ClickCease How to Determine Liability in Ridesharing Accidents

How to Determine Liability in Ridesharing Accidents

Ridesharing is a popular and convenient way to travel in the DC Metro area. However, determining liability can be challenging when your rideshare is involved in an accident. Rideshare passengers are entitled to compensation for their injuries. However, to hold the at-fault party accountable, you must consider the accident facts, whether negligence was involved, and insurance policies and laws.

Consult a ridesharing accident attorney at Regan Zambri Long to help you determine liability and file a personal injury claim.

Rideshare companies classify their drivers as independent contractors, so they are not liable for rideshare accidents caused by their driver’s negligence. Regan Zambri Long’s attorneys will help you know when you can hold a rideshare company liable, when you can sue the rideshare driver, and how to ensure you recover the compensation you deserve.

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Determining Liability in a DC Ridesharing Accident

To understand rideshare accident liability, your legal team will first investigate the accident to gather all the facts. One of the first steps is collecting the police report, accident scene photos, witness statements, and security or traffic camera footage. This information will allow your lawyer to get a full picture of the scene and often pinpoint who, if anyone, was negligent.

Legally, negligence occurs when a person must behave in a certain way, fails to uphold that duty, and suffers direct damages because of the negligence. In a personal injury lawsuit, the accident victim is responsible for proving that the liable party was negligent and owes them compensation.

Rideshare Driver Negligence

While rideshare companies require their drivers to practice safe driving, the reality is that rideshare drivers are sometimes negligent. Common negligent behaviors include distracted driving, speeding, and disobeying traffic signals and rules. When these behaviors cause an accident, the at-fault driver should be held liable for the pain and suffering they caused.

Was the driver working at the time?

Ridesharing companies only cover accidents when the driver is active in the app, though the insurance coverage may be disputed. Uber and Lyft have insurance coverage that kicks in after the driver’s auto insurance has been applied.

When you pursue compensation from the rideshare driver or company, provide your lawyer with any information and data from your ride request. If your app shows any data, including speed, route, and driver status, your lawyer may be able to use it to prove liability. Additionally, if you notice that your Uber or Lyft vehicle has a dash camera, let your lawyer know so they can request the footage. Camera footage, especially dashcam footage, can be crucial in proving negligence and liability.

Other Driver Negligence

Sometimes, another driver is at fault for an accident involving a rideshare vehicle. You and your legal team will still assess the accident to prove negligence in these situations. Reckless driving, driving under the influence, violating traffic laws, and distracted driving are some of the most common negligent driving behaviors. Aggressive driving–including speeding, racing, and running stop lights/signs–accounted for 48 percent of traffic fatalities from 2017 to 2021, according to the District Department of Transportation.

Other Third-Party Negligence

In some cases, a third, non-driving party causes the car accident. This could include:

  • a pedestrian or cyclist violating traffic laws
  • a property owner who neglected to remove hazards from the roadway
  • a government or managing entity that neglected road maintenance or conducted unsafe road work
  • a vehicle or parts manufacturer that failed to ensure its product was safe to use

Your rideshare accident attorney will gather statements and evidence to prove who is at fault for the accident.

You should collect contact and insurance information from all parties involved when an accident occurs. Your personal injury attorney will help you understand the rideshare company’s insurance coverage and obtain copies of any statements that have been made regarding the accident.

Rideshare Company Insurance Coverage

Rideshare companies usually have significant liability coverage that kicks in depending on the driver’s status in the app at the time of the accident. The driver must be active in the rideshare app for these insurance policies to apply. The kind of activity in the app can further determine how much coverage is applied. If the Uber or Lyft driver is waiting for a ride request, coverage is $50,000 per person or $100,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 for property damage.

When the driver is en route for a pickup or a ride is in progress, they provide a minimum of $1,000,000 in third-party liability coverage. If the driver’s insurance includes comprehensive and collision coverage, Uber and Lyft maintain contingent coverage to cover the actual value of the driver’s vehicle, with a $2,500 deductible.

Ridesharing companies, including Uber and Lyft, classify their drivers as independent contractors, not employees. Legally, vicarious liability allows employers to be held responsible for the negligence of their employees. However, by classifying rideshare drivers as independent contractors, rideshare companies can deny liability for accidents.

If you or a loved one are injured in a rideshare accident, contacting an experienced personal injury attorney is important. Ridesharing services will have legal professionals working to deny fair compensation.

How do DC’s no-fault laws affect rideshare accidents?

Washington, DC, adheres to no-fault laws for car accidents. Following a car accident, you will contact your own auto insurance company to receive compensation for property damage and injuries sustained. While this guarantees some monetary compensation, your insurance coverage will determine how much you receive.

No-fault insurance laws limit the ability to sue the responsible party. To sue the liable party, the accident must meet one or both of the following criteria:

  • Your injuries and lost wages exceed the coverage provided by your injury protection policy
  • Your injuries include significant and permanent scarring, disfigurement, or impairment or total impairment that lasts at least 180 days.

When rideshare accident liability is determined, and your losses meet at least one of the above criteria, you can hire a personal injury lawyer to help you recover compensation from the ridesharing company, independent contractors, or other parties involved.

Contributory Negligence

Before seeking compensation from a rideshare company, you must consult a lawyer to ensure you did not contribute to any negligence. Under Washington, DC, standards, anyone found to be responsible at all for an accident is barred from recovering compensation.

Unfortunately, a rideshare company or insurance company may try to claim that you contributed to the accident so that they do not need to pay for your economic and non-economic damages. Hiring an experienced rideshare accident lawyer from Regan Zambri Long is your best chance to ensure justice.

Insurance Adjusters and the Value of Your Claim

After a rideshare accident, insurance adjusters will investigate the incident to determine the value of your case. An adjuster from your insurance company and the rideshare company will collect statements and evidence and report their findings. This report can significantly influence the liability decision and the value of your case. Your attorney will also conduct an investigation, which can help balance the findings of an insurance adjuster.

Your economic damages, such as lost wages, medical expenses, ongoing medical care, and property damage, determine your rideshare accident value. Non-economic damages are also accounted for, including emotional distress and pain and suffering.

Consult a Ridesharing Accident Lawyer from Regan Zambri Long

If you or a loved one are injured in a rideshare accident, you deserve fair compensation. While your auto insurance may provide significant coverage for your medical expenses, rideshare drivers and companies must be held liable for your losses that exceed your car insurance.

A personal injury attorney specializing in DC rideshare accidents will gather evidence to determine liability fairly. They will discuss your options throughout the legal process and value your claim so that you can pursue compensation that covers your losses.

How to Determine Liability in Ridesharing AccidentsDetermining liability in a DC rideshare accident requires consideration of the specific elements of the crash. The status of a rideshare driver, negligent actions, and whether road or weather conditions played a role all influence liability. Your rideshare accident lawyer from Regan Zambri Long will ensure that you are not held liable for an accident that wasn’t your fault while also pursuing compensation from the responsible party.

Regan Zambri Long is one of Washington, DC’s top rideshare accident law firms. Our lawyers specialize in car accident and ridesharing accident cases. We have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients and can do the same for you.

Don’t let rideshare companies keep you from pursuing legal action. Contact Regan Zambri Long for a free consultation so we can recover the financial compensation you deserve.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

Call 202-960-4596

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