Being injured in an Uber or Lyft accident can be complicated. With such large businesses involved, it can be intimidating for victims to seek justice. That is why enlisting the advice of an accomplished New Jersey Uber and Lyft accident lawyer can help.
Although rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft are relatively new, legal mechanisms are in place to protect accident victims. In New Jersey, rideshare companies must carry insurance to cover a passenger’s medical fees after they are injured in a car accident. If you were harmed in a car accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, contact the attorneys at Legal Care New Jersey for your next steps.
The New Jersey Uber and Lyft accident attorneys at Legal Care New Jersey can help you get the damages you deserve, no matter the size of the responsible rideshare company. For a free consultation, call (732) 838-9769 today.
Who is Responsible for a New Jersey Uber or Lyft Accident?
There can be one or several people responsible for your Uber or Lyft accident. Often, the Uber or Lyft driver is the one to blame for the crash. For example, if an Uber or Lyft driver ran a red light before they hit you in an intersection or sideswiped you when changing lanes, you can hold them liable for your damages. Passengers in the Uber or Lyft vehicle sue the driver, but so can other injured drivers or injured pedestrians. Our New Jersey Uber and Lyft accident lawyers can help you sue whomever caused your accident.
In more complicated cases, multiple drivers, including the Uber or Lyft driver, might be responsible for the accident. For example, suppose you were a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, and your driver changed lanes without signaling, crashing into a speeding car. The speeding driver might strike the Uber or Lyft car because your driver failed to signal. Additionally, the accident might be made more severe because the second driver was speeding. Because of this, you can typically sue both the Uber or Lyft driver and the other driver for your injuries.
Typically, you cannot sue Uber or Lyft after an accident. While employers can be held vicariously liable for their employees’ negligent actions, Uber and Lyft drivers are not employees. Instead, they are independent contractors and the ridesharing companies behind these drivers cannot be held sued in most cases.
What New Jersey Laws Apply to Uber and Lyft Accidents?
Under N.J.S.A. § 39:5H-10, transportation network drivers are required to carry insurance that covers the driver when they are logged into the ridesharing company’s network (i.e., when they have the Uber or Lyft driving app turned on) and while the driver is providing rides to passengers. The law also spells out what insurance coverage the ridesharing company must provide under different circumstances.
When the driver is logged into the ridesharing app and waiting to be matched with a passenger, Uber or Lyft must provide the following coverage:
- Primary automobile liability insurance for at least $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 in coverage for property damage
- Personal injury protection (PIP) benefits
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
If the Uber or Lyft driver has a passenger in the vehicle and they are providing a prearranged ride, different insurance requirements must be met by the ridesharing companies:
- Primary automobile insurance covering at least $1.5 million for injuries, death, and property damage
- Insurance coverage for medical payments of at least $10,000 per person per accident, which only applies to the driver
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage of at least $1.5 million
It is important to note that the law also states that you do not have to go through your own insurance and have that coverage denied first before accessing this required coverage. This means you may turn to Uber or Lyft’s insurance as your first option for coverage.
Possible Injuries and Damages in New Jersey Uber and Lyft Accidents
In many cases, injured Uber and Lyft passengers or other injured victims have so many expenses that they become hard to keep track of. Our New Jersey Uber and Lyft accident attorneys can help you calculate damages and avoid any oversights that might reduce the compensation you receive.
Medical Injuries and Expenses
Uber and Lyft accidents may leave victims with a litany of painful injuries. In many cases, injured victims never make a full recovery, and they are left permanently injured or disabled. Medical treatment is also very expensive, and many cannot afford it even with health insurance. Some common injuries associated with car accidents include the following:
- Head injuries
- Brain damage
- Neck and spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Amputated limbs
- Lacerations and bruising
- Lost or limited bodily function
Getting medical attention immediately following an Uber or Lyft accident is important. In some cases, accident victims do not feel they are hurt and may forego a trip to the emergency room. However, some injuries do not reveal themselves right away and might show up later when they become painful. Seeing a doctor right away ensures your medical records are as accurate as possible, which will be helpful when establishing damages.
Other Economic Losses
Your losses are not all physical and medical. Numerous other aspects of your life might be negatively impacted by the accident. For example, if you were driving your own car when the Uber or Lyft vehicle struck you, you can claim the loss of your vehicle as part of your damages. Damaged vehicles can be extremely expensive to repair or replace. For many, living without a car is not an option.
After an Uber or Lyft accident, you might be unable to return to work while recovering. In some cases, plaintiffs are so injured they cannot return to work indefinitely, sometimes ever. Plaintiffs can claim their lost wages and future wages as part of their damages.
If your loved one, like a spouse, parent, or child, was in an Uber or Lyft accident and did not survive, you can file a wrongful death case. A wrongful death case may include various damages, both economic and non-economic. It also includes damages the victim could have claimed had they survived.
Non-economic damages are injuries that are not necessarily measured in financial loss, although they must be measured as such for compensation purposes. Common non-economic damages include a person’s physical and mental pain and suffering. The pain you endured from your injuries and the mental trauma from surviving the accident deserve compensation.
These damages are typically determined based on significantly they have impacted your life. For example, if your pain and suffering make completing daily tasks extremely difficult or impossible, you may be able to claim significant damages. Our New Jersey Uber and Lyft accident attorneys can help you get the compensation for these damages you need.
Damages Available in a New Jersey Uber or Lyft Accident
Because rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft have become increasingly popular, states have drafted new laws regarding protection for passengers. In New Jersey, N.J.S.A. § 39:5H-10 dictates the new insurance regulations for rideshare companies. These laws aim to cover a passenger’s medical expenses after an accident and to eliminate the need to file a lawsuit for compensation.
In New Jersey, if a rideshare driver gets into an accident while driving a passenger, the rideshare company must cover $1.5 million for death, bodily harm, or property damage. In addition, the rideshare company must also carry $1.5 million in underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage.
Because of these laws, you are entitled to compensation if you are injured in an accident as a rideshare passenger. If the cost of treatment for your injuries exceeds $1.5 million, or your lost wages exceed that amount as well, you can sue a rideshare company to cover the remaining damages.
The insurance coverage Uber and Lyft must have in case of an accident differs when a driver is not a customer. If a driver is in the process of looking for a passenger and hits you with their car in New Jersey, the payout is different. In that case, rideshare companies must cover up to $50,000 for bodily harm, property damage, or death per person. That amount is considerably less than $1.5 million. If you were injured in that situation in New Jersey, the amount provided by the rideshare company’s insurance might not cover the costs of your medical expenses or lost wages. It might not even scratch the surface of pain and suffering.
If a rideshare company’s insurance coverage does not adequately compensate you following an accident, you might choose to file a personal injury lawsuit. In that case, it is crucial to enlist the help of an experienced New Jersey Uber and Lyft accident attorney, like those at Legal Care New Jersey.
What Are “No Fault” Laws in a New Jersey Uber or Lyft Accident?
After being injured in an Uber or Lyft accident in New Jersey, you might be unsure what comes next. If a rideshare company’s insurance does not adequately cover the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, or pain and suffering, you might be able to sue. However, it is important to understand the laws surrounding car accident lawsuits in New Jersey.
If you live in New Jersey, you might know that NJ uses a choice no-fault system. That means that drivers can purchase personal injury protection coverage (PIP). This type of insurance helps to cover medical costs from car accidents. When a state has no-fault laws, all parties involved in an accident must file a claim with their insurance provider regardless of who is to blame for the collision, and it may even block their right to sue.
Coverage for Passengers
If you were a passenger in a car when an Uber or Lyft accident happened in New Jersey, your PIP insurance would not be the first source of compensation. In that case, the $1.5 million in coverage rideshare companies must payout to injured passengers applies. However, it is not the same for accidents involving Uber and Lyft when a driver is not carrying a passenger.
If your injuries are very severe, you may be able to sue the driver instead. However, that lawsuit must be filed against the at-fault driver and not Uber or Lyft as a company. In most cases, the insurance coverage will suffice to get you the damages you need as an injured Uber or Lyft passenger.
Coverage for Other Drivers
If you were injured in a car accident by an active rideshare driver but were not a passenger yourself, the rules change. In that situation, your PIP insurance will be your first source of compensation. It can be hard to rationalize why that is the case. But, if you were hit by an Uber or Lyft vehicle while not an active passenger, it is similar to any other New Jersey auto accident. Because of New Jersey’s no-fault laws, you would have to first file a claim with your insurance provider.
If your injuries cannot be covered by the insurance policies involved, you could qualify to sue the at-fault driver. This means filing a case against the driver directly, not Uber or Lyft. However, this could help you get the damages you need covered.
Should I Settle or Sue After a New Jersey Uber or Lyft Accident?
It is very common for personal injury lawsuits like Uber and Lyft accident lawsuits to settle out of court. Both defendants and plaintiffs in many cases prefer settlements because they take far less time to complete than a full trial. The downside is that you might walk away with less compensation than your case is truly worth. Our New Jersey Uber and Lyft accident attorneys can help you negotiate the best settlements possible for your case.
Settlements do not happen automatically. Each party must agree to a settlement, and that agreement often comes after intense negotiations. The stronger your case is, the more leverage you have in settlement negotiations.
A good settlement is one that adequately covers your damages. A bad settlement may offer some compensation but ultimately falls short of your needs, and you are still left with bills to pay from the accident.
Whether to settle or sue may come down to the maximum settlement offer you can get and your likelihood of success in a full trial. If you are offered a bad settlement, but your chances at trial look good, it might be best to proceed with a lawsuit. If your odds of winning your case are lower, but the defendant is willing to offer an adequate settlement, it might be a good idea to take the settlement.
If You Were Injured in an Uber or Lyft Accident, Our Attorneys Can Help
While collecting damages from a large rideshare company can be difficult, our experienced lawyers are here to help. For a free consultation, call the Uber and Lyft accident attorneys at Legal Care New Jersey today at (732) 838-9769.