Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

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Accidents Involving Rideshare Vehicles

Posted Friday, July 21, 2017 by Chris Thayer

Uber and Lyft have changed the way that people travel from place to place, especially in cities like Seattle that do not offer expansive public transit options. Now, instead of trying to flag down a taxi or predict the bus schedule, you can quickly request a ride using a smartphone app.

With this improved technology and transportation efficiency comes new legal questions. For example, if you are injured in a car accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, who can you sue for damages?

Uber Accident Fatality in Seattle

A 35-year-old man was killed by an Uber driver in March of 2017. The accident happened when the 60-year-old Uber driver struck the victim’s Honda Accord on Holman Road Northwest, causing the car to slide sideways into a tree on a planter strip. The impact sliced the car in half and trapped the man inside. While firefighters were able to get him out of the car, he later died at the hospital.

Meanwhile, the Uber driver (who was driving an SUV) then crashed into a gas pump at a service station, causing a small explosion and a fire. A female passenger in the SUV was hospitalized with minor injuries while the driver remained unhurt. Under a two-year-old state law, both she and the family of the victim should be able to recover damages from the Uber driver’s insurance company.

State, City Laws Involving Rideshare Drivers

Washington state did not regulate rideshare car insurance until 2015. Without these regulations it would be difficult for rideshare passengers to recover damages for their injuries in some cases. Now, there are statewide mandatory minimum commercial insurance limits for all ridesharing vehicles in Washington. These regulations are distinct from other public transportation services that are already regulated under state law.

Insurance coverage begins as soon as the rideshare driver logs in and is waiting for a fare request. This means the insurance will cover an accident that happens with or without a rideshare passenger in the vehicle. Here are a few other things you should know about this law:

Additionally, Seattle was the first city in the country to pass a law allowing Uber, Lyft, and taxi drivers to unionize and collectively bargain for like pay, working conditions and other benefits. But a federal judge temporarily blocked the measure after two lawsuits were filed challenging its implementation.

Contact Us Today

Contact one of our personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation if you have been injured in a car accident caused by an Uber or Lyft driver. Our experienced attorneys can help you receive the compensation that you deserve, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.