In the United States, approximately 29 people die every day due to accidents caused by impaired drivers. In many parts of the country, this number is going down, and some people attribute that fact to the rise of ridesharing services. However, even with ridesharing, drinking and driving can still be an issue. To protect yourself, you should check out the following questions and answers.
According to information collect by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), cities with ridesharing services tend to experience about a 7% reduction in drinking and driving. As a result, if you live in an area where ridesharing is available, you may be safer on the roads than in other areas. Over three-quarters of people polled report that they and their friends are less likely to drive drunk if they have a ridesharing option, and 93% of people say they would tell their intoxicated friends to use an Uber instead of driving their own vehicle.
Although there has been a reduction in drunk driving in some areas, there are still intoxicated drivers on the road. Unfortunately, no matter how safe and skilled your ridesharing driver is, there is always a chance that an intoxicated driver may hit you.
If you are a passenger in a ridesharing vehicle and another driver causes an accident, you may be able to make a claim against that driver’s insurance policy. If the at-fault driver uninsured or underinsured, Uber and Lyft both have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that applies when ridesharing drivers have a passenger.
In some cases, the ridesharing driver may contribute to the cause of the accident with the intoxicated driver. For example, in a tragic accident in Miami, Florida, an intoxicated driver hit an Uber, causing the death of the driver and all six passengers. The Uber driver did not have the right of way, and by making a left turn, he actually put the passengers in danger. As a result, the families of the passengers brought forward a lawsuit against both the intoxicated driver and the ridesharing company.
When another driver causes an accident, they are typically responsible for the damages, but in no-fault states such as Massachusetts, your insurance policy may be required to cover the damages unless they exceed a certain threshold. If you have to make a claim on your policy (generally, this happens if the other driver is uninsured or doesn’t have adequate coverage), you should be aware that your insurer may not cover you if you have personal coverage and you were working when the accident happened.
However, both New Hampshire and Massachusetts require you to upgrade to a commercial policy if you work for a ride sharing service so as long as you have been compliant with that requirement, you shouldn’t have to worry about issues with your claims. Additionally, if you have a passenger in the vehicle when the intoxicated driver hits you, you should be covered by the ridesharing company’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
If you’re in a ridesharing vehicle and you notice your driver is impaired due to drugs or alcohol, you should get out of the vehicle as soon as you can, and you should report the incident to the ridesharing company and the authorities. In situations where you’re in an accident caused by an intoxicated ridesharing driver, you may have the right to compensation for your injuries as well as any other damages, including missed wages due to inability to work, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and wrongful death caused by the accident.
To get compensation, you need to bring a claim against the ridesharing company’s insurance policy, and to ensure you receive a truly fair settlement, you may want to work with a personal injury and accident attorney. Ridesharing companies have an obligation to keep their customers as safe as possible, and if they failed to do adequate due diligence on their drivers, they may bear even more responsibility for the accident.
For example, in Massachusetts, ridesharing companies are required to do background checks on their drivers, but as of 2019, 15% of drivers who passed the ridesharing companies’ screening tests had criminal records or driving offenses on their records. Issues like this point to negligence.
If you have been in an accident involving an intoxicated driver and a ridesharing service, you need someone who understands ridesharing liability issues inside and out. To get help, contact us today. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we offer all our clients the personalized legal help they need to get through the aftermath of an accident, and we look forward to helping you with a no-cost case evaluation.