Over the last few years, drivers for ridesharing services have hit numerous pedestrians, causing injuries and even death. If you or a loved one has been hit by a ridesharing driver, you may be dealing with expensive medical bills, extensive pain, loss of income, and multiple other financial, physical, and emotional issues. A ridesharing attorney may be able to help you get justice and compensation for your injuries.
Ridesharing Pedestrian Fatalities
Tragically, ridesharing drivers have hit and killed multiple pedestrians across the country. In 2014, an Uber driver ran over six-year-old Sofia Liu in San Francisco. The driver was charged with manslaughter, and although Uber tried to deny liability, the company ended up paying a settlement to the family for the wrongful death of their daughter. Similarly, a woman in Columbus died after being run over by the wheel of an SUV driven by an Uber driver.
In Manhattan, an Uber driver killed Wesley Mensing and injured his girlfriend Erin Sauchelli when they were attempting to cross the street in a crosswalk. Sauchelli brought a lawsuit against the driver, the owner of the vehicle, and Uber. The driver was en route to pick up a passenger, creating a dangerous combination of rushing to pick someone up while also dealing with the influx of information from the Uber app on his phone.
Ridesharing Effect on Pedestrian Deaths
Research suggests that accidents increase by 2 to 3% when ridesharing services enter an area. On top of that, pedestrian fatalities have also increased over the last few years. In fact, in 2018, pedestrian deaths reached a 30-year high. The last time the number peaked this high was in 1990.
While there is no conclusive evidence linking ridesharing to the increase in pedestrian deaths, there are a number of correlations. In particular, pedestrian deaths have climbed steadily as ridesharing has become more popular. This increase also corresponds to an increase in smartphone usage across the same time period.
Arguably, ridesharing also puts more vehicles on the road, as many people opt to hail a ride sharing service over taking public transit, and ridesharing drivers tend to circle the streets as they wait for fares. SUVs have also been linked to the rise in pedestrian deaths, and many Uber drivers use SUVs to service ridesharing customers who need an extra-large vehicle for groups of four or more.
Liability for Pedestrian Fatalities
If a pedestrian gets hurt or dies in an accident, the driver who caused the accident is generally liable for their injuries. When the driver is working for a company, the employer may be liable. Often, Uber, Lyft, and other ride sharing services try to deny liability based on the fact that their drivers aren’t employees. Instead they are independent contractors.
In spite of their reluctance to admit liability, however, these companies have been held financially and civilly responsible in a number of pedestrian cases. Lawyers have successfully argued that the company put the drivers on the road and connected them with passengers, and by doing so, the ridesharing services have assumed a duty of care to the other drivers or pedestrians using the road. When they breach that duty, they may be liable for injuries.
Damages in Pedestrian Accidents
Your damages include all the direct and indirect economic losses you suffered as a result of the accident. After being hit as a pedestrian, you may incur medical bills, costs for physical therapy or chiropractic care, lost wages, and other expenses. You may also have to deal with pain and suffering, loss of a limb, disfigurement, and other issues that may affect you temporarily or for the rest of your life. When the accident is caused by another person or by a ridesharing company, you may be entitled to get compensation for these damages.
If a loved one has died as a result of a pedestrian fatality, you may also be entitled to compensation for damages. In pedestrian wrongful death cases, the damages can include final medical bills, funeral costs, compensation for lost future wages if you were dependent on the deceased person, amounts for pain and suffering endured by the person who died, and other losses related to the death.
If you have been hit and injured by a ridesharing driver or if you have lost a loved one in a pedestrian fatality caused by a ridesharing driver, you should realize that the ridesharing service may not admit liability. Even if the company admits liability, it may not offer you a fair settlement.
To ensure you are fairly compensated for all your damages, you may want to work with a ridesharing attorney. They can help you negotiate with insurers, mediate with liable parties, and bring forward lawsuits as needed. To learn more, contact us at Mazow | McCullough, PC today.