Boston Uber + Lyft Accident Lawyer
The most popular form of hired vehicle in Boston is online ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft, which have become increasingly popular over the past five years. of course, taxis, local buses, and trains still exist, but they are frequently falling behind Uber and Lyft. Still, accidents could occur between any type of public transportation and private cars.
If you are injured in an Uber or Lyft accident, you still have rights. The question arises, who is responsible for your damages, the driver or the parent company? Because Uber and Lyft consider themselves a technological platform and their drivers independent contractors, it is difficult to hold either company accountable. This is why it is vital to have an experienced lawyer working on your behalf.
If you were injured in a collision, a Boston Uber and Lyft accident lawyer might be able to help. They could identify all sources of compensation and hold the at-fault parties accountable. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan today at (617) 915-4523 for a free consultation.
How Rideshare Accidents Differ from Car Accidents in Boston
The main difference between a car accident with a taxi or Uber driver and a car accident with someone driving for personal transportation is the insurance coverage.
Typically, the taxi itself is owned by a corporation or a limited liability company. The medallion, or taxi license, might be owned by another company or they might be owned by the same company that owns the taxi. a lawyer may need to navigate through the different ownership of the taxi, the medallion, and the driver to make sure they put the proper insurance companies on notice.
Unfortunately, in Massachusetts, the taxi insurance coverage limits for bodily injury are woefully low, only $20,000 per claim and $40,000 per occurrence, which is the minimum in for any auto insurance policy. a victim could be in a situation where the available insurance is insufficient to cover the damages caused by the negligent taxi driver.
Uber and Lyft
As far as Uber and Lyft and other car-for-hire services, insurance becomes more complicated. Ride service drivers are considered independent contractors, so an injured person would have to be able to identify the driver, bring a claim against them, put them on notice for their insurance, and see what the available insurance coverages are. The claims process for Uber and Lyft accident cases continues to evolve as the companies grow.
Common Causes of Lyft and Uber Accidents in Boston
There is a broad range of reasons why car accidents occur in and around the Boston area. Uber and Lyft drivers are guilty of the same behaviors that plague other drivers. However, because of the nature of the rideshare business, there are a number of factors that contribute to crashes and injuries involving rideshare drivers.
It might seem obvious that distracted driving is a common cause of Uber and Lyft accidents. Drivers not paying attention to their surroundings is a common cause of accidents. However, the rideshare business model lends itself to drivers losing focus on safely operating their vehicles.
Uber and Lyft drivers rely on their apps to book rides, communicate with clients, and find where they are going. Each of these activities is necessary for the job and pulls the driver’s focus from safely driving their car. When this behavior is coupled with driving in unfamiliar neighborhoods or congested downtown traffic, accidents are more likely to occur.
The longer a Lyft or Uber driver is on the road, the more money they are liable to make. to combat drivers working an excessive number of hours, the apps are programmed to limit the length of time a driver can be logged on. However, this does not mean an Uber or Lyft driver is not driving while dangerously fatigued. Many drivers work a regular job all day before heading out for a rideshare shift. Furthermore, many drivers will be out late into the night when the bars and clubs close. All of these factors contribute to Uber and Lyft drivers operating their cars when they are extremely tired.
Another common cause of auto accidents is reckless driving. Rideshare drivers compete to pick up their passengers, get them to their destination, and pick up another passenger. As the old saying goes, time is money. to make sure a potential client is not waiting long, a rideshare driver might speed or ignore traffic signals. Additionally, some drivers will drop off their passengers in unsafe areas. Many will also stop and start suddenly, increasing the risk of a collision with another vehicle.
Uber and Lyft do not train their drivers. There is also no special certification necessary to drive for either company. Because of this, some drivers are inexperienced. When an inexperienced driver is trying to navigate the streets of Boston, operate their app, and keep one eye on their GPS and the other looking for their next passenger, the risk of an accident increases.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
If someone is driving for Uber or Lyft, they are likely putting substantially more miles on their car than an average driver. This wear and tear could cause vital systems to break down or malfunction. Taxi companies are required to regularly inspect their fleet of cars to ensure roadworthiness. For Uber and Lyft drivers, that responsibility falls on them. a tire blowout or worn brake pad could cause a tragic accident. In many cases, the required once-a-year inspection is insufficient to keep an Uber or Lyft car in a safe operational state.
What to Do After an Uber or Lyft Accident in Boston
If a person is in an accident with a hired driver, whether it was the hired driver’s fault or some other driver’s fault, they should make sure that they have the hired driver’s contact information, including any license information. They should take photos of the car, preferably from all angles, and especially make sure they get the license plate so they can identify the vehicle later in case the driver disappears.
Common carriers include the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, or MBTA, which is the train and bus service in Boston. Buses and trains in the greater Boston metropolitan area are also considered common carriers, as are bus companies like Greyhound, for example. Taxis are not considered common carriers because they carry specific fares. Special regulations may apply to an accident involving a common carrier, regulations which an experienced attorney could help navigate.
Damages Available in an Uber or Lyft Accident in Boston
After an accident, the reason you call a personal injury attorney is to be compensated for your damages. But what are “damages.” In a personal injury claim, damages represent the economic losses an accident victim incurred due to their injuries. Damages are commonly broken down into two categories: economic and non-economic. In some rare cases, a third category, punitive damages, could be awarded by the court.
Economic damages are usually the easiest to understand – and prove. Your economic damages are your actual, out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident and your injury. For example, the cost of emergency treatment, an ambulance ride, x-rays, and medication are considered economic damages. If you require additional medical treatment, it is part of your recoverable damages. it is important to remember that medical damages are not limited to big-ticket items. You should also be compensated for parking fees, babysitting costs, or any other expense you incur because of your injury.
Another substantial part of a victim’s economic damages is lost income. If you miss work or cannot do the same job you previously had, you could recover your lost wages. Depending on the severity of your injury, you could be entitled to the money you would have earned if you were unable to return to work.
Our office will gather bills, receipts, statements, and other evidence to calculate and prove your economic losses.
Pain and suffering fall under the category of non-economic damages. When you are injured in an accident, you are entitled to recover for more than your actual financial losses. In addition to your expenses, you could be compensated for more subjective damages, including emotional distress, depression, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. it is significantly more difficult to calculate and prove these types of damages. Nonetheless, our Boston personal injury lawyers will work closely with you, your healthcare providers, your loved ones, and rely on previous case law to determine a fair figure.
The third, though rare, category of damages is punitive damages. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, which are considered compensatory, punitive damages are awarded to punish a defendant if their behavior was especially egregious or grossly negligent, resulting in someone’s death.
Statute of Limitations for an Uber or Lyft Accident Claim in Boston
There is a two-year presentment requirement under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 258, the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act. If a complainant does not comply with the presentment requirements within those two years, they will be forever barred from bringing any claim, even though the Massachusetts statute of limitations is three years in accidents involving a city or town or government-owned vehicle. For those reasons, it is important from the very beginning to hire an experienced Boston Uber/taxi accident lawyer to represent you.
Retain an Experienced Boston Uber and Lyft Car Accident Attorney Today
A person should hire a personal injury attorney when dealing with car accidents involving an Uber driver or another common carrier to make sure that, first and foremost, their rights are fully protected. a lawyer could ensure that the accident itself is thoroughly investigated, that witnesses are identified and interviewed, and that their statements have been taken down, recorded, and preserved. a lawyer could also ensure that all potential defendants or responsible parties are identified, that their insurance companies have been identified and notified. Finally, a lawyer could verify insurance coverages and make sure that the injured party complies with all notification requirements and cooperation requirements involved in the various auto insurance policies. Call the Boston personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan today for a free consultation at (617) 915-4523.