In recent years, ride-sharing services drastically changed the way many of us get around. A few years ago, they didn’t exist, and now they’re everywhere. Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, and who knows how many other companies offer taxi-like services that are app-based. You download an application on your smartphone for one of these ride-sharing services, and suddenly you can call for a car at will just by punching a few buttons on your phone. The ability to summon a ride using your smartphone is revolutionizing urban transportation. Suburban and rural areas also are seeing the impact, but urban areas are the primary domain of app-based ride-sharing services.
Unfortunately, drivers who are working for ride-sharing services get into accidents just like anyone else, sometimes with disastrous consequences. If you have been injured by a ride-sharing driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Call Slappey & Sadd today to schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney today.The Pros and Cons of Ride-Sharing Services
You no longer need to call a cab company on the phone or wave your arm to hail a cab, the way traditional taxi services have always worked. No longer are you required to pay government-mandated taxi fares. Sure, you could take the bus, or the subway, or even a limousine. But those options could be more expensive, or less convenient, or not even take you where you want to go, even if those options exist where you live. Ride-sharing services have made transportation as easy as pulling out your smartphone and tapping a few times. Approximately one in five Americans have used a ride-sharing service such as Uber, Lyft or other similar services.
So you have easy access to quick, generally courteous service, usually costing less than the same trip using a conventional taxi – often far less. What is there to complain about? If your service is not courteous, or quick, you can give your driver a bad rating – something that is not available when you take a taxi. No matter how nasty your cab driver is, you can’t give him a rating. With ride-share services, you can, and you can decline to take a ride from a driver with bad ratings. In fact, most often, drivers who get bad ratings are fired by the ride-share service. They can afford to keep only the best drivers.
Unfortunately, whether you are taking a taxi or a ride-sharing service, you are riding in an automobile. Cars get into traffic accidents. It’s a fact of life. So what happens to ride-share passengers if the ride-share car in which they are riding gets in a traffic accident, regardless of who is at fault, and one or more of the passengers is injured?No One Knows if Using a Ride-Sharing Service is More or Less Likely to Result in a Traffic Accident
Many people are curious as to whether drivers working for ride-sharing companies are more likely to get into accidents than other drivers. The Chicago Tribune tried to determine whether ride-share services are more or less likely to be involved in traffic accidents and found that statistics on ride-share accidents simply don’t exist. Ride-share services don't release such statistics, and most government agencies don't collect such information relating to injuries and fatalities resulting from traffic accidents involving ride-share services. In fact, it is not clear that any government agencies track such statistics specifically for ride-share services. Data regarding ride-sharing accident are apparently simply included in statistics covering all traffic accidents.Major Ride-Share Services Insure Their Drivers While on Assignment
Ride-share services cover their drivers with 3rd-party liability insurance while they are on assignment or waiting to accept a ride. In either case, if the driver is involved in an accident that is his or her fault, anyone who is injured – whether a passenger, another motorist, a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or anyone else – will likely be able to make a claim on the company’s policy.
While the major ride-sharing companies provide their drivers with fairly generous liability policies serious traffic accident injuries can result in medical costs, lost wages, and other damages that can far exceed even those generous liability limits. If you suffer injuries that exceed the ride-share service’s policy limits, you will run into legal roadblocks. Ride-share services, including Uber and Lyft, contend that their drivers are independent contractors and that the ride-share services are not liable for the negligence of their drivers. At least one federal court has upheld this argument. Further, when you download a ride-share service's app, you might not notice, but the legal language when you install the app states that you agree to arbitration of any claims against the ride-share service. Many claims against ride-share companies have been sent to arbitration by the courts.
Just as in any auto accident, a ride-share accident can leave a passenger with significant injuries through no fault of their own. Your damages could exceed even the seemingly generous liability policies provided by major ride-share services.
- Brain and head injuries are common in traffic accidents. Severe brain injuries require long-term care and potentially cause permanent disabilities.
- Severe neck, back, or spinal cord injuries, another significant risk in traffic accidents, can result in lifelong disabilities including paralysis. Once again, long-term care can enter the equation and can require long-term specialized care.
- Internal injuries such as broken bones, punctured lungs, or severe damage to major organs can be life-threatening and result in multiple surgeries, lengthy hospitalizations, extended time out of work, and the need for long-term physical therapy. Those costs will mount quickly.
If you suffer severe injuries in a ride-share accident that are likely to result in damages that exceed the liability policy of the ride-share service – lost wages, medical care, and other damages -- it would be wise to seek legal counsel to explore your options.Contact an Atlanta Ride-Sharing Accident Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you have been involved in an accident while using a ride-share service, you should consult with an attorney to discuss your options for recovering damages. Contact the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd for a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 404-255-6677. Our attorneys serve the entire state of Georgia, including Smyrna, Decatur, and Marietta. You also can reach us through our online contact form.