I Was Injured In A Rideshare Crash: Do I Have A Case?New Jersey Legal News
Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have boomed in popularity in recent years. More and more people are relying on these services for safe, quick, and simple transportation when they are out and about, especially after a night of drinking. However, many people don’t think about what happens when they are involved in an accident when using Uber or Lyft. It seems obvious that these rideshare drivers are just as prone to being involved in a serious auto accident with other motorists or pedestrians. In some cases, New Jersey law allows for passengers and even rideshare drivers to levy personal injury cases against the liable party.
Holding the Rideshare Driver Accountable
Similar to other cases involving car crashes, if a rideshare driver causes a collision, the passenger of the rideshare vehicle and those in the other car may be eligible to file a personal injury claim against the rideshare driver. If the sustained injuries are minor, or there was only one person injured in the incident, the injured party could file a personal injury claim with the insurance provider of the driver. The insurance provider would then negotiate the claim with the injured party and come to an agreement on a financial settlement to cover the costs of the injuries and other damages associated with the crash.
If the value of the sustained injuries is greater than what is covered under the policy limit of the driver’s insurance policy, or the insurance provider is not offering a reasonable settlement, the injured victim could file a personal injury lawsuit against the rideshare driver under New Jersey law. For a successful case outcome, the injured party would have to provide evidence that negligence on part of the rideshare driver was responsible for the resulting injuries.
Essentially, the injured party is required to:
- Demonstrate that the rideshare driver had a duty of care owed to them;
- Demonstrate that the rideshare driver breached this duty;
- Demonstrate that the breach resulted in his or her injuries;
- Demonstrate that actual damage took place.
In all scenarios, rideshare drivers owe a duty of care to their passengers, drivers of other vehicles, and occupants of other vehicles under any circumstances. Because of this obligation, when the driver behaves unreasonably, such as ignoring traffic signs or driving while distracted by his or her mobile device, the duty of care is breached, and the injured party could potentially win his or her case if they provide evidence that a breach resulted in them sustain injuries.
Holding Rideshare Companies Accountable
Due to the complicated nature of the employment relationship shared between rideshare companies and their drivers, it is often hard for injured parties to levy a valid personal injury claim against the rideshare company when they have been injured in a crash involving a rideshare driver. This is because rideshare drivers are legally considered independent contractors and not actual employees. There are some circumstances, however, in which an injured victim can recover compensation from the rideshare company itself.
For example, when Uber takes on a new rideshare driver, the company takes out a $1 million car insurance policy in order to cover the costs of potential injuries or other damage sustained by passengers while traveling in the rideshare vehicle. This essentially means that, in theory, an injured passenger involved in a crash with an Uber driver may be able to regain lost financial compensation from the company for his or her sustained injuries, but is crucial to keep in mind that the insurance policy of the company will first and foremost cover the costs of any resulting injuries. If the costs needed to cover the full value of the passenger’s injuries are greater than the driver’s personal policy limit, the injured party will then have to file a personal injury claim against the $1 million Uber policy in order to seek compensation for the remaining damages.
In 2017, Governor Christ Christie signed a new act into law, the Transportation Network Company Safety and Regulation Act. Under this act, it is now mandated that all rideshare services conduct necessary background checks for all future drivers to ensure that they do not pose a risk to the public if they are “employed” by the service. Furthermore, the act prohibits the employment of drivers who have been convicted of DUI, sexual assault, homicide, or drug possession. The new Act also mandates that all rideshare services carry $1.5 million in liability coverage for New Jersey rideshare drivers.
If the rideshare company does not comply with performing background checks for its drivers or misses a violation that should have been noticed on these checks, then hires the driver, and a passenger is injured in a crash, the passenger would probably have a strong personal injury claim against the rideshare service due to the negligent hiring.
If the rideshare driver is convicted of one of the aforementioned crimes, and the company fails to end their employment relationship with the driver, the injured party will likely have a strong personal injury claim against the rideshare company for this negligence. Lastly, due to New Jersey state law requiring that all rideshare companies hold an insurance policy with a limit of $1.5 million, those who are seriously injured in a car accident involving a rideshare vehicle will probably be able to regain more financial compensation for their injuries than under the current policy limit of $1 million.
New Jersey Rideshare Collisions
Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the transportation industry. However, these vehicles are just as prone to being involved in collisions as everyday drivers. There has been an increase in serious car accidents since rideshare companies have grown in popularity.
Traffic fatalities have increased by nearly 3 percent due to the widespread use of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. There are an estimated 1,000 deaths each year related to rideshare vehicles. Victims of these collisions may be uncertain of how to proceed when seeking lost compensation for their injuries.
We proudly serve victims and their families by helping them after being involved in a serious collision. Brady, Brady, & Reilly, LLC has proudly served the residents of New Jersey since 1965. Contact us today at (201) 997-0030 to discuss your case with a trained New Jersey car crash attorney.