It may come as a surprise to many, but the rate of traffic fatalities in the United States since the advent of the rideshare industry has statistically gone up.
A study performed at Chicago Booth found that vehicular fatalities and fatal accidents increased approximately 3 percent with arrival of Uber and Lyft. Entitled “The Cost of Convenience: Ridesharing and Traffic Fatalities,” by John Barrios, Assistant Professor of Accounting, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, this revealing report is one of the rare studies in economic academia that has analyzed the significant increase in car accidents as a result of the proliferation of rideshare companies. The study looked at highly populated metropolitan cities in the US, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C, gathered quantitative data concerning auto accidents and compared that data in date ranges correlating with the usage of Uber and Lyft.
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You can find the 2019 report here. The study’s takeaway summarized as follows:
The number of US roadway deaths stood at 32,885 in 2010, its lowest level since 1949. That number increased to 37,461 in 2016. This research reveals that the introduction of ridesharing services accounts for a roughly 3 percent annual increase in those fatalities, or 987 people each year
Although other reports determine differently. Entitled “Uber and Metropolitan Traffic Fatalities in the United States” by Nozi Brazil and David Kirk, this report finds that the deployment of Uber or Lyft in a metropolitan area had an association with the number of fatalities. Nevertheless, much credit should be given to Professor Barrios for taking the initiative to quantify and process such important information concerning rideshare accidents because, as we know, modern history tells us that companies will release certain technologies and takes the “see how it goes” approach, as required by any innovation in American history.
Anyhow, we know how the economy has changed and Uber and Lyft has likely caused the rate of automobile accidents to increase in metropolitan cities. Now, if you are the unfortunate victim in one of these accidents, whether as an Uber or Lyft user/passenger or partner/driver, you may wonder why you even need an attorney if a seemingly friendly contact at Allstate Insurance Company, Progressive Insurance Company, or another insurance corporation is reaching out to you to “help” you adjust your claim.
You Should Hire an Uber or Lyft Accident Lawyer Right Away
If you have been seriously injured in an Uber or Lyft accident, there is hope for you to recover your outstanding medical bills and wage loss and other compensation which you are entitled to under the law. Certain states require notice of an injury within a finite period of time, similar to if you were injured on a cruiseship like a Carnival Cruise Line, where you have but months to file a claim. For instance, in New Orleans, an Uber lawsuit must be filed within a month of the car accident. This date is regarded as the statute of limitations and is a dead-end in your case. If the date is blown, so is your case.
Don’t be discouraged by the statute of limitations in your case. Our Uber and Lyft accident attorneys are licensed in each of their respective states, received their juris doctorates and passed the respective bar examination of their states, thereby becoming officers of the court of their state. A lawyer will be able to assist you in building your case before the statute of limitations passes, and if necessary, file the claim to proceed formally as a lawsuit in the state court or federal court where the accident occurred.
How an Uber or Lyft Accident Lawyer Can Help
Whether you have a minor injury from a whiplash you sustained in a rear-end collision or had surgery following an Uber Accident, economic statistics tell us that having a lawyer representing you will almost certainly put more money in your pocket, even assuming that the lawyer will take the standard 33% out of the recovery!
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Having an attorney at your side will not only help to reduce the uncertainty and stress that the accident has already created, but will also ensure that you are given a fair shot at a reasonable recovery. Not only that, but Uber and Lyft Accidents are uniquely interesting automobile accidents because they can involve suing several companies with different insurance policies. Uber and Lyft are required to maintain commercial automobile insurance policies while the rideshare driver is on the application platform. Thus, you may have a claim, not only against a person’s personal auto policy, but also the rideshare commercial insurance company. When you are dealing with a hit-and-run in an Uber or Lyft, then you definitely need the knowledge of a rideshare lawyer because uninsured coverage associated with personal and commercial policies may be your saving grace.
Filing Your Lawsuit
Filing a lawsuit against the driver of a vehicle in an Uber or Lyft crash may involve filing against several parties. Especially if the crash was caused due to an unsafe environment caused by the app’s requirement to ping new passengers, there may be a lawsuit directly against the rideshare company, even though the driver/partner is not considered an employee under the law. Consult an attorney to figure out the targets of liability to recover the damages you have sustained in the crash.
Uber / Lyft Evidence and E-Discovery
One of the most interesting parts of Uber and Lyft accident litigation is the whopping amount of electronic data stored by these companies collecting the times that a driver signs on and off of the app. In order to prove the moment of when an accident happened, which determines the period and corresponding insurance policy available in the accident, the insurance company will pull the records showing when the driver signed on and signed out of the app to start driving for the day.
This is just one of the many investigations that must be undertaken by a personal injury lawyer. When it comes to rideshare litigation, the number of question marks just goes up. It is up to your lawyer to put in the initiative and effort to work your case up to make a representation to the insurance company that the case should be valued at, let’s say $500,000.00 for a back injury, because, due to the hard work of the attorney, the proof is in the pudding. And a filed action in court would just validate that number by the time it reaches a judge or jury.
Accepting a Settlement before Trial
Remember that you are the client; as an attorney, we are estopped from making settlement decisions without the authorization of the client. Our job is to work up the case the best we can and present you with the best offer before filing the case in court. Never be too shy to reach your attorney or her secretary if you have a question.
It is very common that a client wishes to take what is offered just to move on with their life, but that is highly not advisable. You must allow your attorney win you a recovery that is a fair and reasonable recovery on your behalf.
Types of Damages
Different states allow for different types of damages. Reach out to our Uber and Lyft accident attorneys to determine which damages are available to you. As a generality, many states offer economic, noneconomic, and punitive damages to a tort victim. Each will be quickly summed up below.
One of the first damages that we are asked about by our client is wage loss. This is the loss of income that you would have otherwise made, had you not been injured. Wage loss, in order to be proved, is allowable in cases where a doctor writes you a letter of disability. That disability letter may have conditions of the disability and a date range of the disability. Of course before you claim wage loss from not working, you need to know which entity to proceed against in your rideshare action.
It is especially important to note that your case may qualify for loss of earning capacity, which basically means that you suffered a serious injury from your Uber/Lyft accident, and you are estopped from returning to your normal job. In situations like this, the tortfeasor may be required to cover your future wage loss.
People know of non-economic damages as pain and suffering. Most states allow for past and future physical and mental pain and suffering. This may also include mental anguish. Testimony of family members and friends can be used to prove the effects of the accident on your life.Moreover, your spouse may have a claim for loss of consortium if the accident has caused marital strain in the form of loss of companionship.