According to a University of Chicago and Rice University joint study of traffic accidents in various cities across the country, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft contribute to a two to three percent increase in traffic fatalities for drivers, passengers and pedestrians. The study looked at fatal accident increases city by city:
“Using the staggered introduction of ridesharing services across U.S. cities, we show that the advent of ridesharing in a metropolitan area leads to an economically meaningful increase in motor vehicle fatalities. This increase is consistent with acknowledged macro trends in motor vehicle accidents, which had been falling steeply in the U.S. over the period 1985 to 2010 when ridesharing first launched, and have since reversed course and increased…”
“Economically meaningful…” what does this mean for someone seriously injured in a ride-hailing accident?
In California, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are known as Transportation Network Companies (or TNCs) regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. The state defines a TNC as a company that provides transportation services through an online platform that connects passengers and drivers.
For passengers involved in rideshare accidents, the amount of compensation depends on when the accident occurs.
California requires the TNCs as commercial entities, to carry insured and underinsured motorist policy minimums of $1 million. This amount covers ride-hailing passengers from the time they enter the Uber or Lyft vehicle, until the passengers exit the vehicle.
So a passenger riding in a an Uber or Lyft vehicle involved in an accident caused by the rideshare driver may be eligible for a $1 million payout. And if an underinsured driver of another vehicle caused the accident, a rideshare passenger may still be eligible for a $1 million payout because of the TNC’s underinsured motorist policy.
Policy minimums differ for ride hailing accidents when the TNC app is turned on but a passenger is not engaged yet, and for when a ride share driver is on the way to pick up a passenger.
As personal injury attorneys, we would first investigate and then file a lawsuit against the driver as well as the TNC or company the driver worked for at the time of the accident. We would then determine who exactly is at fault, whether or not the rideshare driver was on the clock or not, and ascertain how best to ensure accident victims get the compensation they are entitled to.