Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft can be convenient in getting around Denver. They allow users to go out for a few drinks without the dangers of drunk driving and users can also avoid the hassles of parking and traffic.
Unfortunately, using rideshares does not come without risks. Ridesharing drivers can be just as careless as other drivers and may even be more distracted than regular drivers. According to a study from the University of Chicago, “the arrival of ridesharing is associated with an increase of 2-3% in the number of motor vehicle fatalities and fatal accidents.”
Common Causes of Ridesharing Accidents in Colorado
Car accidents, including ridesharing accidents, can involve multiple causes. Car accidents can be caused by dangerous road conditions or vehicle defects but most accidents are caused by human error. Some of the common causes of ridesharing accidents in the Denver area include:
- Deadheading & Ridesharing Accidents
- Inherent Risks of Colorado Rideshare Drivers
- Distracted Driving & Ridesharing Accidents in Colorado
- Inexperienced Ridesharing Drivers & Accidents in Colorado
- Drowsy Driving & Ridesharing Accidents in Colorado
- Traffic Violations & Ridesharing Accidents in Colorado
- Speeding & Ridesharing Accidents in Colorado
- Violence & Ridesharing Accidents in Colorado
Deadheading and Accidents
Deadheading refers to the time when Uber and Lyft drivers are driving around without a passenger or en route to a pick-up. This accounts for a lot of the ridesharing drivers' time on the road. An article in the Denver Post reported the amount of deadheading time was at least 40% of the time Lyft and Uber drivers were active on the app.
Inherent Risks of Ridesharing Accidents in Denver
While the ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber like to talk about how safe they are, the very nature of ridesharing can introduce additional risk factors for accidents and injuries. The inherent risks include distracted driving, spending so much downtime on the road, and drowsy driving. Ridesharing accidents can injure more than just the driver and accidents may involve:
Distracted Driving and Accidents
When driving, rideshare drivers are often distracted by using the app, following the maps, driving in unfamiliar areas, or talking to the riders. Any distraction can take the driver's attention away from safe driving and multiple distractions can make driving even more dangerous.
Inexperienced Ridesharing Drivers
Most ridesharing drivers are not professional drivers. Taxi drivers and commercial drivers spend a lot of time behind the wheel and may undergo specific training. However, the “training” required for Lyft and Uber drivers is very limited and is mostly restricted to tips, tricks, and rules the driver must follow and how to use the app. Many people see the inexperience of these drivers when they are cruising around Denver, stopping in the middle of the road or violating traffic laws when distracted by their phones.
Drowsy for Ridesharing Drivers
Rideshare drivers often work with Lyft or Uber as a side hustle. Being a rideshare driver is a way to earn extra money in addition to another full or part-time job, going to school, or parenting. Drivers may also do a lot of driving late at night or in the early morning hours when riders are coming home from bars or leaving for an early morning flight.
These factors can leave rideshare drivers feeling drowsy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowsy driving is a major problem and is estimated to be responsible for up to 6,000 fatal crashes each year. Drowsy driving may be a factor in many ridesharing accidents.
Traffic Violations and Accidents in Colorado
Drivers who sign up for Lyft and Uber do not need to pass any traffic law test. Having a drivers' license is enough to let a driver use the app to drive other people around. Many drivers may not even know the traffic laws of Colorado, especially if they moved from out-of-state. When a driver violates traffic laws, they may be putting themselves, their passengers, and others in danger of an accident. Some common ridesharing driver traffic violations include:
- Illegal parking,
- Stopping in the road,
- Wrong-way driving,
- Failing to yield to pedestrians,
- Failing to follow traffic signals,
- Lane violation, and
- Failure to yield the right of way.
Speeding and Ridesharing Accidents
Speeding may increase the risk of a ridesharing accident but speeding also increases the damage in an accident. Ridesharing drivers may be speeding because they are not paying attention to their speed, they do not know the speed limit, or because they are in a hurry to get as many rides as possible during surge pricing. Passengers often report drivers for speeding but this information is only collected by the companies and is not reported to the police.
Violence with Ridesharing Drivers
Unfortunately, there are too many incidents involving violence or assaults with rideshare drivers. Drivers can get into an argument with a passenger, other drivers, or a person on the street. Many of these rideshare drivers are stressed or tired, which may make them more sensitive and prone to lash out. The ridesharing companies may try and avoid any responsibility for violence caused by their drivers. Talk to your ridesharing accident lawyer about your rights after an assault to understand who should be liable for your damages.
What to Do After a Ridesharing Accident in Colorado
Colorado laws require Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) to have a certain amount of liability insurance. The amount of insurance and which party's insurance applies depends on the ridesharing driver's status at the time of the accident.
When a driver is not active on the app, their personal insurance applies. Between making the app active and before picking up a rider, contingent coverage applies and Uber or Lyft must provide a minimum of:
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death to any one person in an accident; and
- $100,000 for bodily injury or death to all persons in any one accident
When the driver accepts a ride request, is on the way to pick up the passenger, or has the passenger in the vehicle, the insurance coverage is up to $1 million.
A driver, passenger, or bystanders generally has three years from the date of the accident to file a claim against Uber or Lyft. However, the statute of limitations for a car accident may be longer or shorter in certain circumstances. You should contact your Denver accident attorney as soon as possible after a crash to make sure your claim is filed on time.
Ridesharing Accident Injury Lawyers
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com have successfully represented their clients and families in Denver who were involved in a car accident with Lyft and Uber drivers to get compensation for their losses. Our attorneys understand how the ridesharing and insurance companies operate and will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.