Birmingham Uber / Lyft Accident Attorneys

Rideshare companies are quickly changing the game when it comes to taxi services in Birmingham. These are really just smartphone apps that allow everyday people to become cab drivers. Here’s how it works:

Anyone with a suitable vehicle who meets other eligibility requirements can sign up. Once approved, a driver just notifies the system that he or she is ready to accept rides. A rider requests a ride, a driver accepts, and the app allows the entire transaction to take place through a consistent platform. No cash changes hands. Everything is paid through the app. There’s even a way for drivers and riders to rate each other. Think of it like a matchmaking service for people looking for income and people looking for rides.

Of course, just like any other ride you take, there is always a risk of getting injured in an accident. When this happens in a rideshare situation, it can be a little complicated. This is why it can be very helpful to work closely with an experienced Birmingham car accident lawyer from Serious Injury Law Group. We are a locally owned, community-dedicated law firm that will review your case in a free consultation.

How ‘Transportation Network Companies’ Work in Alabama

At one time, rideshare companies – also known as “transportation network companies” – operated only in isolated pockets of Alabama. Today, however, they can operate statewide.  In early 2018, Governor Ivey signed into law a new set of specific regulatory guidelines for how these companies can operate in our state. It took effect on July 1, 2018. You can see the full regulations here. They include:

  • Mandatory criminal background checks for drivers
  • Driver background checks (currently every 2 years, but it will eventually become an annual check requirement)
  • Routine safety inspections by certified mechanics
  • Working door locks, windows that open and close and functioning heating and air conditioning in each vehicle.

Lawmakers designed these regulations to enhance and protect safety for the motoring public. However, drivers can still fail to follow the rules or meet minimum safety standards.

Are Uber and Lyft Drivers Required to Carry Insurance?

Yes, Uber and Lyft drivers are required to carry insurance. Watch our video to learn more.

Determining Liability in a Ridesharing Accident

Who pays damages in a rideshare accident will always depend on the specific facts and circumstances in a case. Here are a few common scenarios:

  • Driver is not logged in to the app. Drivers are required to carry individual state-mandated liability insurance coverage of at least $25,000 in bodily injury per person (and $50,000 per accident) and $25,000 in property damage coverage. If the driver is not logged in to the rideshare app, then his or her personal auto insurance should cover the accident. After all, the driver is not working yet.
  • Driver is logged in but waiting to accept a call. Technically, the driver is working when logged in. Uber offers a $50,000 per person / $100,000 per accident policy to cover injuries caused during this window of time. It is important to note that this coverage kicks in only as excess coverage. This means that if the driver already has this amount of insurance coverage or more, then the driver’s insurance should be the primary coverage. If the driver does not have enough insurance, this coverage makes up the difference.
  • Driver is going to pick up passenger or transporting passenger. Once the driver is actively working for a fare by getting a passenger or transporting someone, Uber and Lyft both have $1 million liability policies and offer $1 million in uninsured and underinsured coverage. This means they protect the public not only from negligent rideshare drivers, but these policies cover passengers in the event of an uninsured motorist causing the accident.

Rideshare drivers are not employees of Lyft or Uber. This means you rarely can sue these companies for the negligence of their drivers. Of course, in many cases, even though the language of these insurance policies makes clear that the insurance policies must pay, they may look for excuses not to pay a claim. This is why an experienced attorney can be very helpful at forcing the insurance companies to honor their policies and pay for the injuries that their insured drivers cause.

Compensation After a Ridesharing Accident

Crashes that involve rideshare drivers can cause serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, burns, fractures, whiplash, soft tissue damage and permanent disfigurement and disability. If you are in a serious collision with an Uber or Lyft vehicle that causes pain and puts you and your family at risk of being stuck with expensive medical bills and lost income from missed work, you need to hire an experienced team of aggressive injury lawyers. You may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical bills (past and future)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished ability to earn a living
  • Emotional distress
  • Wrongful death damages (if you lost a loved one in the accident).

Our Birmingham Uber/Lyft Accident Attorneys Can Help You

At Serious Injury Law Group, we will immediately begin working to protect your interests. We will start by waging a full-scale investigation into your crash. We will interview witnesses, review crash reports, obtain accident reconstruction reports and gather any medical records or reports that may help to establish your case.

Our team will also figure out all potential sources of compensation, whether it is a driver’s own individual auto policy or a commercial policy the driver purchased from Uber or Lyft. We will work to get a swift and fair settlement from the insurance company, but we are not afraid to take negligent drivers to court in order to fight for the maximum compensation available.

If you have been hurt in a ridesharing service accident in Birmingham, contact Serious Injury Law Group today. Our initial consultations are always free, and we receive payment only if we succeed in getting compensation for your injuries.