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Taking an Uber or Lyft is often a safer choice than driving in the city – especially if you plan on drinking. Yet not all rideshare experiences in Las Vegas are good ones. All too often, riders find themselves in insurance battles after Uber or Lyft accidents. These crashes are different from typical collisions because they involve companies and hired drivers. Contact our attorneys for advice if you have been in a car accident as a rider or driver of a rideshare vehicle. You may need help with your insurance claim or a representative during a personal injury case.
Uber and Lyft have made serious waves in the transportation industry in almost every major city since their development several years ago. Las Vegas is no exception. With millions of riders worldwide, these apps have transformed the way the modern consumer gets around. Learning more about Uber and Lyft can help you become an educated rider. Here’s a snapshot of Uber and Lyft’s history in Las Vegas:
Uber and Lyft’s histories have not been without controversies. There have been dozens of reported rideshare crashes throughout the country, including in Las Vegas. On top of motor vehicle accidents, Uber and Lyft have been the center of news stories regarding driver assault and other criminal acts. According to Who’s Driving You, there have been more than 400 alleged rideshare incidents since the companies’ debuts. These include 304 alleged sexual assaults and harassments, 69 alleged assaults by drivers, 11 alleged kidnappings, and 29 deaths.
When a rideshare vehicle gets into an accident, it can be difficult to understand who will pay for your personal injuries and/or property damage. Car accidents are confusing enough as it is without having to deal with a rideshare company and hired driver. Uber and Lyft both use independent contractors as drivers. This means they are not technically employees of the company, and therefore Uber and Lyft are not vicariously liable as the drivers’ employers. Yet this does not bar the companies from liability.
Uber and Lyft carry $1 million insurance policies for damages to drivers and riders. To recover under the company’s insurer, your ride must qualify under the policy. Luckily, this is typically easy as a rider – the insurance plan will kick in as long as the driver was signed into the app and on an active trip at the time of the collision. If the driver was not logged into the app on his/her way to pick up a requested rider or transporting a rider, the insurance policy will not cover damages.
After an Uber or Lyft accident, you will report what happened to the company. From there, the company will have its insurer investigate your claim and provide coverage if applicable. You may find yourself in a situation where this amount doesn’t cover all your damages or the insurer denies your claim. In these cases, speak to a car accident attorney in Las Vegas. You may be eligible to file a personal injury claim against the driver, Uber/Lyft, or a third party such as another driver or product manufacturer. A civil claim will often result in greater compensation than an insurance settlement.
Getting into a fender bender or a more severe crash while ridesharing around Las Vegas can do more than put a damper on your vacation – it can land you in the hospital, with significant medical bills and missed time at work. Serious injuries, such as broken bones or concussions may take weeks or months to heal. Some people never fully recover from these wrecks, and live with permanent disabilities. Others have lost their loved ones in Uber and Lyft accidents. Directly after a collision, there are things you can do to protect your rights:
From the time a driver logs into the Uber app until the driver accepts a trip, Uber provides liability coverage of at least $50,000 for driver bodily injury, $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 to others’ property damage. From the time the driver accepts the trip until the driver drops the rider off at his or her destination, Uber provides at least $1,000,000 in primary automobile liability coverage per accident and $1,000,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. This policy also provides collision and comprehensive coverage, depending on the accident.
Lyft’s policy is similar. There are four types of coverage included on the policy: contingent liability, primary automobile liability, contingent comprehensive and collision, and uninsured/underinsured motorist. The policy will only cover damages if the driver is in “Driver Mode” waiting for a ride request, driving to the rider, or transporting the rider. Both Uber and Lyft provide ways to report accidents within the app, online, or via customer service phone numbers.
Report the incident to the company using the instructions as soon as possible after a rideshare crash. Your driver should also report the crash, but don’t count on him to do so. Give the facts about the accident as you know them. Wait for the insurance company’s claims adjuster to call you back about the crash. If you suffered personal injuries, you should receive a settlement offer. Feel free to speak to an attorney in Las Vegas before accepting. The company may be offering less than your damages.
Uber and Lyft maintain policies that limit who can become a driver. They base their decision on the applicant’s past criminal and driving records. Unlike taxicab companies, Uber and Lyft do not look at a comprehensive record of the applicant’s entire life. Instead, they look at just the last seven years. This means that if a person had a driving-related conviction such as a hit-and-run or DUI eight years ago, he or she could drive for Uber and Lyft today. Neither company interviews its applicants in person before hiring. Many believe the rideshare companies’ lax hiring criteria have contributed to the number of accidents and alleged assaults by drivers.
Drivers also need vehicles that fulfill certain safety standards. For Uber, the vehicle must be a four-door car, truck, or minivan. The vehicle must pass an Uber inspection. Vehicles can be as old as 2001, depending on the model. To drive for Lyft, vehicles must be 2005 or newer. In Las Vegas, vehicles must be at least 2008. Every year, Uber and Lyft update their requirements to newer-model vehicles. The driver must be on the insurance policy for the vehicle for both companies. There are state and local rideshare laws that drivers may also have to obey, as well as qualifications they may need to fulfill.
Uber and Lyft do not regularly inspect or maintain drivers’ vehicles. These tasks are up to the driver. This leaves room for negligent vehicle maintenance and related accidents, such as dangerous tire blowouts. Drivers are their own employees, meaning they are responsible for their own driving behaviors. Like other people, negligent Uber and Lyft drivers can drive drowsy, drunk, or distracted – risking the lives of riders and others on the roadway. If you get into an accident as a driver or rider in Las Vegas, you may need help from an experienced attorney.
At Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, we offer free case evaluations. You can speak with one of our competent attorneys at no obligation to retain our firm. A single conversation could open your eyes to your legal options, such as pursuing compensation through a personal injury claim in Las Vegas. This might be the case if someone else’s negligence caused your crash, such as the Uber/Lyft driver, another driver, or a hazardous roadway condition. It’s worthwhile to contact us after a rideshare crash. Call (702) 333-7777 to speak with one of our Las Vegas car accident attorneys today.