Liability for Ridesharing Accidents: What You Need to Know

Ridesharing has made so many aspects of life easier. If you want to have a few drinks while you’re out, you can turn to Uber or Lyft instead of trying to schedule a taxi in advance. Have a work meeting in an unfamiliar part of the city? Entrust the task to a rideshare driver. However, anything that makes life easier also comes with its downsides. The same is true with ridesharing and an uptick in accidents across the country.

Not sure what happens after a rideshare accident? We’re here to help. Call Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne at 251-937-7024 to set up a consultation now.

The Basics of Liability Are the Same

The basic principles of liability are the same, whether or not a rideshare driver is involved in a crash. Either driver could be liable, but so could the vehicle manufacturer, the municipality that maintains the roads, or the repair shop that last took care of either vehicle. If either driver was working at the time of the collision, their employer could even have some liability.

However, rideshare accidents start to split apart from the rest when you look at the insurance coverage they have at different steps of a ride. since insurance coverage is often a limiting factor when it comes to getting full and fair compensation, it’s important to know how protected you are when you choose to ride with a rideshare company.

Insurance Coverage is Different for Rideshare Drivers

The rideshare industry grew so quickly that legislation struggled to keep up. Now that ridesharing is a regular and accepted part of American life, there is a lot more protection available to drivers and riders alike.

Uber and Lyft provide insurance coverage for accidents caused by their drivers. The coverage varies, depending on where they are in the process:

  • App turned on, but no ride is accepted: The driver has $25,000 of coverage for property damage, $50,000 of coverage per person, and a total of $100,000 per accident.
  • On the way to pick up a rider or driving with a rider in the vehicle: The rider has up to $1 million of liability coverage.

If the app is off, the rideshare company’s insurance does not apply at all. In this situation, you would seek compensation through the driver’s personal vehicle insurance.

Protecting Yourself After a Crash

Whether you are injured as a rider in an Uber or Lyft driver’s vehicle or you hit an Uber or Lyft car with your vehicle, it’s important to protect yourself after a collision. Yes, rideshare drivers have plenty of insurance coverage to pay for the property damage and injuries they cause. However, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to get them to pay out.

Uber and Lyft drivers know that serious accidents or a track record of minor accidents make it more likely that they will be deactivated on the platform and lose a source of income. Because of this, some drivers are unwilling to hand out insurance information or even report the crash. This makes it very hard for you to get your expenses paid for.

Even once your crash reaches the insurance company, there’s no guarantee that they will pay you what your injury is worth. Providing that level of coverage to the thousands and thousands of rideshare drivers in the United States is incredibly expensive, and one of the ways they protect their profit margins is to deny injury claims whenever possible.

To keep yourself safe after a crash, immediately report it to the police. You want documentation of the accident and evidence you can give to your attorney. Get insurance information from the Uber or Lyft driver. From there, you’ll need to reach out to a rideshare accident attorney in Bay Minette or Fairhope. We can help you fight for what you deserve.

Reach Out to Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne Today

If a rideshare accident has left you injured and unsure of what you should do next, the team at Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne is here to help. Set up an appointment now. You can reach us online, call our Fairhope office at 251-928-1915, or calling our Bay Minette office at 251-937-7024.

Calculating Damages for Permanent Injuries

While most injury victims are lucky to walk away with no injuries or injuries that require minimal treatment, some are far less lucky. Some are left with permanent injuries that will follow them the rest of their lives, forever reminding them of the injury and what it cost them. Knowing that, it seems unfair that financial compensation is the only option that victims have. Unfortunately, that is the only justice available—for that reason, it’s crucial to make sure you seek out every single penny you are due.

If you’ve suffered a permanent injury because of another driver’s negligence, make sure you fight for the compensation you are owed. Take the first step now by calling Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne at 251-937-7024.

What Makes Permanent Injuries Different?

Permanent injuries are much more expensive than injuries that eventually heal. To start, a victim will have medical care needs for the rest of their life. As medical costs increase year after year, that alone is enough to drive up a settlement estimate considerably. Additionally, it’s important to think about how a permanent injury will affect an individual’s ability to work. In many cases, the individual can no longer work at all.

This is a huge financial blow to the family and deserves significant compensation. A homemaker may not lose any income due to a personal injury, but they are unlikely to continue their role at home. They may need to hire out for childcare, housekeeping, and other tasks they once did on their own.

Furthermore, the emotional burden of a permanent injury is far, far heavier than that of a less serious injury. Not only does it take a toll on the victim, but it can also be devastating to their friends and family members.

Listed below, there are several types of damages a victim may be awarded after a permanent injury.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are the easily calculated costs of an injury. They include medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. These damages can be extremely high for those with permanent injuries. Not only do you have the standard expenses of an accident, but you also have long-term costs like future medical care and permanent loss of wages.

Non-Compensatory Damages

Not all losses are financial, and non-compensatory damages aim to make up for these losses. You may receive compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium. Pain and suffering compensation may be significantly higher for someone with a permanent injury, particularly if they will spend a lifetime going through invasive or intensive medical procedures.

Emotional distress damages may be substantial for someone with a permanent injury. They don’t just have to deal with the reality of the injury for a short time as they wait to heal—they will carry it with them for the rest of their life. That’s a huge emotional burden to carry. Loss of consortium compensates a spouse for the loss of their spouse’s company, fellowship, and assistance in the home. Again, this may be a lot, as the spouse has permanently lost those benefits of marriage.

Getting a Fair Calculation

It is often challenging to calculate damages for a permanent injury. When you try to imagine the multitude of ways a permanent injury will affect you, it is hard to account for every single way you’ll need to change your life. That’s why it’s important to talk to a Bay Minette personal injury lawyer with experience in permanent injury claims.

Medical care is increasing all the time, and you must be able to get the care you need later in life. When calculating lost future income, you don’t just have to think about your current wages—you must also consider the promotion and growth opportunities you have now lost out on because of your injury. An attorney can account for all of this in their calculations.

We’re Here to Help—Call Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne Now

If you’re ready to seek compensation for your permanent injury, let’s talk about what comes next and how we can assist you. Call our Bay Minette office at 251-937-7024 or send us a message online. The team at Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne is here for you.

Things Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Know

Before a car accident, you talk to an insurance agent maybe once a year—and that’s if you’re checking in more than the usual client. After an accident, your phone might feel like it’s ringing off the hook with calls from your insurance provider and the other party’s insurance adjuster. Before you talk to the other driver’s adjuster, make sure you know what they are trying to do and how you can protect yourself.

When it comes to car collisions and other types of accidents, you need an advocate who’s ready to fight for you. Call Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne at 251-937-7024 to schedule a meeting right away.

1. An Initial Lowball Offer is Very Likely

The insurance adjuster may give you a whole speech about how they fought tooth and nail to get you the best settlement they possibly could, but that is almost certainly not true. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, and one of the fastest ways to make more money is to give less out in settlements. They’re likely to throw out a low number at the beginning just to see if you’ll take it. A surprising amount of accident victims take the first offer, assuming that it is the best they will get.

2. Your Recorded Statement Could Hurt You

If the other party’s insurance company asks you for a recorded statement, it might seem innocent. It’s just a way to hear your side of the story and compare it to their client’s, right? Actually, your recorded statement can work against you when it’s time to negotiate a settlement. Any discrepancies between your recorded statement and other retellings may be used to question your credibility, and details that you add or remove later could raise red flags. Talk to an attorney before you agree to any sort of recorded retelling of the accident.

3. The Insurance Adjuster is Not Your Friend

Insurance companies are very good at convincing accident victims that they are on their side, even when they are representing the other party. This is why accident victims open up to them about where they may have made mistakes in the crash, past injuries, and other types of information that can ruin their personal injury claim.

The insurance adjuster isn’t really on your side. They are only interested in getting information out of you that they can use to drive down your settlement offer or pay you nothing. It’s often better to have all communication between you and the other party’s insurance company go through your attorney. Otherwise, you risk harming your personal injury claim just by telling your side of the story.

4. They Really Don’t Want to Go to Court

A court trial is a huge expense and inconvenience for the insurance company. They really do not want to spend time and money preparing for a court case that they are likely to lose. But if they let you know that they know you will demand more money. The insurance adjuster might seem unfazed by the idea of going to court and even say that you can try your case in court if you don’t like their settlement offer. It’s a bluff. They know that if you bring in a personal injury attorney, they’ll likely have to pay more to settle the claim. Their hope is that acting like they don’t care will make you think your case is worthless.

5. They Take You More Seriously When You Have an Attorney

Why do insurance adjusters discourage accident victims from hiring an attorney? Research shows that victims who hire attorneys usually get a larger settlement than those who negotiate on their own. Insurance companies hope that they can talk you out of it and protect their bottom line. However, if you do hire an attorney, their usual negotiation tricks don’t work. They are much more likely to come to the negotiating table in good faith.

Explore Your Personal Claim Options with Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne

If you’ve suffered an injury because of someone else’s negligence, don’t wait any longer to discuss your case with a personal injury attorney. At Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne, we are committed to helping accident victims get the compensation they deserve. Call us at 251-937-7024 or reach out online to get started.

The most common big rig accidents

The sheer size of tractor-trailers increases the risk of vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists who share the road with them. However, several factors can contribute to the risk of a jackknifed truck, which frequently has devasting consequences in Alabama. If you sustained injuries in a collision with a big rig, proving liability is critical.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, Alabama’s laws governing truck weight and size exceed federal laws in several areas. Trailers can weigh up to 84,000 pounds on six-axle trucks. The trailers can also measure up to 57 feet, as long as they adhere to the required distance from the kingpin to the center of tandems. However, due to the large size, mishaps that occur may cause catastrophic injuries.

Rollovers

Semi-truck trailers are longer and taller than they are wide, making the center of gravity higher than most cars and trucks on the road. As a result, rollovers happen more frequently with big rigs than other vehicles. Cargo should have tiedowns, wedges, cradles or dunnage bags that help prevent it from shifting. When commercial trucks take curves or try to stop too quickly, improperly loaded cargo can shift, making the trailer prone to tipping.

Blindspot accidents

Factors such as the lack of a rear-view mirror and the truck’s length and height can cause it to have more numerous and more prominent blind spots than a passenger vehicle. Although the drastic height difference can help the driver see farther ahead than other drivers, he may not see cars beside him. If you cannot see the side mirrors on a big truck when behind it, the driver probably cannot see you.

If you believe a negligent truck driver contributed to your accident and severe injuries, it is critical that you gather the information necessary to determine the facts quickly.

Florida accident claims life of former Alabama football player

Car accident cases in Alabama can run the proverbial gamut from perceived minor fender-benders that most assume to result in only minor vehicle damage to massive multi-car collisions that leave several vehicles destroyed and countless people needing life-saving medical treatment. Yet the common thread amongst them all is the expense that accident victims must deal with.

The hope is that auto insurance will cover the entirety of one’s costs, yet that may not be the case. When insurance coverage is not sufficient, those suffering due to a car accident may have to seek legal action.

Former Crimson Tide walk-on killed in car accident

Oftentimes, however, knowing exactly how to seek such compensation can be difficult. The circumstances of many car accident cases may leave one with perceivably no one to assign liability to. The recent case of a former University of Alabama football player, Rowdy Harrell, serves to illustrate this point. The young man and his wife died in a collision in Florida while vacationing there on their honeymoon. Per Bama Central, the man lost control of his vehicle and drifted into oncoming traffic, striking a pickup truck approaching from the opposite direction.

Seeking compensation from an estate

One might look at a case like this and consider legal action to be a moot point given that there is one around to provide compensation (given that those responsible perished in the accidents they caused). Yet their passage does not change the fact that those impacted by their actions may still need financial assistance to help cover any medical bills and repair costs they must now deal with. In such a scenario, one can seek compensation from another’s estate. Earning such compensation, however, may not be easy. Thus, one may want to first seek the council of an experienced legal professional to discuss their options.

Why Are Adjuster Settlement Offers Not Fair?

Alabama is an ‘at-fault’ state when it comes to insurance claims related to motor vehicle collisions. This status means that negligence or fault has to be proven concerning the other driver. Such requirements mean that documentation is so essential immediately after an accident. Photos and videos can establish the circumstances of a collision. A police report will help to record both a driver’s statements and how a crash occurred. A medical report by the administering hospital staff will provide documentation of any injuries caused by the accident.

The consequences of an accident

The injuries incurred with a collision can have longstanding consequences on a person’s professional life and everyday activities. Severe injuries like traumatic brain injuries, neck injuries and broken bones can take years of rehabilitation to make gains in recovery. This treatment comes at a tremendous financial cost. An insurance adjuster working for the insurance of the person you deemed to be at fault will attempt to call your claims into doubt to fight your claim. This process can be a stressful time, only drawn out by the following complications:

Ongoing treatment: It can be challenging to determine the real cost of medical treatment if you are continuing that treatment. Your recovery’s specifics may not be apparent for some time and may be determined by how quickly you should progress or heal.

Unclear fault: In many scenarios, the other driver will have an alternate interpretation or even a false narrative around the collision that may be difficult to disprove. When it is difficult to determine fault, an adjuster is more likely to provide an inadequate settlement figure.

Finding a settlement you can live with

If you think another motorist caused the accident that injured you, you could be entitled to fair compensation via their insurance company. Explore all the options available to make sure your rehabilitation and lost wages are adequately covered.