Pedestrian AccidentPedestrian Accidents Involving Rideshare Vehicles: Legal Options for Injured Parties

May 30, 20240

Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have become ubiquitous in cities across the United States. While ridesharing provides convenience for riders, it also brings risks, especially for pedestrians sharing the road. Accidents involving rideshare vehicles injuring pedestrians are on the rise in many metro areas. If you or a loved one has been injured as a pedestrian by a rideshare vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation for damages. Here’s an overview of legal options for injured pedestrians to recover costs in these scenarios.

Contributory Negligence in Rideshare Accidents

In any auto accident injury claim, the doctrine of contributory negligence may come into play. This means if the injured person was also partly at fault through their own negligence, it can affect their ability to recover damages. The injured party’s negligence is legally compared to the negligence of other parties, including the rideshare driver. Fault and liability are apportioned based on the degree of negligence of each party.

Most states have moved to comparative negligence systems, so an injured person’s compensation is reduced based on their percentage of fault. A few states still bar recovery if the injured party was partly at fault. Since pedestrian accidents often involve the question of whether the pedestrian also acted negligently, the contributory vs. comparative negligence doctrine can significantly impact the claim.

Liability Challenges with Rideshare Drivers

Rideshare drivers are independent contractors rather than employees. This complicates liability, as the rideshare company often initially denies responsibility for the driver’s negligence. The injured party must prove the driver counts as an agent of the company at the time of accident. Since rideshare drivers utilize their own vehicles, insurance issues also come into play. The driver’s personal policy may try denying coverage for rideshare work.

Rideshare companies do offer insurance contingent coverage, but accident victims face barriers being approved as claimants. Having experienced legal counsel to navigate these complex liability issues is critical when seeking damages. An attorney can build a case proving the driver’s negligence caused the injuries and that the rideshare company bears vicarious liability as the driver’s principal at the time.

Proving the Rideshare Driver’s Negligence

To have a viable injury claim against a rideshare driver and company, the pedestrian must prove negligence occurred. Negligence means the driver failed to act with reasonable care and breached their duty of care owed to the pedestrian. This involves showing that a reasonably prudent driver would have acted differently under the circumstances.

A pedestrian accident attorney will gather evidence showing negligence such as:

  • Traffic camera footage
  • Police reports
  • Witness statements
  • Accident reconstructionist analysis
  • Medical reports documenting injuries

Evidence can demonstrate the driver was speeding, not paying proper attention, or operating the vehicle recklessly in a way that resulted in the pedestrian’s injuries. Other factors like adverse weather or poor visibility may also show the driver did not take due caution.

Legal Options for Pursuing Damages

Once negligence is established, an injury claim can demand compensation through different legal avenues:

  • Insurance settlement – The rideshare company’s insurer may opt for an out-of-court settlement to avoid the expense and uncertainty of a trial. Having an experienced attorney negotiate the settlement for you is crucial to get full and fair compensation without having to go to court.
  • Personal injury lawsuit – If a fair settlement offer is not made, a lawsuit may be filed against the driver and rideshare company seeking compensation for all damages incurred. This legal action puts pressure on the defendants to settle before trial to limit costs and negative publicity.
  • Trial – If efforts to reach an equitable settlement fail, then the case proceeds to a trial where a judge or jury examines the evidence and decides liability and the amount of damages to award. Having a dedicated trial attorney fully prepared to argue your case in court is key to success.
  • Shared claims – If multiple pedestrians were injured in the same accident, their claims can be combined through joint or class action to increase leverage when negotiating. This strengthens the case and often results in higher settlement or court award amounts.

The at-fault driver’s personal auto insurance should cover the damages up to policy limits. However, often the driver’s coverage maximum is inadequate to compensate for serious pedestrian injuries. This makes the rideshare company’s insurance critical. An attorney can advise the best approach given the damages and collectible insurance amounts.

Damages Available for Injured Pedestrians

Pursuing legal action allows the recovery of past and future accident costs such as:

  • Medical expenses – All past and ongoing treatments can be claimed, such as hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, prescriptions, and physical therapy.
  • Lost income – If injuries prevent working, lost past and future wages can be recouped.
  • Loss of future earning capacity – If permanent disability results, projections of reduced earning ability can be claimed.
  • Pain and suffering – Compensation can be sought for physical and emotional distress from injuries.
  • Property losses – Reimbursement for damage to belongings like glasses, cell phones, or clothing.
  • Wrongful death damages – If negligence results in a fatality, certain family members can claim damages like funeral costs and loss of companionship.

Having an experienced attorney assess actual costs and project future damages is key to maximizing claim value. Those injured by rideshare vehicles should consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident to best preserve their rights.

Get Legal Help from a Pedestrian Accident Attorney

The aftermath of being hit as a pedestrian brings confusion, uncertainty, pain, and often significant expenses. Those injured through no fault of their own deserve compensation. An attorney experienced in pedestrian accident claims against ridesharing companies understands how to build a strong case proving negligence and maximizing damages for clients.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a pedestrian by an Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare vehicle, contact us today.

You can visit our office at 700 Bishop St, Ste 2100, Honolulu, HI, 96813.

Or call us today for a free consultation on (808) 745-1592.

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