Many of us do not think twice about jumping in a car driven by an Uber or Lyft driver, especially since it can be such a money-saving option compared to a taxi or car service. Taxis are still the preferred mode of hired transportation in Toledo and there are several local cab companies. However, in the last 12 to 24 months, there has been a substantial increase in Uber cars and the popularity of Uber.
But what happens if you are hit by a car while riding in an Uber or Lyft? A Toledo Uber accident lawyer can answer your questions. If you want to learn more about accidents involving ride-sharing and the steps you can take, consult a Toledo auto accident attorney today.
Medical Bills Following An Accident
The insurance company of the person who caused the accident should be compensating the injured party for things like:
- Ambulance bills
- Emergency room bills
- Family doctor fills
- Physical therapy or chiropractor bills
- Lost wages
- Prescription cost for medicines related to the accident
- Future medical costs
- Future loss of income
- Pain and suffering
Common Carriers and Common Carrier Laws
There are no specific Toledo laws, but under the Ohio laws, common carriers are buses or taxis. One of the concerns with buses or taxis is that buses are not mandated by Ohio law to carry uninsured motorist coverage. The buses specifically in Toledo do not carry uninsured motorist coverage. A person injured in a bus or taxi accident may need to obtain the services of a lawyer to recover damages.
For instance, if the bus is hit by another vehicle and that vehicle does not have insurance; the bus passenger cannot collect from the bus company. They would have to collect from their own uninsured motorist coverage. By the same regard, when a taxi is involved, there is no mandate of uninsured motorist coverage. Insurance policies of Toledo cab companies usually have the lowest mandatory amount of coverage. There is no mandatory uninsured motorist coverage; the liability limits are $25,000 per person or $50,000 in the accident.
Why Shared Vehicles Like Uber or Lyft Considered Common Carriers in Toledo?
Uber cars are not considered common carriers under Toledo law. An Uber car is considered a vehicle for hire. Normally, Uber drivers are independent contractors of the company and Uber requires them to have a certain mandatory amount of insurance coverage. If the individual does not carry the mandatory minimum amount of coverage; there may be a need to sue the corporation.
Also, in Ohio there are several cases where Uber drivers committed criminal acts such as robbery, rape, and theft. The injured person may be able to sue Uber when they can prove negligent hiring or negligent background checks of their drivers by Uber. It is still more of a buyer beware situation by using an Uber in Northwest Ohio.
Legal Differences Between Uber Accidents and Regular Accidents
A car accident involving a taxi or Uber driver is similar to an accident involving a personal car. The only legal perspective is that there is no mandatory uninsured motorist coverage for an Uber driver or a taxi company. It is similar to a person being a passenger in a private individual’s vehicle.
A taxi that is considered a common carrier has a higher duty of care. In effect, if a person is a passenger in a taxi, the person is considered a business invitee because the person was there for the business benefits of the taxi company.
The taxi company has a duty to warn of any dangers and must use extraordinary care for the person’s safety. However, when the person is in a private vehicle and the driver is giving the person a ride for free, the person is considered a social invitee. The standard of care to a social invitee is to not create any danger for that individual. It is not as high of a duty of care as that of a business invitee.
Accident Caused By An Uber Driver
When an accident takes place, an insurance claim should be opened with the Uber driver’s insurance company so start the process of compensation. At this point, a Toledo Uber accident attorney experienced in handling Uber car accidents will be able to find out this information for you at no charge. Based on the accident location and other factors, an attorney will be able to locate the drivers involved in the crash as well as any insurance companies they have policies with.
What If the Accident is Caused By Another Driver?
When a person is in an Uber accident and the other driver is at fault, there are three possibilities for recovering damages. First, the person can go after the other driver’s liability insurance carrier. Second, if the Uber driver has uninsured motorist coverage, which is not mandated under Ohio law, the person could go after that coverage. Third, the person could go to their own uninsured motorist coverage.
Seeking Medical Attention
It is always a good idea for someone to give their hospital their health insurance information to ensure that your medical bills are paid and covered right away. Also be sure to tell them that the injuries are a result of a car accident so that it can be added to the medical records. A Toledo Uber accident lawyer can help the individual get reimbursed later.
A person in a car accident with an Uber driver should seek medical attention. It is probably in the person’s best interest to get an attorney involved right away to check the insurance coverage and the Uber driver. The attorney can locate witnesses, take photos, and help the person figure out the best strategy and appropriate medical treatment to deal with the situation. The attorney may be aware of other avenues of recovery like the individual’s uninsured motorist coverage or another family member in the household that might provide coverage for the injured party.
The standard for punitive damages under Ohio law is when there is a reckless conduct. For example, the Uber driver was under the influence of alcohol and legally intoxicated or under the influence of illegal or legal drugs and should not be on the road. Those are avenues for potential punitive damages under Ohio law.
Hiring an Attorney
A person should hire a Toledo Uber accident lawyer because, in these situations, the Uber or other common carrier driver is an independent contractor. Dealing with that individual’s insurance can be more difficult. Normally, when somebody is an Uber driver, their own private insurance may not cover them. Typically, an individual’s insurance only covers them in a non-business situation.
The Uber driver needs to have special insurance that includes an endorsement for business transportation which usually costs additional money. It may be tougher to collect against an Uber or other common carrier driver than it is in a private insurance situation. Also, the person should get the attorney involved to see if there is uninsured motorist coverage under the person’s policy or under another family member’s policy under Ohio law.