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Seeking compensation for a ride service crash

Ride services such as Lyft or Uber offer new transportation options for tourists and other passengers in Nevada. However, commercial vehicle accidents involving ride-sharing services pose additional legal obstacles for passengers and others seeking compensation for injuries and other losses.

It is unlikely that a lawsuit can be filed directly against the ride-sharing company except where these companies engaged in reckless behavior such as hiring a sex offender or a known impaired driver. Their drivers are considered independent contractors instead of company employees.

These companies may fight liability for accidents involving these drivers. This occurred in a San Francisco case involving a six-year old who died after being struck by a ride-share driver in 2014. Most likely, ride-share drivers are unable to afford the medical bills or other compensation for accident victims.

Passengers who are involved in these accidents should call 911 and photograph the vehicles and ride-share service receipt. Obtaining the names, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of any witnesses is also recommended. The name of the ride-share driver should be written down if is not contained in the victim's phone.

Lyft and Uber each have a $1 million liability insurance policy covering accidents taking place during the victim's trip where the ride-sharing driver is responsible for the crash. Any lawsuit should be filed and served upon the driver who is fault. Plaintiffs should immediately send the driver a letter notifying them to keep all data concerning the ride. Copies of legal documents should also be served upon James River Insurance, the company which provides this liability coverage.

If another driver is responsible for the accident, their insurance policy is primarily responsible. For any compensation exceeding the scope of this coverage, Uber and Lyft each have $1 million policies for underinsured drivers.

Legal action is more difficult for victims who are not passengers or where the driver is off-duty. If the driver is off-duty and driving their vehicle for personal reasons, the claim must be made upon the driver's own insurance policy. The claim must also be made against that policy if the driver is on duty but is not carrying a passenger in their vehicle. When a passenger is being transported and a pedestrian is injured, however, Uber's insurance applies.

An experienced personal injury attorney can help seek compensation from liable or responsible parties. Lawyers may assure that injured victims can pursue their rights.

Source: Money Magazine, "My Uber got into a wreck. Can I sue?" By Alicia Adamczyk, July 14, 2017

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