Uber and Lyft Accidents
Northern Virginia Uber and Lyft Accident Attorney
In December 2011, Uber, a San Francisco-based company, launched its popular ride-sharing app in the Washington, D.C. area. Lyft was launched shortly after.
Uber and Lyft have become notably popular throughout Northern Virginia, where purchasing and maintaining a vehicle can be both expensive and inconvenient. A large part of Uber and Lyft’s popularity is the innovative ride-sharing concept that the app is based around. It is a simple concept that relies on smartphone technology for its success.
However, as with all new technologies, serious questions have arisen in a number of legal areas regarding Uber and Lyft. If you have been involved in an Uber or Lyft-related incident, be sure to contact an experienced Northern Virginia car accident attorney to ensure that you have strong legal representation.
How It Works
After downloading the Uber or Lyft apps to your smartphone, if you need a ride, you open either of the apps and your GPS will notify a driver of your location and your intended destination. With a click of a button, you can summon a driver. It is a convenient option that has all but replaced traditional taxi services.
What is innovative about Uber and Lyft is that all of the drivers are considered independent contractors. In Northern Virginia, Uber and Lyft drivers simply need to have a clean driver’s license, maintain the mandatory insurance policies, and undergo a background check. While Uber and Lyft’s success has turned them into a multi-billion company, the success has not come without a substantial share of legal issues.
One of the many legal issues impacting Uber and Lyft is when a driver is involved in a collision of some sort, with a paying passenger in their car, en route to pick up a passenger, or simply operating their vehicle with the Uber or Lyft app open. Most Uber and Lyft drivers use their own vehicles to drive passengers around, although Uber and Lyft does offer a leasing service in some areas, where they lease a vehicle and smartphone to drivers. As such, drivers may be liable for damages that may have been caused while they were operating their vehicle.
Uber and Lyft both have maintained the stance that they are not a ride-sharing service; it is simply the developer of the app which allows people to connect to ride share. This stance has come under fire when someone is involved in a vehicle accident with an Uber or Lyft driver.
Although all Uber and Lyft drivers are required to maintain valid auto insurance, some states require Uber and Lyft drivers, or “drivers for hire”, to maintain additional coverage. After getting hit with a number of lawsuits, Uber and Lyft now maintains insurance coverage for its drivers, but only while the driver is utilizing the app to provide services.
Steps to Take When Involved in an Accident
If you are involved in a vehicle accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, the complex insurance issues are compounded by the state’s stance on the ride-sharing services. Each state is in the process of passing, or already has passed, laws regarding the legality of Uber and Lyft’s services.
It is imperative to contact an attorney who has experience in dealing with the complex issues that arise when involved in a vehicle accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, such as the multitude of insurance companies involved and the commercial/citizen classification of the Uber or Lyft driver.
The Avery Law Firm Can Help
If you have been in an Uber or Lyft accident in Northern Virginia, you need an experienced attorney who has knowledge of cases involving Uber or Lyft vehicle accidents to help you understand your rights, to navigate the complicated legal process, and to help you realize the best possible outcome. At The Avery Law Firm, we can be there to guide you through the claims process every step of the way.