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What Are Your Rights After a
Rideshare Accident?

Biesterveld & Crook, LLC July 27, 2022

Rideshare giants Uber and Lyft are constantly expanding their service across the United States, and an ever-increasing number of people sign up to become rideshare drivers to make money. However, with the increasing number of rideshare drivers and passengers comes a higher likelihood of accidents involving Uber and Lyft vehicles.

While Uber and Lyft have been operating for quite some time, many people still do not understand their rights and compensation options after a rideshare accident. At Biesterveld & Crook, LLC, we help accident victims who get injured while working as a rideshare driver, riding Uber and Lyft as a passenger, or getting into an accident with a rideshare vehicle.

With an office in Overland Park, Kansas, we serve the entire Kansas City Metro area, including Shawnee, Douglas, and Johnson counties. We also handle rideshare accident cases in the state of Missouri, including Jackson County and surrounding areas.

Who Is Liable in a Rideshare Accident?

Ride-hailing services have become increasingly popular across the U.S., including in Kansas and Missouri. Requesting a ride via the Uber or Lyft app is convenient and relatively affordable. In fact, a 2021 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggested that rideshare services contributed to a 6.1% decrease in alcohol-related traffic fatalities and a 4.0% decrease in total traffic fatalities in the country. However, rideshare accidents still happen.

If you were hurt in a motor vehicle accident that involved a rideshare vehicle, you might wonder, “Who is liable in a rideshare accident?” Regardless of whether you are a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, you may be entitled to financial compensation. However, in order to recover damages, you must first determine liability.

Determining who is liable in a rideshare accident can be complicated because it may involve several insurance companies and multiple at-fault parties. Depending on whether you are a passenger injured while riding Uber or Lyft or a motorist who got into an accident with a rideshare vehicle, you might be able to pursue a claim or lawsuit against:

  • Uber or Lyft. If the rideshare driver is at fault for causing the crash, you may assume that Uber or Lyft will share some level of blame for the accident. However, rideshare companies classify their drivers as “independent contractors” rather than employees (more about that in the section below). While this generally means that Uber and Lyft cannot be held liable for an accident involving their rideshare vehicles, there are some exceptions to the general rule.

  • The driver. Depending on who was at fault for causing the accident, you may be able to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. Both Uber and Lyft make it mandatory for their drivers to have personal auto insurance. However, the rideshare company’s insurance may also kick in if the driver was logged on the app when the accident occurred.

Determining liability after a rideshare accident is critical because there may be multiple at-fault parties. In fact, even those who were at fault for the crash may be entitled to compensation. However, state laws differ in that regard. For example, Kansas adheres to the modified comparative negligence rule, while Missouri follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence.

Under the modified rule, those who are 50% or more responsible for an accident are barred from seeking financial compensation. In states with the pure comparative negligence system, individuals can recover damages even if they were mostly at fault. If you were involved in a rideshare accident and are wondering about your rights, you must discuss your particular situation with an experienced personal injury attorney in order to fully understand your options.

Can I Sue Uber or Lyft Directly?

It is not uncommon for victims of rideshare accidents to wonder if they can file a lawsuit against Uber or Lyft to recover damages. The answer to the question, “Can I sue Uber or Lyft directly?” is “technically, yes.” However, besides suing the rideshare company, you may also be able to file a lawsuit against the driver involved in the crash.

While it is possible to sue Uber or Lyft directly under certain circumstances, rideshare companies usually absolve themselves of responsibility by classifying their drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. The biggest two factors that must be evaluated when determining the driver’s status are:

  1. Whether the driver is using their personal automobile or the company’s vehicle; and

  2. How the driver is paid.

Uber and Lyft will typically deny liability for rideshare accidents when their drivers are classified as independent contractors. However, there are some exceptions to the general rule. For example, if you can show that Uber or Lyft was negligent in hiring the driver, you might be able to sue the company to recover damages.

If you are not sure whether or not you can sue Uber or Lyft for your rideshare accident, you must discuss your case with a knowledgeable car accident attorney to protect your rights and pursue the compensation to which you are entitled through all available sources.

What Should I Do After an Accident in a Rideshare Vehicle?

After a rideshare accident, there are certain steps you should take to protect your rights and ensure that you have a solid foundation for a personal injury claim:

  • Call 911 and wait for the police and ambulance to arrive

  • Seek medical attention

  • Write down the names, phone numbers, and insurance information of all the people involved in the crash

  • Report the accident to the rideshare company

  • Take photos at the scene of the accident

  • Gather all medical records and keep them organized

  • Consult with an attorney to learn more about your rights and compensation options

Our car accident attorneys at Biesterveld & Crook, LLC, assist victims of rideshare accidents in dealing with rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft and navigating the insurance claims process.

Turn to Knowledgeable Legal Guidance 

At Biesterveld & Crook, LLC, we are dedicated to advocating for the rights of those who get hurt in rideshare accidents. We understand the laws and regulations around rideshare companies and help accident victims secure full and fair compensation for their damages and losses. Located in Overland Park, Kansas, our law firm serves clients throughout the states of Kansas and Missouri. Reach out today to get started on your case.