CHICAGO RIDESHARE ACCIDENT LAWYER
Chicago Rideshare Accident Attorney
Car accidents occur every day, and with the increasing use of rideshare services, the likelihood of being in an accident involving a rideshare service is steadily increasing. So, who is held liable for a rideshare accident? The driver or the rideshare company?
The Chicago rideshare accident lawyers at the Curcio Law Offices can help if you’ve been involved in an accident where the Lyft or Uber driver is at fault. Since there are multiple parties involved, filing a personal injury claim for your injuries can be complicated.
Following your accident, a rideshare accident attorney will evaluate your case and determine your available legal options. If our legal team finds that you have a viable personal injury case, we’ll begin litigation against the responsible party. Your accident lawyer will also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf so they don’t low-ball the amount of compensation you’re awarded.
To schedule a free consultation with a Chicago rideshare accident lawyer, call Curcio Law Offices at (312) 321-1111 today.
What is a Ridesharing Service?
Ridesharing services, like Uber and Lyft, have become the modern-day version of taxis. You can request a rideshare driver pickup at your location at just the tap of a button on your smartphone. As long as you have a rideshare service app on your phone, you can request a pickup pretty much anywhere.
An added benefit of using rideshare services is that you’re able to have a picture of your driver and their license plate, which adds a level of security and safety for anyone traveling alone.
How Many Americans Use Ridesharing Services?
More Americans opt for rideshare services over driving and taxi services, especially in larger cities like Chicago. Research compiled by Statista reported that an estimated 25% of Americans use rideshare services monthly.
At least 36% of Americans stated they had used a rideshare company, like Uber and Lyft, at least once, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.
Taxi Service vs. Ridesharing Service
Rideshare companies and taxi services may seem pretty similar on the outside, but the two have some differences. Unlike Uber and Lyft, taxi companies don’t have an app that passengers can use to request a taxi; they just have to hail one from the street.
Another difference between a rideshare company and a taxi company are the vehicles that the drivers use. A rideshare driver uses their personal vehicle, while a taxi driver uses a car that is owned by the company. Also, taxi drivers are employed by the cab company they work for, but rideshare drivers are considered independent contractors.
Rideshare Driver Requirements
Rideshare companies have certain requirements that their drivers must meet. Uber and Lyft both require that drivers:
- Meet the age requirement. For Uber, drivers must meet the minimum age requirement dictated by the city where they will be driving. At Lyft, drivers must be at least 21 years old.
- Have proof of residency in that city and state and a valid driver’s license.
- Have at least one full year of licensed driving experience. If the driver is younger than 23, Uber requires at least three years.
- Proof of vehicle insurance.
- Pass the safety screening that reviews both criminal history and driving record.
In addition to having driver requirements, the vehicle must also meet certain requirements. Typically, Uber and Lyft require the vehicles to be under 10 to 15 years old, a four-door car, and be in good operating condition.
Some states, however, have their own requirements. For example, Lyft drivers in Philadelphia must have a car with five to eight seats, including the driver’s seat. So, depending on where you will be driving, it’s important to check if there are any local rideshare driving laws.
How Common Are Rideshare Accidents?
As more people are using rideshare services, the chances of being involved in a rideshare accident increase. Just because rideshare drivers undergo a screening process before working for a rideshare company doesn’t mean they can’t be involved in an accident.
In 2019, the Becker-Friedman Institute stated that rideshare accidents account for a 3% increase in car accident fatalities since 2011. The paper, which was written by an associate professor at Chicago Booth’s School of Business, explains that that percentage means rideshare drivers are responsible for almost 1,000 car accident fatalities every year.
Common Causes of Rideshare Accidents
Rideshare drivers often use this job as an additional source of income, which means they usually work a regular 9 to 5 job, then work for a rideshare company for several hours afterward. This work schedule can make rideshare drivers more susceptible to being involved in a car accident. The most common causes of rideshare accidents are:
- Drowsy driving: The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that driving while fatigued can be just as hazardous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Over 20% of fatal car accidents involve driver fatigue. Since many rideshare trips occur early in the morning or late at night, Uber and Lyft drivers can be more likely to suffer from driver fatigue or highway hypnosis. Whether drivers work for a rideshare company full-time or only drive part-time, they can risk driving while tired.
- Unfamiliar roadways: In large cities, rideshare drivers may not be familiar with all the roads, which can lead to sudden stops or turns, causing car accidents.
- Distracted driving: An Uber or Lyft driver is more at risk of driving while distracted than the average motorist. Most drivers will have their rideshare app running, which provides passenger information, including pick-up and drop-off locations. The rideshare driver will also use their app as a map and guide to get their passengers to their destination. During a current trip, the rideshare driver will also get notifications about nearby passengers so they can select their next fair. Distracted driving is any action that takes a driver’s attention away from the road, and since drivers rely on their phones for their job, they’re more susceptible to distractions while driving. A Chicago distracted driving lawyer can help victims seek justice and financial compensation for these types of accidents.
- Dangerous pick-up locations: Drivers look for safe locations to pick up their passengers, but sometimes, they cannot find a parking place nearby. This can make a driver park in a dangerous location that impedes traffic, leading to a car accident.
- Car maintenance: Even though a driver’s car must meet the requirements set forth by Uber or Lyft, they aren’t required to continue those maintenance requirements. Lack of proper vehicle maintenance can lead to brake malfunctions and other issues that can result in a car accident.
- Speeding: The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 12,000 people were killed in 2021 because of speeding. A rideshare driver may speed so they can fit as many trips in their shift as possible.
No matter what the cause of your rideshare accident was, you have a right to pursue a personal injury claim against the responsible party. If you were in an accident involving Uber or Lyft, an experienced Chicago Uber accident attorney at the Curcio Law Offices can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Common Rideshare Accident Injuries
An Uber or Lyft accident can result in a variety of serious injuries for everyone involved. The most common rideshare accident injuries are:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Lacerations and bruises
- Wrongful death
Whether your injuries were minor, like bruises and cuts, or catastrophic, like a traumatic brain injury, you need a Chicago traumatic brain injury attorney, Chicago spinal cord injury attorney, Chicago paralysis attorney, or Chicago amputation attorney on your side. The rideshare accident lawyers at Curcio Law Offices will work with the insurance company on your behalf and take the negotiations to court if necessary.
Possible Liable Parties in a Ridesharing Accident
A car accident involving a rideshare driver can sometimes result in more than one party being held liable for damages. An at-fault party in a rideshare accident can be:
- The Uber or Lyft driver
- Another motorist
- A pedestrian, bicycle rider, or motorcyclist
- A semi-truck driver
- The vehicle manufacturer
Uber and Lyft Car Insurance Policies: How They Work
A rideshare accident claim can be extremely complicated because of the rideshare insurance coverage variations. The circumstances of the rideshare vehicle accident will determine which insurance coverage will be used for damages.
The rideshare accident attorneys from Curcio Law Offices will explain the three different situations below that can affect insurance coverage for a rideshare accident.
The Accident Happened When the Driver’s App Was Off
If the rideshare accident occurred while the app was off, the driver’s personal insurance will cover damages related to the accident.
The Accident Happened When the Driver’s App Was On
If an Uber or Lyft driver with their app on and showing available gets into an accident, the rideshare company’s contingent liability coverage will take effect. Coverage includes $25,000 for property damage, $50,000 per person, and $100,000 for injured passengers. If the driver of the rideshare vehicle is injured, they will need to use their personal auto insurance policy.
The Accident Happened While Picking Up or Driving a Passenger
If the Lyft or Uber driver is currently driving a passenger or picking them up, the company’s $1 million commercial insurance policy will cover damages. The insurance coverage includes $1 million per accident for property damage and bodily injury, plus an additional $1 million if the other driver was underinsured or not insured.
Will a Lyft or Uber Driver’s Personal Auto Insurance Policy Cover a Rideshare Accident?
A Lyft or Uber driver’s personal insurance won’t be used in the event of a rideshare accident. The driver’s insurance company only covers their vehicle for personal, not commercial use, and ridesharing is considered commercial use.
If the auto accident is not the fault of the rideshare driver, their insurance company still won’t cover the damages. The only exception is if the Uber or Lyft driver adds a ridesharing vehicle endorsement to their policy. However, this endorsement is only available in a few states.
What if the At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance in a Rideshare Accident?
If the driver who caused a rideshare accident doesn’t have insurance, rideshare accident victims have several options to recover damages. If you were driving the other vehicle, you could file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance company. Filing an uninsured motorist claim is also an option if the driver doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to pay for all of the damages.
Uber also has an uninsured motorist policy that accident victims can utilize in the event the Uber driver doesn’t have insurance.
Motor vehicle accidents involving uninsured motorists claims can make a personal injury claim even more complicated, which is why it’s important to work with knowledgeable rideshare accident lawyers.
What To Do if an Uber or Lyft Driver Hits You
If you’ve been involved in an Uber or Lyft accident, following the steps listed below is important.
- Call 911: Even if no one has any visible injuries, you should always call 911 after an accident. Not only will the police provide an official report of the accident that your insurance company and attorney will need, but paramedics can do a thorough check to make sure no one has any injuries.
- Document the accident: While waiting on the police and paramedics, take pictures of the accident scene, vehicles, and injuries.
- Exchange information: Get the other driver’s information, including name, phone number, insurance information, and their ridesharing service information. Your personal claim will depend on the driver’s status, so it’s critical to determine whether the app was off or not.
- Contact the Chicago rideshare accident attorneys at the Curcio Law Offices: As previously mentioned, accidents involving rideshare companies can be complicated, so working with an experienced personal injury law firm is crucial. Your rideshare accident attorney will work with the other driver’s insurance company or the rideshare service’s insurance company so that you can receive fair compensation for damages.
Can You Sue Uber or Lyft for a Car Accident?
If you were involved in an auto accident with a rideshare driver for which you weren’t responsible, it’s easy to want to sue the rideshare company. Large companies like Lyft and Uber can take a long time to receive an accident settlement, or they can sometimes offer low compensation.
Unfortunately, a lawsuit against a rideshare company can be complicated since the driver is considered an independent contractor. As an independent contractor, the rideshare company removes itself from any legal responsibility if the driver’s negligence leads to an accident.
So not only can a personal injury lawsuit involving a rideshare service be complicated because of insurance coverage, but the options regarding who can be sued for damages are fairly limited.
Proving Negligence in a Rideshare Accident
The key to a successful rideshare accident claim is your attorney’s ability to prove negligence. In order to prove negligence, there are four elements that must be met. At the Curcio Law Offices, your Chicago personal injury attorney will work diligently with you to gather evidence showing that negligence occurred. The four elements of negligence are:
- Duty of Care: All drivers are legally responsible for driving safely with other motorists and passengers in mind.
- Breached Duty of Care: That duty of care becomes breached when a driver performs negligent actions like speeding or driving distracted.
- Causation: The driver’s negligent actions caused an accident, which in turn caused serious injuries to others.
- Damages: Your rideshare accident lawyer will prove that you suffered injuries that deserve to be financially compensated by the at-fault party.
How a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney Can Help After a Rideshare Accident
As mentioned above, suing Lyft or Uber for an accident can be almost impossible since rideshare drivers are considered independent contractors. However, anyone involved in a Lyft or Uber accident deserves fair compensation.
Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you obtain maximum compensation for your injuries. The attorneys at the Curcio Law Offices will also work with the insurance agency to ensure you receive adequate coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, and more. Even if your case isn’t taken to court, having a rideshare attorney in your corner will give you peace of mind that your rights are being protected.
Rideshare Accident Damages
At Curcio Law Offices, your rideshare accident lawyer will work to recover both non-economic and economic damages for your injuries. The damages can cover everything from medical treatment to emotional distress.
Economic damages, also called special damages, can be given a monetary value and proven through records and receipts. The following are examples of economic damages:
- Medical expenses.
- Lost wages.
- Property bills.
- Physical therapy costs.
- Mobility aids, like wheelchairs, canes, and walkers.
- Funeral or burial expenses if wrongful death occurs. Be sure to contact a Chicago wrongful death attorney to learn more about your legal options and possible damages.
Non-economic damages are harder to give monetary value to since they aren’t shown through documentation. When determining the value of non-economic damages, attorneys will often bring in experts who can help provide insight into the extent of emotional damages a person has suffered. Examples of non-economic damages are:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Emotional and psychological distress
- Loss of consortium for an injured spouse
Illinois Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents
The statute of limitations in Illinois for filing a rideshare accident claim is two years from the date of the accident. If there was property damage to your vehicle, you have five years from the accident date to file. It’s important to file a claim as soon as possible to ensure you remain within the statute of limitations. A Chicago rideshare accident lawyer at the Curcio Law Offices will help you get your personal injury case started.
Call a Chicago Rideshare Accident Attorney at Curcio Law Offices Today
If you’ve been injured in a rideshare service accident, you deserve to be financially compensated for your injuries. Following an Uber or Lyft accident, a Chicago rideshare accident attorney at the Curcio Law Offices is ready to help. Your attorney will work with you to prove negligence by collecting police reports, medical records, and more.
To schedule a free consultation with a compassionate rideshare accident lawyer, call Curcio Law Offices at (312) 321-1111 today.