According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 36,000 people were killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2018. These statistics are more than just a number to family members with a loved one who was killed in a car accident.
Fatal car accidents can be caused by any number of reasons, including drunk drivers, texting and driving, speeding, or even vehicle defects. Whatever the reason, a fatal car accident can leave family members with financial hardship in addition to emotional loss. A wrongful death claim can allow family members to recover from the fatal accident and hold those responsible for the accident accountable for their actions.
If you had a family member who was killed in an accident involving Lyft or other rideshare company, talk to a lawyer about your rights. The attorneys at accidentdenver.com will investigate your case, deal with Lyft and the insurance company, and work to get you the maximum compensation after a fatal accident in Denver. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Fatal Traffic Accidents Involving Lyft Drivers
Lyft is operating all over Colorado, including Longmont, Lakewood, and Englewood. Most of these trips are completed without too many problems, aside from a wrong turn or two. However, as the use of Lyft and other rideshare companies grows, an increasing number of Lyft vehicles are involved in accidents. These accidents range from minor fender benders to fatal accidents.
In 2019, there were 293 people killed in car accidents in Colorado. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the number of people killed in car accidents for the following cities was as follows:
- Aurora: 31 traffic fatalities in 2019
- Broomfield: 5 traffic fatalities in 2019
- Colorado Springs: 40 traffic fatalities in 2019
- Commerce City: 12 traffic fatalities in 2019
- Denver: 61 traffic fatalities in 2019
- Fort Collins: 8 traffic fatalities in 2019
- Grand Junction: 5 traffic fatalities in 2019
- Lakewood: 24 traffic fatalities in 2019
- Longmont: 12 traffic fatalities in 2019
- Pueblo: 12 traffic fatalities in 2019
- Thornton: 15 traffic fatalities in 2019
- Westminster: 5 traffic fatalities in 2019
A car accident can be caused by a variety of reasons but rideshare accident causes can be different. There are some inherent risks of rideshares, like Lyft, that may increase the risk of an accident. Common causes of Lyft accidents may include:
- Traffic violations,
- Drowsy driving,
- Distracted driving,
- Texting and driving,
- Driving while using the Lyft app,
- Mapping while driving, and
- Driver inexperience.
Lyft Drivers Fatally Injured in Accidents
In some accidents, the Lyft driver was the victim of another negligent or reckless driver. The Lyft driver may have also been the victim of a vehicle defect, such as a defective tire, brakes, or airbag. A Lyft driver who was involved in an accident may be covered under their private insurance or Lyft insurance, depending on when the accident occurred.
If the driver was not active on the app, their private insurance may apply. If the Lyft driver was logged into the app, waiting on a fare but had not yet accepted a passenger, the driver may be covered in the following amounts:
- $50,000 for bodily injury per person;
- $100,000 for bodily injury per accident (for all persons injured);
- $25,000 for property damage per accident.
If the driver had a passenger or was on the way to get a Lyft passenger, Lyft's primary insurance applies in the amount of one million dollars ($1,000,000) per accident.
The family members of a Lyft driver who was killed in an accident should can a rideshare accident attorney to help them deal with Lyft and the insurance company after an accident. As
Lyft claims that drivers are supposed to do everything they need on the app when drivers are safely pulled over to the side of the road. However, anyone who has taken a Lyft knows that it is common to see drivers continue to use the rideshare app, map apps, or music apps, while in traffic.
Fatal Accident With a Lyft Driver
When a family learns that a loved one was involved in a fatal accident with a Lyft driver, they may not be sure what caused the accident. The police investigating an accident report may have taken the Lyft driver's version of the story at face value. However, given the constant distractions, many Lyft drivers engage in while driving, you should talk to a rideshare accident lawyer to look into the accident and find out if the Lyft driver was at fault.
The victim's family may get the runaround from Lyft, the Lyft driver, or the insurance company when trying to find out the cause of the accident and how to get compensation. The simplest way to deal with a fatal Lyft accident is to contact an experienced Denver auto accident attorney. Your attorney will also advise you of your rights and options in filing a claim against Lyft.
Lyft Passengers Fatally Injured in Accidents
When a fatal accident kills a Lyft passenger, the family may have a number of questions, including whether Lyft is responsible for the accident. If the family member was involved in an accident as a Lyft passenger, they may be covered by the Lyft insurance policy. Under Colorado law, the Lyft policy protects passengers as a result of a Lyft vehicle accident up to $1,000,000 for the entire accident.
Fatal Accidents Caused by Lyft Drivers
A Lyft driver can also fatally strike others in an accident, including:
- Cyclists, and
These accidents can involve a Lyft driver who was not paying attention at the time, not watching for others, failing to yield, not checking their mirrors when changing lanes or turning, or driving while distracted.
If you suspect the Lyft driver may have been distracted, your Denver accident attorney may be able to investigate the driver's phone records to determine what the driver was doing at the time of the accident and use this information in support of your case.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Colorado
A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of personal injury lawsuit where the injury victim is not alive to file a claim on their own behalf. Prior to wrongful death claims, an injury victim could make the party responsible for the accident pay for the damages but if the victim died, there was no recourse. Now, a wrongful death lawsuit allows certain family members to file a lawsuit on behalf of their loved one to recover damages.
Only certain beneficiaries or family members are able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In the first year after the victim's death, the following can file a wrongful death lawsuit as the plaintiff:
- Spouse of the deceased,
- Heirs of the deceased (upon the written election of the spouse),
- Heirs of the deceased (if there is no surviving spouse), or
- A designated beneficiary, if there is one (where there is no surviving spouse).
In the second year after the victim's death, the following can file a wrongful death lawsuit as the plaintiff:
- Spouse of the deceased,
- Heirs of the deceased, or
- A designated beneficiary, if there is one.
If the accident victim is an unmarried adult without descendants or a beneficiary, or if the deceased is a minor without descendants, the parents of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim.
Time Limit to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Colorado
The time limit to file a lawsuit is known as the statute of limitations. Under Colorado Revised Statutes § 13-80-101, the statute of limitations for personal injury accidents involving a motor vehicle is 3 years. However, family members in a wrongful death lawsuit generally only have 2 years from the date of death to file a claim.
For example, Anthony is walking across the street at an intersection in Aurora on June 4, 2019. Anthony is hit by a Lyft driver who is looking down at the Lyft app at the time of the accident. Anthony is hospitalized but later dies due to the injuries on June 6, 2019. Anthony's family members want to file a lawsuit against the Lyft driver. In this case, the family would generally have until June 5, 2021, to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver, Lyft, and any other parties.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Damages are the losses associated with an accident. When filing a personal injury lawsuit, the injury victim can ask for a financial award to compensate them for their losses, including compensatory damages, and in some cases, punitive damages. The damages in a wrongful death lawsuit are different than in a personal injury claim. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the family members are requesting losses to the family caused by the death of the accident victim.
Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can include both economic and noneconomic damages, including:
- Medical bills from when the accident victim was alive,
- Property damage,
- Funeral expenses,
- Burial costs,
- Loss of the decedent's services,
- Loss of the decedent's income,
- Loss of companionship,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Loss of the benefits.
Denver Lyft Driver Accident Lawyers
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com have successfully represented families throughout Colorado with a loved one fatally injured in a Lyft accident. Our experienced attorneys understand how the insurance and rideshare companies operate and will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your family. Contact us today for a free consultation.