Albuquerque Rideshare Accident Lawyers

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Rideshare services have cropped up as a modern alternative to taxi services, providing drivers with an easy way to use their vehicles and free time to make some money, and passengers with a reliable way to get around in cities that do not host traditional taxi services. However, as any of the Albuquerque rideshare accident lawyers can tell you, the reliability and convenience of rideshare services do not make them immune from the car crashes that all drivers must try to prevent.

Rideshare drivers, like all other drivers, can be negligent in following the rules of the road. Victims of such negligence deserve to have their injuries compensated. If you or a loved one were in a rideshare accident in Albuquerque, schedule your free consultation with a Zinda Law Group personal injury lawyer at (800) 863-5312.

What rideshare services are

Rideshares use apps that connect passengers with drivers, removing some of the uncertainties of hailing a cab the traditional way. Gone are the days when passengers competed against one another to catch the next taxi; no longer must passengers simply hope to be greeted by a yellow cab when they have to make a trek across town in fifteen minutes. Designated drivers might be a thing of the past.

Drivers of rideshares use their own vehicles to drive for rideshare service companies like Uber or Lyft. They simply use the company’s app to access passengers in need of a ride and make money by providing rides. Drivers can make more money off of these apps when there are more people than average using the app and there are more people requesting rides than there are drivers available in a particular area at a particular time to give rides.

What Rideshare services are not

The taxi service industry has begun to evolve to adapt the convenience of rideshare services. Services like zTrip, which has an Albuquerque presence, offer services that function similarly to Uber and Lyft from the passenger’s perspective. That is, they have an app that connects passengers to drivers and allows them to book rides.

There are a few key differences between services like zTrip and rideshare services, though. First, zTrip does not price surge like Uber and Lyft, which is a passenger-friendly feature; second, and more importantly, zTrip provides cars to drivers, and such cars are clearly marked with the brand. Finally, zTrip allows passengers to book rides in advance and also offers black car (luxury taxi) services.

Requirements of rideshare drivers

While rideshare drivers must have a regular driver’s license, there are usually few other requirements. They are no more qualified than the average driver, though there is a chance that they should or do exercise more care than the average driver since strangers are entrusting them with their lives. Both Uber and Lyft allow the driver to rent an insured car to become a driver, but the other requirements that Uber and Lyft place on their drivers are different.

Requirements of Uber Drivers

Uber requires that any driver working with its app do the following:

  • Use a smart phone capable of downloading and running the Uber Driver app
  • Use an adequate profile photo
  • Use a vehicle eligible for the rideshare service
  • Give proof of insurance for the vehicle the driver plans to drive
  • Have a valid U.S. driver’s license
  • Have at least one year of driving experience in the United States with a valid license or three years of driving experience for those under the age of 25
  • Give proof of residency in the city or state of the driver
  • Pass the driver screening process, including reviews of the driver’s record and criminal history

This list, though somewhat lengthy, does not require special licensure or driving experience apart from a required length of time driving in the United States. There is the possibility that your Uber driver did not meet these requirements, in which case you should discuss your accident with a personal injury attorney.

Requirements of Lyft Drivers

Lyft’s requirements differ a little, but still do not require extra training. Lyft states that its drivers must:

  • Use a smartphone capable of downloading and running the Lyft Driver app
  • Have a valid U.S. driver’s license
  • Use a vehicle eligible for the rideshare service
  • Be 25 or older
  • Pass the driver screening, including reviews of the driver’s driving record and criminal history
  • Display the Lyft emblem somewhere visible on the vehicle

Lyft’s minimum age requirement cancels out the minimum years of driving experience requirement of Uber.

What to do if you are in an Albuquerque rideshare accident. Contact our Albuquerque rideshare accident lawyer today.

If you find yourself in a rideshare accident in or near The Duke City, it may be best to discuss it with an Albuquerque injury lawyer. An attorney can help you understand what your options are and whether your claim is likely to be successful. The following sections will describe the steps you should take after your accident.

Address Your Injuries

Car accidents can cause all varieties of injuries imaginable, from minor cuts, bruises, and sprains to dislocations, broken bones, and life-threatening injuries. See a doctor about such injuries as soon as you can. Even if you do not think you have been seriously injured, visit your doctor to keep track of any new or unusual discomfort.

Injuries that you might not notice immediately after the crash might be some of the most serious ones. Stomach pain might mean damage to your internal organs; muscle spasms could mean tissue damage, and back and neck pain might mean you have acquired spinal problems.

Keep track of all of the expenses associated with your injuries, including emergency care, surgeries, follow-up appointments, and rehabilitation. These expenses are evidence of your injuries.

Gather Evidence as You Can

In addition to evidence of your injuries, you will need evidence to support your story of how the accident happened. You might be able to start gathering evidence at the scene of the accident if you did not suffer serious injuries. Call the police to report the accident, and an officer will come to take the names and contact information of the drivers involved; later, get a copy of that crash report, for it will be a helpful piece of evidence for your case.

Take pictures of the accident scene if you can and gather contact information from any witnesses who saw the accident. If you are unable to gather such information because you were seriously injured, you can have an Albuquerque accident lawyer help you with this investigation.

Find Out Who Is at Fault

Fault is a crucial part of any personal injury claims that arise under a theory of negligence, but it can also be difficult to determine. Sometimes it is obvious, such as when one of the drivers was drunk or distracted, but other times both of the drivers involved were at fault. In rideshare cases, it is possible that the rideshare service negligently hired an unqualified driver.

Since the question of fault is often unclear and is highly dependent on the circumstances of the accident, it is left to a jury to determine fault if the case goes to trial. An experienced Albuquerque injury lawyer can help you anticipate how a jury would decide the question of fault in your case.

File a Claim and Get Compensated

New Mexico has a statute of limitations of three years for personal injury claims, which means that victims have three years from the day the accident occurs to file their complaint. Once your claim is filed, you can anticipate a response from the defendant and begin negotiating your settlement. This process often involves the insurance companies of the parties involved.

Compensation in personal injury cases covers economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages reimburse you for the calculable expenses attributed to your injury, including medical expenses and your missed wages from the time you had to take off of work. Noneconomic damages reimburse you for the pain and suffering you experienced from the accident.

The different perspectives of a rideshare accident

The rideshare accident looks very different depending on the role that you played. You might be the rideshare driver, the rideshare passenger, the driver of a vehicle that was hit by a rideshare driver, a pedestrian who was hit by the rideshare driver, or a person who was involved in the accident in some other way.

If you were the passenger of a rideshare and the rideshare driver was at fault, you will probably have limited success suing the rideshare company rather than the driver except under limited circumstances. If the rideshare company negligently hired the driver or if the driver was uninsured, you might be able to sue the company. However, there are contingency clauses in the terms and conditions that you agree to when you sign up on the rideshare app; these clauses could prevent you from taking action against the rideshare company.

If you are a driver or pedestrian who was struck by a rideshare driver, it will matter whether there was a passenger in the rideshare vehicle. If there was no passenger, the rideshare company will likely avoid any involvement. If there was a passenger, that passenger will also have a claim against the rideshare driver and/or the rideshare company.

safety while ridesharing

While ridesharing can make a night out safer by preventing some people from driving drunk, it can be risky to uncareful passengers. Apart from the normal risks associated with being a passenger in a motor vehicle accident, there is the added risk of accepting rides from people you do not personally know in often-unmarked vehicles. (Even when rideshare services require vehicles to be marked, those marks are easy to replicate for people who want to impersonate rideshare drivers.)

Some individuals have taken advantage of the fact that rideshare cars are often unmarked and will lure passengers to get into their vehicles by stating that they are someone’s Uber or Lyft ride when they are not. There are built-in safety features that can stop this from happening if passengers and rideshare drivers know how to use them.

Stay with a Group

It is more difficult for would-be kidnappers to target a victim from within a group. Even if you are traveling alone, you can wait inside until you see on the app that your driver is approaching; this stops you from waiting outside alone with your phone in your hand, very obviously waiting for your rideshare. This is where kidnappers find an opportunity to pretend that they are drivers for rideshare services.

Also, Uber and Lyft have carpool options so that you would likely not be the only passenger in the vehicle for at least part of the ride. If you do ride alone, sit in the back seat. Not only does this put physical space between you and your driver, but you can also get out on either side of the vehicle and avoid walking into moving traffic.

Confirm Your Driver’s Details

Rideshare apps typically include profiles of their drivers, and you can use this to your advantage. You can check your potential driver’s rating and cancel your ride if his or her rating is not good. Also, when the driver arrives, you can ask his or her name to confirm that it is the driver you anticipated; before you enter the car, have the driver reciprocate by telling you whom he or she is there to pick up.

Let Friends or Family Know Where You Are

Uber allows its passengers to share their “status” with up to five people. This sends the selected recipients the passenger’s location and the driver’s name, picture, and license plate number. Lyft has a similar feature, “Send ETA.”

If you are using a rideshare service that does not have an option like this, you can always send a picture of the license plate of the vehicle to your friend or family member. Keep track of your location yourself by following along the route to your destination on your own phone.

If You Think You Are in Danger While in the Vehicle

If you believe that your driver is not your rideshare driver and that you are in danger, call the police. If you safely can, try to get out of the vehicle and away from the driver by entering the nearest public area. Attract attention or ask for help.

Tell a Zinda law group Albuquerque rideshare accident lawyer about your rideshare accident

You might still wonder, “Should I reach out to an injury lawyer near me?” As we discussed, it can be difficult to determine whether your rideshare driver was at fault—or whether another driver involved in the accident was more at fault. Our Zinda Law Group Albuquerque rideshare accident lawyers can take your call and listen to your description of the events leading up to the accident. They can help you address the legal and factual issues your case might present.

Car crashes can cause lasting injuries, and your continued treatment could be costly. You deserve to get the proper care for your injuries so that you can return to your life as normally as possible. You can reach an Albuquerque accident lawyer at (800) 863-5312 for your free consultation.

Our experienced attorneys will take your wishes into account as they advocate on your behalf. We understand that our clients might be nervous about filing a lawsuit, and we want to make the process as painless as possible for car crash victims. We are so serious about shouldering our clients’ burdens that we offer a No Win, No Fee Guarantee; that means that you will not pay us anything unless we win your case for you.

Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.