Prove Driver Negligence in a Charlotte Car Accident Case
Aug 30, 2017 by Brown Moore Law
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Ridesharing is quickly becoming one of the quickest and easiest ways to travel. This is especially true for people who do not own a car, who cannot drive or cannot use public transportation. Since ridesharing services are much more affordable then taxis, their growth is understandable. However, the market is still in its growth state and there are still certain dynamics that need to be streamlined. Nevertheless, the logical concept of connecting drivers with personal vehicles who are able and willing to pick up passengers and drop them off at their destination of choice is a business model that is definitely showing promise. It is important to keep in mind that like any new product or service, which is in its initial growth phase, there are certain risks and challenges involved.
Ridesharing in North Carolina
The use of Uber services in Raleigh and other North Carolina cities is showing an upward trend. The areas which see the highest amount of Uber customers including Downtown Raleigh including the Hillsborough St. Fayetteville St., Downtown Chapel Hill, Downtown Durham, Raleigh-Durham Airport, PNC Area, Wallace Wade Stadium, Walnut Creek and Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Risks of Ridesharing with Uber
Reports indicate that Uber’s process for selecting drivers is quite negligent. Both Uber and Lyft do not conduct thorough background checks on their drivers nor do they meet these drivers in person before selecting them to represent Uber. There is no fingerprint check and no criminal check, therefore, the risk of incidents – be it driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving without insurance, driving while texting or otherwise occupied, harming passengers in any way are all possibilities when you can’t be certain of the profile of drivers that have been selected. In North Carolina itself, an Uber driver was arrested in Chapel Hill, and it was found that he faced multiple charges in other counties including assault with a deadly weapon. This is just one example of how things can sometimes not seem as they appear. In other cases in other regions of the country, Uber drivers have been known to run red lights and speeding. Several negligence lawsuits against such drivers have already been filed.
Since ridesharing services are rapidly growing, so is the risk of accidents and collisions. Uber claims that it is a safe way to travel for its passengers but taxi unions have already highlighted this issue that Uber’s driver checks are less thorough as compared with their own driver screening process. All that the company requires is a full name, date of birth, Social Security Number, Driver’s License number, insurance and vehicle documentation. However, Uber says that it does conduct background checks and that there is a process they follow that is designed to ensure the safety of its passengers. Whatever the case may be, there are concerns related to the driver selection process at Uber and other ridesharing platforms.
Driver Distraction and Uber App
There have also been claims that the app Uber drivers use to respond to potential customers results in driver distraction and can cause accidents. Some drivers have been known to drive without a license; some have hit pedestrians on crosswalk due to pure negligence. The entire Uber Car process has come under scrutiny recently because the use of Uber app multiplies the chances of driver distraction especially because most of these drivers are in a hurry to pick up passengers and are also keen to respond to requests coming through their Uber app. Distracted driving is prohibited under most state laws in the US, and North Carolina is no different. The very development and use of the Uber app fall under the category of a distraction.
In North Carolina, Uber does not require that the drivers get their car inspected. As long as the vehicle is registered in the state of North Carolina, it is understood that the car has been inspected by the state. Again, as far as North Carolina is concerned, Uber has a $1.5 million insurance policy that covers all incidents that could occur between the time a driver accepts a passenger and the time the passenger is dropped off at their destination. It also covers bodily injury to any person in the vehicle in case of a collision with another driver who does not have an insurance policy or is underinsured. However, this is where the Uber liability ends. If a driver becomes an independent contractor for a company like Uber or Lyft, they need to have an insurance policy which offers them full collision and comprehensive coverage. This should include coverage for any bodily injury or property damage. In the event of a collision, Uber will not take any responsibility, and the victims of a collision will have to seek compensation from the court of law. This is where other legal issues come up and determining who was at fault and who wasn’t; whether the victim was involved in any way and other related issues begin to be investigated.
Risk of Collisions and Traffic Congestion in NC areas
In North Carolina cities like Raleigh, motor collisions are a common occurrence. Most of these accidents are totally avoidable and are caused by drivers who are either distracted or drunk. Car accidents and collisions are one of the biggest safety issues in this region. Traffic congestion is another major problem. Drivers in Raleigh spend approximately 6% of their time stuck in traffic – nearly 18 hours spent in congestion. While Charlotte is the most congested city in the state of North Carolina, Raleigh is not far behind and is the third most congested city in the state. Traffic congestion is always a risk factor for road incidents and indicates the increasing number of cars and drivers on the road which in turn increases the probability of accidents and collisions. Add the additional number of ridesharing vehicles and the risk of collision increases further. If the Uber selection process is as negligent as some claim, there is always a chance that some Uber drivers on the road may be uninsured or underinsured, distracted or drunk.
In Case of a Ridesharing Collision
If you are a victim of an Uber-related collision, it is important for you to consult an attorney immediately. Ridesharing services may be showing rapid growth, but there are still legal aspects related to both the service providers and the customers that need to be understood. In many cases where Uber drivers have been involved in accidents, the company simply refuses to take any liability for its actions on the grounds that its drivers are independent contractors and that the company is not responsible for the accident, no matter how tragic. Uber has gone so far as to say that it only provides services and not products and thus cannot be held responsible for a driver’s actions. It is important to understand that even if your claim does not affect the ride-sharing company, it is your right to file charges against the driver in question. You can do so by citing driver negligence, failure to yield, distracted driving, vehicular manslaughter in case of fatalities and other related reasons. But this can only be achieved if you get the right legal representation through attorneys who have experience and skill in collision cases related to ridesharing services.
Since ridesharing is fairly new, most passengers are unaware of their rights. Some are so stressed out from the trauma of a collision that they fail to consider the legal aspect of their situation. If you are a victim of an accident involving a ride-sharing vehicle, call a lawyer immediately. Try to find someone who has significant experience in this area and are able to ensure that you are adequately compensated for any physical injuries, emotional trauma and loss of property. Remember, ridesharing is still a new market, and everybody is not aware of the laws surrounding the monitoring of the drivers, the rights of passengers and the liability of the company and each independent driver. Victims who suffer injuries – whether short-term or long-term have a right to be compensated for their losses – whether its loss of wages, loss of time, loss of property, medical bills, etc. Don’t think you’re alone and don’t think that you can’t fight a company like Uber. If Uber does not accept responsibility, there are lawyers who know the procedure and who are aware of what you can claim and how. Every state in the U.S. requires drivers to carry insurance. In addition, every state considers distracted driving or driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol an offense. Whether the accident was a tragic occurrence where the Uber driver was not at fault or whether the accident was due to negligence on the part of the driver, your lawyer will be in the best position to evaluate the evidence, file your claim and fight for your case in court. If you have been in a ridesharing collision, you should act fast and find a good attorney.