Tacoma Rideshare Accident Lawyers
As popular as Lyft and Uber have become in Tacoma, that does not always mean these services are safe. Driving commercial comes with the added pressure of meeting quotas, tight deadlines, and a competitive work environment. All of this can cause rideshare drivers to speed, ignore traffic laws, and become distracted by technology, ultimately endangering both their passengers and other drivers.
If you were injured in a rideshare accident due to a negligent driver, then you may be eligible to receive compensation in an auto accident claim. Lyft and Uber are required to have extensive insurance policies that cover both other drivers and passengers in the event of a collision. In addition to these policies, you may be covered under the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
To determine what options are available to you, you should immediately contact a Tacoma rideshare accident attorney at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. With more than 40 years of experience, our legal team can review every available insurance policy and advocate for full compensation on your behalf. To discuss your case in a free consultation, call our office at (425) 228-3860 or toll-free at (888) 228-3860.
Similar to taxis, limos, and other driving services, rideshare drivers have the duty to protect their passengers from harm and prevent serious auto collisions. When they sign onto an app and get behind the wheel, they should always do so with the full knowledge that their actions can easily change someone’s life. Even though these companies do not offer training programs, rideshare drivers should review all local traffic laws for Tacoma and the surrounding neighborhoods to ensure that they are practicing safe driving habits.
Sadly, many drivers view Uber and Lyft as part-time jobs, believing they can just randomly log into the app and make some quick cash. This type of nonchalant behavior can cause them to become lax in their driving habits, either ignoring traffic signs, speeding, or otherwise acting negligently. But even experienced rideshare drivers can make reckless or careless decisions that put themselves, their passengers, and other drivers at risk.
Much of this is related to the nature of their jobs. Each ride is filtered and guided through the Uber or Lyft app, which determines the best route a driver should use, whether or not they are on time, and how much they will get paid. As useful as this technology can be, it can also be distracting. Modern-day drivers are already heavily distracted by their smartphones and can cause catastrophic accidents if they are not fully focused on driving.
Alongside their technology, drivers often have to deal with belligerent, pushy, or annoying passengers who may distract them. However, this is no excuse for poor driving habits. Drivers should always keep their eyes on the road, check their blind spots, maintain their speed, and obey all traffic laws.
Common actions that contribute to rideshare accidents include:
- Speeding to a pick-up or drop-off destination
- Failing to check blind spots before turning or changing lanes
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Making dangerous turns at intersections
- Driving while intoxicated
- Driving while fatigued or after working long hours
- Dangerous parking maneuvers
These actions not only put drivers and passengers at risk of suffering traumatic injuries, but also pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. Each of these groups is extremely exposed on the road, and few drivers understand how dangerous a collision can be for them. If a rideshare driver ignores safe driving practices, an auto accident could absolutely devastate someone’s life and even cause a tragic death.
If you are involved in a rideshare accident, whether as a pedestrian, another driver, or a passenger, you may be able to pursue an auto accident claim against the at-fault party. This will vary depending on the collision. While some accidents may be the fault of the rideshare driver, it is just as likely for an everyday driver to cause a collision. However, in each instance, accident victims do have the right to file an auto accident claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
But which policy applies can vary between where in the route the rideshare driver was. Both Uber and Lyft offer up to $1 million in liability insurance coverage for drivers when they have accepted a ride request to when the driver drops off the passenger. If the driver is cruising around and waiting to receive a request, then, according to SB5550, rideshare services must also cover drivers for up to $50,000 for a single individual and $100,000 for two or more people’s injuries. If the driver is not logged into the app, then their own insurance policy would apply.
Lyft and Uber policies apply to anyone injured due to a rideshare driver’s negligent actions, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, other drivers, and passengers.
If you are a passenger in a rideshare accident, then you are covered under the rideshare company’s policy if the driver was at fault for the collision. However, if the accident was caused by another driver, then you would only be covered under that driver’s policy. This may put you in a tricky situation if the at-fault driver only has a minimum policy under Washington state law, which includes $25,000 for a single individual’s injuries and $50,000 for two or more people’s injuries.
That behind said, Uber and Lyft do have uninsured (UM) and uninsured motorist (UIM) policies for their vehicles, and these policies extend to rideshare passengers. If your medical costs exceed the at-fault driver’s policy, then you can file against Uber or Lyft’s UIM policy to receive the additional funds you need to cover your bills.
Liability in a rideshare accident can vary depending on the nature of the accident. While you may immediately assume that the driver is at fault, Washington is a comparative negligence state. This means that multiple parties can be found at fault for a collision and be limited from receiving compensation based on their level at fault.
For example, if an Uber was speeding through a residential zone and T-boned a car that was backing out of the driveway, the majority of blame would be placed on the Uber driver because they violated the speed limit. However, if the driver that was backing out did not have its lights own, then that driver could be found partially at fault for making it difficult to see them. The driver that was hit may be found 15% at fault for a collision. If they were awarded $100,000 in compensation, they would only be able to receive 85% of compensation, or $85,000.
In addition, so long as the driver is less than 50% at fault for an accident, they can still receive compensation. If both drivers involved in the collision are found to be exactly 50% at fault for an accident, then neither driver could receive compensation. Typically, passengers cannot be found at fault for a collision unless they clearly acted negligent, such as not wearing a seatbelt, distracting the driver, or leaving a door open.
Ultimately, if you have been involved in a rideshare accident, your immediate goal should be to get medical attention. Once you have seen a doctor and receive any necessary treatment, reach out to an attorney. In any auto accident claim, it is important to have strong legal representation to ensure that your rights to compensation are protected. Insurance companies, whether they represent Lyft, Uber, or another driver, are rarely willing to offer proper compensation after a collision. Instead of trusting them to be charitable, you should put your trust in a skilled and experienced attorney.
Going into an auto accident claim on your own can be risky. Insurance companies employ crafty and smart insurance adjusters to review every claim that comes across their desk. They are trained to look for weaknesses in a claim, such as a missed doctor’s appointment, admission of guilt on social media, or unaccounted for medical bill. However, if you come to the table with a knowledgeable Tacoma auto accident attorney at your side, you will have a stronger shot at receiving compensation.
At Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., our firm has more than 40 years of experience representing accident victims, including those injured in rideshare accidents. We know the claims process front and back and are not afraid to take a case to court to get our clients the much-need compensation they deserve after a collision. If you or someone you loved was injured in a rideshare accident, reach out to our firm at (425) 228-3860 or toll-free at (888) 228-3860 for a free consultation.
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