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Auto Accidents / Jul 01,2024

The Dangers of Distracted Driving in Rideshares

Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft have revolutionized transportation, offering a convenient and supposedly safe alternative to taxis. But what happens when a rideshare accident occurs, and distracted driving by the driver is to blame?

This blog explores the dangers of distracted driving in rideshares, the legal landscape for seeking compensation, and what to do after a rideshare accident.

How Common Are Rideshare Accidents?

Unfortunately, rideshare accidents are becoming increasingly common. While specific data is still emerging, a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found a significant rise in traffic accidents in cities with a high concentration of rideshare vehicles.

Common Distractions for Rideshare Drivers 

Rideshare drivers face a unique set of distractions on the road compared to regular drivers. Unlike someone on a typical commute, they're constantly managing an app, navigating unfamiliar routes, and potentially interacting with passengers. This juggling act can lead to several dangerous situations. 

One major distraction is phone use. Rideshare drivers rely on navigation apps to get passengers to their destinations, and they may also need to text with passengers about pickup locations or special requests. This constant need to glance down at the phone takes their focus away from the road and surrounding traffic.

Furthermore, the very nature of the job can introduce other distractions. Eating a quick meal or grabbing a drink behind the wheel might seem harmless, but it can take a driver's attention away from critical maneuvers. Additionally, rideshare drivers often work long hours, especially during peak periods. This can lead to drowsiness, which significantly impairs reaction time and increases the risk of accidents. Finally, even the process of picking up and dropping off passengers can be distracting. Stopping at curbs, managing luggage, and interacting with people getting in and out of the vehicle can take a driver's eyes off the road for crucial moments.

The Legal Landscape of Rideshare Accidents

The legal landscape of rideshare accidents can be complex due to the involvement of multiple parties and insurance policies. Unlike traditional car accidents, rideshare accidents might involve the rideshare driver, the passenger, the other driver on the road, and the rideshare company itself. Determining who is liable depends on the specific circumstances.

A crucial factor is the rideshare driver's app status at the time of the accident. If the app was offline, the driver's personal insurance would likely be primary. However, when the app is on and waiting for a ride request, the rideshare company's primary insurance kicks in. The most coverage applies when the driver has a passenger on board, with the rideshare company providing a higher-limit insurance policy.

Another layer of complexity involves shared fault. If another driver caused the accident, you might have a claim against their insurance on top of the rideshare company's policy. This is why having a skilled rideshare accident attorney is crucial. They can navigate the legalities of your case, investigate the cause of the accident, and fight to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.

Understanding Rideshare Insurance Coverage

Rideshare insurance coverage can be a bit of a maze, but understanding the basics can help you navigate a situation if you're ever in a rideshare accident. Here's a breakdown:

It's All About App Status: The key factor determining which insurance applies lies in the rideshare driver's app status at the time of the accident. There are three main stages:

  • Offline: If the driver wasn't using the rideshare app and available for rides, their personal car insurance is the primary coverage.
  • Waiting for a Ride Request: When the app is on and waiting for a passenger, the rideshare company's primary insurance takes over. This coverage typically offers minimum liability limits.
  • On a Trip with a Passenger: This provides the most coverage. Once a rideshare driver has a passenger in the car, the rideshare company usually steps in with a higher-limit insurance policy.

Sharing the Responsibility: In some cases, the rideshare driver might not be solely at fault. If another driver caused the accident, you may be able to file a claim against their insurance as well. This is where a rideshare accident attorney can be invaluable. They can investigate the cause of the accident and determine which insurance policies should be involved.

Sharing Fault with the Other Driver

Not all rideshare accidents are caused solely by the rideshare driver. The legal responsibility can be shared in situations where another driver's negligence contributed to the accident. Imagine a scenario where you're a passenger in a rideshare and the driver is following all traffic laws. If a speeding car runs a red light and T-bones your rideshare vehicle, the other driver would likely be found primarily at fault.

In such cases, you might have the right to file a claim against the at-fault driver's insurance company. This can be particularly helpful if the rideshare company's insurance has limited coverage or doesn't fully compensate you for your injuries. Determining fault can be complex, and evidence plays a crucial role. This is why consulting a rideshare accident attorney is highly recommended. They can investigate the accident, gather evidence, and fight to ensure you receive fair compensation from all parties responsible for your injuries.

What to Do After a Rideshare Accident

Being in a rideshare accident can be a scary and confusing experience. Here's a step-by-step guide on what to do if you're ever involved in one:

  1. Seek Medical Attention
  2. Document the Scene
  3. Report the Accident
  4. Gather Evidence
  5. Contact a Rideshare Accident Attorney

Why Choose Flesch Law Firm for Your Rideshare Accident Case?

At Flesch Law Firm, we understand the complexities of rideshare accident claims. We have extensive experience in personal injury law and a proven track record of success in securing fair compensation for our clients.

We have a team of lawyers specifically focused on rideshare accidents, with a deep understanding of the unique legal issues involved. We fight tirelessly to protect your rights and maximize your recovery. We understand the physical and emotional toll an accident takes. We offer personalized attention and support throughout the entire legal process. 

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