Crash with UBER or Lyft Driver? What happens if you are in an accident with a driver using one of the popular rideshare apps? Should you contact a personal injury law firm?

car accident injury attorney

Since 2009, when Uber launched in San Francisco, ride share apps have become extremely popular and are available to take people from Point A to Point B almost everywhere in the world. Uber and Lyft are the two largest ride sharing apps in the world. In 2017, Uber had over 7 million drivers.

No doubt the ride sharing apps have provided a much-needed convenience, but what has their impact been on safety on the roads? On the one hand, Uber and Lyft provide a safe way home for people after a night of drinking, and there is some evidence that these ride share apps have reduced drunk driving. But there is also evidence that links the increased popularity of ride share services to an increase in fatal car crashes. This evidence largely concludes that the increase in cars on the road as a result of Uber and Lyft has increased the number of traffic related deaths.

A more relevant question for many users of these ride share apps is what happens if they get injured in a crash while riding with an Uber or Lyft driver? Or similarly, what happens if they are travelling in another car and are hit by an Uber or Lyft driver? The answer is that these crashes are the same as any other crash as far as determining who is at fault and responsible, but the insurance company that pays the claim may be different.

In any car accident, the person who causes the accident or is to blame is responsible for any injury suffered by other parties. In some states, like Iowa, the owner of the vehicle may also be responsible, and if the driver was working at the time of the crash the driver’s employer may also be responsible. But Uber and Lyft don’t own the vehicles used for the service and they have repeatedly argued that the drivers are not their employees and so it is probably difficult to sue Uber or Lyft for an accident caused by one of their drivers. But that also likely doesn’t matter.

In almost all car accidents, the insurance company for the negligent driver pays any damages caused by the driver. Uber requires all of their drivers to carry car insurance. The driver’s personal auto insurance applies when the driver does not have their app on and is not taking riders. If an Uber driver has the app on and is simply available to drive or waiting for a driver, Uber provides insurance to that driver for injuries in the amount of $50,000 per person or a total of $100,000 per accident. If an Uber driver is traveling to pick up a passenger or has a passenger in the car, Uber provides $1,000,000 in liability insurance.

If you have been injured in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, there are a few things you may want to do:

  1. Get a copy of the police report;

  2. Get any medical care that you need;

  3. Make sure you have the contact information for all of the drivers involved; and

  4. Decide if you want to speak with a car accident injury attorney.

Personal injury claims involving Uber or Lyft drivers can present somewhat complicated insurance coverage questions. It may be beneficial to speak with a car accident injury attorney before deciding how best to pursue your claim for injuries.

If you have questions about an Iowa car accident, please call our office at (319) 826-2250.

Wrongful Death—Grieving a Loss that Never Should Have Been

Life is meant to be lived in the company of our families. The moments we spend with our parents, our children, our husbands or wives—those are the moments that make up a life well-lived. There is no greater heartbreak than the death of a loved one. It can be even harder when a death is unexpected and caused by carelessness. Words left unspoken. Plans broken. Dreams unrealized. 

During these tragic times, it seems unfair that there is often so much added responsibility to the families who have lost when grieving is already too much to bear.  We have been with families through these tough times and have found ourselves questioning how we could best help these families when at times it seems that any help we can give is not enough.   

Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, who unexpectedly lost her husband, has recently written a much-needed book addressing many of the things that are left unsaid about tragedy and grieving. The book is called Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. Sandberg not only gives advice for those who are grieving but for those who care about someone who is grieving. There are two pieces of advice that she gives that spoke to me: 1) don't ignore the tragedy because you don't know what to say; and 2) actually do something to help, no matter how small,  instead of simply offering to do anything.

One way that we strive to help our clients is through pursuing wrongful death claims, which can be complicated and overwhelming. We help our clients in a number of ways, including:

  1. Protecting them from unwanted communication from an insurance company;
  2. Helping them to determine potential claims and how to pursue them;
  3. Helping them to navigate opening an Estate; and 
  4. Finding available community resources. 

Our goal with every client dealing with an unexpected death is to provide them with reliable counsel and advocacy so that pursuing a wrongful death claim does not become overly burdensome in an already difficult time. 

Wrongful Death Cases: Why women's lives should be valued equally with men's

Iowa Wrongful Death Attorney

Throughout my career, I've represented families who have lost a loved one because of the negligence of another. Whether the result of a car accident, medical malpractice or even criminal conduct, wrongful death cases are important not just to the family involved, but also as a way to make the world safer and hopefully spare another family a similar tragedy.

I've helped families where the victim was male; I've helped families where the victim was female. One disturbing truth that I've discovered is that many insurance companies—even lawyers—will place a lower value on the life of a loved one if the person lost is a woman. 

Insurance companies and defense attorneys make arguments about women's earnings and their role supporting their families, but the truth is that this belief about women's lives is archaic, insulting and ridiculous. I have refused to ever accept this logic when representing families. Children who have lost their mother, husbands who have lost their wives, parents who have lost a daughter—their tragedy should never be devalued because of outdated and simple minded arguments. All lawyers representing families who have lost a female family member should advocate for that family as strenuously as any other family and recognize and honor their loss by rejecting all claims that women's lives are somehow worth less than men's lives. 

What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
— Oscar Wilde