Ridesharing has practically replaced cabs in the Annapolis area. The ease of requesting an Uber or a Lyft has made these services extremely popular. With the popularity of both services comes an increase in accidents involving rideshares.
Both Uber and Lyft use independent contractors as drivers so the law surrounding them is complicated. If you or a loved one suffered an injury in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft, contact our Annapolis Uber + Lyft accident lawyer today. Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.
Uber and Lyft in Annapolis
Uber and Lyft use smartphone apps to link drivers with riders across the Annapolis area. Neither operates a fleet of vehicles but relies on independent drivers using their own cars. While the companies might resemble ordinary taxi services, they consider themselves a platform connecting drivers and people in need of a ride. This makes establishing liability for an accident challenging.
Causes of Uber and Lyft Accidents in Annapolis, MD
Uber and Lyft passengers face the same dangers on the road as other Annapolis drivers. Drunk driving, reckless driving, and aggressive driving all contribute to car accidents involving rideshares. However, the business model of both Uber and Lyft could present additional risks to passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.
Uber utilizes a system known as “forward dispatch” that gives a driver a new assignment before dropping off their current passenger. This system pushes drivers to get to their next location quickly, often driving aggressively to keep a potential client from waiting too long. Often, drivers are on the road for long stretches at a time, becoming fatigued and compromising their physical and mental abilities.
Uber and Lyft drivers rely on their smartphone app for potential jobs, directions, and communication with individuals who have requested a ride. Additionally, Uber and Lyft drivers are frequently required to navigate unfamiliar parts of Annapolis and the surrounding area. Any distraction from using the app might further increase the risk of an accident with another vehicle or a pedestrian.
Both Uber and Lyft have had their driver vetting process questioned. The media has reported drivers passing background checks despite DUI arrests and criminal convictions for violent offenses. While both companies have worked to address these problems, evidence suggests that some drivers slip through the cracks. If you were injured in an accident caused by an intoxicated Uber driver with a prior history of drunk driving offenses, contact our Annapolis Uber and Lyft accident attorney.
Uber and Lyft do not operate a fleet of vehicles – drivers supply their own cars. There is limited regulation on how the vehicles should be maintained. Uber has some initial requirements, including the car must be four doors, the car must transport four passengers, and the car must be 15 years old or newer. However, there are no regular inspections to ensure the vehicles used are in a safe operating condition.
Personal Injury Lawsuits in Annapolis, MD
If you were injured in a car accident, you could pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Whether the accident was caused by the Uber or Lyft driver or another driver, four elements must be established, including:
- The driver had a duty of care to drive safely and keep you from harm
- The driver breached the duty of care
- The breach of duty caused the injuries
- The injuries resulted in actual damages
Liability and Compensation in Annapolis Car Accidents involving Uber and Lyft
Passengers in an Uber struck by another car can sue the other driver or their insurance if they were at fault. If the accident was caused by the Uber driver, then things get more complicated. You should retain the services of our Annapolis Uber + Lyft accident attorney to assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.
Because Uber and Lyft use independent drivers and only provide the technical platform for connection, they will deny liability for any accident or injuries. Generally, any lawsuit filed must be against the driver and their insurance company. Our experienced Annapolis attorney will contact either Uber or Lyft to preserve any evidence that exists related to your trip and the accident.
Uber and Lyft have a third-party accident insurance policy in place. This coverage is secondary to the auto insurance carried by the driver or carried by another driver involved in the accident. An Uber passenger is covered up to $1 million in liability for bodily harm and medical expenses. However, this policy does not come into effect immediately and only kicks in if the other driver’s insurance policy has insufficient coverage. It is important to note that this coverage only goes into effect when an Uber or Lyft driver is transporting a passenger. If an accident occurs between pickups, then the coverage limit drops down to $50,000.
Call Our Annapolis Uber + Lyft Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft, contact the Law Office of Randolph Rice to discuss your options. Our Annapolis Uber + Lyft accident lawyers understand both Maryland law and the complicated insurance issues present. Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.