As rideshare services, like Uber and Lyft, become increasingly common, so too does the risk of being involved in an accident with one of these vehicles. According to a study from the University of Chicago and Rice University, traffic fatalities in the U.S. have risen by about 2 – 3% since the introduction of rideshare apps. While this may sound like a small increase at first glance, it equates to over 1,000 additional deaths on U.S. roadways every year.
If you were injured or if your loved one was killed in an accident with an Uber, Lyft, or similar rideshare vehicle, you may have several options when it comes to recovering compensation for your medical bills, vehicle damage, lost wages, and other damages. At Pringle & Herigstad, P.C., our North Dakota rideshare accident attorneys have extensive experience in this relatively new area of law. We draw on a reputation we have earned over more than 100 years in practice, as well as a long history of success in complex car accident claims, to provide our clients with the detailed, personalized, and aggressive legal representation they need.
Can You Sue Your Rideshare Driver After An Accident?
Most often, victims who are injured in motor vehicle accidents with Uber and Lyft drivers can recover compensation by filing personal injury protection (PIP) claims with their own auto insurance providers. Because North Dakota follows a no-fault system, you do not need to prove that the rideshare driver (or another party) was to blame for the crash in order to receive payments. However, PIP coverage is limited and does not provide compensation for all types of losses. Specifically, it does not cover non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.
In some cases, it may be necessary/appropriate to step outside the state’s no-fault system and bring a lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver. However, in accident cases involving Lyft and Uber drivers, this process becomes even more complicated.
Because Uber and Lyft drivers are driving on behalf of their respective rideshare companies, it may be possible to file a lawsuit against the company itself, rather than or in addition to the driver. This can be tricky, however, as most rideshare companies classify their drivers as independent contractors, not employees, thereby limiting the company’s liability. We strongly recommend that you speak to an experienced attorney who knows how to handle rideshare accident claims and who has a history of successfully taking on major rideshare companies, like Uber and Lyft.
Compensation for Rideshare Accident Victims
Although Uber, Lyft, and other major rideshare companies typically classify their drivers as independent contractors in an effort to limit liability, these companies do still provide coverage for those injured in accidents caused by their drivers. The amount of coverage available depends on the “driving period” in which the accident occurred.
Uber and Lyft designate the following four driving periods:
- Period 0: The driver does not have the rideshare app turned on and is not actively working on behalf of the rideshare company
- Period 1: The driver has the app turned on and is waiting for a ride request but has not yet accepted a ride
- Period 2: The driver has the app turned on and has accepted a ride request but does not yet have the passenger in the vehicle
- Period 3: The driver has the app turned on, has accepted a ride request, and has the passenger in the vehicle
In period 0, both Uber and Lyft do not offer any coverage. If you are injured by a rideshare driver who is not actively using the app at the time of the crash, you can file a standard car accident claim and seek compensation in the same way you would with any other typical motor vehicle crash.
Once the rideshare driver turns on the app, Uber and Lyft’s coverage go into effect. In period 1, Uber and Lyft offer limited coverage for bodily injury, death, and property damage per person and per accident. In period 2 and 3, when the rideshare driver has accepted a ride—regardless of whether the passenger is in the vehicle or not—Uber and Lyft offer up to $1 million in coverage.
Again, in order to file a claim or lawsuit with Uber or Lyft, you will need to go outside the no-fault system. This involves proving that you suffered serious/significant injuries and/or that your medical bills exceeded $2,500. The rule of comparative fault will also apply; under North Dakota’s rule of modified comparative fault, you will need to prove that the rideshare driver was not only at fault for the accident, but also that they were 50% or more to blame.
Put a Powerful Legal Team on Your Side
Rideshare accident claims are a complex and relatively new area of personal injury law. If you or someone you love was involved in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, it is important that you talk to a lawyer with experience handling these types of cases.
At Pringle & Herigstad, P.C., we have been fighting for the injured since 1909. Our firm has earned a reputation for providing a high level of client service backed by decades of success. Our attorneys continuously remain up to date on new areas of personal injury litigation and stay abreast of cutting-edge changes to the law. When it comes to helping you get back on your feet after a serious accident, we have what it takes to effectively advocate for you.
We have two offices located in Minot and Grand Forks and provide all our personal injury services on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not owe any upfront or out-of-pocket expenses when you hire our firm. Instead, our attorneys only collect fees if they recover a settlement or verdict for you.
Get in touch with us today at (855) 245-5100 to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our North Dakota rideshare accident attorneys.