What to Know About Ridesharing Accidents in Maryland
You do not have to be a frequent user or even download a mobile app to know that ridesharing services are massively popular nationwide. What you may not know, is that according to Business Insider, Baltimore ranks #11 in terms of the highest earning cities in the U.S. for Uber and Lyft drivers, at $17.79 per hour – an amount that is 58 cents higher than the national average. Plus, additional statistics reveal that the global market for transportation network companies (TNCs) is expected to grow by more than 50% from 2020 to 2021. When you look at the earnings and potential for growth, you can see why driving for Uber, Lyft, or other ride-hailing service is an appealing way to make money.
However, the downside of the ridesharing phenomenon is the potential for tricky liability issues when car accidents occur.
How Liability Works
The legal concepts behind liability for Uber/Lyft crashes will probably seem familiar to you, since these incidents are based upon negligence. To recover compensation, you need to prove that a motorist caused the accident through a breach of the duty to drive safely. If you are the injury victim, in order to successfully assert an injury claim, you must also show that you suffered physical, financial, and emotional losses as a result of the collision.
Note that you could be hurt while riding as a passenger through ride-hailing services, but you might also be in another car when struck by a TNC driver. Liability remains the same in terms of proving the elements of negligence.
Insurance for Uber/Lyft Crashes
TNC drivers fall back on their own insurance policies when using their vehicles for private purposes; however, the TNCs themselves have insurance coverage that kicks in when an accident occurs in connection with providing ridesharing services. Uber, Lyft, and other companies maintain policies for up to $1 million per incident if a collision occurs while the TNC driver is using the mobile app.
Three Time Periods for Ridesharing Services
From the descriptions above, you can see that insurance and liability for Uber/Lyft crashes is dependent upon the TNC driver’s usage of the mobile app. There are different time periods to note:
- When the TNC driver is not logged in, he or she is not actually a TNC driver at all; the motorist has the same status as anyone else sharing the road, so you would pursue a claim directly with the at-fault driver.
- If the driver is logged in but has not yet received a pickup request, Uber and Lyft insurance policies apply to other vehicles and passengers. If you are a TNC driver, your vehicle is NOT covered.
- Where the driver is logged into the Uber/Lyft app and has a rider, the TNC insurance protects accident victims.
The Importance of Medical Care
In any type of auto crash, it is critical to seek medical treatment as soon as possible at an emergency room or urgent care facility. The road to recovery starts with diagnosis and proper care, so you can begin the healing process. Plus, getting immediate medical attention does impact your rights. Delays tell insurance claims adjusters that you were not hurt badly, otherwise you would have sought treatment right away. Because your actions could potentially reduce your monetary damages, visit a doctor the same day – or within 48 hours at most.
Compensation for Victims of Uber and Lyft Collisions
If you were injured as a ridesharing passenger or an occupant of another car, your first step in the legal process is filing an insurance claim with the Uber/Lyft policy – assuming the at-fault TNC driver was logged into the mobile app. The stakes are high with $1 million in coverage, so you can expect to encounter some challenges with the claims process. The insurer may deny your claim by deflecting blame on you or another road user; if you do receive a counteroffer, it may be far too low to compensate you for your losses.
If you are unable to resolve your claim through a settlement agreement, you will need to file a lawsuit in court to recover fair monetary damages. Whether through settlement or litigation, the goal is to recover compensation for such losses as:
- Medical costs, including surgery, hospitalization, physical therapy, treatment from specialists, and related expenses;
- Lost income, if you were unable to work because of your ridesharing accident injuries;
- Pain and suffering;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Emotional distress;
- Losses based upon how your injuries affect your personal relationships; and,
- Many other amounts, depending upon your circumstances.
Your Rights After a Pedestrian or Bicycle Ridesharing Accident
It is important to keep in mind that you also have legal options if you were struck by a TNC motorist while walking or riding your bike. As long as the Uber or Lyft driver was logged in, you are covered under the TNC insurance policy. You can recover for your injuries by filing a claim through the same process described above, and you may be entitled to many of the same monetary damages for your losses.