Lyft is one of the most popular rideshare services available and is luring commuters away from more traditional forms of transportation in Chicago. As more Chicagoans turn to Lyft to make their way throughout the city, the possibility of a serious and fatal Lyft accident grows. Accident victims deserve justice when someone else is at fault, and the same is no less true for Lyft users.
However, holding the responsible party accountable is not always easy. That’s where Hale & Monico come in. We approach every accident case with our clients’ best interests in mind, and we demand the justice you deserve. If you or a loved one have been hurt while using Lyft, let our ridesharing accident attorney review your case and advise you of your legal rights.
What is Lyft and How Does it Work?
Like many rideshare programs, Lyft relies on the use of smartphone apps to connect passengers to drivers. A Lyft user downloads the app onto his or her phone, then uses it to request a ride. The service is on-demand, meaning that whenever a user needs a ride, he or she can have one sent to their location. This differs from public transportation in which a person must go to a bus stop or find a taxi cab. The Lyft app allows users to know how close their driver is, and provides other important information about the driver and his or her vehicle.
What Makes Lyft Different From Other Forms of Transportation in Chicago?
Lyft is a technology platform, not a transportation system. The latter includes buses, taxis, trains, and other modes of travel. They are regulated as transportation entities, which means certain rules are put in place to protect commuter safety. There are different rules when it comes to holding Lyft responsible versus, for example, suing the Chicago Transit Authority for an accident that involved a city bus.
Chicago has adopted a number of regulations for rideshare programs, including Lyft. Some of these rules govern the age of the vehicles that may be used. There are also rules that govern how much time a Lyft driver can spend working in a given 24-hour period, required vehicle emblems, and more.
Perhaps the key difference between Lyft and public transportation is driver training. The fact is, Lyft drivers are held to different standards than cab and bus drivers. Almost anyone with a driver’s license can become a Lyft driver, which has consequences for passenger safety. Also, Lyft considers their drivers to be independent contractors – not employees. This can make it far more difficult to get the compensation you need after an accident.
How Long Does It Take Lyft To Investigate An Accident?
Lyft does not provide a specific timeframe for completing accident investigations, as the length can vary significantly depending on the circumstances. However, some general guidelines on Lyft’s accident investigation process include:
- Initial Report – Lyft requests that accidents be reported within 24 hours. Information is gathered from drivers and riders.
- Evidence Collection – Lyft will collect evidence like photos, witness statements, police reports, etc. This may take days or weeks depending on cooperation from parties involved.
- Review and Analysis – Lyft reviews all the evidence to make a liability determination. Complex cases with competing accounts could lengthen the review process.
- Findings – Once a final determination is made, Lyft issues its conclusions on fault and next steps to the involved parties.
- Follow Up – Additional investigations may be done if new evidence appears. The entire process could take 30-90 days or longer in some cases.
Lyft faces pressure to complete reviews efficiently to avoid interrupting service and minimize bad publicity. However, adequate time is needed to conduct a fair, thorough investigation. Riders should consult an attorney if the process seems delayed or unfair.
How Might a Passenger Be Hurt in a Lyft Accident?
Automobile accidents, including those involving Lyft, can happen for a number of reasons. If your driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, or is not paying attention, you could be seriously hurt. Or, you might be in an accident because another driver was responsible. However a wreck takes place, a Lyft automobile accident could result in the following injuries:
- Neck, head, and spinal cord injuries, such as whiplash, herniated discs, and skull fractures
- Other bone fractures, including broken arms and legs
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back injuries and muscle strains
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
Severe accidents could leave the victim paralyzed or with a permanent disability. In the most serious accidents, the victim may end up in an irreversible coma or die. No matter the extent of your injuries, if you have been involved in a Lyft accident, it is critical that you seek immediate medical attention. Aches and pains that seem minor can grow with time. If you do not get treatment for your injuries and they become worse, you could seriously jeopardize your ability to be compensated.
How to Prove My Lyft Driver Was At Fault
If you believe your Lyft driver was at fault for the accident, here are some tips for proving fault:
- Gather witness statements from any passengers or bystanders supporting your account.
- Take photos of the accident scene showing the vehicles’ positions, skid marks, damage, etc.
- Obtain the official police report stating conclusions on which party was at fault.
- Check if the driver was distracted by cell phone usage at the time, which may be negligent.
- Review driver history and ratings for other complaints about poor or unsafe driving.
- Analysis from an accident reconstruction expert can scientifically assess fault.
- Use GPS records to show the vehicle’s speed, hard braking, or other critical data.
- Subpoena Lyft for data records and communications related to the ride and driver.
An experienced attorney can help obtain and evaluate evidence necessary to demonstrate fault. The stronger the evidence against the driver, the more leverage you have in negotiations and court.
Does the Company Cover Damages for a Lyft Accident?
Lyft has an insurance program that can be used to cover costs and expenses related to accidents. But passengers should know that this program has complex rules. The driver’s individual insurance policy may also come into play, which can further complicate an accident claim.
Lyft offers up to $1 million of accident liability insurance. This insurance covers the passenger from the time the ride is requested until the passenger is dropped off. If the driver has automobile insurance that is available, that coverage may need to be activated first. In some cases, this can result in competing insurance policies. Handling insurance adjusters can be a nightmare, so it is always best to let an experienced Lyft accident attorney help.
If the driver is not on duty at the time of the accident, you may have to claim through the driver’s personal insurance policy. Lyft will generally consider the driver to be operating as an independent contractor in this situation and will disavow any responsibility. Again, you should retain a skilled Lyft accident attorney who can investigate the nature of the wreck and make sure the responsible party’s insurance pays for your damages.
What Should I Do If I’m Involved in a Chicago Ridesharing Accident?
First and foremost, get the medical attention you need. Although insurance can play a complicated role in accident recovery, your first job is to heal from your injuries. Let your attorney worry about the insurance companies.
Gather any evidence you can about the accident. Witnesses, photographs, names, and other information will prove useful. Start documenting your medical bills, time missed from work, and other losses and expenses related to the crash. Then, call us.
Contact Our Chicago Lyft Accident Attorneys Today
If you have been injured in a Lyft Accident, you may be frightened and not know where to turn. Remember, Hale & Monico is dedicated to helping injury victims fight back against big corporations like Lyft or Uber. We understand the complex rules involving ridesharing accident liability, and we will go to work to get the compensation you need. Contact us today to discuss your accident.