Ridesharing accidents can cause a wide range of injuries and even death. Whether you’re a passenger in an Uber, a pedestrian hit by a Lyft, or anyone else injured in a ridesharing accident, you may end up facing the following types of injuries — and a number of different factors can also exacerbate your injuries.
Physical injuries from ridesharing accidents fall into two main categories: impact injuries and penetrating injuries. Impact injuries refer to all situations where you get injured due to impact. For instance, your head may fling to the side and hit a window or your knees may jerk forward and impact with the dashboard. Penetrating injuries include situations where something penetrates through your body. In addition to physical injuries, ridesharing accidents can also cause emotional, psychological, and cosmetic injuries.
Generally, impact injuries affect your soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments, or tendons. These injuries can include whiplash, which occurs when the vehicle stops suddenly but your body continues moving forward. As long as you’re wearing a seatbelt, your body stays in place, but your head jerks forward and backward quickly, causing injury. Impact injuries can also lead to very serious issues, such as internal bleeding or concussions.
Penetrating injuries happen when part of the vehicle or debris cuts into your body. Penetrating injuries include everything from minor scrapes and cuts to serious disfigurement or death. Any of the vehicle’s protruding parts, such as manual gear shafts, can cause this type of damage, as well as loose objects in the car, like cell phones.
In addition to physical injuries, you may also suffer emotional injuries if you are in a ridesharing accident or hit by a ridesharing driver. After a traumatic situation, your brain tries to keep you safe by warning you before you get into similar situations. Theoretically, this mechanism is extremely effective, but often, your brain overcompensates, especially after a traumatic accident.
Depending on the situation, you may develop fears of using ridesharing services or may even be unable to ride comfortably in a car at all. Even when not traveling, you may start to have anxiety attacks, suffer from depression, or experience trouble sleeping. Together, these symptoms and others comprise the issue post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This condition can be extremely debilitating and often gets in the way of your day-to-day functioning.
In worst case scenarios, ridesharing accidents can cause death to passengers or pedestrians. Tragically, multiple people around the country have died due to ridesharing accidents. For example, one passenger died and others were injured when the ridesharing vehicle was hit by a drunk driver. Sometimes, in these situations, although the other driver may have caused the accident, the ridesharing driver may be partly to blame, especially if they failed to yield or broke another rule of the road, ultimately putting the ridesharing vehicle and its passengers into an unsafe situation.
Ridesharing drivers have also killed pedestrians in a number of situations. For instance, in Arizona, a ridesharing driver was watching videos on her phone. Although she was operating one of Uber’s self-driving cars, she still had the duty to pay attention. By letting herself get distracted, she caused the unnecessary death of a pedestrian, leaving their family devastated.
Sometimes, ridesharing accident injuries are exacerbated by conditions related to the accident or to the vehicle itself. The direction of the impact, the speed of the vehicles involved, and the position of your body in the ridesharing vehicle can also create the perfect storm for making injuries worse.
If the ridesharing vehicle doesn’t have adequate airbags or if it has faulty parts including malfunctioning airbags or bad tires, your injuries can also be worse as a result of those issues. Luckily, in Massachusetts, you are partially insulated from these risks because the state requires ridesharing vehicles to meet certain safety standards. However, if your injuries are worsened due to faulty equipment or mistakes in the installation process, the equipment manufacturer or the mechanic who did the installation may also bear some liability for your damages.
Large ridesharing companies are worth billions of dollars. If you are injured because they put an inexperienced driver behind the wheel, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Most ridesharing companies have liability plans in place to cover injuries that occur in ridesharing accidents when the driver has a passenger in the car. However, personal injury lawyers have also successfully brought claims against ridesharing companies, when the driver didn’t have a passenger in the vehicle but caused an accident.
Ridesharing companies bring a lot of convenience to the communities they serve, and they tend to offer riders relatively affordable rates. However, that does not mean these companies are entitled to leave a host of injured passengers and pedestrians in their wake. If you have been injured due to an accident with a ridesharing driver, you need to be aware that the ridesharing driver may not have enough insurance to cover your injuries, and the ridesharing company may deny your claim or offer you a lowball settlement.
If you have been seriously injured, you should not deal with the situation on your own. You should contact a skilled ridesharing attorney to help you negotiate a fair settlement and to take the ridesharing company to court if needed. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we represent clients who have been in ridesharing accidents or who have suffered other types of personal injuries. To learn more or to set up a no-cost case evaluation, contact us today.