With the recent advent of Uber, Lyft, and a number of smaller ride-share companies, a new category of car accidents and personal injuries has come into being. As usual, J&Y is on the cutting-edge of personal injury issues, well-prepared and available to assist clients who have difficulties as a result of shared-ride incidents. Though a great many people depend on ride sharing, finding it both safe and cost-effective, those who have problems with such services may feel less protected than those who use traditional taxis and car services. This is where J&Y comes in. We are always ready to take your side and vigorously defend your rights when ride sharing difficulties arise.
Apparent Advantages of Ride Sharing
Both Uber (est. 2009) and Lyft (est. 2012) were designed around the premise that patrons would be able to hail a car electronically and view its progress on a smartphone app. This system offers many apparent advantages to the consumer, including:
- Quicker availability of transportation
- Cheaper costs than traditional taxis
- No tipping
- Option of even cheaper carpool-like trips
- Lack of necessity to wait outside in inclement weather
- Ability to order a particular type of available car, such as an SUV
- Prearranged deducted payment from a credit card
Both companies have been very successful, though Uber is still way ahead of Lyft in terms of numbers of customers.
Insurance for Ride Sharing
Both Uber and Lyft are connected with insurance companies that settle their claims, the former with James River Insurance and the latter with York Insurance. As with other driver’s insurance, however, it is often necessary for those who suffer personal injuries in ride-share vehicles to take legal action with the expert assistance of a personal injury attorney in order to receive the full compensation they deserve.
Requirements for Uber and Lyft Drivers
In order to be a driver for either Uber or Lyft, drivers must meet the following criteria:
- Be at least 21 years of age at the time of application
- Have a valid U.S. driver’s license
- Have at least 3 years of driving experience
- Have a clean driving record
- Pass a background check
- Have a car that seats 4 or more (excluding the driver), and passes a company inspection
- Have in-state plates and current car registration
In spite of these precautions, Uber and Lyft take, however, there are some ways in which these companies are less proactive than traditional taxi-cab companies.
Risks of Ride Sharing
Controversy surrounds the safety of ride-sharing in contrast to traditional cab transportation, especially in terms of tests the various drivers have to undergo. The primary concern is that in many places, including California, Uber and Lyft drivers do not have to be fingerprinted as other cab drivers do. Uber insists that its drivers are safer than traditional cabbies and that it fires drivers who accumulate poor feedback (unlike traditional cabbies, these drivers are rated by their customers) or records of accidents. Nonetheless, government officials emphasize that there is a deterrent effect to being required to undergo a national background check. Any additional risk may be perceived in the fact that drivers hired by Uber and Lyft are never personally interviewed.
While to date there does not appear to be a comprehensive list of car accidents or crimes involving ride-sharing vehicles, some feel that such accidents occur more frequently than has been reported. In addition, there have been reports of many injuries and fatalities involving Uber and Lyft drivers, as well as incidents of threatened and/or actual theft, kidnapping, and physical and sexual assault. There have also been cases in which imposters with ill intent have posed as drivers employed by Uber or Lyft. Until further research is done, it is unclear how the risk or riding in a traditional taxi compares to the risk of ride sharing. This is why it is important to be aware of the risks in ride sharing as well as in other forms of public transportation. Though hopefully, you will never need a personal injury attorney as a result of ridesharing, it is reassuring to know that J&Y is always ready to have your back. Contact our ride sharing accident attorney today!