Over the past several years, ridesharing companies have grown considerably popular because of their convenience and promptness. However, as more and more people use ridesharing services, traffic accident statistics have increased as well. In fact, the popularity of ridesharing apps has led to an increase in fatal car wrecks by almost three percent, according to researchers at the University of Chicago.
A ridesharing accident can be caused by several factors. For any injured driver or passenger, seeking compensation for damages can get quite complex. Since many parties are involved in a ridesharing accident, it can be difficult to determine liability, insurance coverage, and what course of action to take. Knowing the state traffic laws, detailed documentation, and contacting a knowledgeable car accident attorney are just a few vital steps an injured victim can take to receive proper compensation.
Are the Drivers Liable for Ridesharing Accidents?
The most common ridesharing services have many similarities. Although they are similar to a taxi service, their drivers are independent contractors. The drivers carry their own personal car insurance, and they are responsible for maintaining their own vehicles.
If a ridesharing driver causes an accident but is not logged into their app or they are driving with a passenger, they are likely covered by their own insurance policy. An accident in this scenario is treated like any other; the liable driver’s auto policy will provide coverage for the damages. However, it is different if the driver was working at the time of the accident.
The driver is working as soon as they pick up a passenger. If an accident occurs, the driver’s personal insurance policy will not apply. Most personal insurance policies do not cover a driver for business use unless they carry a commercial policy or have a special provision.
Does the Ridesharing Service Cover Damages?
If the accident happens when the driver is working, damages may be covered by the ridesharing company’s liability coverage. However, coverage will depend on certain circumstances. Even though ridesharing companies offer $1 million of liability coverage for their drivers, what stage the driver was in will determine the amount:
- Period 0: This period applies when the driver is not logged into their associated app and there is no passenger. The driver will be covered under their own insurance policy during this period.
- Period 1: This applies when the driver is logged into the app and is waiting for a trip request. At this time, there is only limited liability coverage, which is limited to $100,000 per accident, with $25,000 maximum for property damages, and $50,000 for medical expenses for each person.
- Period 2: This period is when the driver has accepted a trip request and is travelling to the passenger. Liability coverage then increases to $1 million.
- Period 3: This is the final period; the passenger has been picked up and both the driver and passenger are heading towards the destination. This also includes $1 million liability coverage.
Proving the ridesharing company is liable for a car accident can be difficult. The injured party must properly document everything that is applicable to the accident, such as photographs and videos of the scene, witness accounts, and what period the ridesharing driver was in.
What Causes Ridesharing Accidents?
Before using a ridesharing service, it is important to have a good understanding on why these accidents happen. As with any car accident, there are different factors that likely contribute to ridesharing accidents. Below are common causes of ridesharing accidents.
Distracted Driving: Distracted driving is a dangerous possibility. The driver’s dependency on using the app can hinder their ability to drive safely. Even though the driver may be accustomed to multitasking, there is still a chance they take their eyes off the road.
Driver Fatigue: A ridesharing driver may be pushing to drive even though they are fatigued. Drowsy driving is extremely dangerous. Recent studies have shown that driver fatigue is just as dangerous as driving under the influence.
Reckless Driving: When a trip request is activated, drivers in the area must act accordingly to get the trip and get paid, which can lead to reckless driving. Reckless driving includes speeding, disobeying traffic signals, tailgating, and otherwise erratic driving behaviors.
Improper Maintenance: A driver may improperly maintain their vehicle, which can lead to an accident.
If an accident happens, it is vital to follow specific procedures safely and accurately. The first action is to ensure everyone involved in the accident is safe and to check for injuries. After securing the scene, properly document with photographs, videos, and witness accounts. It is best to contact 9-1-1; the police report normally helps with determining liability. Additionally, seek medical assistance right away, and contact a car accident attorney immediately.
Huntsville Car Accident Attorneys at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. Help Ridesharing Accident Victims Receive Compensation for Injuries
Although ridesharing companies are popular, they still pose risks. If you were injured by a negligent ridesharing driver, contact a Huntsville car accident attorney at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. today. Call us at 256-539-3110 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Huntsville and Athens, Alabama, we serve clients throughout North Alabama, Madison County, Limestone County, Marshall County, Jackson County, Morgan County, and Lauderdale County.