Flagstaff Rideshare Accident Lawyers
What Is A Rideshare Accident Case?
Rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft are great gig work opportunities for drivers to make additional money while also providing passengers with a fast and convenient way to get around town. In Flagstaff, Arizona, ridesharing is a great way to see the sights of the city including the Lowell Observatory, Museum of Northern Arizona, and the historic downtown district. Although ridesharing’s accessibility and convenience are understood, the sudden rise in popularity has led to an increase in rideshare vehicle accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident with a rideshare driver in Flagstaff, Arizona, call Zinda Law Group’s accident lawyers at (888) 568 4342. Our consultations are always free and our attorneys are available 24/7. There’s no risk to call because you never pay unless we win you case.
Common Causes And Examples
The most common examples of rideshare accidents include:
Although it is reasonable to expect your rideshare driver to be professional and keep you safe while you are a passenger in their vehicle, the unfortunate reality is that this is not always the case. Distracted driving is a serious problem as numerous drivers don’t pay attention to their surroundings on the road. Usual reasons for distracted driving include intoxication, texting or eating while driving. Numerous types of accidents may result as a consequence of distracted driving such as running through a stop sign, striking a pedestrian who is crossing the road, hitting a parked car, or even going off the road entirely and hitting a tree.
Sometimes, a rideshare accident is not due to distraction by your driver. Instead, a rideshare accident can stem from serious issues within the vehicle itself, such as faulty brakes. In that scenario, a rideshare accident lawyer can advise you to consider pursuing a claim against the car’s manufacturer for creating a defective product that directly led to your accident.
Some rideshare drivers like to speed while on the road so they can drop their current passengers off and quickly pick up new passengers, thus increasing their fare for the day. When a vehicle travels faster than what the law allows, it increases the risk of a crash. Speeding will make it more difficult for the rideshare driver to swerve out of the way or slow down in time to avoid colliding with another vehicle or object.
What To Do After A Rideshare Accident?
1. Seek Medical Attention (If Necessary)
The most important thing to do after a rideshare accident is to monitor your health, especially if you think you’ve been injured. Injuries can range in severity from minor cuts and abrasions to serious life-threatening situations. If your injuries are severe, get to a nearby medical facility immediately. Even if your injuries do not initially appear severe, you should still visit a medical professional and keep them updated on new health developments.
2. Record Your Medical Expenses
Additionally, keep a record of all the medical expenses incurred, including any emergency care, surgeries, evaluations, and rehabilitation services. Your attorney can later use this information to determine your claim’s monetary value.
3. Call the Flagstaff Police
After evaluating your condition, notify the Flagstaff police of the rideshare accident. When a police officer arrives, they will likely ask you questions about how the accident occurred. You will want to be truthful, however, avoiding making any statements that would indicate that you are at fault as that can seriously harm your claim. If your injuries were the result of the ridesharing accident, the police officer will likely ask you to fill out an accident report. The accident report will include who the parties are, contact information, insurance providers, the conditions of the road at the time of the accident, and a brief write-up summarizing how the accident itself occurred.
Flagstaff police phone number: (928) 774-1414
4. Report the Accident to the Relevant Ridesharing Service
Next, you will want to report your accident to the relevant rideshare company. Both Uber and Lyft allow you to file a report on their websites. Each website is easily accessible and provides clear and concise step by step instructions on how to report your accident. However, be careful about how much detail you provide as rideshare companies, and their respective insurers, will want to find any reason to pay you as little as possible for your injuries. If a representative from the rideshare company or one of their insurers reaches out to you and asks for a recorded statement, politely decline until you have consulted with a rideshare accident attorney.
5. Document the Evidence
You should gather additional evidence to strengthen your claim. If you believe that you are in a safe position to do so, make sure to document what you observe in the aftermath of your rideshare accident. You should collect information regarding:
● The name and contact information of the rideshare driver
● The driver’s personal insurance information
● The driver’s behavior
● Your injuries
● The weather and road conditions
● The names and contact information of any witnesses on the scene
Additionally, take pictures of your injuries and any other damages caused by the accident. Taking pictures from multiple angles will help bolster the overall strength of your claim and increase your likelihood of a successful negotiation with the opposing party.
Furthermore, you should write down as much as you remember about the accident including how it occurred, what you are feeling, what you observed, and any other information that you think may be relevant. It is important to document everything that you can following an accident as your memory could fade as time goes on. By writing things down in the aftermath of the accident, you can later use what you have written to bolster your claim and obtain better compensation for your injuries.
6. Call a Flagstaff Rideshare Accident Lawyer
After the accident, you may find yourself injured, frightened, and unsure of what the proper steps are to take for a legal claim. Often, it is a good idea to seek the services of a lawyer who can determine who is responsible for your injuries and obtain compensation for it.
Be careful, you will not want to just hire any personal injury lawyer. That is because rideshare accidents are a new type of litigation claim with added parties involved such as the ridesharing company’s insurer, the driver’s insurer, your insurer, and the insurers for any other drivers who may have been involved in the accident.
Thus, you will want someone with a vast knowledge and understanding of how rideshare lawsuits work to assist you with your claim. Therefore, it is important to meet with a rideshare accident lawyer who thoroughly understands the complexities of your specific claim and be a powerful advocate for you against any opposing party or insurance company.
How Does A Rideshare Accident Case Work?
After consulting with a Flagstaff rideshare accident lawyer, your lawyer will investigate and fully analyze your claim to determine who is at fault for your accident and what cause of action you may bring. The most frequent causes of action used in rideshare accident claims are negligence, wrongful death, and product liability.
What are the elements?
In a negligence action, you must demonstrate that the other party owed you a duty of care and breached said duty which directly caused your injuries. For example, a rideshare driver owes their passengers a duty to follow the rules of the road and exercise the same degree of care and safety as an ordinary reasonable driver would do under the same circumstances. If a rideshare driver causes an accident by failing to pay attention to the rules of the road, you may be able to successfully bring a negligence claim against the driver.
In a wrongful death action, the victim has unfortunately passed away due to the crash and a loved one is bringing a legal action on their behalf. The elements of a wrongful death action are similar to a negligence claim in which you must demonstrate that the other party is responsible for the wrongful death through a breach of the duty of care.
In a product liability action, you will need to demonstrate that the vehicle itself was defective. The courts use a three part test to determine whether a product liability action applies:
1. Whether the vehicle itself was defective;
2. Whether the vehicle being defective caused your injuries; and
3. Whether the driver operated the vehicle the way it was intended in a safe and reasonable manner
Who Can Be Sued?
Arguably, the most difficult part of a rideshare accident claim is determining who is liable. That is because most ridesharing companies, including Uber and Lyft, classify their drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. The difference between the two concepts is that while a business could pay an independent contractor and an employee the same amount of money for similar work, an individual is considered an independent contractor if the employer only controls the results of the work, but has not control over how the work is done. Rideshare companies often give their drivers flexibility in how the drivers perform their tasks, which makes it easier for companies to then argue that the drivers are merely independent contractors, not employees.
The distinction between an independent contractor and an employee is crucial because by classifying their drivers as independent contractors, it becomes more challenging to bring a lawsuit against the rideshare company. While an employer is responsible for the actions of an employee when the employee is acting within the scope of their employment duties, an employer is unlikely to be equivalently responsible for the actions of an independent contractor. Rideshare companies have this policy in place so that they can deny liability and push victims to seek compensation by only bringing a claim against the rideshare driver.
Despite the added obstacles, there are occasions where you can file a lawsuit against the rideshare driver as well as the rideshare company itself. Rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft provide coverage under certain conditions. Typically, if the rideshare app is off or the driver is waiting for a match, any accident that occurs shall only apply to the rideshare driver’s personal insurer.
Conversely, if you are in the rideshare vehicle as a passenger, or if you are in an accident with a rideshare vehicle that has a passenger in it, you may be entitled to compensation from the rideshare driver’s personal insurer and the rideshare company’s insurer. While the policies vary from company to company, some of the larger ones like Uber and Lyft may be able to compensate you for up to $1 million in certain circumstances.
Cases involving multiple insurance companies with competing policies and questions over who is liable can quickly become highly intense and complex. Thus, having an experienced rideshare accident attorney take over the process and negotiate a favorable compensatory settlement on your behalf is often the best course of action.
Additionally, in a scenario where the vehicle itself is defective and the defect itself caused the accident, you should consider a claim against the vehicle’s manufacturer. Unlike a negligence action, when bringing a product liability action against the manufacturer, you only need to demonstrate that the vehicle was defective and that the defectiveness caused your injury. This is known as a strict liability claim.
Furthermore, in a scenario where you are the passenger in a rideshare accident and the responsible party is a third-party driver, you will want to bring a lawsuit against the third-party driver and their insurance company. In that circumstance, you can treat the action as a simple at-fault claim.
Overall, whether you are bringing a claim against the rideshare driver, the rideshare company, the rideshare vehicle’s manufacturer, or some combination of the three, it is clear that rideshare accident claims are often very confusing. That is why it is so important to have a team of lawyers handle the intricacies of your case and match wits with the insurance companies that will try to avoid admitting liability and paying you what you are owed. Fortunately, your Zinda Law Group Flagstaff rideshare accident lawyer will zealously fight on your behalf to get the compensation that you deserve.
What Damages Can Be Recovered
When an injured party brings a claim for a rideshare accident, they are seeking compensation to reimburse them for damages resulting from the accident. That reimbursement can include damages that are both physical and mental.
In Arizona, an injured party in a rideshare accident may receive compensatory damages. Within compensatory damages are economic damages and non-economic damages. Additionally, in certain circumstances an injured party may be able to also obtain punitive damages.
Economic damages refer to compensation for monetary losses, such as medical expenses (past and future), loss of earnings, loss of use of property, and loss of future employment. These damages are the easiest to calculate. To ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries, keep documents that demonstrate your medical expenses, property damage, and missed work.
Non-economic damages refer to compensation for non-monetary losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Non-economic damages are tougher to prove as they are intangible without any receipts documenting their exact costs. While there is no specific formula to calculate non-economic damages, a Zinda Law Group Flagstaff rideshare accident lawyer can use your unique story and circumstance to help determine the value of your non-monetary losses.
Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages punish the responsible party rather than making the victim “whole again.” You must meet a very high standard to obtain punitive damages. Under Arizona law, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant acted “with an evil mind” in order to collect punitive damages. An Arizona court may award punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages in a situation where the responsible party acted with an “evil mind.”
Typically, a rideshare accident occurs due to negligence, rather than an intentional act, however, each case is unique. That is why it is important to consult with your rideshare accident attorney and determine whether your circumstances potentially open up the option of punitive damages for your case.
Read More: How to Calculate the Value of a Case.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations?
In Arizona, you have two years from the date of your rideshare accident to file a claim against the responsible party or parties for compensation. Importantly, if you do not file your suit within two years, you will not be able to bring a claim to court. Therefore, you should obtain a Flagstaff rideshare accident lawyer as soon as you can to ensure that you receive assistance in obtaining proper compensation for your injuries.
Why Hire Zinda Law Group?
Rideshare accidents can create severe, long-lasting injuries with expensive medical bills that may take years to fully pay off. At Zinda Law Group, our Flagstaff rideshare accident lawyers can help you determine your next steps and get your life back to normal. You deserve the ability to get back to how your life was as soon as possible.
Our experienced Flagstaff rideshare accident lawyers will help investigate your claim and determine who is responsible for your injuries, engage in settlement negotiations with opposing parties and their insurance companies, and zealously advocate on your behalf to get the best deal that we can for you.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a rideshare accident, call Zinda Law Group at (888) 568 4342 for a 100% free case evaluation with an experienced Flagstaff rideshare accident attorney. You pay nothing unless we win your case. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.