Rideshares have become a popular mode of transportation for Gaithersburg residents. The ease of and convenience of Lyft and Uber has not only increased the number of passengers using the service, it has also increased the number of accidents involving rideshares. Neither Uber or Lyft maintain a fleet of vehicles, they rely on drivers using their app to connect with people who need rides. People in search of rides use the free smartphone apps to request rides throughout Gaithersburg and surrounding area easily. Likewise, drivers monitor their smartphone apps to find Gaithersburg residents seeking their services. Both Uber and Lyft consider themselves a technology platform, providing a means for people to connect. Furthermore, they consider their drivers independent contractors, which makes holding the companies liable for any accidents or injuries difficult.
Because Lyft and Uber use independent contractors as drivers, the liability law surrounding car accidents can be challenging. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident involving a Lyft or Uber, contact our Gaithersburg Uber + Lyft accident lawyer today. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.
How Uber and Lyft Accidents Occur in Gaithersburg, MD
If you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft, you face the same risks of being in a car accident as other Gaithersburg drivers. Car accidents occur for a wide variety of reasons, including a motorist driving impaired, drivers failing to pay attention to traffic signs, and even poorly maintained roads. However, it is possible that Uber and Lyft drivers’ conduct specific to their job also contributes to the risks to passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.
Part of the Uber and Lyft business model is providing fast and reliable service to their riders. Drivers are encouraged not to allow potential passengers to wait long for a ride. This is partially accomplished by a system known as “forward dispatch.” A Lyft or Uber driver will accept a new request from a client before they have dropped off their current passenger. Often, an Uber driver will speed or drive aggressively to pick up their next passenger, endangering other drivers and pedestrians.
Drivers use their smartphone apps for several reasons. They will see prospective jobs, confirm rides with potential passengers, and use the map function to navigate around unknown areas. Because their attention is focused on the app, Uber and Lyft drivers are often driving distractedly, putting their passengers and others at risk.
The more rides Uber and Lyft drivers provide, the more money they make. To earn any significant amount of income requires completing many trips. Therefore, Uber and Lyft drivers are often spending many hours on the road. Long shifts could result in fatigue, impairing both the mental and physical abilities of a driver who has worked a long shift.
Uber and Lyft drivers are personally responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of their vehicles. Both companies do require an annual inspection and have prerequisites for any vehicle used. However, the constant wear on a vehicle due to the miles driven could compromise the safety and function of the car well before the annual inspection. Drivers could be driving passengers around with faulty brakes or other mechanical issues that put the passenger and others at risk.
Personal Injury Lawsuits for Gaithersburg Uber and Lyft Accidents
If you sustain any injuries in an automobile accident, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other monetary and noneconomic damages. In Maryland, you must show several elements to be successful, including:
- Showing a duty of care
- Proving that the duty was breached
- The breach caused your injuries
- You suffered actual damages
Liability and Compensation in Gaithersburg Car Accidents Involving Uber and Lyft
Usually, if you are in a car accident, you can sue the driver who was at fault, along with their insurance company. This is also the case if you were in an Uber or Lyft that was struck by a negligent driver. However, if the Uber or Lyft driver was at fault, the situation becomes more complicated. It is vital to retain the services of our Gaithersburg Uber + Lyft accident lawyer.
It is difficult to hold Uber or Lyft liable because they treat their drivers as independent contractors. However, Lyft and Uber carry third-party accident insurance that covers up to $1 million in liability for bodily harm and medical expenses. This coverage only goes into effect if the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage is not enough to cover your medical costs.
This secondary insurance only covers people injured when a driver is transporting a passenger. If an injury occurs while the Lyft or Uber driver is driving between jobs, the coverage drops down to $50,000.
Call Our Gaithersburg 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 Gaithersburg Uber + Lyft accident lawyers 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.