Can Passengers File a Lawsuit for Accidents Caused by a Rideshare Driver’s Road Rage?

Can Passengers File a Lawsuit for Accidents Caused by a Rideshare Driver's Road Rage?

Road rage, a dangerous and alarming behavior, can transform any journey into a nightmare. When this aggressive conduct comes from a rideshare driver, it endangers not only the driver but also the lives of passengers and other road users. If you or a loved one were a passenger in an Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare vehicle involved in an accident due to the driver’s road rage, you’re likely wondering if you can file a lawsuit. The short answer is yes, but it’s crucial to understand the legal complexities involved. This article aims to guide you through the steps you should take if you’re involved in a rideshare accident due to road rage.

What Is Road Rage?

Road rage is aggressive and violent behavior by a driver, often fueled by frustration, anger, or stress. Common forms of road rage include:

  • Tailgating other vehicles
  • Excessive speeding
  • Yelling or honking aggressively
  • Making rude or obscene gestures
  • Cutting off other vehicles
  • Deliberately blocking other vehicles
  • Physically assaulting another driver

A rideshare driver exhibiting these behaviors significantly increases the risk of an accident, endangering their passengers and others. In New Jersey, road rage is considered reckless driving and can lead to severe penalties and liability issues.

Can You Sue a Rideshare Driver for Road Rage? Understanding Your Legal Grounds

In New Jersey, passengers have the right to file a lawsuit against a rideshare driver if they were injured due to the driver’s road rage. The basis for such a lawsuit usually involves negligence or recklessness.

Negligence and Recklessness

In road rage cases, these are the four key elements of negligence or recklessness:

  • Duty of Care: Drivers have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of their passengers and other road users.
  • Breach of Duty: Road rage constitutes a breach of the duty of care because the driver is acting aggressively, unpredictably, and recklessly.
  • Causation: The injured party must prove that the breach directly caused the accident and resulting injuries.
  • Damages: Injuries like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering must be documented.

Holding Rideshare Companies Accountable: Vicarious Liability

Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft often try to distance themselves from their drivers by classifying them as independent contractors. However, they can still be held liable for their drivers’ actions under certain circumstances. In New Jersey, rideshare companies are required to provide commercial insurance coverage for their drivers while they are on duty.

Insurance Coverage Requirements for Rideshare Accidents

Both Uber and Lyft offer insurance policies that provide coverage for accidents involving their drivers. The coverage varies based on the driver’s status at the time of the accident:

Period 1: Driver Is Online but Hasn’t Accepted a Ride Request

  • Bodily Injury: $50,000 per person
  • Bodily Injury: $100,000 per accident
  • Property Damage: $25,000 per accident
  • Contingent Comprehensive and Collision: Up to the actual cash value of the car, with a $2,500 deductible (if the driver has their own comprehensive and collision coverage).

Period 2: Driver Has Accepted a Ride Request and Is En Route to Pick Up a Passenger

  • Liability Coverage: $1.5 million
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: $1.5 million
  • Contingent Comprehensive and Collision: $2,500 deductible

Period 3: Passenger Is in the Vehicle

  • Liability Coverage: $1.5 million
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: $1.5 million
  • Contingent Comprehensive and Collision: $2,500 deductible

If the rideshare driver was actively transporting a passenger (Period 3) or was en route to pick one up (Period 2) at the time of the accident, the $1.5 million liability coverage generally applies to compensate injured passengers or third parties.

Transportation Network Company Safety and Regulatory Act

The Transportation Network Company Safety and Regulatory Act governs rideshare services in New Jersey, ensuring that drivers meet specific insurance requirements. This act mandates that drivers working for Uber, Lyft, or similar services carry comprehensive insurance coverage during their various driving periods. As a result, passengers injured due to a rideshare driver’s road rage are protected by these insurance policies.

What to Do After a Rideshare Accident: Steps to Protect Your Rights

If you’ve been injured as a passenger in a rideshare accident due to the driver’s road rage, follow these steps to protect your rights and maximize your potential compensation:

Prioritize Your Health: Seek Medical Attention

  • Immediate Evaluation: Visit a doctor or an emergency room right away, even if you don’t feel pain initially, as some injuries may not show symptoms immediately.
  • Follow-Up Care: Attend all follow-up appointments and adhere to your doctor’s recommendations for treatment.

Report the Incident Promptly

  • Report to Uber or Lyft: Use the app or their customer service to file a report directly with the rideshare company. Be sure to provide accurate details of the accident.
  • File a Police Report: Contact local law enforcement to obtain an official police report. Ensure the report contains accurate information, as it will serve as valuable evidence to support your claim.

Gather Evidence: Document the Accident Scene

  • Photos and Videos: Take photos and videos of the accident scene, vehicle damages, and any visible injuries.
  • Witness Information: Collect contact information from witnesses and other involved parties.
  • Driver Information: Record the rideshare driver’s details, including name, insurance, and vehicle information.

Maintain Comprehensive Records

  • Medical Bills and Reports: Retain copies of all medical bills, treatment reports, and prescriptions. 
  • Repair Estimates: Keep repair estimates and receipts for any property damage.
  • Communication with Rideshare Company: Save all correspondence with Uber or Lyft customer support.
  • Lost Wages Documentation: Record any missed workdays and calculate lost wages accurately.

Consult a Qualified Rideshare Accident Attorney

  • Legal Consultation: Reach out to an experienced New Jersey rideshare accident attorney at CourtLaw Injury Lawyers for a case evaluation.
  • Legal Guidance: Let them guide you through the legal process, ensuring your rights are protected and maximizing your potential compensation.

By following these steps diligently, you’ll be better positioned to build a strong case and secure fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

Contact CourtLaw Injury Lawyers Today for a Free Consultation

At CourtLaw Injury Lawyers, our experienced New Jersey rideshare accident attorneys are dedicated to helping you secure the compensation you deserve after a rideshare accident caused by road rage. With a thorough understanding of New Jersey laws and rideshare company policies, we provide personalized legal guidance and relentless representation to protect your rights.

Reach out today for a free consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Together, we can hold the responsible parties accountable and help you rebuild after your injuries.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please consult with an attorney to obtain advice specific to your case.

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