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Matthew Albrecht | Founder & Attorney | Albrecht Law, PLLC
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Rideshare Accidents in Spokane and Throughout Washington

The explosive popularity of ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft in recent years is undeniable. Compared to traditional taxis, ridesharing offers attractive features such as shorter wait times, innovative technology, and cleaner vehicles. However, people rarely consider what would happen if they were injured in an accident while using these services. Unlike taxi companies, which are heavily regulated and obligated to provide comprehensive insurance coverage for customer protection, ridesharing presents distinct and somewhat complicated challenges when it comes to rideshare accidents and injuries.

When you log into a ridesharing app, then step into a rideshare vehicle, you trust that your safety is in capable hands. But what happens when that trust is shattered by a negligent driver, leaving you injured and overwhelmed? At Albrecht Law, our experienced rideshare accident lawyers have successfully represented clients injured in a ridesharing accident — and we can help you, too, by combining our loyal, personalized support with cutting-edge technology.

How Does Rideshare Insurance Work in Washington?

Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have become increasingly popular modes of transportation in Washington. However, drivers and passengers should understand how rideshare insurance works in the event of an accident.

  1. Personal Auto Insurance: When rideshare drivers are not actively working or picking up passengers, their own insurance company typically covers any accidents or incidents according to the terms of their auto insurance policy. However, the driver’s personal insurance policy may have limitations and not provide adequate protection during rideshare activities.
  2. Period 1 – App On, No Passengers: Once rideshare drivers have logged into the rideshare services app and are waiting for a ride request, the rideshare company’s contingent liability coverage generally includes them. This liability coverage in the rideshare company’s insurance policy helps protect the driver and others involved in an accident. However, this rideshare insurance coverage may have specific limitations.
  3. Period 2 – En Route to Pick Up Passengers: From the moment a rideshare service driver accepts a ride request until they arrive at the passenger’s location, the rideshare company’s commercial liability insurance coverage usually kicks in. Ridesharing companies’ liability insurance offers higher liability limits and protects against damages caused by the rideshare driver during this period.
  4. Period 3 – Passenger in Vehicle: Once the passenger is in the vehicle, the rideshare company’s commercial insurance policy generally activates to extend coverage to the driver and the passenger in the event of an accident.

Recognize These Common Types of Uber and Lyft Accidents in Washington

Unique challenges and complexities arise from Uber and Lyft accidents. Here are some of the most common types of Uber and Lyft accidents in Washington:

  1. Rear-End Collisions: Rear-end collisions involving Uber and Lyft vehicles are quite common. These accidents often occur when the driver fails to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front, leading to sudden stops or collisions.
  2. Intersection Accidents: Intersection accidents can happen when Uber or Lyft drivers fail to stop at traffic signals or yield the right-of-way properly. These accidents can involve other vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists, potentially causing severe injuries.
  3. Distracted Driving: Driver distraction is a significant factor in rideshare accidents. Uber and Lyft drivers heavily rely on their company apps or GPS navigation systems, which can divert their attention from the road and increase the risk of accidents.
  4. Side-Swipe Collisions: Side-swipe collisions occur when an Uber or Lyft driver fails to check blind spots while changing lanes, sideswiping another vehicle as they proceed into an occupied lane. These accidents can cause significant property damage and injuries.
  5. Pedestrian and Cyclist Accidents: Uber and Lyft accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists can be devastating. These accidents may occur when drivers fail to notice pedestrians or cyclists while making turns or when passengers enter or exit the vehicle.

Common Injuries Suffered in Uber and Lyft Accidents in Washington

Uber and Lyft accidents can lead to a host of injuries with varying severity. Be aware of these common injuries that are often sustained in a rideshare vehicle accident:

  1. Whiplash: Whiplash is a common injury in car accidents, including Uber and Lyft accidents. It occurs when the neck is rapidly forced backward and then forward, causing strain on the neck muscles and ligaments.
  2. Head Injuries: Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), are also frequently reported in Uber and Lyft accidents. These injuries can occur due to the forceful impact of the accident or hitting the head against an object within the vehicle.
  3. Back and Spinal Injuries: Back injuries such as herniated or bulging discs can be caused due to the sudden jolts and impacts experienced during an accident. These injuries can cause severe pain, limited mobility, and long-term complications.
  4. Fractures and Broken Bones: The impact of a collision can cause fractures or broken bones in various parts of the body. Commonly-affected areas include the arms, legs, ribs, and collarbones.
  5. Soft Tissue Injuries: Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains, are often seen in Uber and Lyft accidents. These injuries involve damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments and can result in pain, swelling, and reduced range of motion.
  6. Cuts and Lacerations: Accidents can lead to cuts and lacerations caused by broken glass, loose objects, or sharp surfaces within the vehicle. These injuries may require stitches or other medical interventions.

What to Do In the Aftermath of an Accident in an Uber Vehicle or Another Ride Hailing Vehicle

Immediately following a rideshare accident, take specific steps to protect your rights and ensure your safety.

  1. Seek Medical Attention: First and foremost, check yourself and others involved in the accident for any injuries. If anyone requires immediate medical attention, call for emergency services right away.
  2. Contact the Authorities: Report the accident to the local police or emergency services. They will document the incident and provide an official report, which may be necessary for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
  3. Gather Information: Collect as much information as possible from the accident scene. This includes taking photos of the vehicles involved, noting the contact information of the drivers and passengers, and securing the names and contact information of any witnesses.
  4. Notify the Rideshare Company: If you were a passenger during the accident, inform the rideshare company (e.g., Uber or Lyft) about the incident. They may have specific procedures and insurance coverage for accidents involving their drivers.
  5. Consult a Personal Injury Attorney: Consult an experienced personal injury attorney who focuses on rideshare accidents to guide you through the legal process, assess your case, and help you seek fair compensation for your injuries and damages. Remember, every accident is unique. Seeking legal advice is crucial to understanding your rights and options.

What Do I Need to Prove When Pursuing a Claim for a Rideshare Accident?

  1. Duty of Care: The injured party must establish that the rideshare driver owed them a duty of care. This duty of care generally requires drivers to operate their vehicles safely and responsibly to avoid causing harm to others.
  2. Breach of Duty: The injured party needs to demonstrate that the rideshare driver breached their duty of care. This could involve showing that the driver acted negligently, such as by speeding, texting while driving, running a red light, or engaging in other reckless behaviors.
  3. Causation: It is necessary to establish a causal link between the driver’s breach of duty and the injuries suffered by the plaintiff. This means demonstrating that the injuries were directly caused by the driver’s negligent actions.
  4. Damages: The plaintiff must provide evidence of the damages they have suffered due to the accident. This may include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and any other economic or non-economic losses due to the injuries.

How Can A Rideshare Accident Lawyer Help with My Rideshare Accident Claim?

Experienced Spokane rideshare accident attorneys can provide valuable assistance in multiple ways if you have been involved in a rideshare accident in the Spokane area or anywhere in Washington.

  1. Legal Experience: A rideshare accident lawyer handles cases related to an Uber or Lyft accident. With in-depth knowledge of the laws and regulations specific to rideshare accidents in Washington, a rideshare attorney can guide you through the legal process.
  2. Investigation and Evidence Gathering: A lawyer familiar with rideshare companies can conduct a thorough investigation of your rideshare accident case, collecting evidence such as accident reports, witness statements, photographs, and any available video footage. This critical evidence establishes liability and builds a strong case on your behalf.
  3. Determining Liability: Determining liability in rideshare accidents can be complex. A skilled attorney can analyze the circumstances of the accident involving rideshare services, assess the actions of the rideshare driver, and identify other potentially liable parties such as the rideshare company or other negligent drivers on the road.
  4. Insurance Claims Management: Navigating insurance claims in rideshare accidents can be challenging with multiple insurance companies involved. Your lawyer will handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance companies, advocate for your rights, and seek fair compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other damages.
  5. Settlement Negotiations: If an insurance company presents a fair settlement, your lawyer will review it and negotiate on your behalf to ensure you are seeking the maximum compensation that may be available to you. They will fight for your interests and protect you from accepting low-ball offers that do not adequately cover your losses.
  6. Litigation Representation: If the at-fault party or parties do not agree to a fair settlement, your rideshare accident attorney can take your case to trial. They will represent you in court, presenting your case to a judge or jury and advocating for a favorable verdict on your behalf.

Insurance law governs transportation, including personal injury cases that involve ride hailing companies. When a consumer uses an Uber or Lyft app, they place their trust in their chosen transportation service, the personal vehicles of the rideshare driver, and the driver’s insurance or the rideshare company’s insurance to cover them if the unexpected happens. These accidents often require medical treatment from medical professionals and lead to lost time from work, lost wages, a long recovery, and pain and suffering. However, insurance companies tend to prioritize making money.

When you submit an insurance claim, an insurance company will often attempt to give you a lower-than-fair settlement, even with solid evidence and complete information.

As we’ve noted, liability insurance carried by rideshare services and their drivers — who are independent contractors — may not cover all your damages caused by the accident.

When considering a rideshare accident lawyer to represent you in your personal injury claim, your advocate’s knowledge, experience, and competence matter. At Albrecht Law, our Founder Matt Albrecht is the only planner and lawyer to have received the AASHTO (American Assoc of State Highway and Transportation Officials) award for the most innovative new planning proposals for funding safety improvements. He prioritizes protecting children and pursuing safety for the traveling public by making roads and transportation systems safer. Matt’s profound understanding of insurance law, which he draws upon when representing clients, helps him build robust cases and pursue fair compensation following car crashes.

He is also recognized by the state of Washington as an expert in insurance law, who authored the book, Washington Insurance Law and Litigation, 2023-2024 ed. (Vol. 35, Washington Practice Series)

Contact Albrecht Law for a Free Consultation Regarding Your Personal Injury Case Involving Rideshare Services

Unlike a more straightforward car accident, an accident involving a ridesharing company presents specific challenges best handled by a knowledgeable and experienced rideshare accident attorney. At Albrecht Law, you are not just another case; you are known.

We combine cutting-edge technology with loyal, personalized service. Contact us at (509) 495-1246(509) 495-1246 or complete our online form today to schedule your free consultation. We are here to serve you.

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