Las Vegas, with its bustling nightlife and 24-hour casino operations, truly never sleeps. This constant activity makes rideshare services, such as Uber and Lyft, a go-to option for residents and visitors, ensuring safe transport at any hour. Like any vehicle, rideshare cars can cause accidents.
After a rideshare accident, navigating the maze of insurance claims, driver responsibility, and company policies may overwhelm you. The following is an overview of insurance claims following a Las Vegas rideshare accident and how a skilled rideshare accident lawyer can recover the compensation you deserve.
Understanding Rideshare Accidents
About 30,000 rideshare drivers work in the Las Vegas area, and the Nevada Department of Business and Industry says there aren't enough to provide the number of trips that visitors to the Strip need.
Complicating the matter is the number of rideshare drivers attempting to make additional money by convincing passengers to accept rides while not logged into a legitimate rideshare app.
Rideshare businesses operating in Las Vegas must carry $1.5 million in insurance coverage to cover driver liability if an accident occurs while transporting a passenger. This coverage doesn’t apply when passengers accept rides outside of the app. The issue can leave passengers and the occupants of other vehicles in a serious bind when seeking compensation for their injuries.
After a rideshare accident, you're likely dealing with more than physical injuries. The complex nature of rideshare accidents, which may involve multiple parties and layers of insurance coverage, can heighten the stress.
Types of Rideshare Accidents and the Injuries They Cause
Rideshare accidents take several forms, from minor fender benders to severe, multicar pileups. They may result from the rideshare driver's negligence or another driver's careless action. The nature of the accident dramatically affects the extent of damage and injuries.
The kind of accident can determine liability and the extent of compensation that you may claim.
- Rear-end collisions: Whiplash, neck, and back injuries due to sudden impact.
- T-bone crashes: Fractures, head injuries, and internal trauma from side impacts.
- Pedestrian accidents: Severe injuries, including broken bones and head trauma.
- Rollover crashes: Serious injuries, such as spinal cord damage and brain injuries.
- Distracted driving accidents: Injuries from driver negligence or phone usage.
- Multi-vehicle collisions: Injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening.
- Passenger injury: Various injuries due to lack of seatbelts or improper restraints.
- Cyclist collisions: Injuries such as broken bones, lacerations, and head trauma.
Injuries from rideshare accidents range from minor to catastrophic, influencing victims' lives temporarily or permanently. The extent and type of your injuries influences your level of compensation, making it vital to document all injuries and related medical costs.
The Consequences of Rideshare Accidents
You may suffer from physical pain, emotional trauma, and financial burdens after a rideshare accident. If you suffer injuries, medical expenses can add up quickly, not to mention the potential loss of income if your injuries prevent you from working. No one can underestimate the anguish and emotional distress.
According to the National Safety Council, the average economic losses of a car accident that results in a disabling injury are about $155,000, including medical treatment expenses, income and productivity losses, administrative fees, and motor vehicle damage.
The average loss from an accident that results in nondisabling injuries is about $40,000. These averages do not, however, include compensation for the profound psychological impacts of injuries, such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of enjoyment of life.
Legal Implications of Rideshare Accidents
Rideshare accidents present unique legal challenges. The main issue concerns determining who is legally to blame and how multiple insurance policies may interact. While every accident is unique, two constants remain: victims have rights, and a personal injury lawyer can protect these rights, guiding you through this complex process.
Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft provide peculiar insurance coverages. The driver's auto insurance, rideshare company's insurance, and third-party insurance (if another vehicle caused the crash) can all play roles in your claim. A major factor determining which insurance policy applies is the rideshare driver's status at the time of the accident—whether they were active in a ride, waiting for a ride request, or off-duty.
Rideshare victims, unfortunately, often find that securing fair compensation isn't easy. Insurance companies may shift liability, deny claims, or offer lowball settlements.
A lawyer can step in and handle the insurance companies on your behalf, alleviating your stress, advocating for you, and securing compensation that adequately addresses your damages and losses. Hire a rideshare accident lawyer to explain, exercise, and protect these rights on your behalf.
Your Fundamental Legal Rights
As a ride-sharing accident victim of someone else's negligence, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses. This may include medical expenses, lost earnings, and noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering. You also have the right to understand all the terms and conditions of an insurance policy before accepting any settlement.
When you file a personal injury claim against a rideshare company's liability coverage, a rideshare driver's auto insurance policy, or another driver's policy, a settlement is the most common resolution.
Suppose the at-fault party or rideshare company's insurer fails to compensate the claim fairly. In that case, you can seek compensation by filing a legal complaint (lawsuit) in civil court.
The statute of limitations, a state law that dictates the time for parties of a legal dispute to file a claim in court for a judge or jury to hear the facts of the case and make decisions regarding liability and compensation, limits this right. Nevada Revised Statutes section 11.190 requires people to file claims in most car accident cases within two years of the accident date.
Failing to file a lawsuit within this period will almost always result in losing the right to do so. It will also free the at-fault party's insurer from the legal obligation to resolve the claim, meaning the claimant can no longer obtain compensation for their injury's financial and psychological costs.
Remember, an experienced lawyer protects your rights at every step.
Determining and Proving Liability
Identifying who is at fault in a rideshare accident can be complex. It requires an understanding of local laws and regulations and a thorough investigation of the accident.
Proper evidence establishes liability and claiming compensation in a rideshare accident. Evidence includes photographs and videos from the scene, eyewitness testimonials, police reports, and medical reports. Your lawyer can determine whom to hold responsible and gather the necessary evidence to prove liability.
In a rideshare accident, a lawyer will use evidence to establish:
- Duty: The evidence must show that the at-fault party was operating a vehicle on a public roadway and, therefore, had the legal responsibility to act reasonably to avoid causing harm to others. The reasonable measures of Las Vegas drivers include obeying traffic laws, driving safely, and ensuring they have adequately insured and maintained their vehicles.
- Breach: The claimant's lawyer must also show that the at-fault party breached their duty of care by pursuing unsafe actions, such as speeding, driving while distracted, or failing to yield the right-of-way.
- Cause: A car accident attorney will show a direct relationship between the evidence of the driver's breach of their owed duty of care and the accident that occurred.
Handling Communication on Your Behalf
Insurance providers stay in business by selling premiums, not compensating claims. Because a claim payout represents a financial loss for the insurer, insurance companies employ claims adjusters to rigorously review claims and determine the lowest amount they must pay to satisfy their obligation to their insured. Insurance agents commonly use tactics to reduce the claim amount.
Your lawyer will, therefore, handle all communications with the insurance companies on your behalf. They know which questions to ask and what information to provide to protect your interests and rights.
Calculating and Fighting for Fair Compensation
Every rideshare accident victim has the right to fair and adequate compensation. This includes coverage for medical expenses, lost income, and emotional trauma. Your lawyer calculates just compensation and then advocates on your behalf to secure it from insurance companies or at trial, if necessary.
The value of a car accident claim doesn't only include the amount of bills and lost income from your injury. A lawyer will also look at other factors, including the injury's severity, disabling injuries that will result in a permanent loss of earnings, and even the at-fault party's recklessness that resulted in the accident.
A settlement negotiation or litigation follows once your attorney determines your liability and gathers the evidence. In the negotiation process, your lawyer will strive to reach an agreement with the insurance companies. The case may proceed to court if negotiations fail to yield a fair settlement. A lawyer will then present the case before a judge or jury, arguing for your deserved compensation.
Hiring an Experienced Lawyer for Your Las Vegas Rideshare Accident Claim
A rideshare accident is an emotional and stressful period, so having the right lawyer can alleviate some of your burdens. Not all lawyers are equal in their experience in handling rideshare accidents, however.
While many people hesitate to hire a lawyer because they think they can't afford one, they can. The billing method that most personal injury attorneys use ensures access to services for anyone needing assistance with their Las Vegas rideshare accident claim. Payment for your lawyer's services is due only if you receive compensation for the claim.
When seeking a lawyer, ensure their track record features successful handling of rideshare accident cases. They should explain the complexities of the claims process, guide you through it, and advocate effectively on your behalf. Find an empathetic personal injury law firm who makes you feel comfortable and supported during this challenging time. It's not about choosing a lawyer for the sake of it but choosing a lawyer who can wholeheartedly guide you.