Rideshare apps such as Uber and Lyft have become increasingly more common as a way for people to get around. Most users use these modes of transportation as a safe option. The reality is that with so many Uber and Lyft drivers on the road, accidents are bound to happen.
When a rideshare accident occurs, the damage can be particularly difficult to assess due to the multiple parties. The person injured may not know how to sue a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft, will likely have questions about accident policies, and be unsure of how to file a claim. It is important to hire a rideshare accident lawyer to help navigate the process if you have been involved in an accident while using a Rideshare company, in order to file the appropriate claims and recover full damages.
How Does Insurance Apply If I Was In a Rideshare Accident?
New Jersey requires rideshare companies to carry insurance policies to compensate individuals injured by their drivers. The Transportation Network Company Safety and Regulatory Act is New Jersey comprehensive law that requires rideshare apps to take certain precautionary measures. Rideshare companies must run driving record checks on all of their drivers, and drivers must have safety inspections performed on their vehicles.
Even with these precautions in place, accidents happen and drivers can injure passengers or other people on the road. For this reason, New Jersey Statute 39:5H-10 requires rideshare companies or their drivers to carry insurance policies. It is important to note that rideshare drivers’ insurance does not automatically cover injuries; it only applies if the rideshare driver was at fault.
A rideshare driver can be found at fault for an accident whether the injured person is a passenger, a pedestrian, or in another car. Anyone injured by a rideshare driver can sue the driver for personal injury. As with all car accidents, such cases can be complicated and multiple parties might be at fault.
New Jersey statute 39:5H-10(c) also requires drivers for rideshare companies to carry $1,500,000 of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This means that if a passenger is injured in an accident where someone other than the rideshare driver is at fault, the passenger can still receive up to $1.5 million in compensation if the other driver’s insurance does not cover the full cost of injuries.
In addition to the insurance rideshare drivers must carry, New Jersey car insurance policies include Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits that the insurance companies pay out to cover injuries regardless of fault. This coverage applies any time the policyholder is in a car accident, even if they are a pedestrian or a passenger.
Who Can Be Sued in a Rideshare Accident?
New Jersey statute 39:5H-10(j) provides extra protection for policyholders injured by a rideshare driver. In most accidents, individuals with PIP coverage cannot sue the driver at fault unless they suffered permanent injuries, such as disfiguring facial scars or loss of limbs. However, there is an exception that allows PIP policyholders to sue rideshare drivers even without a permanent injury.
Anyone injured by a rideshare driver can always sue the driver, even if they have received PIP benefits. Although they will not able to recover more than the amount of their injury, this right is especially valuable because PIP benefits do not cover anything other than medical bills and lost work time. The rideshare driver’s insurance covers pain and suffering, disability, and other types of losses. A person injured by a rideshare driver can often receive more compensation than someone injured by another kind of driver.
“Verbal threshold” refers to a limitation on the right to sue; however, there is an exception to the NJ verbal threshold rule. In the event that a person suffers serious injuries, they may pursue non- economic damages through a tort action. Serious injuries under New Jersey Code Section 39:6A-8, include:
- Displaced fractures
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability
- Significant disfigurement or scarring
Fortunately for those who are injured in rideshare accidents, the verbal threshold in New Jersey does not apply. This is because the limit to sue is not applicable to transportation networks or damages arising from a prearranged ride. A person must meet the serious injury threshold when filing a lawsuit against a third-party driver in a rideshare accident or when are pursuing a claim against a rideshare driver who was not working at the time of the accident. It is not required to meet the threshold when filing a claim for damages against the rideshare company itself.
What Causes Rideshare Accidents?
Rideshare accidents are caused in the same ways as all other motor vehicle accident types, through acts of negligence. Usually, the party who is negligent is one of the drivers involved; either the driver of the rideshare vehicle or the driver of another vehicle.
Common acts of negligence by rideshare drivers that cause accidents include:
- Driving while distracted.
- Driving while impaired.
- Failing to adhere to traffic safety laws and regulations.
- Failing to yield.
- Following too closely/tailgating.
While driver negligence is one of the most common causes of rideshare accidents, there are other contributors to the risk of a rideshare accident including:
- Passenger behavior: Rideshare passengers can have a reputation of being unruly, especially if the reason that they are using the service is because they are intoxicated. A passenger’s behavior can increase the risk of an accident, and even cause an accident in some instances.
- Defective vehicle parts: Vehicle manufacturers and distributors have obligations to ensure that vehicles are in safe condition. If there are any defects, the vehicle could obviously be dangerous. Defective tires, brakes, ignition devices, and airbags are all common causes of accidents resulting in injuries.
- Poor road conditions: While poor weather may be out of human control, other causes of dangerous road conditions such as potholes, lack of proper signage, or debris in roadways, are not. Typically, a city is responsible for ensuring that roads are maintained in good condition.
One of the most complicated elements of being involved in a rideshare accident is understanding who will pay your rideshare accident claim. This depends on a few factors, including who was at fault for the accident, which insurance policy applied at the time that the accident occurred, and what the driver was doing at the time of the accident. It matters whether the driver was logged into the app, waiting for a ride, en-route to a ride, or carrying passengers. Because the legal process is complex after being involved in a rideshare accident, it is important to hire a lawyer experienced in this area.
Mount Laurel Rideshare Accident Lawyers at the Law Office of David S. Rochman Find Justice for Injured Victims
If you have been involved in a rideshare accident in New Jersey and are having a difficult time figuring out your legal options, the Mount Laurel rideshare accident lawyers at the Law Office of David S. Rochman can help you with your case. Call us at 856-619-7729 or contact us online for a free consultation today. Located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey we serve clients throughout Burlington County and the surrounding areas.