Ridesharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, have changed the transportation landscape in large cities throughout the world. Popular travel destinations like San Jose are no exception. However, tourists are not the ones making rideshare services popular. Local residents also commonly use rideshare services to avoid parking hassles or ensure a sober ride home. While undoubtedly convenient, rideshare services can put riders and other motorists at risk for accident and injury. Untrained or inattentive rideshare drivers frequently cause accidents.
Under California law, you may be entitled to compensation if you have suffered injuries as a result of a ridesharing accident. Injured parties may be able to file a civil claim for damages incurred as a result of the accident. However, rideshare accidents are often complex cases involving multiple parties and complicated insurance issues. The nature of rideshare accidents creates additional challenges when filing a personal injury claim.
You will likely file your claim against a large rideshare company, which has access to extensive legal resources. You will benefit from an attorney who knows the specific laws pertaining to transportation network companies (TNCs). In addition, a favorable outcome often requires an experienced advocate with excellent negotiation skills. At Golden State Lawyers, a qualified San Jose personal injury lawyer can offer invaluable advice as you navigate the claims process. We are dedicated to maximizing your chances of a favorable outcome. Contact Golden State Lawyers, APC today, and schedule a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.
Golden State Lawyers’s Proven Track Record
The skilled legal team at Golden State Lawyers has decades of experience representing clients in personal injury cases. Although rideshare accident injuries are a relatively new category of personal injury, our experience proves invaluable. The firm’s commitment to professional excellence and client advocacy has led to the recovery of tens of millions of dollars. Our attorneys have substantial expertise in rideshare cases, have been published in national trade magazines on the topic and been asked to present at seminars for attorneys looking to gain experience.
Clients of Golden State Lawyers have secured millions of dollars in compensation. Each case is unique, making it impossible to guarantee results in any specific situation. However, the team at Golden State Lawyers can guarantee their dedication to building the strongest case possible for each client. We are determined to hold those who caused you harm responsible to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Rideshare Accidents
Rideshare accidents commonly occur for many of the same reasons as any other traffic collision. However there are some aspects of ridesharing that can lead to increased dangers. Often, rideshare accident injuries result from the negligence of the transportation company’s driver. Some common causes of rideshare accidents include:
Rideshare drivers are required to use an application on their smartphones to perform the duties of their job. Typically, drivers sign into the app, which indicates their availability and enables them to accept requests for pick-up. Drivers who use the app while operating a vehicle are first and foremost breaking the law.
In addition, they are increasing the risks of accidents and injuries for their occupants and other drivers. Riders sometimes create additional distractions for rideshare drivers that typical motorists do not encounter. Obnoxious, drunk, or unruly riders can be overly distracting, potentially causing an accident. Even chatty passengers, although pleasant, may distract rideshare drivers and consequently lead to an accident.
Driving Under the Influence
Rideshare companies have strict rules prohibiting drivers from giving rides while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, like any other driver, rideshare drivers make their own decisions. Though California law requires rideshare companies to perform a background check on drivers before they can provide rides for passengers, rideshare companies provide virtually no oversight in ensuring compliance with their policies--and often ignore them altogether.
The background check operates to prevent individuals with a history of DUI arrests or convictions from providing rides. Yet, a background check does not protect your from drivers who have historically escaped legal consequences. There is also no protection from rideshare drivers who may develop substance abuse issues after the background check is performed.
Drowsy or Fatigued Driving
Uber and Lyft set daily limits for the amount of time a driver can be signed into their app. The companies hope to limit the time drivers can provide services to prevent fatigued driving. However, many drivers work for one or more rideshare companies to increase their earnings. Drivers often switch between companies to increase their driving potential. Other drivers may work long day-jobs or go to school and offer rides at night.
Either way, rideshare drivers may be drowsy or fatigued, leading to impaired driving and increasing the possibility of an accident. The Federal Highway Motor Carrier Association (FHMCA) reports that drivers who go without sleep for 18 hours may experience significant impairment. The report equates impairment from a lack of sleep to the level of impairment when driving with a 0.08 blood alcohol level.
Rideshare drivers get paid by the number of rides they offer. To increase the number of rides, drivers may be motivated to pick up and drop off customers as quickly as possible. Riders may also be rushed to reach their destinations quickly. At times, rider demands may influence a driver to use excessive speed despite posted speed limits or poor road conditions.
Excessive speeds can decrease a driver’s ability to control their vehicle. Speeding is often a contributing factor to motor vehicle accidents. Speeding increases the force of impact during a collision, making any accident more dangerous. Rideshare accidents occurring at high speeds typically cause more substantial injuries, even fatalities.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Rideshare drivers are required to undergo vehicle inspections. For example, Uber drivers in San Jose can go to one of the company’s Greenlight Hubs for a free vehicle inspection. However, drivers are responsible for proper maintenance between mandatory inspections. Improper maintenance increases the risks of accidents and injuries. Mechanical failures involving a vehicle’s brakes, transmission, or tires can cause catastrophic accidents and severe injuries.
Get the Legal Help You Need After a San Jose Ridesharing Accident
The popularity of rideshare companies has grown exponentially over the last decade with no signs of slowing down. Proponents of rideshare services claim the services actually reduce traffic accidents. They argue that fewer drivers on the roadways, especially drivers who have been drinking, results in fewer motor vehicle accidents. However, opponents are quick to point out that rideshare drivers can cause accidents too, and are often more prone to unsafe driving.
If you suffered injuries caused by a rideshare accident, you should not be required to bear the financial burden of your recovery. Should you decide to pursue a personal injury claim, you may be entitled to damages for medical expenses, lost wages, physical injuries and emotional distress. You may also be able to recover non-economic damages, including compensation for your pain and suffering. Call Golden State Lawyers at (408) 279-4222 to speak with a qualified San Jose ridesharing accident attorney, or contact us online for a free consultation.