Experienced Bronx Rideshare Accident Lawyer

If you were recently injured in an Uber or Lyft accident in the Bronx, you may be entitled to compensation for any resulting damages. In the world of personal injury law, damages refers to economic and non-economic losses resulting from the negligent actions of another. For example, if a distracted driver causes an accident in which you are injured, the hospital bill and cost of your pain medication are two examples of damages. 

When another’s negligence causes you harm, you can file an injury claim or bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party or parties. If successful, you may be able to obtain substantial compensation for any damages suffered, including medical expenses, lost wages, and even emotional trauma.

Bronx Rideshare Accident Lawyer

At the The Law Offices of Evan W. Kohn, our experienced Bronx Uber and Lyft injury attorneys have extensive experience with all types of motor vehicle crashes, including those involving rideshare companies. Evan W. Kohn and his legal team will be your greatest advocates throughout your case.

With more than three decades of experience in the Bronx, and a solid understanding of personal injury law, city and local laws and ordinances, and federal law, our legal team provides exceptional service tailored to each client’s unique needs.

Contact the The Law Offices of Evan W. Kohn at  718-409-5500 today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

It should come as no surprise that as rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft become increasingly popular, accidents involving drivers for these companies are also on the rise. Crashes in Ubers and Lyfts typically result in the same injuries as other auto accidents, but the causes of these accidents, and who is responsible for damages, gets a bit more complicated.

Common Causes of Uber and Lyft Accidents

There’s no denying it, Uber and Lyft drivers account for a major percentage of traffic in U.S. cities. According to a 2018 study jointly commissioned by the two rideshare companies, 12.8 percent of total miles traveled in San Francisco were in an Uber or Lyft; it was 7.7 percent in Boston and 6.9 percent in Washington.

The Big Apple wasn’t included in the study because of our massive public transit system and low rate of car ownership. But the number of rideshare vehicles in NYC has created so much congestion that the New York State Legislature recently adopted a congestion pricing surcharge on vehicles entering the city’s main business district.

With millions of Uber and Lyft drivers on the road at any given time, accidents are going to occur. And they don’t always involve negligence. When an Uber or Lyft results in serious injuries, however, negligence often plays a role. Common acts of driver negligence that cause rideshare crashes include:

  • Distracted driving: Although distracted drivers cause millions of accidents a year that have nothing to do with Uber or Lyft, drivers for these rideshare companies have an even greater risk of distraction than the rest of the population. They rely heavily on their cellphone app to get notifications about new rider pickups, as well as for directions to each and every destination.
  • Speeding: We’ve all driven a little too fast to get to a time-sensitive meeting at some point in our lives. Just imagine if you had a dozen or more time-sensitive appointments every day. Then imagine that if you didn’t get to your appointment on time, the person you were meeting would give you a bad rating that would negatively impact your entire business. This is exactly what Uber and Lyft drivers are up against every day. For this reason, it is common for some rideshare app drivers to speed from time to time.
  • Stopping in unsafe locations: Unfortunately, many rideshare drivers are a bit too accustomed to doing what their GPS tells them to do. Sometimes, the GPS instructs them to drop someone off or pick someone up on a busy or otherwise unsafe section of the road. This is especially true in crowded cities.
  • Driving under the influence: Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft have generally had a positive impact on drunk driving injuries in cities across the country. Due to their popularity and ease of use, intoxicated individuals who may have driven themselves home from the bar in year’s past, now call an Uber or Lyft driver. But what if the rideshare driver is drunk or high? Although the driver would likely be solely at fault in a DUI-related accident, Uber or Lyft could be on the hook if they failed to perform adequate due diligence that contributed to the accident. For example, if Uber or Lyft hired a driver, despite multiple recent DUIs on his/her record, the rideshare company may be at least partially liable for any resulting damages.
  • Fatigued driving: Although Uber and Lyft require drivers to take breaks after a certain period of time (for Lyft, it’s a six-hour break after 12 hours in driver mode), drivers can still be behind the wheel for an extremely long time. Can you imagine how tired you would be after 10, 11, or 12 hours of driving? But some drivers feel a need to drive up to the maximum limit because they need the money. As a result, driver fatigue is another common cause of Uber and Lyft accidents.

In addition to the causes above, Uber and Lyft accidents are commonly attributed to poor vehicle maintenance, failure to follow traffic laws, defective parts, poor road conditions, and passenger behavior. If you have been injured in a rideshare collision, call a Bronx Uber and Lyft injury attorney today.

What Happens When You’re Injured in a Bronx Ridesharing Accident?

In the Big Apple, Uber and Lyft have become a more popular way to get around than those iconic yellow taxis. In fact, ridesharing service use has grown dramatically throughout the state, the country and most parts of the world – about a 15 percent increase in the U.S. from 2015 to 2018 alone.

Before you take another ride, however, think about who is responsible if you suffer an injury in an accident. Is it the driver, the ridesharing company, or are you on your own?

Navigating the Insurance Rules

New York is a no-fault automobile insurance state, which is an attempt to minimize the number of accident cases that go to court, as well as to assign responsibility to each driver. Vehicle owners in New York must purchase at least basic Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, insurance coverage for medical expenses, lost income and death benefits for the driver and passengers up to $50,000 per person.

Generally speaking, Uber and Lyft drivers are independent contractors and not company employees, so an injured passenger would initially make a claim against their driver’s insurance company. But there are some exceptions (more on that below).

Although insurance often covers a bulk of the victims’ damages, that’s not necessarily all you’re entitled to. That is why it is so important to have a Bronx rideshare accident lawyer who is knowledgeable about the ever-changing insurance rules and regulations, and has extensive experience with car accident cases.

When Can I File a Lawsuit?

Under New York law, you can begin a personal injury lawsuit if:

  • You have injuries that meet the definition of a “serious injury,” which includes fractures, dismemberment, significant disfigurement, loss of a fetus, permanent or limited use of a body organ or system, or death.
  • Your expenses exceed $50,000.

In addition to compensation for medical expenses, lost income and death benefits, a personal injury lawsuit can recover damages for items not covered under PIP, such as pain and suffering.

Since 2017, New York has required ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft to carry $1.25 million vehicle liability coverage per occurrence. Also, if your driver didn’t cause the accident, your Bronx rideshare accident lawyer could pursue damages from the other driver’s insurance company.  

What to Do if You’ve Been Injured in an Uber or Lyft Accident

Ridesharing services can be convenient and a chance to sit back and relax, but after an accident, passengers should take some of the same actions as if they were the driver.

  • Give a statement to the police and ask how to receive a copy of the accident report.
  • Take photos of the vehicles and accident site.
  • Never sign statements you don’t understand.
  • Contact your insurance carrier or a lawyer if you have questions.
  • Even if you didn’t have a medical assessment at the site, see your doctor as soon as you can if you have aches and pains.

The most important actions you should take after a rideshare accident are the same as for any type of motor vehicle accident; call the police, seek medical treatment, and call an Uber and Lyft injury attorney. 

Rideshare Insurance – Who Will Pay Your Claim?

Uber accidents are in the news frequently these days, from pedestrian deaths and cyclist accidents to car crashes. In fact, there have been concerns in the news that fatal car accidents are on the rise due to ride-sharing companies like Uber.

But, whether or not you can sue a for-hire company when their driver is involved in a Bronx car crash is a tricky subject. Uber and other ride-hailing companies are relatively new and so the laws regarding them are equally new, and always changing.

Rideshare Laws in New York

Rideshare companies, known as transportation network companies or TNCs in New York State, include any person or business that uses a digital network, such as a cell phone app, to connect passengers to drivers for prearranged trips. These include such businesses as Uber and Lyft.

New York City has its own rules for rideshare drivers that essentially makes Uber drivers into taxi drivers for regulation purposes. In order to operate as a for-hire driver, drivers must meet NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) regulations:

  • TLC-issued commercial license
  • TLC-licensed and eligible vehicle
  • Vehicle affiliated with a TLC licensed for-hire base, such as Uber or Lyft

Which Auto Insurance Policy Covers an Uber or Lyft Accident?

In New York City, Uber and Lyft drivers are required to carry their own commercial insurance policies for their vehicles. Because of this, accidents that occur on rides that originate within the Bronx or remainder of NYC are covered by these policies.

However, in New York state, ridesharing companies are required to carry group insurance coverage for drivers that acts as the primary insurance. So if a ride originates outside city limits, Uber’s insurance policy kicks in first, even if the destination or site of the accident is the Bronx.

Since New York follows a no-fault insurance system for auto accidents, Uber and Lyft, or their driver’s insurance policies must provide compensation for other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who are injured or killed, up to the policy limits. Because of this, it is important to know which insurance policy is primary at the time of the accident. However, many accidents result in serious injuries or death with damages that exceed insurance payouts. In these qualifying cases, you can begin a personal injury lawsuit, but knowing who to sue is also a complex issue.

Independent Contractors or Employees?

Uber and Lyft claim that their drivers are independent contractors. Unlike with employees, companies are usually not directly liable for injuries caused by negligent independent contractors. So if the drivers are contractors, Uber or Lyft would not be liable for auto accidents these drivers cause. However, a recent ruling by the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board of New York State found that Uber exercised sufficient control over three drivers to create an employee-employer relationship in regard to payment of unemployment benefits.

If courts continue to find that Uber has an employer-employee relationship with drivers, then this could open the door for personal injury lawsuits directly against Uber and not just their negligent drivers.

How a Bronx Rideshare Accident Lawyer Can Help You

Following any type of motor vehicle accident, it is in your best interest to seek immediate legal counsel. This is especially true of rideshare accidents, which often involve multiple parties and complicated insurance situations.

A Bronx rideshare accident lawyer will review your case to determine if you have a valid claim. If you do, your attorney will investigate the incident, determine fault, help you gather important evidence, calculate damages, and negotiate for the maximum compensation available to you.

In Uber and Lyft accidents, damages may be recovered from the driver, the driver’s insurance company, the Uber and Lyft Insurance company, or any combination thereof. How much you recover and who pays is largely dependent on the circumstances of the accident.

Regardless of the situation, insurance companies are never eager to give up their money. They are notorious for taking advantage of injury victims, who want nothing more than to get their settlement check and move on with their lives. But the initial settlement offer made by the insurance company is rarely even close to what the injury victim deserves.

That is one of the many reasons why it is so important to work with an experienced Bronx rideshare accident lawyer by your side. At the The Law Offices of Evan W. Kohn, our injury team knows how to accurately valuate your claim and position you for the most favorable outcome possible.

Damages You Can Receive in a Bronx Rideshare Accident Case

The damages you can receive in a Bronx rideshare accident case are similar to damages for other motor vehicle accidents. The most common include:

  • Medical bills for hospitalization, surgeries, doctor’s visits, prescription medications, durable medical equipment, and rehabilitation;
  • Lost wages;
  • Future loss of earnings, if unable to return to work for an extended period of time, or indefinitely;
  • Emotional pain and suffering, such as treatment for and complications of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety;
  • Permanent disability;
  • Property damages; and
  • Wrongful death.

The type and amount of damages you receive will depend largely on the severity of your injuries and particulars of your case. An experienced Bronx rideshare accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed.

Contact the The Law Offices of Evan W. Kohn Today

If you have been injured in an Uber or Lyft accident due to the negligence of another, the skilled legal team at the The Law Offices of Evan W. Kohn can help.

We have been protecting the rights of accident and injury victims for more than 35 years, and our experienced Uber and Lyft injury attorney in the Bronx will navigate the complexities of the New York legal system so you receive the compensation you deserve.

Whether you speak English, Spanish, Greek, Albanian, or Begali, someone on our staff can communicate with you in your language. Contact our office today at 718-409-5500 for a free and confidential consultation about your case. Zoom and Skype consultations are also available during the Covid-19 pande

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