Congestion & Distracted Driving: The Downside of Uber and Lyft Services

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Congestion & Distracted Driving: The Downside of Uber and Lyft Services

Synopsis

  • A 2018 research report published by University of Chicago Booth School of Business showed ridesharing services has been increasing traffic deaths by 2% to 3%, as well as serious related injuries, since 2011.
  • Individuals injured while traveling in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, as well as traditional taxi services, are covered under the Michigan no-fault law and entitled to all the same benefits other Michigan drivers can recover.
  • If a rideshare driver injures another motorist, pedestrian, motorcyclist or bicyclist, benefits including wage loss, payment of hospital and doctor bills, out-of-pocket costs and reimbursement for home care and nursing care benefits could also be claimed.
  • The Michigan rideshare lawyers at the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C. handle cases involving Uber and Lyft across the state each day.

Rideshare Accidents Contribute to Higher Traffic Injury and Fatality Rates

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have become an increasingly popular transportation option for Michigan residents, university students, as well as visiting tourists. These vehicles and drivers operate much like a taxi service and are available to take on passengers with a simple “pick-me-up” request scheduled through a smartphone app. The technology is easy and trusted to link people who are designated rideshare drivers with people looking for a lift. The services have not arrived with complete ease though as motor vehicle accidents trends have taken a rise in US traffic deaths since ridesharing launched in 2011 and some injured parties remain confused by benefit denials.

Researchers from the University of Chicago and Rice University took statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and compared them with the dates Uber or Lyft launched in specific cities such as San Francisco, New York City, Chicago and Detroit. The 2018 report titled “The Cost of Convenience: Ridesharing and Traffic Fatalities” presented remarkable findings that ridesharing services has been increasing traffic deaths by 2% to 3% in the US since 2011, equivalent to as many as 1,100 mortalities a year.

According to the study:

  • Before ride-sharing: Traffic deaths fell to their lowest number just before Uber launched in San Francisco. In 2010 there were 32,885 fatal car accidents nationwide, the lowest number since 1949. This decline halted and then reversed after the introduction of ridesharing.
  • Traffic problems: The study adds to a growing body of research on ridesharing companies and an increase in congestion and cut in use of public transport. Cities are starting to respond to harms, perceived or otherwise.
  • Deadheading: The increase in congestion is partly because drivers spend 40% to 60% of their time searching for passengers, a practice known as deadheading and could be considered a deadly driver distraction. It is common in metro Detroit for drivers to drive for both Lyft and Uber and keep their service’s app running on a separate smartphone — typically mounted over the front seats.

Uber and Lyft car accidents can involve a wide variety of accident claims involving any type of motor vehicle, motorcycle, scooter, as well as support pedestrian and bicyclist injuries. No matter who the injured party involved with the rideshare vehicle is though, the claim is virtually the same and the same benefits are offered.

Michigan’s No-Fault Benefits

Under Michigan law, victims injured in an Uber or Lyft car accident are entitled to no-fault benefits as well as pain and suffering compensation. Substantial benefits can add up and help an accident victim move ahead in recovery and back to their daily activities. Michigan is a “no-fault” state which basically means that all parties in a car crash are eligible for benefits from their insurance companies, regardless of who caused the accident. Motorcyclists are an exception to this and are not covered under the no-fault law unless a motor vehicle, including a rideshare car or truck is involved. Pedestrians and bicyclists are covered under the Michigan no-fault law so long as a motor vehicle is involved in the accident.

rideshare accidents

Under Michigan’s no-fault law, there are two types of cases:

  • First-party cases secure no-fault benefits for the injured person from the applicable insurance company. These benefits include the payment of medical expenses, lost wages, out-of-pocket costs, nursing services, and expenses for services you would not have needed if not injured, i.e. home cleaning or childcare.
  • Third-party cases provide an accident victim with benefits from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. These benefits are usually in the form of pain and suffering compensation.

No-fault claims have special requirements and restrictions. Understanding your rights and responsibilities with regard to filing your claim is critical, and hiring attorneys who will fight on your behalf will help you to win the compensation you deserve. Often, insurance companies will try to delay and deny the payment of benefits even though Uber and Lyft have been sued and found guilty several times before in Michigan’s County Circuit Courts after auto accidents. Therefore, it is important to find a tough, hardworking law firm that is on your side.

Protect Yourself After Any Motor Vehicle Accident

Make sure you take the necessary steps after being involved in an accident with a rideshare vehicle either as a passenger or while operating your own motor vehicle. First, be sure you seek medical attention if necessary. Next, gather video and photos of the crash scene, vehicles involved in the accident and also photos of your injuries. You can do this with your smartphone. Gather witness contact information and if a tow truck is called, take down that information as well. Documenting the severity of the car accident through these damages is a very impactful way for insurance companies to appreciate the seriousness of the crash.

Michigan Rideshare Accident Lawyers

It’s no doubt ridesharing will continue its popularity and more of these vehicles and drivers will be sharing Michigan streets with others. Our law office represents Uber and Lyft passengers (and their drivers) throughout the state of Michigan. If you have any questions about a Michigan ridesharing car accident, please call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733), or contact us online so we my answer your questions and offer the help you seek.

Video Transcript

Uber and Lyfts have become a really popular ride sharing program and if you’re a passenger in an Uber car or a Lyft car, and involved in a motor vehicle accident, you can get compensation for that.

Depending on whose at fault of course, if the Uber or Lyft driver’s at fault, you can go through their insurance carrier for compensation. If another motorist is at fault, you go through their insurance for compensation.

These benefits can include your medical bills, your lost wages, out of pocket costs as well reimbursement for family members taking care of you. And these benefits can add up to be quite substantial, and you are a beneficiary of those benefits even if you don’t have auto insurance of your own. If you’re involved in an Uber or Lyft accident, you can file a claim for Michigan no-fault benefits and our law firm will walk you through that process.

By |2019-03-25T19:35:14+00:00March 19th, 2019|Auto Accidents, Personal Injury|0 Comments

About the Author:

Eric joined the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C to fight for injury victims throughout Michigan. He has been selected to Super Lawyers and is a member of the National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40. A graduate of the Chicago-Kent College of Law, he devotes 100% of his practice to representing victims who have been injured by the negligence of others. He is on the Executive Board for the Michigan Association for Justice.

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