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Car Accidents as a Passenger in an Uber or Lyft Rideshare, What are Your Rights?

Research has shown that rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have accounted for a 3% increase in traffic fatalities since 2011. The data is published in “The Cost of Convenience: Ridesharing and Traffic Fatalities.” That paper also reported Uber and Lyft ridesharing traffic accidents led to 107 deaths between 2017 and 2018.[1]

Those figures are just the accidents that led to wrongful deaths. Thousands of other accidents involving Uber and Lyft drivers did not lead to a fatality but did lead to wrongful injury on the part of the passenger.
What Do You Do if You’re the Passenger in an Uber/Lyft Accident?
Traffic accidents involving rideshare vehicles are complicated. On the one hand, Uber and Lyft drivers are independent contractors. On the other hand, Uber and Lyft often have some liability. Given the complex nature of such cases, victims of wrongful injury must seek counsel from an injury attorney with experience litigating rideshare traffic accidents.

Only an experienced attorney will know who to bring the suit to, be it Lyft, Uber, the rideshare driver, or other drivers who may have been involved in the accident (often the case if distracted driving is involved).
Which Rideshare Company is Safer? Uber or Lyft?
Uber has a slight edge in its safety measures. Uber’s user agreement fine print has more protection for the passenger, primarily because the company also offers luxury rideshare services and is required to offer such protections. But as a general rule, customers need to do their due diligence by reading the reviews of Uber/Lyft drivers.

Another research paper argues that, safe or not safe, Uber and Lyft have an economic effect on American consumers. [2] Because of the increase in traffic fatalities, the economic effect of Uber and Lyft may be negative. Quoting one writer’s data analysis, “In calculating the welfare effects for cities, they cite research that finds UberX generated a $7 billion consumer surplus in the US in 2015. But this amount, they estimate, is dwarfed by the annual $9.5 billion cost of ride-share-related fatality increases, per analysis using data from the US Department of Transportation.”[3]
Common Causes of Uber and Lyft Rideshare Accidents
The NHTSA has published research indicating distracted driving is the fastest growing cause of traffic accidents. Uber and Lyft drivers are particularly prone to distraction due to their efforts to serve customers, check their phones for directions and new customers, find parking and the destination, etc.[4]

Uber and Lyft drivers are prone to exhaustion and fatigue, also leading causes of traffic accidents. Drivers often drive late into the night, usually after working a full day at another job. They might not have time to maintain their car properly, which can also lead to an accident.

Individuals interested in accessing a rideshare option are encouraged to check the rideshare history of a prospective driver. Discretion is advised. One’s ridesharing experience (and safe arrival at their destination) will largely depend on their chosen driver.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a traffic accident as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft rideshare, please get in touch with NRS Injury Law as soon as possible. Please don’t wait until it is too late to pursue litigation. Call (855) 977-6670 today.

Sources Cited:

[1] BFI. “The Cost of Convenience: Ridesharing and Traffic Fatalities.” Becker Friedman Institute, 2019.
[2] NBER. “Using Big Data to Estimate Consumer Surplus: The Case of Uber.” National Bureau of Economic Research, 2016.
[3] Chicago Booth. “Ride-Sharing Services May Lead to More Fatal Accidents.” Chicago Booth Review, 2018.
[4] NHTSA. “Distracted Driving.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2022.

category: Auto Accidents

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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