Rideshare companies, such as Uber and Lyft, have become a household name over the past decade. These companies offer commuters and casual riders with unrivaled convenience in that they can summon a car with the press of a button. However, as the popularity of Uber and Lyft has increased, so too has the number of serious Louisville rideshare accidents. In fact, according to one recent study, rideshare companies are responsible for a two to three percent increase in the number of fatal traffic accidents.
In many ways, rideshare accidents are very similar to other auto vehicle accidents. Thus, the most common types of rideshare injuries include the following:
- Whiplash – When a rideshare passenger is involved in an accident, the forces involved can cause swift movement of the head, putting an immense strain on the neck. This is referred to as whiplash. Whiplash injuries vary in seriousness. While many times the symptoms of whiplash will go away on their own after a few days or weeks, more severe cases of whiplash can cause lasting damage. Whiplash may also be a sign of other injuries.
- Broken bones – The immense force involved in a Kentucky auto accident is easily enough to break any bone in the human body. Most often, those involved in a rideshare accident will suffer broken arms or legs. Spinal fractures are also a common type of injury.
- Back and spinal cord injuries – The spinal cord is a crucial structure responsible for sending nerve signals throughout the body. While the spine protects the spinal cord from minor trauma, serious car crash accidents can result in broken vertebrae, herniated discs, and other spinal cord injuries. Depending on the extent of the damage, a spinal cord injury can result in temporary – or even permanent – paralysis.
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries – Most rideshare passengers sit in the back seat of the car where there are often no airbags. Thus, in the event of a Kentucky rideshare accident, a passenger’s head may collide with any of the hard surfaces in the back of the vehicle. This type of contact can result in a concussion or a traumatic brain injury. The symptoms of these injuries may not be readily apparent immediately after an accident. Thus, it is crucial for accident victims to obtain prompt medical attention so a doctor can evaluate the damage and recommend the appropriate treatment.
- Psychological injuries – Being involved in a major auto accident can take not only a physical toll on an accident victim, but also a psychological one. Those involved in an accident frequently deal with depression, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder. After an accident, it is imperative that rideshare passengers take their mental health as seriously as they do their physical health and obtain the necessary treatment for their emotional injuries.
While the injuries a passenger suffers after a Kentucky rideshare accident are similar to other auto vehicle accidents, pursuing a claim for compensation after a rideshare accident raises several other hurdles that victims must confront.
One of the most critical issues in a rideshare accident is the availability of insurance coverage. Kentucky is a no-fault state when it comes to auto insurance claims. The default means of recovery is through Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Thus, an accident victim will need to establish which insurance policy’s PIP coverage applies. However, basic PIP benefits in Kentucky are limited to $10,000 in medical bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
In addition to PIP benefits, in certain circumstances, an injury victim may be able to file a claim with the rideshare company’s insurance policy. Uber and Lyft both maintain significant insurance policies that will cover a passenger’s injuries. Under state law, rideshare companies must purchase a certain amount of insurance coverage on behalf of their drivers.
The insurance requirements for rideshare companies are based on when an accident occurs. State law breaks down the rideshare experience into three periods:
- Period One: If a rideshare driver is not using the app or is not accepting rides, the rideshare company’s insurance policy will not cover the accident. However, the driver’s personal insurance might cover the collision. That said, most personal auto insurance policies exclude rideshare accidents from coverage unless the driver purchased a rideshare endorsement.
- Period Two: If a rideshare driver is awaiting a ride request, they are covered for up to $50,000 per person and up to $100,000 per accident.
- Period Three: While a rideshare driver is on an official trip, both Uber and Lyft provide coverage up to $1 million. This coverage begins when the app matches a driver up with a passenger, and extends until the driver drops off the passenger. Most rideshare accidents involving passengers in the car will qualify for this level of coverage.
Accident victims should not assume that a rideshare company (or their insurance company) will “do the right thing” by fairly compensating an accident victim for their injuries. Those who have been injured in a Kentucky rideshare accident should reach out to a dedicated personal injury lawyer for assistance. While there may be ample insurance to cover a passenger’s injuries, that is not necessarily the case, especially for those injured by a driver who is not on an official trip.
Contact a Dedicated Louisville Rideshare Accident Lawyer for Immediate Assistance with Your Claim
If you have recently been injured in a Kentucky rideshare accident, contact the experienced injury attorneys at the Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC. Attorney Seth Gladstein, the founder of Gladstein Law Firm, has over two decades of hands-on experience representing injured clients and their families in a wide range of complex personal injury cases, including those involving Uber and Lyft accidents. With his help, you can pursue a claim for compensation based on the injuries you sustained. Attorney Gladstein will take every step possible to make the recovery process as straightforward as possible, removing any unnecessary stress that you or your family would otherwise need to deal with. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call today or contact us through our online form.