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Alabama Uber and Lyft Rideshare Accident Lawyers

Did you experience injuries in a rideshare accident? If so, you are likely entitled to compensation. Speak with a rideshare accident lawyer at Cockrell, Cockrell, Ritchey & Ritchey today for a free consultation.

Rideshare services have replaced taxis as the go-to form of transportation whenever people need one-way transportation on short notice. The two largest ridesharing companies are Uber and Lyft, which have also provided work for many people needing part-time side gigs. As of 2022, there are more than 14 million Uber trips and about one million Lyft trips every day.

Unfortunately, that also means rideshare accidents happen. As a rideshare customer, you have the right to compensation for damages you suffered during a rideshare trip. By holding the rideshare driver or company responsible, you can recover any expenses you may face due to your injuries, as well as help make rideshare trips safer for everyone.

If you were injured in an Uber or Lyft accident in Tuscaloosa, the experienced attorneys at Cockrell, Cockrell, Ritchey & Ritchey, LLP can help. We have served the people of Tuscaloosa regarding personal injury matters for over three decades with compassion and commitment. Our main goal is to help our clients obtain the financial compensation they deserve. Call us today at 205-349-2009 for a free consultation so we can discuss your case and your legal options.

Our law firm has handled a variety of cases over the past three decades. Partner Bob Cockrell has served people from all walks of life in Alabama. We have represented clients in cases that resulted in multi-million dollar settlements. The types of cases we take include, but are not limited to:

  • Auto accidents

  • Personal injury

  • Wrongful death

  • Rideshare accidents

If you were injured during a rideshare accident, you are legally entitled to seek compensation for damages. Our law firm has plenty of experience with rideshare accident cases and has successfully represented clients to establish liability, calculate fair compensation, negotiate with the insurance company, and provide legal advice throughout the entire claims process.

Rideshare Accident Claims

A rideshare accident claim is a personal injury claim involving a specific type of car accident: a collision involving the rideshare vehicle. Ridesharing services connect passengers with drivers through an app. In a rideshare accident, the rideshare vehicle collides with another vehicle somehow, resulting in property damage, injuries, and even death.

When a rideshare accident occurs, all of the involved parties have legal rights and responsibilities. This includes the driver, the rideshare company, passengers, and any other affected individuals.

The Surprising Facts About Rideshares

Rideshare companies are very popular, as you can see from the following facts:

  • 36% of people have used a rideshare service at least once.

  • Uber owns 71% of the market, and Lyft the other 29%.

  • 17% of rideshare app users use it daily or weekly, 26% monthly, and the remaining 56% less often.

  • Uber has about a million drivers in the United States.

  • In urban areas, 70% of the population uses ridesharing.

  • Uber and Lyft now account for 6% of all vehicle miles traveled across the U.S.

  • Rideshare services are expanding in Alabama.

  • In 2018, lawmakers passed a bill for statewide rules for Uber and Lyft.

Where are rideshare services most common?

Rideshare services are extremely common in urban areas and many suburban areas. Rural areas are least likely to have rideshare services available. Certain demographics of people are more likely to use rideshare services than others. Here are the groups of people that use rideshare most often:

  • College graduates

  • People who make more than $75K a year

  • People ages 18-29

In rural areas that have rideshare services, the percentage of users is about evenly divided between each of these three groups. In urban areas, college graduates and people who make over $75K a year make up 70% of users.

Rideshare Vehicles Involved in Accidents

The facts about the vehicle being used to provide the rideshare trip may have an impact on your claim, so it is important to know the various possibilities that exist.

  1. Personal Vehicle: Rideshare drivers all have the option to use their own personal vehicles to provide rideshare services, and this is the most common scenario. To become drivers, they sign up with the Uber or Lyft rideshare platform and register their personal cars on the app to pick up and transport passengers.

  2. Rental Programs: Some rideshare companies and rental car companies have partnerships that specifically offer vehicles for rideshare drivers. For a fee, drivers can rent these vehicles and use them to provide rideshare services. It is a flexible option for drivers who do not own a suitable vehicle or prefer not to use their own.

  3. Vehicle Financing Programs: Some rideshare companies and financing companies have partnerships that offer vehicle financing options tailored specifically to rideshare drivers. These programs allow drivers to purchase or lease a vehicle primarily for rideshare purposes.

  4. Fleet Programs: Rideshare companies may independently operate their own fleet of vehicles in certain cities or markets. The rideshare company owns these vehicles and assigns them to employed or contracted drivers. This option is less popular than drivers using their own cars or rentals.

Rideshare Accident Statistics

Rideshare accidents are a newer category in the world of auto accidents. There is still not a great deal of data about them yet. While there are no statistics about Alabama rideshare accidents specifically, we can look at the statistics for all of the United States to get an idea of what may be happening in Alabama as well.

  1. Uber Accident Rates: A 2019 study conducted by the University of Chicago and Rice University discovered that the introduction of Uber in various cities in the United States was associated with a 2-3% increase in motor vehicle fatalities. In other words, more vehicles on the road and more miles driven by Uber drivers means more vehicle fatalities. Currently there is no information specifically on Lyft drivers.

  2. Accidents per Mile: A 2018 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that rideshare vehicles, including Uber, had a lower collision rate per mile traveled in comparison to traditional taxis. The study discovered a 37% lower crash rate for rideshare vehicles.

  3. Uber's Self-Reported Data: Uber released a safety report in 2019 which provided information on reported safety incidents in the United States from 2017-2018. According to the reported incidents in the data, there were 97 fatal crashes involving Uber trips during that period. However, it's important to note that relying on their own reported incidents may not capture the full extent of Uber rideshare accidents. Currently Lyft has not reported anything about their own safety statistics.

  4. Comparison to General Traffic Accidents: It can be challenging to determine the specific number of Uber rideshare accidents, as much comprehensive data does not exist yet. However, it is worth noting that motor vehicle accidents are generally a leading cause of injuries and fatalities in the United States, and rideshare accidents are a portion of overall statistics on motor vehicle accidents.

What do Uber and Lyft do to Help Keep Passengers Safe?

  1. Accident Reporting: Uber has implemented reporting systems to track and address accidents involving their drivers so that both drivers and passengers can report accidents through the Uber app.

  2. Insurance Coverage: Uber provides insurance coverage for drivers and passengers involved in accidents during a trip. The coverage includes liability insurance, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and contingent comprehensive and collision coverage. The company has its own coverage limits that are different from those required by Alabama law and serve as an additional policy to the rideshare driver's existing auto insurance when they are using their own vehicle for ridesharing.

  3. Driver Screening: Uber conducts background checks on its drivers to evaluate their driving history and criminal records. However, some instances have occurred where a driver's problematic background passed through the screening process unnoticed.

  4. Safety Features: Uber has implemented various safety features in its app, such as driver and passenger ratings, GPS tracking, and a two-way feedback system to help promote safety and accountability.

  5. Partnership with Law Enforcement: When necessary, Uber collaborates with law enforcement agencies to provide support in accident investigations. This includes cooperating with investigations and sharing trip data.

  6. Autonomous Vehicle Testing: Uber has been involved in the development and testing of autonomous vehicles. However, in 2018, a pedestrian fatality occurred during an autonomous vehicle test in Arizona, which led Uber to temporarily suspend its self-driving operations.

Lyft has basically the same measures except for autonomous vehicle testing. It also has a focus on safety initiatives, including a 24/7 critical response line, continuous background checks, and a safety advisory council composed of experts in various fields.

Factors That Contribute to Rideshare Accidents

Rideshare accidents can occur due to various factors, as with other types of car accidents. Here are some common contributing factors:

  • The negligence of the rideshare driver: Distracted driving, impaired driving, intoxicated driving, speeding, and reckless driving are all forms of negligence that make the driver liable for the accident.

  • The negligence of other drivers on the road: Other drivers have a duty of care to share the road, and any negligent or reckless behavior on their part that causes an accident with a rideshare vehicle renders them liable for the rideshare accident.

  • Poor road conditions: Snow, ice and rain make it harder for drivers to slow down or come to a full stop, including rideshare drivers.

  • Other external factors: Medical emergencies, bad weather, and other uncontrollable factors may be involved in a rideshare accident. The rideshare driver may have issues with their vehicle, which could make other parties responsible (such as a parts manufacturer) in addition to the driver and the rideshare company.

Causes of Rideshare Accidents

A leading cause of car accidents is distracted driving, and rideshare accidents are no exception. Since the app requires the driver to check it frequently as well as use GPS, and sometimes even make phone calls, the driver may stop paying attention to the road for brief periods of time. Unfortunately, it only takes a second for a rideshare accident to happen.

Another top cause of car accidents is driver fatigue. Rideshare vehicles are not exempt from this. Rideshare drivers sometimes receive rewards after having a certain number of rides, incentivizing drivers to work as long as necessary to reach their goals. For example, if they are getting 1 ride an hour at the time and need to have 12 rides to get the incentive, they will need to work for 12 hours, assuming their rate does not change and the deadline is the next day. As you can imagine, this results in dangerous situations for the drivers and passengers alike.

Speeding is another cause of car accidents, especially those that cause serious injuries. Rideshare drivers may engage in speeding to reach the passenger or their destination faster, since the more trips they take, the more money they will make.

What Kinds of Rideshare Accidents are Most Common?

Rideshare accidents, like other types of motor vehicle accidents, can range from minor fender-benders to major collisions. They can involve one or more vehicles, and they affect drivers, passengers, pedestrians, as well as public and private property.

The most dangerous type of auto accident is the head-on collision. T-boning can also result in severe injuries and even death. Rollover accidents and multiple vehicle pileups are also incredibly dangerous. Here is an overview of all the ways a vehicle can be involved in an accident:

  • Rear-End Collisions: When one vehicle strikes the back of another vehicle, it is known as a rear-end collision. The most common cause is when a driver fails to maintain a safe distance, or when drivers are reckless, such as the front vehicle suddenly stopping on a busy road.

  • Intersection Collisions: Intersection accidents usually occur when vehicles traveling in different directions collide at an intersection. Factors such as driver inattention, failure to yield the right of way, or running red lights or stop signs can cause intersection crashes.

  • Sideswipe Collisions: Sideswipe accidents occur when two vehicles make contact with each other while traveling parallel to each other. Merging maneuvers, lane changes, or drivers drifting out of their lane are instances in which sideswipe crashes can happen.

  • Parking Lot Accidents: Often, parking lot accidents are caused when drivers back out of parking spaces without properly observing or failing to yield the right of way to other vehicles or pedestrians.

  • Single-Vehicle Accidents: These happen when one vehicle strikes a fixed object such as a tree, pole, or guardrail instead of another vehicle. Distracted driving, speeding, or intoxicated driving may be factors in single-vehicle accidents.

  • Side-Impact (T-Bone) Collisions: When one vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle perpendicularly, it forms a "T" shape. When a driver fails to stop at a red light or yield the right of way at an intersection, a side-impact accident is likely to occur.

Injuries from Rideshare Accidents

Rideshare accidents result in injuries similar to those sustained in other auto accidents. They can result in the need for surgery, a lengthy recovery or rehabilitation, permanent effects, and death. Some common injuries in rideshare accidents are:

  • Whiplash: Any collision where sudden impact causes the head to jerk suddenly forward and then backward can cause whiplash. It is especially common in rear-end collisions. Whiplash strains the neck muscles and ligaments, resulting in neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and restricted movement.

  • Soft Tissue Injuries: People who have been injured in rideshare accidents may experience sprains, strains, and tears in the soft tissues of their body, like muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Pain, swelling, and bruising are common symptoms of soft tissue injuries, as well as limited range of motion, which may persist even after recovery.

  • Bone Fractures: Rideshare accident victims can experience fractures or broken bones resulting from the impact of the collision. Although various parts of the body may be fractured, the most common parts are the arms, legs, wrists, ribs, and hips.

  • Head and Brain Injuries: Head injuries can occur in rideshare accidents. Whether they are minor, like concussions and contusions, or more serious, like traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), any head or brain injury can result in permanent effects on the injured person's memory, cognitive function, and overall brain health.

  • Back and Spinal Cord Injuries: Back injuries, such as herniated discs, and spinal fractures or spinal cord injuries sometimes result from rideshare accidents. If the injured person has severe spinal cord injuries, they may experience paralysis or long-term mobility impairments.

  • Internal Injuries: Internal bleeding, organ damage, and injuries to the abdomen or chest are examples of internal injuries that can occur due to the force of impact in a rideshare accident. Because they are internal, they are not easily recognizable, making them especially dangerous. Such injuries require immediate medical treatment.

  • Psychological Trauma: The shock of experiencing an automobile accident can result in sleep disturbances, insomnia, mood swings, anxiety, depression, and flashbacks about the incident.

To properly gauge the extent and severity of your injuries, it is important to seek medical treatment immediately after being involved in a rideshare accident. Do not assume you are not injured. You may be in shock and not realize you are hurt. Also, adrenaline can mask the pain of injuries after a car accident. It is in your best interest to be evaluated by a medical professional not only to ensure you get adequate medical care but also to create documentation of your injuries incase you need to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Negligence Rule for Car Accidents in Alabama

To determine liability for car accidents, including rideshare accidents, Alabama follows the legal doctrine of contributory negligence. The contributory negligence rule is strict and can greatly impact the ability of an injured party to recover compensation in any type of personal injury lawsuit.

Contributory negligence means that if more than one party is found to be responsible for the accident, then neither of the responsible parties can make a claim for compensation, even if one party is only found to be 1% at fault.

In a rideshare accident, contributory negligence would only apply to an injured passenger if that passenger somehow contributed to the cause of the accident.

Insurance Coverage for Alabama Uber and Lyft Accidents

As an alternative to taxis, Uber drivers and Lyft drivers are independent contractors that provide on-demand transportation services for passengers. Hence, they must have special liability coverage in their insurance policies to cover property damage and bodily injury for themselves and their passengers as well as other parties they may harm.

There are various types of insurance that may be involved in a rideshare accident claim. It may the driver’s personal insurance, the rideshare company’s insurance, or a third party’s policy. Generally speaking, liability coverage is determined by the circumstances at the time of the accident.

When Uber drivers and Lyft drivers have received a ride request and are in the process of picking up a passenger or transporting one, they are considered to be on the clock. Since they are logged into the app, the rideshare company will provide coverage for damages sustained during the accident. If there is no passenger in the vehicle yet, the rideshare company will provide limited liability coverage.

When an Uber driver or a Lyft driver is not logged into the app, they are unable to recieve a ride request. Their personal auto insurance policy would provide coverage for any accidents they sustain while they are offline.

Who Is Responsible for Your Injuries After a Rideshare Accident in Alabama?

One or more parties may be responsible for your rideshare accident in Alabama. Some key parties that may be involved in a rideshare accident are:

  • Rideshare drivers

  • Other drivers

  • Rideshare companies

  • Passengers

How Can a Rideshare Accident Lawyer Help Me?

Our Alabama rideshare accident lawyer will start by giving you a free legal consultation regarding your personal injury case. Once you are signed up to move forward, your attorney will gather your medical records, any and all evidence including photographs, surveillance footage, the rideshare driver's phone records, and more.

Once liability is clearly established, your attorney will make a demand on your behalf to settle your case for an amount that will cover all of your current and future expenses relating to your medical care and pain and suffering. They will conduct negotiations with all involved insurance companies to come to a favorable settlement.

Should the matter proceed to trial, your attorney will represent you in all court proceedings, file all necessary paperwork, and fight for you to achieve the best possible outcome.

Do I Have to Pay for a Rideshare Accident Attorney in Alabama?

Our rideshare accident attorneys take all personal injury cases, including rideshare accidents, on a contingency fee basis. This means that there is no payment up front. Instead, a previously agreed-upon percentage of your settlement will go toward your legal fees if your case is successful. If you don’t win your case, you pay nothing.

Compensation for a Lyft or Uber Accident in Tuscaloosa

There are different types of damages from an accident involving an Alabama Uber or Lyft vehicle for which you can seek compensation, including:

  • Property damage the accident caused (like your smartphone, for example)

  • Medical bills

  • Lost wages

  • Lost earning capacity if you are unable to return to work

  • Pain and suffering from severe injuries

To get the financial compensation you deserve, consult our rideshare accident attorneys for a free consultation today.

Legal Deadlines Apply to Your Tuscaloosa, Alabama Rideshare Accident Case

In the state of Alabama, you have two years from the date the accident occurred to file a personal injury lawsuit. A rideshare accident lawyer in Alabama can oversee the process for filing your personal injury claim and do so by the deadline. It is best to reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident to ensure you have enough time to build a solid case, file an insurance claim, make a settlement demand, and proceed to filing a lawsuit if necessary before the statute of limitations expires for your case.

Recover Compensation for Your Injuries After an Alabama Rideshare Crash

If you were in a rideshare accident anywhere in Alabama, our law firm can help you get the maximum possible compensation for your injuries and suffering. The free consultation we offer will illuminate your options and help you determine how to proceed based on the circumstances of your specific case and Alabama law.

The lawyers at Cockrell, Cockrell, Ritchey & Ritchey, LLP care about getting you the full compensation you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 205-349-2009.


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