Ridesharing apps are becoming more popular in New Jersey and across the entire nation. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that there are more Uber and Lyft vehicles on our roads than ever before. In turn, these vehicles are involved in more accidents than ever before, and in many cases, they are actively causing collisions. When your job is to ferry passengers to their destinations as many times as possible within a single day, there is obviously an incentive to drive fast and potentially ignore traffic laws. This payment structure is inherently dangerous for innocent motorists in Elizabeth, and this is something countless victims have discovered the hard way. But when exactly can you sue Lyft, Uber, and other ridesharing companies for causing your injuries?
Suing as a Passenger
If you were injured in a crash as a passenger while using a ridesharing app, you can sue the company itself – whether that’s Uber, Lyft, or any other. You may also have the ability to sue other negligent drivers who may have caused your crash.
Suing as a Driver
If you were injured by an Uber or Lyft driver while operating your own vehicle, you can sue either the Uber driver or Uber itself. New Jersey’s no-fault system means that you may not even need to prove negligence in order to recover a settlement. However, your ability to sue Uber depends on whether or not the driver was “on the clock.” More on that below.
Suing as a Disabled Individual
Finally, you may be able to sue Uber or Lyft if you are a disabled individual and you believe that you were discriminated against due to your disability. In August of 2022, it was reported that Lyft was facing a class-action lawsuit for failing to provide vehicles that were accessible to disabled individuals. Many individuals complain that the fact that this company fails to provide these services is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Lyft argues that it is not a government institution and therefore has no obligation to provide wheelchair-accessible vehicles. This lawsuit is ongoing.
Challenges Associated with Suing Uber
Despite the fact that Uber should shoulder responsibility for injuries caused by its drivers and vehicles, you may encounter a number of legal hurdles when you attempt to sue this company and others like it. First of all, Uber may attempt to have you arbitrate your claims. This process allows Uber to potentially avoid the traditional personal injury claims process and pay you a lower settlement. However, various jurisdictions have determined that Uber’s arbitration process is unconscionable, and therefore lawsuits may be required regardless of this company policy.
In addition, Uber may only be sued under very specific circumstances. First of all, you can only sue Uber if the driver was actually “on the clock” at the time of the accident. Even though they might be working for Uber, they are technically only considered employees or contractors when they are actively in the process of earning money. This means that if Uber drivers do not have a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the crash, you may find it difficult to sue the company itself. As a result, you may be forced to sue the individual driver through their insurance policy instead. This will still likely result in a settlement, but your options for compensation may be limited. If the driver had a passenger in their vehicle, the entire $1,500,000 Uber insurance policy should apply to your claim. If they were on the clock but waiting for a fare, Uber may provide additional contingency insurance to their drivers worth up to $100,000 per accident.
Why You Should Sue the Company Rather Than the Driver
If you have suffered serious injuries due to the negligent acts of an Uber driver, you might want to hold them personally liable for their behavior. This is an understandable mindset, especially if your injuries are permanent in nature – preventing you from working or enjoying life to the fullest. But while your first instinct may be to sue the driver directly, this might not be the best strategy from a legal perspective. Uber drivers can earn solid incomes, but they do not typically have access to limitless funds. If you sue them directly, they may struggle to pay you a settlement that covers your total medical expenses, missed wages, emotional distress, and other damages.
In contrast, Uber is a massive corporation with billions of dollars in earnings each year. Uber reported Q3 revenues of $8.3 billion in 2022, representing a 72% increase year over year. This was thanks to new acquisitions and streams of revenue. The point is that you stand to receive a much better settlement if you sue the company directly rather than the driver. Uber has insurance policies that allow you to quickly and easily recover a fair settlement without even having to go to court. That being said, you should always discuss specific legal strategies with your attorney when it comes to who you will name as a defendant in your upcoming civil lawsuit.
Where Can I Find a Ridesharing Accident Attorney in Elizabeth?
If you’ve been searching for a ridesharing accident attorney in Elizabeth, look no further than Smith & Williams Law Firm, LLC. Over the years, we have helped numerous injured victims file personal injury lawsuits – including those who have been involved in accidents with Uber and Lyft vehicles. We know how dangerous these accidents can be, and we are fully aware of the life-altering, traumatic injuries they can cause. With our assistance, you can strive for the best possible outcomes in the most efficient manner possible. Filing a lawsuit can provide you with a settlement, and you can use your settlement to pay for medical expenses, missed wages, emotional distress, and many other damages. Book your consultation today to get started.