Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have changed the landscape of personal transportation. A rider can use their cell phone to request a ride and have a vehicle waiting to take them where they need to go within minutes.
Unfortunately, the convenience of ridesharing also comes with increased risks. Riders, other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians all face potential accidents and injuries when negligent rideshare drivers and companies cause traffic accidents. Rideshare companies, also referred to as transportation network companies (TNCs), have historically found themselves subject to fewer regulations than taxis, limousines, and other transportation providers.
Recently, some states, including New Jersey, have passed new laws and implemented additional regulations to improve the safety of ridesharing services. But ridesharing accidents still happen, and those involved sometimes suffer serious injuries or even death.
If you sustained injuries in a ridesharing accident in Marlton or the surrounding area, New Jersey law permits you to seek compensation for damages related to your losses and injuries. The experienced ridesharing lawyers at Console & Associates, P.C., are here to help you through the complicated claims process. Contact us today online or call (856) 778-5500 for a free case evaluation to discuss the specifics of your rideshare accident, your injuries, and how they have impacted your life.
Since 1994, the skilled legal team at Console & Associates has advocated for accident injury victims, including those who have suffered injuries in a ridesharing accident. The firm’s experience negotiating, settling, and litigating personal injury claims has led to more than $100 million in recovered damages from settlements and jury verdicts for their clients. Recent case results range from $100,000 to more than $1 million.
It’s impossible to predict a financial outcome for your ridesharing accident claim, but the dedicated attorneys at Console & Associates prioritize client service and advocacy, diligently pursuing the best possible outcome for their clients. One of our Marlton car accident lawyers can review your case to advise you about whether you have a viable claim and give you an estimate of what you might expect from a settlement or jury verdict based on the specific circumstances of your accident.
In 2017, New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission implemented the Transportation Network Company Safety and Regulatory Act. This law governs TNCs and their drivers in New Jersey.
The law includes these provisions:
After a college-age New Jersey woman mistakenly entered a vehicle she believed was her rideshare car in South Carolina, the driver killed her and dumped her body more than 60 miles away.
To keep riders safe, New Jersey enacted Sami’s Law, which requires rideshare companies to comply with the following three requirements:
Under New Jersey law, rideshare drivers and/or rideshare companies must maintain insurance that covers the driver when they log on to the company’s app whether or not the driver has a rider in the car with them.
Minimum coverage for drivers logged on to an app but not providing a ride is:
Minimum coverage for drivers logged on to a rideshare app and proving a ride is:
Riders face a risk of intentional harm at the hands of a rideshare driver, but it’s far more likely for a rider or another person sharing the road to suffer injuries in a ridesharing traffic accident. Like other traffic crashes, the majority of rideshare accidents are preventable. Many occur because of negligent rideshare drivers and ridesharing companies.
Some specific causes of ridesharing accidents in Marlton and throughout New Jersey include:
All drivers are subject to driving distractions, but rideshare drivers are especially vulnerable. Rideshare drivers must use their phones to log in and out of an app to find riders, making their cell phones a dangerous distraction. However, riders present the biggest distraction. Sometimes drivers need to search for a new address, call for directions, or cope with unruly, obnoxious, or drunk riders. Other distracted motorists can also cause a rideshare accident and put riders at risk of injury. Besides cell phones, other common driving distractions include adjusting vehicle features, eating, daydreaming, and personal grooming.
More than 15 percent of people in the United States have used a rideshare company, with more and more people relying on rideshare services each day. This keeps rideshare drivers busy, hustling from fare to fare, sometimes more quickly than they should.
Driving faster than the posted speed limit or traveling too fast for conditions is a factor in many traffic accidents, but speeding is particularly tempting for rideshare drivers. Riders want to get where they are going quickly, and drivers have an incentive to rush to meet these demands. Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing companies pay drivers by the trip. Drivers who want to make the most money rush to get in as many trips as possible during a shift.
Speeding makes it easier for rideshare drivers to lose control of their vehicles and makes it much more difficult to react to hazards on the road, sometimes leading to dangerous accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that about 7 percent of total traffic crashes, which includes 16 percent of fatal traffic crashes, occur due to drowsy or fatigued driving. The federal government regulates professional drivers who hold commercial driver’s licenses to limit the number of hours they can spend behind the wheel before resting. Unfortunately, these regulations do not apply to rideshare drivers.
Lyft has implemented a 14-hour shift limit, and Uber has implemented a 12-hour shift limit for their drivers. However, rideshare drivers know how to get around these limits, which only account for the time a driver is logged into a rideshare company’s network. This allows drivers to sign in and out of different TNC networks to offer rides. Additionally, some drivers offer rides as a part-time gig in addition to working day jobs.
In either case, getting behind the wheel without proper rest can lead to dangerous and deadly accidents. Research from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows that drivers who have been awake for 18 hours suffer the same level of impairment as drivers who have consumed enough alcohol to give them a 0.08 blood alcohol concentration.
All drivers, including rideshare drivers, put others at risk if they choose to use controlled substances before getting behind the wheel. Drugs and alcohol impair drivers and make it difficult for them to respond to information around them adequately. Lyft and Uber have strict zero-tolerance policies for driver drug and alcohol use. They also encourage riders to report drivers who they believe may be drunk or drugged.
However, the law doesn’t require rideshare drivers to undergo random drug and alcohol tests like other professional drivers, so it’s impossible to know for certain whether particular rideshare drivers are abusing drugs or alcohol. It’s also difficult for TNCs to take action against drivers who have violated the drug and alcohol policy.
As discussed above, New Jersey law requires rideshare drivers to comply with New Jersey vehicle inspection requirements. TNCs have a legal duty to enforce compliance amongst their drivers. However, inspections only happen on an annual basis.
Rideshare drivers who offer rides in Marlton may put thousands of miles on their vehicles each year, particularly if they are giving rides to and from Philadelphia. Inspections that only happen once a year do not guarantee that drivers adequately maintain their vehicles in between inspections. Poorly maintained rideshare vehicles can lead to mechanical breakdowns and accidents.
Examples of scenarios where inadequate maintenance can cause a traffic accident include:
Riders, other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists all face a risk of accidents and injuries when rideshare drivers and TNCs make negligent choices.
Examples of ridesharing accident injuries that sometimes lead to a Marlton ridesharing claim include:
If you have sustained injuries because of a rideshare driver or company’s negligent choices, New Jersey law permits you to seek damages in civil court for losses related to the accident and your injuries. Ridesharing accident cases are notoriously complex because they typically include multiple parties, especially if the accident injured more than one rider.
New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state, which means your first step after an accident should be to file a claim under your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policy to cover your accident-related medical expenses. If you meet or exceed your PIP limit, you then need to take additional action to receive compensation.
Typically, accident victims file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. This could include filing a claim with the insurance carrier of the rideshare driver or the rideshare company. Depending on the situation, you might also need to bring a Marlton ridesharing lawsuit against the relevant parties to get the compensation you deserve.
If you reach a settlement agreement or a New Jersey court rules in your favor, you could receive compensation for some or all of the losses related to your accident and injuries, such as:
Contact the experienced ridesharing accident lawyers at Console & Associates online or at (856) 778-5500. We’ll discuss the particulars of your ridesharing accident, your injuries, and the best legal strategy for your situation and provide a free case evaluation. Waiting too long to take action could mean missing out on recovering compensation for your injuries.
At Console & Associates, we are empathetic to the challenges you face after suffering severe injuries in a rideshare accident. We pride ourselves on seeking justice for our clients so they have the best chance of receiving maximum compensation for their injuries.
Console and Associates, P.C.
1 Holtec Drive, #100
Marlton, NJ 08053