Uber/ Lyft Accidents
Atlanta Uber/ Lyft Accidents Attorney
There is no doubt that the rideshare industry has left an impact on society. Studies have shown that DUI arrests have decreased since the popularity of these companies have grown. However, an increasing number of Uber/ Lyft accidents are occurring where drivers were either transporting passengers via Uber or Lyft, or where drivers were delivering food via Uber Eats or other modern food delivery services.
According to a 2018 study from the University of Chicago and Rice University, the increased use of ride-sharing services has contributed to an additional 1,100 traffic fatalities a year since 2011.
The national study reviewed statistics on fatal traffic accident rates in several U.S. cities from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and compared them with the dates Uber or Lyft launched in each specific city. The use of Uber and Lyft amounted to an average increase of traffic deaths by 2% to 3%.
Our Increasing Use of Uber and Lyft
If fatalities have increased over this time, it stands to reason that nonfatal crashes have also increased. This trend only appears to continue upward, as Americans are using Uber and Lyft in higher numbers each year.
Business insider reported that in early March 2020, Lyft set records for customer journeys and sales, even as coronavirus fears sparked the fastest stock-market correction in more than 80 years. “Last week, it was markets in free fall, fear, paranoia about coronavirus in the United States,” Brian Roberts, the ride-hailing startup’s finance chief, said at a technology conference on Tuesday. “Last week was our single biggest week in our history in terms of both revenue and rides. On the positive side, we believe people would be more likely to use ride-share than a crowded bus or subway,” he wrote. “On the negative side, less travel could lead to fewer high-value airport rides and there could just be less business activity overall.”
Uber Eats, the company’s food-delivery arm, might actually benefit from the prospect that more people may choose to remain in their homes to avoid contracting the virus. Uber shares were up 4% in one day in early March of 2020.
What this means for the general public is that more cars, especially from Uber and Lyft, will be on the road for the foreseeable future.
Uber and Lyft Explained
Uber and Lyft, the top two ride-hailing services in the US, together essentially comprise a duopoly.
Uber Technologies, Inc., referred to publicly as Uber, is an American-based billion dollar grossing rideshare company offering a wide range of services that include ridesharing, food delivery via Uber Eats, and even a micro mobility system with electric bikes and scooters. The company is based in San Francisco and has operations in nearly 800 metro areas worldwide.
As of 2019, Uber is estimated to have over 110 million worldwide users. In the United States, a 67% market share for ride-sharing in early 2019 and a 24% market share for food delivery in 2018. As of this date, Uber may have a value as high as $100 billion.
Lyft, Inc. is a ridesharing company that is also based in San Francisco, California and provides ridesharing in more than 600 metro areas in the United State and 12 metros in Canada. Lyft also provides car rides, scooters, food delivery, and even a bicycle-sharing service. Lyft is the second-largest ridesharing company in the United States with an increasing market share behind Uber, according to Second Measure. Although Uber is the dominant market leader in the rideshare industry, Lyft is second with a company valuation of approximately $15 billion.
Other Transportation Companies / Agencies
Some taxicab companies are independently owned small businesses with only one taxicab and driver, but many cab companies have fleets of 100 or more taxicabs. Drivers are rarely employees of the company, and usually lease the taxicab on a day-to-day basis. However, in some cases, cabs can also be owned by separately-incorporated small businesses that subscribe to a dispatch service, in which case the company logo on the door is that of the dispatch association. The owner/driver will pay a monthly fee to the taxicab company; purchase and maintain his own vehicle; and may in turn lease shifts to other drivers.
This distinction can be important, as independent operators do not have the deep pockets and insurance coverage that corporations have. If a direct employer-employee relationship can be established, this means that you may be entitled to substantially more money to pay you for your medical bills, pain and suffering, future medical bills and other consequential damages caused by an accident you may have sustained in a car accident involving an Uber/Lyft vehicle.
Fulton County School Bus
The Fulton County School Bus system is just one of the many Georgia county public bus systems that are tasked with the responsibility to deliver students safely to their destinations on time and in a frame of mind ready to learn. The Fulton County Bus system drives over 786 school buses a total of over 1 million route miles monthly. The system transports more than 78,000 students twice a day
If your child is injured in a school bus accident, Lyft/Uber accident, or in any accident or situation involving a personal injury for that matter, you have the right to sue on behalf of your child’s medical bills, pain and suffering, and any other category of damages for which any adult would have the right to make a claim for.
Furthermore, O.C.G.A. § 33-24-51 provides that statutory immunity is waived to the extent that insurance coverage is purchased by governmental agencies. Although exceptions sometimes apply, most governmental agencies secure insurance coverage for drivers of vehicles that come into contact with city and county vehicles, as well as passengers inside the vehicle in which travel occurs. Contact the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel if you need assistance with a claim against a city, county, or state vehicle in the State of Georgia.
It is also important to note that under O.C.G.A.§ 9-3-90, A minor’s claim for pain, suffering and future medical expense and income loss after reaching the age of majority is subject to a two year limitation period starting on the 18th birthday, so the deadline to file that suit is the 20th birthday. So for example, if your child was thirteen years old at the time she was injured in a motor vehicle collision involving any type of vehicle, you have until your child’s 20th birthday before your child’s claim is barred by the statute of limitations.
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA)
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is the principal public transportation operator for the metro Atlanta area. MARTA operates a network of bus routes that are connected to a rapid transit system that is comprised of 38 train stations. It ranks #8 in terms of largest rapid transit systems in the United States by ridership.
MARTA operates almost exclusively in Fulton, Clayton, and DeKalb counties, and maintains a bus service to Cobb County and the Cumberland Transfer Center. MARTA also operates Mobility, a separate transit service for disabled customers. As of 2014, the average total daily ridership for the system (bus and rail) was 432,900 passengers.
Company Liability and Access to Uber/ Lyft Insurance Coverage
If you are injured by the negligence of someone who was driving for either Uber or Lyft, depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to sue on account of your Uber/ Lyft accidents and recover damages from their employer pursuant to various theories of liability, as these accidents often occur when the driver is acting within the course and scope of their employment.
In many cases involving a Georgia Uber accident, people who are injured in car accidents as an Uber passenger have access to $1 million in liability insurance coverage, or alternatively, $1 million in uninsured motorist coverage. Likewise, people involved in a Georgia Lyft accident as a passenger in many cases have access to $1 million in liability insurance coverage and $1 million in uninsured motorist coverage. This does not mean that anyone injured in Uber/ Lyft accidents will get $1 million simply because of injury in a car accident, as your injuries need to warrant such a settlement, and you need a skilled advocate on your behalf who has experience obtaining settlements of over $1 million.
However, It is important that an attorney know when the at-fault driver was driving for either Uber or Lyft, because potentially far more insurance coverage is available when the driver has insurance coverage from either ride-share company.
In the rideshare industry, it is increasingly popular for Uber/ Lyft drivers to transport passengers and deliver food as a way to make additional money after their work has ended from their primary employer. As such, rideshare drivers often have challenging schedules that include drivers driving while they are tired and sleep-deprived. These factors can expose others in their car as passengers and others on the road to an unreasonable risk of harm.
Uber/ Lyft are also liable in a case where the driver was driving for either company under legal theories of vicarious liability and/ or negligent hiring. The theory of vicarious liability states that a company is liable for the negligent acts of its employee. The theory of negligent hiring applies when the company could have decided not to hire the driver if it had taken reasonable steps in screening the ride-share driver’s past driving record. For instance, if the driver had a history of driving while intoxicated or an extensive history of causing motor vehicle collisions, then the company may be held liable for negligently hiring a driver with a history of driving infractions.
Is My Uber/ Lyft Accidents Case any Different from A “Normal” Car Accident Case?
In many ways, the claim handling process is the same as it would be for a car accident case between two individual car insurance policies. However, litigation is when the process is different when dealing with rideshare companies. Certain immunities and defenses are always raised by these rideshare companies. For example, the big battle with both companies is often whether either rideshare company is an employer or an independent contractor of each rideshare driver.
If Uber/Lyft are able to convince a court that their drivers are independent contractors, then by logic their commercial policies would not apply to your medical bills or pain and suffering. So when filing a lawsuit against either rideshare company, a lot is at stake. So you need an experienced attorney to help you out when it’s time to file a lawsuit against either rideshare company to make sure that you get the compensation you deserve.
What Is My Case Worth?
There is no doubt that the addition of a corporate rideshare defendant adds to the claim value of your car accident claim. Notwithstanding, the value of Uber/Lyft accidents always depends on a number of factors, as no two cases are exactly the same. The most common factors affecting the value of a case include the amount of medical bills, type of medical treatment needed, duration of medical treatment, extent of time missed from work, whether permanent bodily impairment exists, whether surgery has occurred or is recommended, the potential venue for the lawsuit.
While keeping all of these factors in mind, it is important to note that there is no set formula for figuring out the claims value of a motor vehicle accident claim. The subjectivity comes applies when considering what a jury might do when determining the extent of your pain and suffering and other damages that do not have a fixed dollar amount.
I Was A Passenger in An Uber/Lyft Accident. Who Do I Make A Claim Against?
The good news about Uber/ Lyft accidents claims is that as a passenger, you’re never at fault. Sometimes the car accident will be due to the fault of your own Uber/Lyft driver, but that doesn’t reduce the amount of money that you’re able to recover from your Uber/Lyft claim. That’s between the insurance company for the Uber/Lyft driver and the insurance company for the other driver to sort out.
What If Neither Driver Received A Ticket?
As long as one driver is truly at fault for your car accident, you should be able to establish your entitlement to money for your medical bills and injuries. There are cases where the responding officer believed the other driver to be at fault, but via officer discretion decided not to issue a ticket. While the responding officer is vital to creating a neutral account of the causes of the motor vehicle collision, the officer is almost never an eyewitness to the collision.
What If Both Drivers Received A Ticket?
If both drivers are at fault, then you have two liability insurance policies that you are able to pursue. In some ways, this may make your case more complicated due to both parties attempting to deflect fault from one another. However, you should eventually have your claim covered from one, if not both policies.
Do I Have A Case If My Uber/ Lyft Driver Was Partly At Fault?
If your rideshare driver was at fault, then you have a claim against your rideshare driver. When in doubt about whether you have a car accident case, you should always consult with an attorney. Our attorney-client consultations are free, so there is no harm in speaking with an attorney to determine whether you still have a case, despite what you may think about your role in contributing to the car accident. In some cases, even if you are partly at-fault for your car accident, you may still be able to recovery money from your car accident case.
What Should I Do Right After My Uber/ Lyft Accidents?
Check for the condition of your rideshare driver, other passengers in the car with you, and if safe, make sure the other driver is also physically in a stable condition. If the cars are in a safe place, then call the police. If for whatever reason both drivers decide not to call the police, you can call the police as a passenger so a responding officer can draft a police report.
Do NOT provide a recorded statement at the scene of the accident. Immediately seek medical attention after the responding police officer concludes their investigation of the collision scene and provides you with a police report number. Be sure to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician, or another doctor within your health insurance network who customarily treats people who have been injured in car accidents.
Do Not Leave the Scene of Your Uber/ Lyft Accidents
The rideshare industry has gained popularity for its ability to get people to destinations quickly. You may not have a property damage claim, but you need to stay at the accident scene to have your name documented on the police report as having been part of the motor vehicle collision.
What If the Other Driver’s Insurance Company Calls Me?
Regardless of whether you have your own attorney, you are under no obligation to speak to the other driver’s insurance company. And you have nothing to benefit from speaking to the other driver’s insurance representative. If you are not represented by an attorney by the time the other driver’s insurance company calls, simply tell the insurance rep that you do not wish to answer any questions about how the accident occurred or about your injuries that have resulted from the wreck. If you are represented by an attorney, simply inform the insurance adjuster that you are represented by counsel, and the adjuster should cease questioning you about the car wreck.
Will My Bills Be Covered if My Uber/ Lyft Driver Caused the Collision?
More good news about Uber/ Lyft accidents is that insurance coverage is often not limited when an insurance policy for either of these rideshare companies are involved. Both rideshare companies are corporations that carry substantial amounts of liability and uninsured motorist coverage for passengers in their respective vehicles.
Statute of Limitations in Uber/ Lyft Lawsuits – Georgia
Statutes of limitations are statutes that provide for the deadline to file a lawsuit. If you fail to file a lawsuit within the time provided by the time period required for your case, you lose the right to recover for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and any other category of recovery.
In most cases, Georgia drivers have two years from the date of the collision to settle their claim or file a lawsuit. In cases where the minor is the claimant, the deadline to file is tolled, or in other words delayed, until the minor reaches the age of 18. In cases where the underlying tort is prosecuted as a crime, tolling provisions also apply. Tolling also applies when either the claimant or at-fault driver has died.
In Louisiana, the general rule that personal injury claims need to be filed within one year of the date of the incident causing your injuries applies to claims against Uber/ Lyft.
Given the importance of filing a timely claim, we encourage you to get in touch with the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC as soon as possible. We will evaluate your car accident injury claims and — if we take you on as a client — will file a lawsuit in a Georgia or Louisiana court of law on your behalf.
Contact the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel for a Free and Confidential Consultation
The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC is a personal injury firm with experience handling Uber/ Lyft cases, as well as cases involving school buses and other commercial vehicles. Successfully resolving cases such as these requires a deep understanding of the hierarchies of responsibility that contributed to or otherwise influenced the collision.
We are a fundamentally client-oriented firm. We closely collaborate with our clients and take the time to learn about their goals and concerns. This informational advantage enables us to act swiftly and decisively when opportunities arise in litigation.
Find out if you have a case. Call 404-549-6742 or submit a case evaluation form online to request a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Atlanta personal injury lawyer at the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC today.