By offering passengers ready access to clean, comfortable, and cost-effective rideshare services, Uber and Lyft have become dominant players in the on-demand transportation sector. With billions of dollars in market capitalization between them, Uber and Lyft have succeeded in attracting more drivers and passengers, increasing traffic volume throughout Northern and Southern California, as well as throughout the nation.
Now that Uber and Lyft have several years of service under their belts, the results of a variety of traffic studies are in: the growth of rideshare services has led to increased traffic congestion and decreased reliance on public transportation. The end result has been a concomitant increase in traffic accidents, injuries, and fatalities. In other words, the public is paying a serious price for the convenience of rideshare services. If you have been injured in an Uber or Lyft accident, it is crucial to work with the right ridesharing accident attorney.
California’s Premier Rideshare Accident Law Firm
At J&Y Law, we are well-versed in the applicable negligence laws and insurance rules governing Uber and Lyft accidents. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to file a claim under Uber or Lyft’s liability insurance or the rideshare driver’s personal automobile insurance. Uber and Lyft accident claims can become even more difficult to unravel if another motorist caused or contributed to the accident.
Regardless of the circumstances of your Uber or Lyft Accident, J&Y has the necessary skills and resources to handle rideshare accident claims. We have a proven history of winning significant settlements and jury awards on behalf of our clients.
The Grim Statistics of Uber and Lyft Accidents
According to a recent study by the University of Chicago and Rice University, the rise of ridesharing services has resulted in a 2-to-3 percent increase in traffic fatalities nationwide since 2011 — the year that Uber launched. That amounts to an additional 1,100 deaths per year. Before 2011 and for 20 or so years prior, the rate of motor vehicle accident fatalities steadily declined. The long downward trend in motor vehicle accident fatalities reversed after the introduction of rideshare services in major U.S. cities.
The study, which relied on accident statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), found that there were 32,885 traffic fatalities in 2010, the lowest number since 1949. In 2017, there were 37,461 traffic deaths, with increased fatalities for passenger vehicle occupants, pedestrians, bicyclists, occupants of large trucks, and motorcyclists.
Researchers believe that the reversal is partly linked to the increase in new vehicle registration and the number of vehicle miles on the road since the introduction of ridesharing services. By comparing the NHTSA accident statistics with the dates Uber or Lyft launched in a specific city, and cross-referencing accident rates in those cities with vehicle miles traveled, researchers noted a significant increase in accident rates in cities across the board. In San Francisco, for example, traffic fatalities fell to their lowest number before Uber launched in 2010, but ramped up shortly after the company began offering rideshare services.
While the increase in vehicle registrations during the study period obviously indicates more Uber and Lyft drivers are on the road, they are also spending more time traveling on the roads. In addition to traveling to retrieve passengers or transporting passengers, the study notes that rideshare drivers spend 40 to 60 percent of their time searching for passengers, a practice known as deadheading. In any event, all of these factors contribute to increased traffic congestion — a leading reason behind the rise of motor vehicle accidents.
Recovering Damages in an Uber or Lyft Accident
Because rideshare driver are independent contractors, Uber and Lyft often seek to avoid liability for accidents caused by their drivers. Nonetheless, there are legal remedies if you have been injured as as a Uber of Lyft passenger or in a collision with a rideshare vehicle. Under the personal injury laws of California, it is possible to file a lawsuit after a Uber of Lyft accident, however, obtaining coverage depends on whether:
- The rideshare driver was logged onto the app and being connected to a passenger
- The rideshare driver was traveling to retrieve the passenger
- The Uber or Lyft driver was taking a passenger to his or her destination
If the app is off, the rideshare driver’s personal automobile insurance is intended to be the primary coverage. If the rideshare app is on, but the driver has not been connected to a passenger, the driver must have liability coverage above the minimum required amount. Uber and Lyft are also required to provide an additional $200,000 on liability insurance. When a passenger is being transported, however, Uber and Lyft must carry a mandatory minimum of $1 million in liability insurance. This is intended to be the primary coverage for damages, provided that the app is turned on. If the rideshare driver is at fault for the accident and the app is off, Uber and Lyft will seek to avoid liability at all costs.
Why Call J&Y Law Firm After an Uber or Lyft Accident?
Recovering damages in an Uber or Lyft accident is complicated, which makes it crucial to have the aggressive legal representation J&Y Law is prepared to provide. Our attorneys will personally handle your claim, conduct an extensive investigation, determine who is at fault for the rideshare accident that caused your injuries, and explore all of your options for obtaining compensation. If you or a loved one has been injured in an Uber or Lyft accident, don’t be a statistic. Contact J&Y Law to learn how we can help.