Companies like Uber and Lyft have disrupted the traditional models of transportation. Rather than relying on taxis and car services, people can now use a convenient app to get where they need to go. Yet there is some debate on if ridesharing apps and services contribute to car accidents rather than preventing them. It’s something we at Bowles & Verna LLP take very seriously, especially given how common these apps are in San Francisco, CA and throughout the Bay Area.
Attorneys Richard T. Bowles and Michael P. Verna would like to go over some of the common concerns people have about ridesharing accidents. We’ll also note legal options if you are involved in a crash with an Uber or Lyft.
Are There Statistics on Rideshare Crashes?
As of now, there are no reliable statistics on ridesharing and auto accidents. Part of the reason for this is how new rideshare apps are. When law enforcement gathers information about a crash, they do not always note that a vehicle was associated with a ridesharing company.
Now that ridesharing is a daily reality, we hope that better numbers will be kept on accidents moving forward. Reliable figures on these matters will help determine whether or not ridesharing is really making our roads safer or simply causing new and unforeseen consequences.
Common Causes of Ridesharing Accidents
Ridesharing accidents may be caused by the same things that lead to other auto accidents. This might include:
- Running red lights
- Reckless driving
- Cellphone use behind the wheel
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Vehicle maintenance issues
- Poor weather
- Bad road conditions
Potential Issues with the Ridesharing Driver
Sometimes there are important issues to consider with the Uber or Lyft driver. Namely, the ridesharing driver may have a poor safety record, including a history of arrests for reckless driving, drunk driving, and other moving violations.
Generally, ridesharing companies screen their employees to make sure they are safe and able to operate a vehicle without causing harm to passengers and others on the road. If the ridesharing company is negligent in their screening process, dangerous drivers could wind up on the road putting countless others at risk for hours at a time.
What to Do After a Uber/Lyft Accident
Following an Uber or Lyft accident, it’s important that you do the following:
- Get contact information from all parties involved
- Call 911 to file a formal report of the incident
- Take photos and/or video to document the crash
- Speak with witnesses of the accident and get their information
- Seek medial attention if you are injured in the collision
Can I Sue the Ridesharing Company?
This is where legal matters can get tricky. Most drivers for ridesharing companies are independent contractors, which puts liability primarily on the drivers themselves rather than the company that they work for.
Determining liability in these cases can be difficult, especially if both the driver or the ridesharing company hold some of the blame for an accident. For instance, if a ridesharing service was negligent in screening and hiring the driver, shouldn’t they be held accountable for employing a dangerous motorist?
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
Since laws on ridesharing are still evolving, it’s imperative to hire an experienced auto accident lawyer to discuss your case. They can go over evidence and consider state and federal statutes regarding vehicle accidents and liability of independent contractors.
As we help you navigate the legal issues related to rideshare crashes, we will provide peace of mind through all phases of the legal process.
Contact Bowles & Verna LLP
For more information about your legal rights and options following a ridesharing auto collision, be sure to contact Bowles & Verna LLP. Our legal team is here to help you and your loved ones by offering sound legal counsel. You can reach our office by calling 925-935-3300.