If you were injured in a ridesharing accident, you may be entitled to compensation for damages incurred as a result. Unfortunately, the ridesharing company and the driver may not offer you fair compensation; to protect your financial self-interests, you may need to work with a lawyer.
To get a sense of the legal process, here is an overview of how ridesharing lawsuits work. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Mazow | McCullough, PC so we can set up a no-cost case evaluation for you.
Ridesharing lawsuits start with a consultation, and most personal injury lawyers offer them at no cost to the individual seeking help. During this meeting, the lawyer asks you about the accident and talks with you about how you’ve suffered as a result of the accident. Then, they help you decide if you should go forward with a lawsuit or not.
Most ridesharing attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means they only get paid if you win. Due to this fact, most lawyers only accept ridesharing cases they believe they have a good chance of winning. Note, however, that you should always ask about charges so that you aren’t surprised by anything.
The consultation is also your opportunity to assess the lawyer. Ideally, you want a lawyer who seems professional, well-spoken, and knowledgeable about ridesharing lawsuits. If you’re not happy with one lawyer, consult with another one until you find the best fit for your needs.
If you decide to move forward with a ridesharing lawsuit, your legal team will start to investigate the accident and its aftermath. They will ask you questions about the accident and potentially contact witnesses or others in the area.
Your legal team will also look at your medical records. You need to provide medical records for treatment received after the accident, but you should also be prepared to share previous medical records. In accident cases, the defense attorneys usually try to argue that the victim had a pre-existing condition or a degenerative issue and that the ridesharing accident didn’t cause their injuries.
By providing your lawyer with all your medical records, you give them the information they need to establish your baseline condition. Then, they can more easily prove how the ridesharing accident caused new injuries or exacerbated your existing conditions.
You lawyer will also dig into the driver’s driving and criminal background. This helps to establish whether or not the ridesharing company was negligent by letting that individual become a driver for the company.
Once your ridesharing attorney has a solid sense of what happened and how the accident affected you, they can make a claim on the ridesharing company’s insurance policy or on the driver’s insurance policy. Ridesharing attorneys have a lot of experience negotiating with insurance companies, and they usually get larger, fairer settlements than victims working on their own. Generally, if you can wrap up the case at this step, you save money and time in the long run.
If the insurance company refuses to pay, your lawyer will demand a settlement. A demand is a formal request for compensation, and it’s usually the first step of a lawsuit or mediation. Once the demand is issued, the other side will either pay the demand or make a counter offer.
If you can’t get a fair settlement, your lawyer will initiate a lawsuit. This has to be filed before the statute of limitations expires, and in most ridesharing accidents, the statute of limitations is three years after the accident.
During this part of the process, your lawyer files a complaint with in the county where the accident took place. Then, the court sends a summons and complaint to the other party.
Discovery involves more investigation into the accident. Your lawyer can request details from the ridesharing company, and the ridesharing company’s lawyers or the driver’s lawyers can request information from you — such as medical records. Both sides are legally obligated to share all requested information during this stage of the ridesharing lawsuit.
Depositions also happen during the discovery process. Essentially, a deposition is an interview with victims, drivers, medical experts, and anyone else who can provide critical details on the accident and how it affected you. This information helps build your case. In fact, ridesharing cases can hinge on how well your attorney completes this part of the lawsuit, and for best results, you should always select a lawyer who understands ridesharing accidents.
Now that both sides have all the information they need to make their arguments, your legal team can try to work with the ridesharing company’s attorneys to reach a settlement. Mediation and arbitration are both alternatives to going to court, but these options have slight differences.
With mediation, a neutral third party helps both sides reach a fair agreement, but the mediator doesn’t make any decisions. They simply guide the process. If you work with an arbitrator, they listen to both sides and then decide the settlement. Mediation isn’t binding, but arbitration usually is.
If your lawyer doesn’t want to use an arbitrator or if you don’t like the mediator’s proposal, your case can go to trial. Trials last anywhere from a week to several months. At the trial, both sides present their arguments to a judge and a jury. After all the evidence has been presented, the jury deliberates and decides your settlement amount, or they can also choose to reject your personal injury claim.
Now that you have an overview of what to expect with a ridesharing lawsuit, you should contact us to set up a no-cost case evaluation. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we give all of our clients individual attention and custom services for their needs. If you’ve been injured in an accident involving Uber, Lyft, or any other ridesharing company, you deserve justice, and we may be able to help you.