Experienced North Dakota Lawyers Protect Victims of Uber & Lyft Car Accidents
Helping those injured in ND ride share accidents get justice for their injuries
Ride sharing services like Lyft and Uber are disrupting the transportation industry. Their app-based business models, with their convenience and lower prices, are giving the taxi and limo industries a run for their money. We now have a choice on how we travel from place to place; we can choose from different services, different cars, and compare prices. We can keep track of our driver’s location, know who is coming to pick us up, and have the ability to check their rating on the app before committing to a ride.
Unlike cab or limo companies, however, ride share companies operate on a different business model. And this can make decisions about liability after a car accident more difficult. If you are involved in an Uber, Lyft, or other ride share accident as a passenger, you need to know your rights. Who is responsible for your injuries? Your medical bills? If you have to take time off work to recover, who will reimburse you for lost wages? It’s critical to have an experienced and tenacious legal team on your side. The North Dakota injury attorneys at Larson Law Firm P.C. are standing by to fight for the compensation you deserve.
How ride sharing services work
With traditional services like taxis and limos, you work directly with the company to secure your ride, and the driver is an employee of that company.
However, an Uber or a Lyft-type company offers “drivers-for-hire,” and contracts with freelance drivers who use their own personal vehicles to pick up and transport passengers. Even though Uber and Lyft are currently the major players here in North Dakota, more companies are fighting to enter the market all the time. However, all ride share applications so far have the same basic components:
- A smartphone app that allows the passenger to request a ride and set their pickup and drop-off locations
- A GPS that allows the driver to navigate and the app to track the route and calculate the correct fare
- A two-way feedback platform where both the driver and passenger can rate each other, so future drivers and passengers can make informed choices
Employees versus independent contractors
Because ride share companies view themselves as middlemen, they see their drivers as contractors rather than employees. The difference between an employee and a contractor mostly has to do with the amount of control the company has over the worker—whether or not the worker sets their own schedule or how the worker is paid (salary or contract work). These may seem like small distinctions, but in the world of personal injury lawsuits, it can make a huge difference.
Who is liable in an Uber or Lyft accident?
If you’re in an accident as a passenger in a ride share, who is liable for your injuries? There are multiple potential answers, depending on your particular situation:
- The driver of the ride share vehicle
- The ride share company
- The insurance company
- The driver of the other vehicle, in cases of two-vehicle collisions
In the majority of cases, the passenger is unable to sue the company. This is because, as discussed earlier, ride share workers are thought of as independent contractors instead of employees. It is extremely difficult to hold a ride share company responsible for an accident caused by a non-employee driving their own personal vehicle.
Companies like Uber and Lyft do have $1 million liability policies in place in case of accidents. Their insurance policies work as follows:
- $0 when the driver is not logged into the app
- $50,000/$100,000 bodily injury and $25,000 property damage when the driver is logged in but has not accepted a ride request
- $1,000,000 when the driver is logged in and has accepted a ride request
In order to keep yourself 100% protected, only accept rides from the driver you requested via the app, and make sure they officially accepted your ride request. Otherwise, the driver may not be liable in the event of an accident.
Even with their insurance policies in place, both the driving companies and the insurance companies lose money when you try to make a claim. They might attempt to get out of paying by having you sign an agreement that limits your settlement or prohibits you from taking further legal action, or by trying to prove that your injuries aren’t as severe as you say they are. In cases like these, it’s always important to talk to an attorney before signing anything or making any verbal agreements. Even $1 million may not be enough to cover lifetime medical expenses when you suffer a catastrophic injury like a spinal cord or traumatic brain injury. If your health care costs exceed that liability limit, you need a legal team on your side to help make up the difference.
Types of Cases We Handle
Our North Dakota attorneys handle a variety of cases, including:
|Car Accidents||Causes of Car Accidents||Car Accident FAQs|
|Distracted Driving||Drowsy / Fatigue||Drunk Driving DUI|