Uber and Lyft have become more popular over the years. Columbia, Maryland residents use these services to get to work, shop, or get home after a night out on the town. The simplicity of requesting a ride has led to greater demand for these services, but along with the increased use of Lyft and Uber has come an increase in car accidents involving rideshares.
Because Uber and Lyft use independent contractors as drivers, the liability law surrounding accidents involving these drivers can be complicated. If you or a loved one was injured in a Lyft or Uber accident, contact our Columbia, MD Uber and Lyft accident lawyer today. Contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.
Uber and Lyft in Columbia, MD
Ease of use has made both Lyft and Uber popular services in the Columbia area. By using an app on a mobile device, people in search of a ride can connect with Uber or Lyft drivers. Neither company maintains a fleet of vehicles or employs drivers. Instead, each driver is considered an independent contractor. Because both Lyft and Uber consider themselves to be technology platforms connecting people, establishing liability in the event of an accident is challenging.
Common Reasons for Uber and Lyft Accidents in Columbia, Maryland
Passengers in Uber or Lyft vehicles face the same dangers as other Columbia drivers. Reckless driving, drunk driving, road rage, and careless driving all contribute to accidents involving Lyft and Uber drivers. However, it is possible that the way in which Uber and Lyft conduct their business poses added risks for passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.
Because Uber and Lyft want to provide riders with quick service, drivers are usually given a new assignment before they have dropped their current passenger off. This system, known as “forward dispatch,” adds an incentive for a driver to get to their next location quickly. Often, an Uber driver will drive more aggressively to ensure their next client will not wait too long.
The smartphone app is at the heart of ridesharing for both riders and drivers. Uber and Lyft drivers use the app to confirm new assignments, communicate with clients, and obtain directional assistance. Because drivers frequently navigate through unfamiliar neighborhoods, they often keep their eyes focused on their app. This distracted driving puts passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians at risk.
While Uber and Lyft do not employ drivers, they still perform background checks on the drivers who want to use their platforms. If the background check is not thorough or is negligently completed, drivers with DUI convictions or violent criminal records could be overlooked. If you were in an accident caused by a drunk Lyft or Uber driver with a history of DUI arrests, call our Columbia Uber + Lyft accident lawyer.
While taxi services regularly maintain and inspect the vehicles used in their fleets, drivers for Uber and Lyft supply their own cars. Outside of some prerequisites both companies have for utilizing their platforms, there is no system used to monitor the conditions of the vehicles used for these services. Accidents and injuries could occur due to poor maintenance on the car. For example, the amount and type of driving could severely wear down the vehicle’s brakes, creating an unreasonable risk for passengers and other drivers.
Earning money driving for Lyft and Uber requires spending many hours on the road, sometimes late at night. Because of this, rideshare drivers are often fatigued, compromising their mental and physical abilities.
Personal Injury Lawsuits Against Uber or Lyft Drivers in Columbia, MD
You might be able to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit if you were injured in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver. To prevail in your personal injury suit, four elements must be shown:
- The driver owed you a duty of care.
- The driver violated that duty of care.
- This breach of duty caused your injuries.
- These injuries resulted in actual damages.
Liability and Compensation in Columbia, MD Uber + Lyft Accidents
If you were in an Uber or Lyft accident caused by another driver, you might be able to sue the other driver and their insurance company to gain compensation for any injuries you sustained or damages you incurred. However, if an Uber or Lyft driver caused the accident, the situation is more complicated. Our Columbia MD Uber and Lyft accident lawyer will assist you in pursuing your personal injury lawsuit.
Generally, a lawsuit must be filed against the driver and their insurance company after an accident. Our seasoned Columbia car accident attorney will request that Uber or Lyft preserve any evidence related to your accident, including any communication with the driver or information saved in the app. Because these drivers are considered independent contractors, it is difficult to hold Uber or Lyft responsible for an accident.
However, Uber and Lyft carry third-party accident insurance that covers up to $1 million in liability for medical expenses and bodily harm. It is important to note that this coverage is secondary to the insurance carried by any other driver involved in the accident, meaning that it only goes into effect if that driver’s insurance coverage is insufficient. Additionally, the insurance coverage is only used when a driver is transporting a rideshare passenger. If an accident or injury occurs while the Uber or Lyft driver is between assignments, the coverage drops down to $50,000.
Call Our Colombia, MD Uber + Lyft Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice to discuss your options. Our Columbia, Maryland Uber + Lyft accident attorneys have years of experience with both Maryland personal injury law and insurance issues. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.