Lakewood Rideshare Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one were recently injured in an accident involving a rideshare, The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs is here to help. Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft are supposed to make transportation safer and more convenient by discouraging drunk driving and eliminating the need for parking. But taking advantage of these services means putting your safety in the hands of a driver you don’t know. These drivers are not professionally trained — most are regular people like you, just trying to make some extra cash. They are just as prone as anyone else on the road to causing or becoming the victims of accidents. When rideshare passengers or other drivers are involved in an accident with a rideshare driver, the situation can seem complicated. Who is responsible, the company or the driver? Can a passenger file a personal injury claim?
If you or someone you love was injured in a rideshare accident, the Lakewood personal injury lawyers of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs are here to help. We will clear up any confusion about responsibility and help you decide whom to file your claim against, and how. With over sixty years providing legal services to residents of Lakewood, Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup, Chehalis, and Bremerton, we understand what it takes to fight and win a personal injury case. Contact us at (253) 588-6696 to schedule a free consultation.
Do I Need an Attorney for My Rideshare Accident?
Hiring an attorney can be a difficult decision. Most victims of rideshare accidents don’t want to prolong their ordeal with a difficult battle for compensation for their injuries and would rather move on with their life. But if a driver’s negligence leaves you with a debilitating injury, there are several reasons why hiring a lawyer may be a good idea.
First and foremost, you pay nothing upfront. The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs doesn’t follow a standard payment arrangement. We take our payment out of any settlements or awards we obtain for our clients. This is called a contingency fee. No one plans for the day they’ll be in a rideshare accident or saves money for the day they’ll need to hire a lawyer. We understand this, and we still want to provide you with top-level legal help. With contingency fee arrangements, we only get paid if you do. It’s in our best interest to build you the best possible case for your injury claim because if we don’t, we don’t get paid for our work, and you won’t owe us a dime.
You may decide to file and pursue an injury claim on your own. You’re certainly allowed to. Washington state allows anyone to file a claim for damages with an insurance company. However, when you have an attorney assist you with your claim, you’ll gain some distinct advantages.
When an insurance company sees a demand letter from an individual, they have the upper hand. They have a full legal team and enormous resources at their disposal, and they will do everything in their power to minimize the compensation you get for your injuries and protect their bottom line by offering you a settlement far less than what you deserve.
When they see a demand letter from a reputable injury firm, the equation changes. This signals that you’re taking your claim seriously and that if they don’t offer a fair settlement for your injuries, they can expect to see you and your attorney in court.
Our experienced attorneys know Washington injury case law, and we will use our extensive knowledge and experience to build a claim that is backed up by evidence and is hard to refute. We can take the lead on negotiating a settlement for your claim and do the hard work of building your case so you can concentrate on recovery.
When you represent yourself, insurance companies will use certain tactics to draw out your claim for longer periods of time and get you to accept a lower settlement. They may draw out your case until the statute of limitations passes or tell you that an attorney isn’t necessary and they just want to help. They will be friendly and assure you that they have your best interests at heart. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Insurance companies make money by collecting premiums from their customers and denying payouts to injury claimants just like you. An experienced attorney knows these tactics and the most effective ways to counter them.
Types of Rideshare Accident Cases
The rideshare driver-passenger relationship adds an extra wrinkle to the complicated pieces of a car accident claim. Depending on who is filing a claim and who they believe was at fault, any particular case can take a number of shapes. Here are some of the different ways a case can shape up after a rideshare accident:
- A rideshare passenger files a claim against the rideshare driver
- A rideshare passenger files a claim against another driver
- Another driver files a claim against the rideshare driver
All of these situations are possible, but each requires a different approach. Whether you were a rideshare passenger or another driver when your accident occurred, the Lakewood, Washington rideshare lawyers of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs will help you take the best course for your particular case.
Can I sue Uber or Lyft directly?
Whether you were the passenger of a driver who caused an accident or another driver whom they hit, you are probably wondering if you can sue the rideshare company directly. The answer is somewhat unclear, as it depends on a complicated legal question that is currently being fought out in the courts. Companies can usually be held liable for their employees’ actions while on duty, but Uber and Lyft consider their drivers ‘independent contractors’ rather than full employees, which helps them to shirk any legal responsibility.
This legal classification has been challenged, and Washington has been a part of the conversation, with Seattle attempting to allow rideshare drivers to unionize. Nonetheless, for the time being, many courts take Uber and Lyft at their word that their drivers are independent contractors and therefore will hold these drivers liable instead of the companies themselves. This means that your claim will most likely be against the driver, but Uber or Lyft’s resources can still come into play with the $1 million policy they use to cover their drivers.
Making the Most of the $1 Million Coverage
If you are a regular rideshare user, you may be aware that Uber and Lyft both cover their drivers with an insurance policy that covers personal injuries for passengers up to $1 million. However, this policy is administered by an insurance company, just like any other driver’s policy, and that company has every incentive to protect its bottom line. You can file your claim and hope for the best, but the insurer will likely try to minimize the amount it has to pay you for your injuries. This is where an experienced personal injury lawyer comes in.
Fighting insurance companies is difficult. Maximizing your payout means having the right documentation and knowing how to present your account of the accident and your injuries. Even if you are not filing a lawsuit, an experienced personal injury attorney can help with every step along the way to make sure you are getting the most out of this coverage and are not being short-changed. The Lakewood, Washington personal injury lawyers of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs have the know-how to hold insurance companies accountable by carefully and effectively presenting your case for compensation.
Recovering Damages after a Rideshare Accident
Sometimes, a personal injury payout from Uber or Lyft’s insurance company is not enough. A car accident can impact every area of your life, and you may need compensation for each cost the accident has caused. Here are some of the costs you may be able to recover in a claim against your rideshare driver or another driver who hit your rideshare:
- Medical bills
- Car repairs, if you were hit by a rideshare while driving your own car
- Lost wages due to time off work
- Future lost income due to temporary or permanent disability
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Other miscellaneous, recovery-related expenses
Depending on who hit whom, you may be seeking these damages from a different party. Whatever the specifics of your case, the Lakewood, Washington rideshare accident attorneys of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs can help you recover the compensation you need.
Recovering from a car accident is always difficult, but the complicating factor of the rideshare relationship can make a bad experience even worse. On top of medical bills and the pain of recovery, it can be difficult to know how your case will shake out. You don’t have to face this time alone.
The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs is proud to serve victims of rideshare accidents in Lakewood, Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup, Chehalis, and Bremerton. Our firm has been fighting reckless drivers and insurance companies for over sixty years, and we’re not about to stop because those drivers are ‘independent contractors.’ If you or someone you love has been injured in a rideshare accident, we are ready to fight aggressively to hold the party responsible financially accountable. For more information on how we can help and to schedule a free consultation, call us now at (253) 588-6696.