Ridesharing has become a cornerstone of modern transportation in Tulsa. These apps promise more than just convenience; they have the potential to make our roads safer by reducing the number of impaired or distracted drivers. Despite their many benefits, however, the prevalence of these services also means that car accidents involving rideshares are on the rise. When such incidents occur, they bring with them a tangle of legal questions about liability and insurance coverage.
Recovering from physical injuries is stressful enough. Dealing with complicated laws and stubborn insurers makes it even worse. That’s why it’s important to secure skilled legal representation. At Carr & Carr, our Tulsa rideshare accident attorneys are committed to protecting your rights and ensuring that you receive the full compensation you are entitled to for the harm you’ve endured.
Why Hire Carr & Carr for Your Tulsa Rideshare Accident Claim?
- Years of Experience: Our law firm focuses on personal injury claims, including those arising from rideshare accidents. This focus has allowed us to develop refined expertise in the evolving regulations that govern rideshare companies and their insurance policies.
- Client-Centered Approach: We pride ourselves on our commitment to our clients. At Carr & Carr, you’re not just a case number—you’re an individual with a unique story and specific needs.
- Resourceful and Resilient Representation: When you hire Carr & Carr, you’re securing a team with the resources to take on big rideshare companies and their insurance carriers. We are prepared to go the distance, whether that means negotiating a settlement or fighting for you in court.
- No Recovery, No Fee Commitment: We operate on a contingency fee basis. In other words, our clients pay no upfront costs, and we only charge legal fees if we are able to recover damages for you.
Liability in Ridesharing Accidents
A collision involving a ridesharing service, such as Uber or Lyft, can leave you wondering who is responsible for your injuries. Whether the responsibility falls on the driver’s personal insurance company or on the rideshare company’s insurer is often determined by the specific details of the accident.
Uber, for instance, has established clear guidelines regarding its insurance coverage:
- App On, No Passenger: When the Uber app is “on” and the driver is logged in to take fares, both Uber’s contingent liability coverage and the driver’s personal auto insurance policy may come into play. Coverage in this scenario can include up to $25,000 for property damage and up to $100,000 for injuries per accident.
- Driver En Route or With Passenger: The moment an Uber driver accepts a trip and during all phases of the ride until its completion, the company’s commercial insurance policy is active. This provides up to $1 million in third-party liability and an additional $1 million in uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
- App Off, Not Working for Uber: When the Uber app is off, the driver is not considered to be working for Uber. Consequently, only the driver’s personal auto insurance applies in the event of an accident.
Lyft has implemented a similar policy, distinguishing coverage based on whether a driver is considered to be on the clock or off-duty.
In instances where neither the Uber nor Lyft driver is at fault, liability shifts to the at-fault party’s insurance. Should that party be uninsured or inadequately insured, both Uber and Lyft offer protection through their uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage which could extend to the driver, the passenger, or both, depending on the situation.
Compensation in a Rideshare Accident
If you’ve been involved in a rideshare accident as a driver, passenger, or a third party, you may be entitled to financial compensation for the injuries and losses you’ve sustained. They include:
- Medical Expenses: You can be compensated for all medical-related costs, including hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and any long-term healthcare needs resulting from the accident.
- Lost Wages: If your injuries have caused you to miss work, you can claim compensation for lost income. If your injuries affect your ability to work in the future, you may also be entitled to compensation for loss of earning capacity.
- Pain and Suffering: This covers the physical pain and emotional distress you’ve experienced because of the accident. Although more subjective, pain and suffering can be a significant part of your claim.
- Property Damage: If your vehicle or any personal property was damaged as a result of the rideshare accident, you could receive compensation for repairs or replacement.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Injuries can sometimes prevent you from enjoying day-to-day activities or hobbies you once participated in, for which you can seek compensation.
- Punitive Damages: In cases where the at-fault party’s actions were especially reckless, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future.
The compensation you may receive depends on several factors, including:
- The severity of your injuries.
- The impact of the injuries on your daily life.
- The total amount of medical bills and related expenses.
- The insurance policies of the parties involved.
- The determination of liability in the accident.
As mentioned, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have their own insurance policies that can provide coverage under certain conditions based on the driver’s status at the time of the accident. Understanding these policies and when they apply is crucial in determining how much compensation you may be entitled to and from whom.
Common Causes of Rideshare Accidents in Tulsa
Rideshare accidents can occur for a multitude of reasons, reflecting both the challenges of navigating our city’s streets and the pressure on rideshare drivers to meet the demands of a fast-paced work environment. Here are several prevalent factors that contribute to these incidents:
- Distracted Driving: Rideshare drivers, like all road users, can be distracted, especially as they use the app to accept rides, navigate to destinations, or manage their trip logs. This divided attention can lead to critical oversights and delayed reactions to traffic conditions.
- Fatigue: With the flexibility of rideshare driving often comes the temptation to work longer hours for more earnings, leading to driver fatigue. Tired drivers are less alert and have slower reaction times, which significantly increases the risk of accidents.
- Speeding: In an effort to maximize income by completing more trips, some rideshare drivers may exceed speed limits, making it more difficult to control the vehicle and increasing both the likelihood and severity of accidents.
- Poor Vehicle Maintenance: Rideshare vehicles are subject to significant wear and tear. Failure to regularly maintain these vehicles can lead to critical malfunctions, from brake failure to tire blowouts, ultimately causing accidents.
- Road Conditions: Tulsa’s varied weather and road conditions can also be a factor. Sudden storms, icy roads, and poorly maintained streets can catch any driver off guard, especially those who may be focusing on their navigation screens instead of the road ahead.
- Impaired Driving: While rideshare companies have policies against driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there are unfortunate instances where a rideshare driver may be impaired, endangering the lives of passengers and others on the road.
- Aggressive Driving: The stress of keeping to a tight schedule and dealing with difficult passengers or heavy traffic can lead to aggressive driving behaviors, such as tailgating, unsafe lane changes, and failing to yield the right of way.
If you have been involved in a rideshare accident in Tulsa, understanding these causes is critical when pursuing a claim for your injuries and losses.
What are Common Rideshare Injuries?
The injuries sustained in Uber and Lyft accidents can be as varied as those in any car accident and may range from minor to severe. Here are some common injuries that passengers, drivers, and third parties may experience as a result of a ridesharing accident:
- Broken Bones
- Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
- Lacerations and Bruises
- Internal Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis
- Psychological Trauma
- Soft Tissue Injuries
At Carr & Carr, we understand the gravity of these injuries and the impact they can have on your life. If you have been injured in a rideshare accident, it is important to get a thorough medical evaluation and speak with a personal injury attorney to understand your rights and options.
Do I Need a Tulsa Rideshare Accident Attorney?
Although you aren’t legally obligated to hire a personal injury lawyer, there are several compelling reasons why you should. They include:
- Rideshare accidents often involve multiple insurance carriers, including the driver’s personal insurance and the rideshare company’s policy. An attorney can help you understand these policies and determine which insurance applies to your situation.
- Liability in rideshare accidents can be complicated. An experienced attorney can investigate the accident, gather evidence, and work to establish who is at fault.
- An attorney can assess the full extent of your damages and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure you receive full and fair compensation for your injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
- If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your attorney can represent you in court. They will prepare your case for trial and advocate for your best interests, seeking the compensation you deserve.
- There are strict deadlines for filing a personal injury lawsuit in the state of Oklahoma. An attorney can help ensure that all legal actions are taken within the required timeframe.
Dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be stressful. An attorney can handle the legal aspects of your claim, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
Will My Rideshare Accident Case Go to Court?
Most personal injury claims are settled through negotiation. Whether your rideshare accident case will go to court depends on various factors, including the willingness of the involved parties to negotiate, the clarity of liability, and the extent of your damages. Here’s an overview of what might influence the outcome of your case:
- Settlement Negotiations: Most personal injury claims, including those involving rideshare accidents, are settled out of court. Insurance companies often prefer to negotiate a settlement to avoid the costs and uncertainties of a trial.
- Dispute Over Liability: If there is a clear dispute over who is at fault, or if the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit to protect your interests.
- Severity of Injuries: Cases involving severe or catastrophic injuries may have higher stakes and more substantial claims, which can sometimes be challenging to settle without litigation.
- Insurance Company Response: Sometimes, an insurance company may not offer a settlement that covers all of your damages. If they are unwilling to provide a reasonable amount, taking the case to court might be the best option to seek full compensation.
Your attorney will advise on the best legal strategy for your specific case. If they believe that going to court will yield a better outcome for you, they may recommend taking that step. It is important to note that filing a lawsuit does not always mean your case will go to trial: often, filing shows the insurance company you are serious, which can lead to more favorable settlement negotiations. Cases that do proceed to court can still be settled before the trial date, or even during the trial itself.
Get a Free Consultation From a Tulsa Rideshare Attorney
As rideshare vehicles become more prevalent on Tulsa’s streets, the convenience promise meets the reality of risk, with both riders and drivers being affected by accidents. If you are injured in a rideshare incident, our Tulsa car accident attorneys are here to guide you toward compensation and recovery. To learn more or schedule a free initial consultation, contact us today.