Ridesharing and Increasing Accident Rates
The increasing popularity of companies like Lyft and Uber create more opportunities for people to get where they want to go, in a way that is faster and more convenient than ever before. People are using these services more than ever, which is creating new developments in the legal world.
By 2016, drivers for Uber and Lyft have collectively driven over 500 million miles each month within the entire United States. There are studies that show that, although these companies are bringing a new level of convenience to transportation, the services provided come at a cost.
When these rideshare companies come to a new city, there is a drastic increase in the rate of fatal accidents observed. This is according to studies out of the University of Chicago as well as Rice University in Houston, both prestigious universities. The researchers discovered that there was a quantifiable 3 percent increase in fatal accidents and serious injuries after these companies were introduced to the region.
In the event that you or a loved one has been recently injured in a ridesharing crash or accident, you should reach out to a qualified lawyer in the Salt Lake City area in order to discuss the nature of your case.
The services provided by rideshare companies involves helping everyday people commute from one area to another conveniently and at a small expense. On the flipside, they also offer a hardworking individual a way to earn some extra income or make a living. The more shocking aspect is that these conveniences can be measured by human lives through the increasing rate of fatal accidents that take lives.
Research indicates that these companies have cost the U.S. economy at least $10 billion simply through the loss of life.
However, major ridesharing companies have often challenged the claims made in the studies. It is true that aspects of these studies could be in error due to methods taken to gather data.
Uber specifically claims that their team of experts analyzed the documents in order to determine any flaws in the studies. Lyft has also made comments questioning the validity of these reports, stating that they are deeply flawed and based on an inadequate methodology to provide conclusions.
These companies have also pointed out how the influence of rideshare companies has a direct correlation with a reduction in DUIs in areas where they operate. There are also claims that ridesharing services improve overall community mobility, especially in underserved parts of the town or city.
Overall, the studies are not attempting to discredit ridesharing companies. They are simply saying that there are now more cars on the road than ever before, and this creates scenarios where accidents can increase.
What Happens After an Accident Involving a Rideshare Company
Regardless of the relation to ridesharing companies and increased accident rates, it goes without saying that these companies are a new development in the legal world as well as in society. These services pair private owners of vehicles with people who are looking to go somewhere. The driver of the vehicle will find the passenger using the company’s application. This app will let the driver know where to pick up the person looking for a ride, and then they are able to accept or decline to give them a ride. If they accept, the app then lets the driver know where the individual is wanting to go. The driver will then bring the passenger to their desired location.
The complication comes in how drivers for these companies are recognized by their parent organizations. Rideshare companies do not consider their drivers to be direct employees for the agency. They see them as independent contractors. These drivers have simple requirements, including having state-insurance for their vehicles. This personal insurance is only intended to cover the driver while they are operating a motor vehicle for their own personal reasons. But when these drivers are operating on the rideshare app, they become a contractor working for a larger company.
Things are complicated because drivers at rideshare organizations are only covered by their insurance until they take on a client or passenger. If you are involved in a crash with a rideshare driver at this step of the process, you only need to sue the driver personally for expenses and damages sustained. In the event that the person is acting as a driver for the company, the insurance company for the driver may argue that they were operating for a commercial entity. In this case, the insurance company may deny any right to a claim and could possibly terminate their policy with the involved driver. This could be solved by filing a suit as a personal injury claim, suing the individual for their assets. You could also rely on an uninsured motorist policy or MedPay to cover some of the expenses.
Outside of the driver’s own insurance policy, the rideshare company will have a policy valued at a around $1 million in order to cover damages that are outside of the driver’s personal policy. In the event that the driver’s policy denies this claim, the rideshare entity has a policy that could maybe cover the rest of the expenses.
Ridesharing Crashes in Utah
Uber drivers exceed the number of accidents that are experienced by regular cabs. There were at least 10 fatalities due to Uber drivers in the year 2016. With more and more rideshare drivers on the roadways, there are more cars to cause accidents, and more are being reported every year. If you or someone you care about has been injured in the result of an Uber or ridesharing accident due to another individual’s negligence, you may be able to receive some form of compensation for your financial losses. You should discuss your case with an experienced legal professional today in order to make sure your rights are protected.
Siegfried & Jensen have recovered over $850 million for our valuable clients. Contact us at (801) 845-9000 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case with an experienced Utah car crash attorney today.