Uber and Lyft Accidents in Springfield, IL
Ridesharing is a vehicle service that matches those looking for local transportation with drivers of private cars. Passengers connect with drivers through a mobile app, then are delivered to their destination, and payment is easily processed through the app. A decade ago, the ridesharing industry was worth about $1 billion – now it is worth over $61 billion.
About 25 percent of the U.S. population uses a ridesharing service at least once a month. While there are other rideshare services, Uber and Lyft make up 99 percent of the market. The vast increase in rideshare vehicles dramatically correlates with the increase in rideshare accidents. Consider the following case illustration:
Jennifer and her husband Hank are on vacation in Springfield, Illinois. Rather than rent a car, they are using Uber and Lyft ridesharing services to get to and from the Abraham Lincoln historic sites. As they leave the Lincoln Depot to visit Lincoln’s home one day, another driver runs a stop sign, t-boning the Uber driver’s vehicle squarely on the side. Jenifer and Hank are taken to the local St. John’s Hospital emergency room for care. Hank has relatively minor injuries, but Jenifer is severely hurt, with rib and spinal fractures accompanied by internal bleeding.
Not only has their vacation been derailed, but now they are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, with a prolonged hospital stay and rehabilitative care after the hospitalization. Jenifer and Hank could dramatically benefit from speaking to a knowledgeable Uber accident attorney so they can determine the best next steps to take. The Noll Law Office attorneys can help determine who is liable in a rideshare accident and help them navigate the insurance claims processes.
Illinois Rideshare Accident Statistics
According to the Chicago News, it is estimated that rideshare services have increased the number of automobile deaths across the nation by at least 987 people per year. Uber and Lyft have pushed in to the ride-share market traditionally held by taxis, so more of these types of car accidents are to be expected. Not surprisingly, the most significant increase in rideshare auto accidents was seen in larger cities.
What Should I Do Following an Uber or Lyft Accident?
As with any car accident, you will need to be medically assessed following your rideshare accident. Prioritizing your health is essential. The hospital or priority care clinic will either admit you, or rule out life-threatening injuries and send you home with follow-up care instructions. Usually, the follow-up instructions include setting an appointment with a primary care or orthopedic physician to treat your injuries, and prescription medications in the form of muscle relaxers, pain medicine, and the like.
You should follow the follow-up instructions given to you by the hospital. Oftentimes, your primary care or orthopedic physician can send you to physical therapy, which can help to regain your physical strength and range of motion more quickly after a serious collision. They can provide you with medication to help with muscle spasms, and, in the case of more concerning symptoms, order MRIs to assess soft-tissue damage such as the knees, shoulders, and spine.
You should also strongly consider hiring a law office that is knowledgeable and experienced with handling Uber/Lyft collision. Will your Uber/Lyft driver be responsible? Perhaps the driver of the other car will be held liable. In the hypothetical situation above, Jennifer would usually file a claim with the person who t-boned the Uber vehicle. However, what would happen if that driver was not insured? Or did not have enough insurance to cover her hospital stay?
The Noll Law Office can sort out the circumstances of your Uber/Lyft accident, and help you navigate the complicated insurance process.These claims can take the form of filing a claim with the individual who hit you, filing uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist claims, or, at times, involve “joint tortfeasor” litigation. Having experienced attorneys such as the Noll Law Office lawyers can greatly reduce confusion and stress.
But there are steps you can take following the collision. Usually, you will want to follow-up on the accident investigation (after your immediate medical treatment is taken care of), because the police will often write up a traffic collision report, and issue citations in accordance with the results of the police investigation. Those tickets, such as failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident, or failing to yield the right-away, offer strong proof of liability that can be provided to insurance companies.
You will want to keep track of your medical bills that come in, and give a copy to your Uber accident attorney. Unfortunately, automobile insurance companies sometimes refuse to pay for medical bills until a person is done treating. This harsh reality has impact on injured victims, who may be facing tens and tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. If you can, you should consider submitting your medical bills to your personal health insurance provider while the case moves forward, to avoid being sent to collections. Most hospitals and medical providers will allow you to make payment plans on your deductibles and the like. And while your health insurance companies may file a “subrogation” claim against your settlement with the at-fault driver, at least your attorney can negotiate those issues for you on your behalf while you avoid negative impacts on your credit score.
How is Fault Determined in Springfield, IL Uber/Lyft Accidents?
While a jury is the ultimate “fact finder” with respect to liability, the local police authorities will almost always come to the scene of a collision and investigate what traffic laws may have been violated.
One issue to quickly investigate is whether or not any nearby security cameras caught footage of the collision. These videos are typically overwritten, generally within about 30 days, and so swift action is often necessary to ensure that the footage is not destroyed.
If witnesses can be identified, taking a statement of the witness immediately after the accident and while the collision is fresh in their mind can be critical. Oftentimes police officers will do it at the time of the collision. If not, the Noll Law Office has an investigator that can be retained to question the witnesses and write a report on their findings. While this can be expensive, in cases of extreme medical bills and catastrophic injuries, it sometimes does become necessary in order to “prove up” a case.
Similarly, in catastrophic injuries cases, some police authorities such as the Illinois State Police have the ability to create traffic crash reconstruction reports. These reports are highly technical, and the officers are specifically trained to reconstruct how the accidents, usually fatalities, occurred. The reports are very detailed, often involving computer recreation of the collision. In Illinois, there now exists an Illinois Association of Technical Accident Investigators that is dedicated to improving the field of accident reconstruction by offering quality training to its members.
Sometimes, independent witnesses have provided statements to insurance companies that are recorded. That is “discoverable” in evidence as well.
With Uber/Lyft cases, you will want an attorney who is well versed with determining the status of the driver at the time of the collision (i.e., whether the driver was en route to pick up a passenger, or driving passengers to a specific location, and the like.). At times, Uber/Lyft drivers can become distracted while looking at their phone or other electronic device, which can cause accidents. In that case, you will probably have several different insurance companies becoming involved in the bodily injury claim.
There are many types of evidence that are relevant to determining fault in a collision. Generally, if you are concerned about fault, you should contact the Noll Law Office in order to speak with an experienced Uber accident attorney about what types of evidence may exist in your case.
What is the Rideshare Accident Injury Claim Process?
As with any car accident, you must be able to establish liability and damages when bringing an Uber/Lyft claim. If another driver is at fault for hitting your Uber/Lyft vehicle, then that driver’s insurance should be contacted with a demand to cover your damages that were caused by the collision. If your Uber/Lyft driver caused the accident, it becomes more complicated.
Unless your Uber/Lyft driver has purchased a ride-sharing endorsement on their policy, a personal insurance policy may not cover your injuries. So, Uber and Lyft usually offer liability insurance to their drivers. The driver’s own insurer typically first denies the claim before the Uber and Lyft insurance policy will “kick in.”
The polices are very complex, and can vary from year to year. Therefore you should speak with an attorney immediately if you are facing a bodily injury claim, to avoid unnecessary complications with coverage.
Do I Have a Rideshare Accident Case?
Your Uber accident attorney from the Noll Law Office can help you determine whether you have a valid rideshare accident case. The attorneys will comprehensively review the facts of your accident. The attorneys can help you review your damages, which can cover a broad array of issues, from medical bills, to pain and suffering, scarring, lost wages, and more.
What is My Uber/Lyft Accident Injury Worth?
Every case is different. You will see a lot of law firms promising results, however, calculations are typically calculated by adding up your medical bills, reviewing any physical disabilities or scarring that exists once you reach “maximum medical improvement,” consideration of things like pain and suffering, and tallying up your lost wages. Your future medical bills should be considered, alongside what future medical treatments you may require as a result of the accident. In severe cases, such as paralysis, this may often involve the provision of costs for specific types of medical equipment and assistance with activities of daily limited.
In routine cases, your damages will probably include your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. When the total amount is calculated, your Uber accident attorney will often submit a demand on your behalf itemizing your damages. Negotiations will then take place as your attorney fights for a fair settlement. If there is no agreement regarding a settlement amount, your case will go to trial where a jury or judge will decide the outcome.
How Can Noll Law Office Help Me?
Choosing the best Uber accident attorney can seem like an overwhelming process. It becomes less overwhelming when you consider what you want and need from your attorney. It is recommended that you find an attorney who is willing to meet with you individually from your first appointment, onward. In addition, you should find an attorney who is familiar with personal injury litigation, and has extensive experience with the insurance claims process. If your attorney cannot rattle simple bodily injury “lingo” and explain it to you – such as underinsured motorist set-offs, policy limit demands, excess verdicts, health insurance subrogation, and the like – they are not the attorney for you. Your attorney should be able to explain litigation costs, and how those factors may play into any potential settlement that you reach. Your attorney should be able to explain “discovery” to you.
The Noll Law Office lawyers believe that honest, ongoing client communication, combined with extensive litigation experience, is the key to positive outcomes. As highly successful accident attorneys, the Noll Law Office attorneys take pride in aggressively litigating cases, while providing compassionate, honest advice to their clients. If you want to speak with a qualified and experienced attorneys, Daniel and Sarah Noll are waiting to help you. Contact Noll Law Office today—the first consultation is always free!