If you were injured in an accident with an Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare driver, collecting compensation for your losses can be a challenging process. Several parties might be responsible for your injuries and damages but determining liability can be difficult. Rideshare companies tout their $1 million insurance policies but often deny coverage to injured parties when accidents occur. The attorneys at Tiano O’Dell, PLLC, represent clients who have been involved in rideshare accidents. Contact our office to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.
Our Rideshare Accident Practice
- Rideshare accidents are not like regular car accidents in West Virginia. Our attorneys know the applicable rideshare and insurance laws. We work with insurance companies on a regular basis, and we know the common tactics they use to deny or limit the coverage they provide to injured parties.
- You will not pay any out-of-pocket attorneys’ fees because we handle our rideshare accidents on a contingency fee basis. We will only collect attorneys’ fees (as a percentage of your total compensation) after we have helped you secure a settlement or trial award.
- We have extensive resources that we use to discover and preserve evidence, prepare our cases, and value our client’s injury claims. We use cutting-edge technology and have access to a medical database used by doctors across the country to investigate and manage our cases.
How Our Rideshare Accident Attorneys Can Help
After an accident, our injured clients often face compounding medical bills, ongoing medical care, and lost wages due to missed work. With confusing insurance coverage explanations, and all parties denying responsibility, you may not know where to turn for compensation for your losses. Our attorneys will take over and manage the legal process so that you can focus on your physical recovery.
We have experience dealing with rideshare defendants and their insurance companies. They will never contact you directly for statements and will go through us instead. We will negotiate with liable parties to help you reach a settlement agreement for the injuries and damages you have suffered. Our personal injury attorneys are trial lawyers who will be ready to advocate for your rights in court if necessary.
Common Causes of Rideshare Accidents in West Virginia
The accidents involving ridesharing drivers for Uber, Lyft, or other ridesharing companies are
caused by a variety of reasons. The most common causes of rideshare accidents in West Virginia
- Distracted driving accidents – distracted driving is one of the most common causes of accidents on the road today, and includes any activity that causes mental, visual, or manual impairment on the road. Texting is an example of this, as the driver’s eyes are on their phone not the road, their hands are on their phone not the wheel, and their mind is on the content of the text not their driving.
- Speeding or aggressive driving accidents – aggressive driving includes speeding, switching lanes without sufficient space, failing to give other drivers enough space on the road, and otherwise unsafe and aggressive driving behaviors.
- Drowsy, fatigued, or tired driver accidents – drivers have a responsibility to be safe on the road, and when they are tired they cannot pay the necessary attention to drive safely. Uber and Lyft
drivers pursuing income are often overworked and fatigued, and will be liable for any accidents this causes.
- Drunk or intoxicated driver accidents – when a driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol, they cannot safely drive, and will be liable for any damages that result from accidents they cause.
How to Determine Fault in a West Virginia Uber or Lyft Accident
West Virginia law dictates that personal injury lawsuits are based on a theory of negligence. A
party is negligent when they engage in actions that a reasonable person would not engage in
when in a similar situation. All drivers in West Virginia have a duty to employ reasonable care
whenever they are operating a motor vehicle.
To prove negligence, three elements must be proven by the accident victim to collect damages:
- Duty – the driver had a duty of care to not drive negligently
- Breach – the driver breached that duty by being negligent
- Causation – the driver’s negligence caused injury
- Damages – the injury resulted in damages
West Virginia Comparative Fault Law
In rideshare accidents, responsible parties often accuse others of causing or contributing to the accident to limit their financial exposure. This is a common tactic used by defendants and insurance companies, and it is often the injured party who is accused of some portion of fault for the accident. Fortunately, West Virginia is what’s known as a modified comparative negligence state, which means that you may still recover compensation for your losses even if you were partially responsible for the accident. So long as you were not more than 49% at fault for the accident, you may recover compensation from other responsible parties, and your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Compensation Available For Uber or Lyft Accidents
You are entitled to compensation when an Uber or Lyft driver is liable for the accident, which includes:
- Short-term medicals bills like the emergency room
- Long-term medical costs like rehabilitation and medications
- Lost wages and work benefits
- Decreased earnings potential
You can only collect compensation you prove with evidence and properly claim through the
insurance company. The process is complex, and working with an Uber or Lyft accident attorney
will support the best possible outcome in your claim.
Uber and Lyft Insurance Requirements
If you’ve been in an accident, one of the first questions that needs to be asked is, “Who is liable for the accident?” In West Virginia the state takes a “fault” position towards insurance in terms of liability for accidents. Parties that are at-fault for an accident will not be able to collect compensation from other drivers involved in the accident.
When you are injured in an accident in West Virginia, your limited options are:
- File a lawsuit with your own insurance company
- Pursue compensation through a third-party insurance claim with the carrier of the driver who was legally liable for the accident
- File a personal injury lawsuit to pursue compensation from the party at fault for the accident
In terms of the insurance company you would be pursuing for compensation if the Uber or Lyft driver is liable, the situation is unique as the drivers are not employees. Uber and Lyft classify their drivers as independent contractors, which means that they are not actual employees, and you cannot pursue damages in the same way as with actual employees of companies. Generally an employer will be liable for the actions of the employee, but they are not liable for independent contractors.
Despite this, Uber and Lyft do carry insurance policies to cover liability for accidents, and many states are increasingly treating Uber and Lyft drivers as employees in court. Uber and Lyft have a $1 million liability coverage policy, and a $1 million uninsured/under-insured coverage policy which applies to accidents with un-insured or under-insured drivers.
When an Uber or Lyft vehicle is occupied only by the driver and gets into an accident, usually Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy will not cover the damages. However, when there is a passenger in the Uber or Lyft, the situation is more complex.
What to Do If You’ve Been in a Rideshare Accident?
If you have been injured in an accident when you were a passenger in an Uber or Lyft, it is essential that you seek medical assistance. Determining whether you are injured and the extent of any injuries is essential. Even if you feel fine, the adrenaline from the accident could still be pumping, and you might not notice an injury, so medical attention is important. Keeping a journal of how you feel after the accident, noting any pain or symptoms of injuries, will be helpful for medical professionals and your attorney later in your case.
After your rideshare accident, after you have received medical attention, it is helpful to do the
- File an accident report with the police, calling them to the scene of the accident if possible, and if not still calling to file a report.
- Collect the contact and insurance information from all parties involved in the accident, including driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information.
- Taking pictures of the scene of the accident before vehicles are moved and/or tow-trucks arrive can help to preserve important evidence for later in your case.
Evidence will determine what compensation you are entitled to, and it will generally be coming from the insurance company. It is important to remember that the insurance company does not work for you, they work for profit. Profit is earned by maximizing revenues, insurance premiums, and by minimizing costs, mainly payouts to injured persons like you.
Insurance companies employ full-time teams of claim analysts and attorneys to try and assign liability on your to deny your claim, or to reduce it as much as possible. Working with an attorney of your own helps to even the playing field, and ensures that you collect what you deserve in full so that you and your family aren’t paying bills associated with your Uber or Lyft accident in the future.
Contact Our West Virginia Uber and Lyft Accident Attorney
The Charleston, West Virginia car crash attorneys at Tiano O’Dell, PLLC, have more than two decades of experience handling personal injury claims, and we know that Uber and Lyft accident claims can be difficult to handle on your own. Contact our office for a no-cost and no-obligation consultation to discuss your accident and go over your legal options. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping injured clients get the justice and compensation that they deserve. Call us today (304) 720-6700.