Santa Fe Rideshare Accident Lawyers
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Using rideshare services like an Uber or Lyft can bring great relief: you get all the benefits of getting from point A to point B without the drawbacks. That is until your driver gets in a car accident on your way. Even if you choose to drive yourself instead of using a rideshare service, you may still find yourself the victim of a rideshare accident because of a negligent rideshare driver on the road. These kinds of accidents can be really complicated, but Zinda Law Group Santa Fe rideshare accident lawyers have experience with these cases and know how to get the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one were injured in a rideshare accident in or near Santa Fe, New Mexico, call Zinda Law Group to speak with a Santa Fe injury lawyer today. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation today.
WHAT MAKES RIDESHARE ACCIDENTS DIFFERENT?
You may be thinking to yourself, “Well, isn’t a rideshare accident just like any other kind of car accident?” In at least one way it is: if you were injured through no fault of your own, you are entitled to compensation. But in many other ways, these accidents are much more complicated. Don’t worry though, because although these accidents are nuanced, our Santa Fe accident lawyers have experience fighting for rideshare accident victims and obtaining positive outcomes.
Rideshare accidents present different challenges than if you were to get in an accident driving your car or if you were in an accident on a public bus. For one thing, in New Mexico, drivers of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft do not need to have their own commercial driver’s licenses or commercial auto insurance. Although Uber does provide commercial auto insurance to the driver, it only does so while the driver is “on the clock,” and the coverage it provides is very small.
These stipulations can create a lot of complicated scenarios. For example, say you were driving your own car when another car hit you, and it turns out that driver was a driver for Uber. If that driver had his app open and was available or waiting for a ride request, then Uber’s insurance would only cover you for up to $25,000 in property damage and $100,000 in bodily injury per accident. That means even if you total your car or require extensive surgeries, that is the maximum amount Uber’s policy will provide.
That does not seem like nearly enough compensation to cover most people’s injuries and property damage from car accidents, and that is not even considering the fact that Uber’s insurance would likely try to get out of paying even that small amount. The insurance company always wants to protect their profit margins, so they will make every argument possible to get out of paying you. For example, they could argue that you were at fault for the accident, or that the Uber driver wasn’t “on the clock” when it happened.
All in all, rideshare accidents are complex, but don’t let that stop you from pursuing the compensation you deserve. At Zinda Law Group, our Santa Fe rideshare accident lawyers are familiar with these kinds of cases and have the necessary experience to fight for you and with you.
RIDESHARE ACCIDENT FAQS
At Zinda Law Group, we imagine you probably have a lot of good questions, so below we tried to answer just a few for you. Of course, our Santa Fe rideshare accident lawyers are just a phone call away and can answer any other questions you have during your free consultation.
Are Rideshare Services Really Making the Roads More Dangerous?
The short answer is: yes! Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have an enormous market share in the U.S. and provide millions of users with rides every quarter. According to a study done by the University of Chicago, this immense use of these apps has resulted in a 3% increase in the number of motor vehicle fatalities. This amounts to about 987 fatalities a year.
There are many reasons why rideshares make the roads more dangerous. An important reason is the very nature of the job: rideshare drivers work off an app on their phone, and therefore while driving they are required to pay attention to their devices to see if they can pick up new fares or to see where they are going. This means that their job requires them to be consistently distracted.
Another risky part of the job is picking up strangers. When rideshare drivers arrive at the address to which they were called, they generally don’t know who they are picking up or where that person is. This means they oftentimes stop and go, drive slowly, and are looking around trying to search for their riders. This kind of distracted driving can be very dangerous for other drivers on the road.
Additionally, although rideshare services are great because they provide additional streams of income for many drivers, unfortunately that can sometimes result in drivers working for Uber or Lyft as their third or fourth job. This means that drivers can go from working long shifts at one job straight into driving you around. Drowsy driving is incredibly dangerous and can affect alertness and reaction time in extreme ways, even comparable to driving under the influence.
What Are the Requirements for Being a Rideshare Driver?
Surprisingly, rideshare services like Uber do not have high standards for becoming a driver, which might also be another reason why these accidents are so common. Although drivers can’t have a recent record of speeding infractions or DUI’s, if the incidents are from a certain number of years back, drivers are still eligible to work for Uber.
Additionally, according to Uber’s website, drivers do not even need to be the person to whom the car is registered. Although they are required to have individual insurance, it only needs to meet the “minimum” auto insurance requirements. With respect to the car driven, Uber is also pretty relaxed; other than a clean inspection and a requirement that the vehicle be no older than 15 years and in “good” condition, there aren’t any other general restrictions that the rideshare service adheres to.
If You’re Hurt While Inside a Rideshare Car, Who is Liable?
This is a really important question and although sometimes the answer may seem obvious, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes the driver of the rideshare car is liable, but sometimes there are alternative or additional defendants too; this is one of the many reasons why it is important to retain a Santa Fe injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers are trained to investigate who was responsible for accidents and to hold them accountable for their actions.
Some other possible defendants might be the rideshare company themselves, the vehicle manufacturer, or even the town or city of Santa Fe for improper road maintenance. Accidents can happen from many different causes and because of the decisions and actions of many different kinds of people. To best set yourself up for receiving the compensation you deserve, you should retain a personal injury attorney to ensure that you are holding everyone liable responsible for their actions.
Why Do I Need an Injury Lawyer Near Me?
As discussed above, figuring out who and what caused an accident can be very difficult, but is extremely important, which is why it is in your best interest to retain a Santa Fe injury lawyer to take care of that for you. However, that is just one of the many reasons for why you should retain an injury lawyer in the city near you, near where the accident occurred. Personal injury attorneys know exactly how to negotiate with insurance companies to get the best settlement agreements. And, if the company doesn’t offer an amount you are comfortable with, your Santa Fe accident lawyer can help you prove your case in court as you fight for a jury to award you the maximum amount of compensation possible.
In addition to helping you get the compensation you deserve, an empathetic and communicative injury lawyer like those at Zinda Law Group will keep you informed on every step of the process. Your case has to do with your livelihood, and so it is important to us that you have a reliable hand to hold throughout its process.
What Does the Process Look Like?
The first step of the process is your 100% free consultation. At this consultation, one of our experienced Santa Fe accident lawyers will listen to your story and help assess what kind of claim you may have, if any. Then we begin the investigation process where we figure out what happened and who is responsible.
Once we have a strong understanding of the ins and outs of the case, we will start negotiating with the insurance company for the defendant (or insurance companies, if there are multiple defendants). If we reach an agreement that you are comfortable with, then you can walk away at that point with your settlement award. If not, then we will take the case to court.
After dealing with any pre-trial motions that are necessary, we will bring the case in front of a factfinder, meaning a judge or jury; we will then plead and prove our cause of action. Sometimes the cause of action is negligence, and other times it is other claims, like product liability or wrongful death. At the end of the trial, if we are successful, the judge or jury will award you your damages.
What Kind of Compensation Could I Get?
If the case was to go in front of the jury, the damages that the jury would award you can depend on the type of claim that we brought. If we brought a negligence or product liability case, then you would generally be entitled to economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover expenses you paid out of pocket, like your medical bills or property damage; non-economic damages refer to things like your pain and suffering.
If you can show that the defendant was malicious or willful, then you may also be entitled to punitive damages, which are sometimes called exemplary damages. These damages are intended to punish the defendant for their wrongdoing and compel them to be more careful in the future.
If you lost a loved one due to a rideshare accident, then your legal claim would be for wrongful death. Plaintiffs in wrongful death claims in Santa Fe generally can recover funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, and lost wages and benefits that the deceased could have earned if he or she had lived.
How Long Do I Have to Sue?
Whether the suit is for wrongful death or negligence, plaintiffs in New Mexico have three years from the time of the incident to bring their suit. If you do not file in court before that time period is up, then you have lost your chance at bringing a case.
This may seem like a lengthy amount of time, but it is always better to contact a Santa Fe rideshare accident lawyer as soon as you can. The more time your lawyer has to prepare for the case the better, and time tends to fly by when dealing with difficult life events like the aftermath of a car accident.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A RIDESHARE CAR ACCIDENT
Unfortunately, you cannot prevent these accidents from happening, for even if you chose to not be a passenger in rideshare cars, you are still exposed to rideshare drivers every time you get on the road. However, you can take these three easy steps following a rideshare car accident to best prepare yourself for possible litigation.
Seek Medical Attention
First things first, get checked out by a doctor. It may feel uncomfortable if you are the passenger in the rideshare car to speak up about any injury you experienced, but don’t let that stop you. It is very important that you get evaluated medically as soon as you can after the accident; if you wait, the defendant’s insurance can argue that the injury was caused by something else in the interim period. Even if you think your injuries are minor, it is still best practice to get checked out, because many kinds of injuries from car accidents are not obvious at first but can get worse over time.
Document the Scene
If you were a passenger in the rideshare, take pictures of your app that has your rider’s name and the car’s make and model, etc. You should also take pictures of the damage to the car and any visible injuries you have. If you can, make sure to get a copy of the police report and make sure that it was written in the report that you were the passenger of a rideshare at the time of the accident.
If you were another driver who got into an accident with a rideshare provider, you should also take pictures; Uber and Lyft both require that there be decals on the vehicles signifying that they are rideshares, so you should try to take pictures of those decals. Additionally, try to get proof that the driver was either in the process of making a trip or was waiting for one, and therefore was “on the clock.” You can do this by getting the contact information of the passenger of the ride or getting a written or verbal statement from the driver that he or she was waiting for fares.
If possible, have that information included in the police report. Overall, the more you document the better.
Call Zinda Law Group
The stress of having been in a car accident is enough in itself; don’t also take on all the stress of the aftermath too; that is what we are here for. Retaining a lawyer like the experienced Santa Fe rideshare accident attorneys at Zinda Law Group will put you in the best position possible to receive the compensation you deserve for your hard times. The earlier you call us after your accident the better, so don’t wait; we are ready to listen to your story and help you move on with your life.
TO TAKE THE FIRST STEP, CALL ZINDA LAW GROUP Santa Fe Rideshare Accident Lawyers TODAY
Our Zinda Law Group Santa Fe accident lawyers are just a phone call away and are waiting to help you move on from this tragic experience. In addition to offering free consultations, we also promise a “No Win, No Fee Guarantee.” That means that if we aren’t successful in your case, you do not have to pay our attorney’s fees.
That is because we are confident in our abilities, and we are empathetic to the financial hardships you have likely faced in light of your accident. So, to take advantage of this offer, call us today at (800) 863-5312.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.