Recently, one man was killed, and another person was seriously hurt in a Chicago car accident. According to a recent news report, the accident occurred on the 1500-block of North DuSable Lake Shore Drive. A rideshare driver was traveling north on DuSable Lake Shore Drive carrying a passenger when the driver of a red sedan rear-ended the rideshare driver’s vehicle.
The force of the collision sent the rideshare passenger in the back seat out of the vehicle. By the time emergency responders arrived on the scene, the passenger had died. One other person was seriously injured, although police did not release whether it was the rideshare driver or an occupant of the red sedan.
In recent years, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have enjoyed exponential growth. Rideshare companies offer customers a convenient—and usually safe—way to get where they need to go. However, at the same time, the increase in the number of rideshare drivers also means that there will naturally be more Chicago rideshare accidents. Thus, rideshare customers must understand their rights after an accident.
Rideshare Passengers Have a Right to Recover for Their Injuries
As is the case in all car accidents, anyone injured in a rideshare accident can bring a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. In some rideshare accidents, this will be the rideshare driver; however, in others, the negligent party is another motorist. In either case, accident victims have options. Because rideshare companies classify their drivers as independent contractors and not employees, the recovery process varies.
Rideshare Drivers Are Not Employees
From the beginning, rideshare companies have classified all drivers as independent contractors. While this impacts drivers’ rights, it also affects an accident victim’s ability to hold the rideshare company accountable. While employers are legally responsible for the negligent acts of their employees, typically, a company is not responsible for the negligent actions of an independent contractor. However, under state law, rideshare companies must maintain a certain amount of insurance coverage on behalf of their drivers.
Rideshare Insurance Policies
Uber and Lyft both have $1 million insurance policies that, in some cases, cover an accident victim’s damages. However, not every accident triggers the companies’ $1 million policies. For example, this policy is only in effect once the rideshare driver is paired up with a passenger and lasts until the customer is dropped off at their destination. The practical import of this is that all rideshare passengers are covered under the $1 million policy. However, pedestrians, bicyclists, and occupants of other vehicles are only covered if the accident occurred during an official ride. Otherwise, a lower-limit insurance policy applies.
Rideshare Drivers Can Be Held Individually Liable
In addition to any coverage offered by the rideshare company, accident victims may be able to pursue a claim under the rideshare driver’s individual policy. Alternatively, if another negligent driver caused the accident, an accident victim can file a claim with that driver’s insurance policy. However, the extent of the damages that an accident victim can recover will depend on the limits of the driver’s personal policy—which may fall far short. And, unless the driver has significant personal assets, they may not be able to cover any damages award an accident victim obtains.
What to Do After a Chicago Rideshare Accident
If you have been injured in a Chicago rideshare accident, it is important that you take the necessary steps to protect your health as well as your ability to pursue the compensation you need and deserve.
1. Report the accident: Even if a crash seems minor or your injuries do not seem serious, it is still important to report the accident to the police. Often, the injuries caused by a car accident immediately appear severe, and it may not be until a few days or even weeks later that you realize you were hurt. However, by this time, it is too late to call the police and report the accident. Calling the police immediately results in the creation of official documents that will make it easier to prove your claim.
2. Obtain immediate medical care: After a Chicago rideshare accident, your health is the primary concern. Even if your injuries seem minor, you should still get checked out by doctors to ensure there was no other serious damage you did not realize. Obtaining medical care can also help you prove that your injuries were serious.
3. Gather evidence: If possible, accident victims should use their phones to take pictures of the accident scene. While you may think that police officers will thoroughly document the scene, that is not always the case. In some cases, the photos you take may be the only visual evidence of the accident.
4. Contact an attorney: Recovering financial compensation after a rideshare accident can be a complex process that is best left to a knowledgeable attorney. Your attorney will collect all necessary documentation, develop a comprehensive recovery plan, communicate with the various insurance companies, negotiate for a favorable settlement offer and, if necessary, litigate your claim in front of the jury.
Contact the Chicago Rideshare Accident Lawyers at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you or someone you love recently suffered injuries in a Chicago rideshare accident, the dedicated Illinois personal injury lawyers at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg can help. Our attorneys represent accident victims and families who have lost loved ones in all types of personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death and workers’ compensation cases. We have nearly 40 years of experience advocating on behalf of Chicago car accident victims, and we know what it takes to succeed on our clients’ behalf. We can help you understand which insurance policies may provide coverage for your accident and help you secure the compensation you need and deserve. And because we handle all cases on a contingency basis, we will only accept payment from you if we are successful in obtaining compensation for you or your family. To learn more, call 1-877-595-4878 to schedule a free consultation today.