Driving for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft can be a lucrative opportunity for residents of Jersey City. But as these rideshare driving opportunities become more popular, car accidents involving these drivers also increase. Knowing how to handle your car accident lawsuit against an Uber or Lyft driver is critical to ensuring your recovery.
Whether you were driving or riding in another vehicle, riding a bicycle, or riding in the rideshare vehicle that caused the accident, you can sue the driver to recover for your injuries. You may not be able to sue the rideshare company itself, but you can recover from their supplemental insurance policies through your suit. If the rideshare driver was speeding, stopped without turn signals, or was drunk at the time of the accident, they are likely liable for causing your injuries.
Once you get thorough medical attention, call Legal Care New Jersey as soon as possible. We can provide a free initial evaluation of your case with one of our qualified Jersey City Uber and Lyft car accident attorneys. To get started, give us a call at (732) 838-9769.
Lawsuits for Uber & Lyft Car Accidents in Jersey City, NJ
You may already be aware of how a typical car accident lawsuit works. A person injured in a car accident may file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who negligently or recklessly caused the accident. But what if the driver was working for a rideshare company such as Uber or Lyft at the time of the accident?
To put it simply, these lawsuits are basically the same as any other car accident suit. Even if the driver was working for Uber or Lyft when they caused the accident, you will likely only be able to sue the driver directly and recover from their insurance provider. This is because Uber and Lyft drivers in the State of New Jersey are classified under the law as independent contractors rather than employees. Our Jersey City Uber and Lyft car accident attorneys can provide more information about who you can sue after an accident with an employee or independent contractor.
However, you should be aware that rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft provide additional insurance coverage for their drivers that activates when they are on the job. This supplemental insurance only applies when the rideshare driver is either waiting for a fare, on their way to pick up a fare, or in the process of transporting the fare. Otherwise, they are the same as any other driver on the road, even if they have an Uber sticker on their windshield.
The level of supplemental coverage depends on what stage of work the driver was engaged in at the time of the accident and who the injured party is. One way or another, the rideshare company’s insurance coverage should be enough to cover your injuries. Talk to your Jersey City Uber and Lyft car accident lawyer about how to go about your lawsuit to recover for your injuries.
Causes of Uber & Lyft Accidents in Jersey City, NJ
To win a lawsuit for a car accident, the victim must show that the rideshare driver was at fault for causing the accident and the victim’s resulting injuries. Drivers may be shown to be at fault for several different negligent or reckless driving practices, such as those listed below.
Failure to Use Signals
One of the biggest problems with rideshare drivers is their failure to use turn signals or hazards to indicate that they are pulling over. Rideshare vehicles make frequent and often stops, but to other drivers, there is often no way to tell that they are a rideshare driver, unlike taxis. The rideshare driver will typically be liable for accidents caused when they stop to pick up or drop off a fare without letting other drivers or cyclists know in time.
Sometimes, rideshare drivers will attempt to get their passengers to their destination faster to maximize their time. If these efforts include going over the speed limit, the driver creates liability for themselves if they cause an accident. Cars going over the speed limit are substantially more likely to cause more serious injury when involved in a collision.
Just because rideshare drivers are “professionals” does not mean they would not do something as reckless as drinking or taking drugs before getting behind the wheel to transport fares. Driving under the influence puts other drivers, pedestrians, and passengers in the driver’s vehicle in grave danger.
Who Can Sue an Uber or Lyft Driver in Jersey City?
As we have touched on already, other drivers may sue the rideshare driver who causes an accident that leaves them injured. However, other drivers and their passengers are not the only ones who can file a lawsuit.
Pedestrians and cyclists can file suit for car accidents as well. The accident does not have to involve another motorized vehicle to create liability. These may be particularly common in more urban areas with lots of foot traffic, such as Jersey City.
You can also file an injury lawsuit against an Uber or Lyft driver if you were their passenger and were injured in an accident that they caused. Just because you called for a ride and got in the car does not mean that you aren’t owed compensation for the consequences of your driver’s negligent or reckless driving. The rideshare driver’s supplemental insurance also contains coverage for injuries to their own passengers.
However, the rideshare driver may not be at fault in every case. In those situations, you may be able to sue the other driver who was at fault. Talk to your Jersey City Uber and Lyft car accident lawyer about who you should name in your injury lawsuit.
How to Prove Liability in a Jersey City Uber or Lyft Accident
Proving liability for an Uber or Lyft accident requires proving the defendant’s negligence caused the crash. How you prove liability will depend on who you are suing. For example, negligence from the Uber driver will probably be different than negligence from another driver in a different car. Our Jersey City Uber and Lyft accident attorneys can help you prove the defendant liable in your case.
Negligence comprises four legal elements: duty, breach, causation, damages. Duty is the legal obligation the defendant owed the plaintiff. On the road, drivers owe a legal duty to drive with reasonable care under the circumstances and to follow traffic laws. Breach is how the duty was violated, such as by running a red light, speeding, or otherwise driving in an unsafe way. Causation is the connection between the breach and the accident, and damages are your injuries.
To prove the defendant is liable, you must have evidence demonstrating their negligence. Evidence may differ in each case, and the evidence you need will depend on how the defendant caused the crash. For example, if the defendant caused the crash because they ran a red light, evidence might include eyewitness testimony from other drivers that the light was indeed red when the defendant drove through it. Evidence can also include traffic camera footage of the defendant running the light.
Do I Sue the Driver or the Rideshare Company in Jersey City?
When filing a lawsuit, one significant issue you must tackle is whom you should sue. After an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, there are a few options for whom you can sue, depending on the situation. Usually, you can sue the Uber or Lyft driver if they are to blame for the crash. If another driver caused the crash, you would sue them instead. It is also common for multiple drivers to share liability, and our Jersey City Uber and Lyft accident lawyers can help you sue more than one party.
One party that typically cannot be sued in these kinds of cases is the ridesharing companies (i.e., Uber and Lyft). Ordinarily, you can sue a defendant’s employer for something called vicarious liability. Under a theory of vicarious liability, employers may be legally responsible for their employees’ on-the-job negligence if it causes injuries to others.
When it comes to Uber and Lyft, their drivers are not employees but are instead independent contractors. Drivers for Uber and Lyft choose when, where, and how long they drive, and Uber and Lyft cannot be held vicariously liable for their negligence.
What Kind of Damages are Available in a Jersey City Uber or Lyft Accident?
When filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit for an Uber or Lyft car accident, you must consider your damages. Damages are losses and injuries you experienced because of the accident. Some damages are connected to monetary losses, while others are more subjective and their value may be up for debate. Our Jersey City Uber and Lyft accident lawyers can help you accurately calculate your damages and maximize your compensation.
Uber and Lyft accidents can leave a victim with numerous physical injuries, including many of the following:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Brain damage
- Lost limbs
Serious injuries usually come with very expensive medical treatments. Even with insurance, medical bills can become extremely costly, and accident victims become overwhelmed with medical debt. You can claim these medical bills as part of your economic damages. Economic damages are damages connected to real-world costs. Medical bills, vehicle repair bills, and the value of lost income due to missing work may all be added to your economic damages.
On the contrary, non-economic damages do not come with predetermined values. In many cases, these damages did not actually cost plaintiffs any money. However, they must still be accounted for and compensated financially. Pain and suffering, mental and physical, may be counted as non-economic damages.
Are Uber and Lyft Drivers Required to Carry Insurance in Jersey City?
Like all other drivers on the road, Uber and Lyft drivers are required to carry insurance. In addition to their own insurance, Uber and Lyft drivers may also be covered by insurance from the rideshare companies, depending on how the collision occurred.
All Uber and Lyft drivers must carry personal auto insurance, but this insurance typically does not apply in Uber and Lyft accidents because the drivers are working in a professional capacity. As such, drivers are also required to carry additional rideshare insurance. This insurance can be purchased separately from normal insurance that all drivers carry. The extent of this insurance depends on the type of policy carried by the driver.
Depending on the circumstances, drivers may also be insured by Uber or Lyft. According to N.J.S.A. § 39:5H-10, certain insurance requirements must be met whenever a driver for a transportation network company like Uber or Lyft is logged onto the app and driving.
When a driver is logged on and waiting for a request, the rideshare company must provide $50,000 in coverage for death or bodily injury per person, $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 in property damage.
If the driver is providing a ride to a passenger or on their way to pick up a passenger, the rideshare company must provide at least $1.5 million in coverage for death, bodily injury, and property damage.
Discuss your case with our Jersey City Uber and Lyft accident attorneys, and we can help you figure out what kind of insurance might cover your accident.
When to Contact a Jersey City Uber and Lyft Accident Lawyer
You should contact an attorney about your case if you suffered any injuries because of an Uber or Lyft driver’s negligence. Any accidents that lead to medical emergencies and expensive damages may be met with legal action so that you can get financial compensation. Our Jersey City Uber and Lyft accident lawyers can help you get the compensation you need.
Ideally, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. This is important because your lawyer can begin gathering evidence and speaking to witnesses right away. If we wait too long, evidence may be lost, and witnesses might relocate.
Our team can help you with more than just your lawsuit. If you would rather navigate the insurance process or are unsure what path to take, we can provide assistance and guidance.
We Can Help You Sue the Uber or Lyft Driver that Injured You in Jersey City
At Legal Care New Jersey, our Jersey City Uber and Lyft car accident lawyers should be your first resource for getting you the recovery you deserve. Call (732) 838-9769 for a free initial case review.