lawyers at Robinette Legal Group, PLLC for a free case review. You deserve compensation and accountability, and we want to help you demand it.