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Rideshare Accident Lawyer

Rideshare services offer a convenient and affordable alternative to taxis. About one-third of Americans have, according to one survey, used a rideshare service at least once. 

At the same time, providing rideshare services is also a source of income for many people working for rideshare providers like Uber or Lyft. Rideshare can be a win-win encounter for passengers and drivers alike – when everything goes right.

But what happens if you are a rideshare passenger and something goes wrong? What if the car you are in gets into an accident and you are injured?

What if you are not riding in a rideshare vehicle, but are injured in an accident with one? Who is responsible to you for your injuries? What are your options to be compensated for your medical bills and other costs?

Passenger injury statistics for rideshare accidents can be difficult to find and tend to be old. Estimates from some studies suggest that, of all car accidents in the United States, those involving rideshares are about three percent of the total. 

Because injury-causing rideshare accidents often involve at least one additional party other than the drivers involved in a collision, rideshare personal injury lawsuits can be more complicated than those for an auto accident in which you were the driver.

If you have been injured as a rideshare passenger in Arizona, or as a driver or pedestrian involved in a car accident with a rideshare vehicle, then the Stone Rose Law Firm can help you to understand what remedies you may have against whom. We can also help you negotiate a personal injury settlement with insurance companies and with the companies that provide rideshare services.

Call us at (480) 498-8998 to speak with an experienced Arizona rideshare personal injury attorney about your rights and remedies as a rideshare accident victim.

Causes of Rideshare Accidents in Arizona

Common Driver-Related Causes of Rideshare Accidents

Rideshare accidents involve passenger vehicles, so the common causes of passenger vehicle accidents generally also apply to rideshares. In our experience as Arizona rideshare accident attorneys, here are some of the most frequent driver behaviors that cause collisions:

  • Speeding. This can be driving faster than posted speed limits, or driving too fast given the prevailing road, weather, and lighting conditions. Driving too fast is a frequent cause of accidents; overall nationally, about one of every four vehicle accidents involves speeding as a contributing factor.
  • Failing to obey rules of the road. Aside from driving faster than the posted speed limit, drivers who disregard other traffic signs, signals, and warnings can also lose control of their vehicles as a result. Following another vehicle too closely also falls under this category.
  • Distracted driving. Even for experienced drivers, the act of driving requires a focus of attention on the road and on surrounding vehicles. Drivers who become distracted by conversations with passengers, texting, or talking on the phone are more likely to lose that necessary focus and find themselves in an accident. Distraction can be a particular problem for rideshare drivers who can often find themselves “multitasking” behind the wheel, talking with a passenger while checking their on-screen driving directions at the same time.
  • Driving while intoxicated or fatigued. There are physical conditions under which it is simply unsafe for anyone to drive. Motorists who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or who are groggy from a lack of sleep, are examples of people who should not be driving themselves, not to mention carrying a rideshare passenger.
  • Driver inexperience and lack of training. No special training or minimum level of experience is needed to become a rideshare driver. This means that new drivers who have little background behind the wheel––and who are more likely to get into an accident as a result––can find themselves transporting unsuspecting rideshare passengers.
  • Aggressive and violent behaviors. Some drivers are emotionally and temperamentally unsuited to be on the road. These drivers can manifest this unsuitability through aggressive driving behaviors that can themselves cause accidents, or lead to “road rage” incidents involving other drivers. Another possibility that rideshare passengers must be careful about is incidents of inappropriate behaviors, like unwanted sexual advances or even sexual assault, or physical altercations with the driver. Rideshare drivers can also be subject to injury from passengers who are physically aggressive or violent toward them.

Rideshare Passengers as “Faultless Plaintiffs”

Professional athletes learn that sometimes you can make all the right decisions and all the right moves, and still lose because of something you have no control over. The same is true when it comes to being the victim of a rideshare auto accident in Arizona. 

Your rideshare driver can strictly obey every traffic law and rule of the road, have his or her head on a swivel looking out for other drivers and pedestrians, and be stone-cold sober and still get into a crash.

Consider the illustration below lists the causes of Arizona vehicle crashes in 2022:

Driver violations by type of behavior and number

Source: Arizona Department of Transportation, “2022 Arizona Crash Facts Summary”

Note that according to this data, in about half of Arizona accidents the vehicle driver did not apparently do anything wrong yet still got into an accident

The same is true when it comes to driver conditions that can lead to an accident. In four of every five collisions, the driver was apparently sober:

driver physical condition by type of condition and number of drivers

Source: Arizona Department of Transportation, “2022 Arizona Crash Facts Summary”

An example of how you can become a rideshare accident victim through no doing of your own or that of the rideshare driver is a fatal accident that happened in Phoenix in September of 2023. In this case, the at-fault driver allegedly ran a red light and collided with a rideshare vehicle in an intersection, killing the rideshare passenger. The rideshare driver, who was injured, was not held to be at fault.

Because Arizona is a comparative negligence state, this means that if you are the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit and a court decides that you were partially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, your court award will be reduced by your percentage of the overall blame. For example, if the court finds that the other driver was 75 percent responsible for the crash, but you were 25 percent at fault, then you will only receive 75 percent of the initial award of damages.

Rideshare passengers who sue for personal injury, unless they were engaged in behaviors that caused the driver to be distracted, are often largely not vulnerable to comparative negligence claims. Insurance company attorneys sometimes refer to these passenger plaintiffs as “faultless plaintiffs” as a result.

Rideshare Accident Injuries

Just as the causes of Arizona rideshare accidents are like those of other traffic accidents, the injuries you can experience from a rideshare accident are basically the same. Here are some of the most common rideshare accident injuries we see in our law firm offices:

  • Bone fractures and open breaks
  • Lacerations 
  • Bruises
  • Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions
  • Spinal cord and neck injuries, including paralysis
  • Chest injuries
  • Amputations
  • Wrongful death

Who Is Liable for a Rideshare Accident Injury?

One of the things that can make rideshare accidents challenging to resolve is finding out who is a contributing party to the accident and its injuries. Depending on who was involved in the accident and the surrounding circumstances, here are some of the people you may have to negotiate with or even sue after a rideshare accident:

  • Uber and Lyft drivers, or the personal estate of a rideshare driver if that person dies in the accident.
  • Another rideshare passenger, if that person caused the rideshare driver to be distracted.
  • Other drivers, including motorcyclists.
  • Parents or guardians of other drivers who are not yet legal adults.
  • Pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • The rideshare company that the rideshare driver contracts with.
  • The employer of the other driver, if that person was driving for a work purpose when the accident happened.
  • Vehicle manufacturers, for unsafe vehicle conditions including product liability claims.
  • Insurance companies––both yours and those representing other parties to the crash.
  • The municipal government, if a road safety problem the government knew of and did nothing about contributed to the crash. 

How Is a Rideshare Different From a Taxi?

You might be wondering how being a passenger in a rideshare vehicle is different from being a passenger in a taxi. There are some meaningful distinctions, especially if you are involved in an accident.

For personal injury liability, the main difference between a taxi and a rideshare is in how each treats its insurance obligations toward passengers and others.

A taxi company hires its drivers as employees. This means that those drivers are covered under the taxi company’s policy of liability insurance. The need for the employer to carry this insurance for all its drivers is one reason why it usually costs more to take a taxi than it does to reserve a rideshare.

Rideshare companies, on the other hand, work with their drivers as independent contractors. What this means to you is that if the rideshare vehicle you are in gets into an accident, or if you are otherwise involved in an accident with a rideshare vehicle, then you will need to find out what the rideshare company’s insurance policies say. 

Uber and Lyft both require their drivers to carry bodily injury liability coverage on top of their own personal insurance as a condition of their contracts with these companies. This is because often a driver’s personal auto insurance policy will not cover accidents that happen when the policyholder is working as an Uber driver or Lyft driver.

Generally, to qualify for rideshare insurance coverage, you will need to meet some qualification criteria. For example, the rideshare driver will need to be “on the clock” by having the rideshare open during the trip, and that application must show the driver in the proper availability status. 

In some situations, the rideshare insurer may seek to deny policy coverage for you and try to make you rely on another driver’s personal insurance policy instead. This can occur if, for example, the rideshare driver or another driver is at fault for the accident. 

Understanding how rideshare insurance policies apply to your rideshare accident can be an exercise in patience and attention to detail. An experienced rideshare accident attorney can help you to fully understand which insurance companies you need to work with to reach a claim settlement, and how to negotiate with them to make sure you receive fair compensation.

Recovery for a Rideshare Accident in Arizona

By now, you may be sensing a pattern: a rideshare accident claim is like any other accident involving a motor vehicle, only with a few unique twists of its own. For recovery purposes – how much you can receive in compensation for your injuries after a rideshare accident – this pattern is the same. 

What Goes Into an Arizona Rideshare Accident Lawsuit?

In an Arizona personal injury lawsuit generally, you will need to meet some basic requirements to have a legal claim for compensation. These requirements are the same for a rideshare accident legal claim.

Who Do You Have a Claim Against?

As we discussed above, depending on the facts of your accident there can be multiple possible defendants and multiple insurance companies in a rideshare personal injury lawsuit. You will need to establish the connection between each possible person responsible for your injuries in a way that will hold up in settlement negotiations or in court.

How Long Do You Have to File a Rideshare Accident Legal Claim?

The time limit within which you must file a lawsuit for personal injury after a rideshare accident is the same as it is for other personal injury cases: two years from the day of the accident or from the day you discover your injury, whichever is later. This is the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Arizona.

What Do You Need to Prove?

Rideshare personal injury lawsuits require you to show that four things are true:

  1. Someone owed you a duty of reasonable care. This must be true of any of the potential defendants you and your personal injury lawyer identify, like a driver or a third party.
  2. That duty of care to you was breached. The defendant must have purposefully, recklessly, or negligently acted or failed to act in such a way that put you at foreseeable risk of harm as a result.
  3. This breach of a reasonable duty of care to you caused the accident. Lawyers refer to this as “proximate causation.” What it means is that the defendant’s unreasonable behavior led to the chain of events that caused the accident.
  4. You suffered harm as a result of the accident. The harm you suffer must be measurable in money damages. Some of these damages can be direct (also called economic damages), like medical treatment bills, property damage, and lost income if your injuries keep you from going back to work. Other damages can be for mental and emotional distress, including post-traumatic stress disorder (also called non-economic damages), and––in some especially serious cases––punitive damages can also be appropriate.

In some cases, like the Phoenix fatal rideshare accident we mentioned above, a rideshare accident can become more than a personal injury case. In these instances, as a surviving relative of a person killed in a rideshare accident, you have possible legal remedies in a wrongful death lawsuit or an Arizona statutory survival action. 

In these cases, an Arizona wrongful death attorney can assist you in finding out what your legal options are, who to make a wrongful death or survival action claim against, and how to pursue it.

How an Arizona Rideshare Accident Lawyer Can Help You

Help for Your Legal Claims

If you need to seek compensation based on a personal injury claim after a rideshare accident, having an experienced Uber accident lawyer on your side can be very helpful to you. Arizona law allows you to represent yourself in a personal injury claim. But if you do not have experience with how Arizona courts work, there are many pitfalls that could thwart your claim before you ever get to trial.

Some of these traps are administrative in nature, like court filing deadlines that can preclude your case if you miss them. Others are ones that other attorneys can lay for you, like asking you questions to get you to unwittingly say something harmful to your own case.

Having a Stone Rose Law experienced rideshare accident attorney on your side can help make sure you don’t miss an important deadline and that all your legal documents are in proper form and filed on time and correctly in the right court.

Having a Stone Rose personal injury attorney on your side also means that you never deal with crafty attorneys representing people you have possible claims against. We stand between you and them.

Help for Your Settlement Negotiations

Here is a simple but powerful truth about rideshare motor vehicle accidents in Arizona: like any other personal injury claims, the overwhelming majority of these cases never go to trial. They settle out of court first.

Here, having an experienced Stone Rose lawyer on your side is very helpful for you after an Uber or Lyft accident because negotiating the best possible insurance settlement is an art as much as a science. With a Stone Rose rideshare accident lawyer representing you in negotiations, you can be confident that:

  • You will not be taken advantage of. Our rideshare accident lawyers are experienced negotiators. We know how rideshare companies and their attorneys work to try to minimize your medical expenses and other potential claims and even to get you to leave money on the table. We will not let them do this to you.
  • You will receive the full and fair settlement you deserve. Stone Rose personal injury attorneys are diligent investigators when it comes to finding everyone who potentially owes you for the harm done to you in a rideshare accident. We also know where to look for all the direct and indirect damages you have suffered and include these in our negotiation demands. We leave nothing on the table.
  • You will have the strongest negotiation position possible. Settlement negotiations for a legal claim like personal injury depend greatly on the strength of your possible lawsuit at trial. If an insurance company for another driver or a rideshare company thinks you have a weak legal case, then it will take on a tougher stance with you in negotiations. The reverse is true as well. 

The ancient Romans had a saying that, translated into English, was, “If you want peace, prepare for war.” In personal injury lawsuit negotiations for car accident cases, the same saying might go, “If you want the best settlement, prepare for trial.” 

Stone Rose personal injury attorneys are Arizona trial experts. Although we work to reach the best possible settlement payout for you through negotiation, we negotiate from a position of strength by preparing your case like it needs to go to litigation. 

We make this clear to the other parties in negotiations so they have no choice but to take you and your claims seriously.

Call Stone Rose Law Today for Your Rideshare Injury Claim

At Stone Rose Law, we are dedicated Arizona personal injury lawyers who represent car accident victims among our clients.

From taking over the legal process on your behalf to connecting you to top doctors in your region, the personal injury lawyer we assign to you will look out for your physical, emotional, and financial well-being. You can rest and concentrate on healing while we deal with all the complex and arcane legal tasks on your behalf.

We provide top-quality legal representation to accident victims throughout Arizona, securing maximum compensation and achieving outstanding results. 

Call us today at (480) 498-8998 to arrange a free initial consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers. Do you prefer to communicate online? You can reach us here to ask a question or to schedule a free consultation.

It does not pay to wait on a personal injury claim. Waiting too long can weaken your negotiating position for settlement and can even preclude your right to file suit if you miss the Arizona statute of limitations. Put one of our rideshare accident specialists to work for you today, starting with a no-cost consultation to discuss your serious injuries.