Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft have become a ubiquitous part of transportation in New York. But as with any form of transportation, there’s the possibility of accidents occurring that lead to injuries. If you’re a passenger who was injured while in a rideshare, here’s what you need to know.
Who Was Responsible for the Accident?
Who is liable for your injuries depends mainly upon who was responsible for the accident. If the Uber or Lyft driver is not at fault, but another driver was, you’ll likely need to file claims with that driver’s insurance. If the Uber or Lyft driver were at fault, you’d need to file claims with Uber or Lyft.
The situation becomes more complicated if more than one party is found liable. For example, if one driver ran a red light and struck the Uber you were riding in, which led to your injuries. It would seem that driver should be responsible. However, if the Uber driver was speeding, they could be held partly liable too.
What Insurance Is Offered by Rideshare Companies?
Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft provide insurance policies for their drivers that go into effect once the driver has accepted the ride request and is en route to pick up the passenger. The insurance covers $1.25 million in bodily injury and property damage from that point.
Since New York is a no-fault state, all rideshare drivers are required to carry no-fault coverage of up to $50,000 for personal injury protection. In a no-fault state, that’s the insurance that needs to be used first, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. If the injuries caused greater than $50,000 in expenses, the remaining amounts would need to be filed with whoever was found liable for the accident.
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Filing a Lawsuit for Damages?
New York has a maximum of three years from the date of the accident in which you can file a lawsuit. It’s vital that any action is taken before the clock runs out. If you must file a lawsuit and the opposing side realizes you passed the statute of limitations, they’ll almost certainly ask the judge to dismiss the case. The judge, in turn, would expect some compelling reasons why it didn’t happen earlier.
One exception to this is if the injured party was a minor at the time of the accident. In that case, they have until three years after they turn 18 to file for damages or a lawsuit.
How Does New York State Handle Comparative Negligence?
There are three ways states approach comparative negligence in personal injury cases.
Contributory negligence. In these cases, if the injured party was even 1% responsible for the accident, they could not receive damages from any other party. Very few states follow this approach.
Modified comparative negligence. In this case, depending on which state the accident occurs in, if the injured party is either at least 50% or 51% responsible, they can’t file claims with any other parties. The majority of states use this.
Pure comparative negligence. This approach dictates that regardless of how much the injured party is responsible, they still have the right to file for damages from the other party. However, the percentage of blame apportioned to them will reduce how much they receive. For example, if someone is found 60% responsible for the accident and the damages awarded are $100,000, they would only receive $40,000. This is the approach New York follows.
When there are multiple vehicles and drivers involved in an accident that causes injuries exceeding $50,000, there’s much at stake for everyone in terms of apportioning blame. As a passenger, you could get stuck in the middle of two warring parties. That’s why it’s essential to have an experienced car accident attorney working with you who will focus only on your best interests.
What Should I Do if I’m Injured in an Accident While Taking an Uber or Lyft?
First, if you’re physically able, make sure to get the names and contact info of everyone involved in the accident. Also, take note if there are buildings nearby, whether business or residential, that might have security cameras that caught the accident on video.
Next, be sure to see a doctor as soon as possible. Even if you feel fine, it’s critical that you have a checkup as there are many injuries, including some that are severe or life-threatening, that don’t always exhibit symptoms immediately. Another reason to get checked out as soon as you can is that if symptoms arise days or weeks later and you don’t see a doctor, the liable party may try to block your claims by saying the injury must have occurred later, not during the accident.
Then call the Rizzuto Law Firm as soon as possible at 516-622-0606 for a free case evaluation. These types of cases are complex and benefit from working with experienced, knowledgeable personal injury attorneys. We’ll go through your case with you and work to achieve the best possible outcomes.
One thing you should not do: Communicate with the lawyer or insurance representative from any other party involved in the accident. They may try to get you to settle for a far lower amount of damages than you may be entitled to. Refer all communications to your lawyer.