12.2.20

Who Is Liable If I’m Injured While Using a Rideshare Service?

You can travel almost anywhere nowadays and hail a ride through a rideshare service. Unfortunately, the safety of your ride is not guaranteed. Your Uber or Lyft driver could make a mistake that causes a serious accident. If you were injured while using a rideshares in Kansas City, someone may owe you compensation. Find out who might be liable for your injuries and losses with help from a rideshare accident attorney in Kansas City.

What Causes Rideshare Accidents?

Rideshare drivers are susceptible to the same errors as other drivers. They can make the same mistakes despite being responsible for passenger safety, such as driving while distracted, drunk or fatigued. They can also engage in reckless driving behaviors to make it to their destinations faster, including speeding, weaving through traffic and running red lights. Driver errors are a main cause of rideshare accidents in Kansas and Missouri. Many different things could cause passenger injuries.

  • Using a cellphone while driving
  • Looking at a GPS
  • Changing the radio station
  • Chatting with passengers
  • Breaking the speed limit
  • Making an illegal turn or U-turn
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Lack of vehicle maintenance
  • Roadway defects

Determining the cause of your rideshare accident is an important step in holding someone liable. Liability is something you will need to prove before you can receive a financial award for your losses, in most cases. Liability refers to someone’s legal responsibility for an accident based on that person’s negligent act or omission. While in a normal car accident, liability will generally go to the at-fault driver, rideshare accidents use different rules.

Rideshare Services and Liability

Liability is tricky in the rideshare industry. Uber and Lyft blur the lines between private rides and transportation companies. While rideshare companies hire their drivers, they use independent contractors in Kansas City, not employees. This differentiation protects Uber and Lyft from vicarious liability for the mistakes of their drivers. In other words, it is extremely difficult to hold a rideshare company liable for an accident caused by one of its drivers. That does not mean, however, that some financial responsibility will not go to the company.

All major rideshare companies have liability insurance. Uber and Lyft both have $1 million policies. This insurance will cover an injured passenger’s damages in certain windows. Both companies will pay for injured passengers’ medical bills and property losses if the rideshare driver caused the accident while logged into the app, on the way to pick up a driver or transporting a passenger. If the driver was not logged into the app at the time of the crash, however, he or she will be individually liable for damages.

Where Do You File an Insurance Claim?

If you were injured as a passenger using a rideshare service in Kansas City, four different outlets for financial recovery could be available to you. The first is a liability claim with the rideshare company’s insurance policy. The second is filing a claim with your rideshare driver’s personal car insurance policy. The third is seeking coverage through your own insurance provider. In many cases, a combination of insurance companies will chip in to cover the full amount of an injured passenger’s losses.

The fourth and final possibility is filing a lawsuit against the rideshare company directly. This is available only in limited circumstances; however, it may be possible if Uber or Lyft directly contributed to your accident, such as by hiring a driver with a known history of drunk driving. While you cannot hold the company vicariously liable for its drivers in most situations, the law in Kansas City may allow you to bring a lawsuit against Uber or Lyft for its own negligence.

Contact a rideshare accident lawyer in Kansas City right away after an injury from this type of accident. You may need a lawyer to help you navigate a complicated claim.

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