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Ridesharing Accidents

For the longest time people had to rely solely on taxi cab services for ridesharing. Now ridesharing is much more accessible thanks to companies like Uber and LYFT. Ridesharing is now a popular way to navigate the city, especially if it’s for a night out. However, it can get a little tricky if you’re involved in an accident with a ridesharing vehicle. 

Liability can be confusing when you’re not sure who is to blame. The state of Iowa requires ridesharing companies to provide insurance of at least one million dollars in case of an accident. Unfortunately, insurance carriers and ridesharing companies will do whatever they can to minimize payouts.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a ridesharing accident, it’s important you seek an experienced personal injury attorney.

Attorney for Ridesharing Accidents in Polk County, IA

Have you been injured in an accident involving a ridesharing company? Are you having a hard time with insurance carriers or finding who’s at fault? If so, it’s imperative you contact the attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. Our attorneys can evaluate your case to see if you’re eligible for compensation. 

Call us now at (515) 279-9700 to set up a free case consultation. The attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. can assess the facts of the accident to chart out your next step. We want to help you recover through our quality legal service. You can find our offices in West Des Moines, but we practice throughout Dallas County and Polk County. Some communities we practice in include Perry, Ankeny, Pleasant Hill and Dexter. 

Overview of Ridesharing Accidents in Iowa

Is Uber or Lyft At Fault in a Ridesharing Accident?

Ridesharing companies offer coverage, but it’s limited to when this insurance can be used. Drivers for ridesharing companies are technically independent contractors, meaning they’re not employees. Therefore, companies like Uber and LYFT aren’t required to provide coverage to these contractors at all times.

This doesn’t mean ridesharing companies provide no insurance coverage at all. Ridesharing companies are required to provide up to $1 million in liability coverage. However, this insurance only applies to ridesharing drivers who have their app open and are about to accept a trip. If the app is turned off, then only the driver’s personal insurance policy can be utilized. 

This can mean trouble if you have extensive injuries. The minimum car insurance requirements in Iowa are $50,000 for bodily injury for one person, $100,000 for bodily injury of two or more people and $25,000 for destruction of property. If the cost of the accident is over these minimum rates, then you’re out of options.

It can be difficult to determine fault in a ridesharing accident. The ridesharing companies will do whatever they can to avoid immense settlement deals. You could also face issues with the driver if they refuse to claim fault. Because of this, it’s recommended you seek the help of a skilled personal injury attorney.

Your attorney can address the facts of the case to see who’s at fault. They can also subpoena documents and other relevant information to present as evidence to the court. If they’re able to prove the app was on and a rideshare was in progress, you’re entitled to part of the $1 million insurance coverage promised by Uber and LYFT.

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Damages in a Ridesharing Accident

When filing a claim, you are seeking compensation for the damages you’ve experienced since the accident. Damages are simply any losses you suffered because of your injuries. These can range from economic costs such as medical bills to emotional strife such as pain and suffering.

If you win your case, then the court will order a monetary settlement to help you “recover” from your damages.  Damages you may be compensated for include: 

  • Medical costs;
  • Rehabilitative costs;
  • Loss of wages;
  • Loss of future earnings;
  • Emotional pain and suffering;
  • Loss of enjoyment for life; and
  • Loss of consortium 

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Iowa Laws for Ridesharing Drivers

Ridesharing has recently become an everyday occurrence, so accidents are becoming more common. In an attempt to regulate this, Governor Terry E. Branstad passed HF 2414 on May 9, 2016. The bill introduced new regulations for both ridesharing companies and their drivers. 

Listed below are the regulations set forth by the now passed bill HF 2414. 

  • Permits Required – All transportation network companies (TNC) like Uber and LYFT must provide the state with a permit. The company must also pay a fee of $5,000 to receive a permit. Rideshare drivers are also required to have a valid driver’s license. 
  • Driver Requirements and Background Checks – The law requires all ridesharing drivers to undergo a local and national background check by a third party. Iowa doesn’t allow people with restricted driving privileges such as a suspended or revoked license to be a rideshare driver. People with three moving violations in a three-year period are also barred from being Uber or LYFT drivers. There are other exclusions for drivers such as registered sex offenders or people under the age of 19 which are listed in the Iowa Code § 321N.1
  • Liability Coverage – TNCs such as Uber or LYFT are required to maintain primary automobile insurance for their drivers. The law now states rideshare drivers must be covered by TNC insurance while they are logged into their digital network (the app) during a prearranged ride. It also required rideshare drivers to have the minimum insurance rates of $50,000 for bodily injury of one person, $100,000 for bodily injury of two people and $25,000 for property destruction. This insurance is put into place if the driver is not tapped into the Uber or LYFT app. 

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Additional Resources

House File 2414 – Visit the official website for Iowa Legislature to gain access to HF 2414, the bill about ridesharing which was passed into state law. Access the document to find more information about ridesharing insurance requirements, people excluded from becoming rideshare drivers and other regulations

Iowa Rideshare – Visit the official website for Iowa Rideshare, the official statewide ridematching system. Access the site to find viable commute options which include carpool partners, vanpool routes, cycling buddies and more.

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Lawyer for Ridesharing Accidents in West Des Moines, Iowa

If you or someone you know has been involved in a ridesharing accident, it’s crucial you contact a skilled personal injury attorney. Finding fault in a ridesharing accident can be difficult. Not only this, but ridesharing companies will do whatever it takes not to provide the maximum coverage.

Do what’s best for you and call McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. at (515) 279-9700. We represent people injured in rideshare accidents throughout the Polk County area including Pleasant Hill, Ankeny, Elkhart and West Des Moines.