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Car AccidentRoadway DefectsRideshare Accident Claims Involving Potholes and Roadway Defects

December 19, 20230

Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have become increasingly popular over the past decade, providing convenient transportation options in cities across the country. However, rideshare drivers face unique risks and hazards on the road that can lead to accidents, including potholes, cracked pavement, missing manhole covers, and other roadway defects. When a rideshare driver or passenger is injured in an accident caused by poor road conditions, they may have a viable injury claim against the rideshare company or the government entity responsible for road maintenance.

Common Causes of Rideshare Accident Claims

Rideshare drivers spend many hours on the road transporting passengers to their destinations. All that time behind the wheel means more exposure to potentially dangerous road defects like large potholes, sinkholes, deteriorating pavement, debris, and more. If a rideshare vehicle hits these road hazards at speed, it can cause the driver to lose control and collide with another vehicle, a stationary object, a pedestrian, or even overturn. Common rideshare accident claims involving road defects include:

  • Striking uneven pavement such as potholes, causing loss of vehicle control
  • Damaged tires, wheels, or axles from hitting unrepaired potholes
  • Collision with another vehicle after swerving to avoid a roadway hazard
  • Losing control when road debris punctures a tire at high speeds
  • Injuries to drivers and passengers caused by rapid evasive maneuvers

Injuries Caused by Potholes and Road Debris

Rideshare passengers involved in an accident because the car they were traveling in hit a pothole or road debris may sustain a variety of injuries. Passengers may lose balance from the jolt and impact parts of the car like the dashboard, windshield, or other interior surfaces with force. Whiplash or neck injuries are also common from the sudden jerk of unexpected movement. In extreme cases, car accidents could occur from skidding or swerving off the road if the driver loses control of the steering. Passengers risk injuries to the spine, limbs or head in such collision incidents.

Government Liability for Road Defects

Under the legal principle of “sovereign immunity,” government entities typically enjoy broad protection from lawsuits and liability. However, an exception exists when a government agency acts negligently in maintaining public roadways and infrastructure. If a municipal department of transportation or similar agency fails to properly inspect roads, repair defects, install signage warning of hazards, and keep road conditions safe, accident victims can potentially file a lawsuit and claim against the government.

To prove the government liable, the victim must show that the hazardous road condition which caused the accident was a foreseeable risk, that the government knew or should have known of the dangerous condition yet failed to correct it, and that this failure resulted directly in the accident and injuries suffered. Government claims adjusters thoroughly investigate such lawsuits, so victims need ample evidence of negligent road maintenance and a causal link to the crash.

Special Considerations for Rideshare Drivers

Rideshare drivers classified as independent contractors also face limitations when pursuing injury claims. Since they are not employees of Uber, Lyft, or other Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), they are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, TNCs do carry insurance policies providing contingency coverage for driver injuries caused by uninsured or underinsured motorists. Like with government entities, the burden of proof rests upon the injured rideshare driver to substantiate that the crash resulted from the negligent acts of other motorists or agencies responsible for safer roads.

An experienced personal injury attorney can best evaluate rideshare accident claims involving unsafe road conditions. Victims should consult a lawyer as soon as possible after their crash to preserve their right to file a claim before strict statutes of limitations expire. By gathering police reports, medical records, vehicle repair invoices, smartphone data, witness statements, and other documentation, attorneys build a compelling argument regarding legal fault and damages owed their injured clients.

Rideshare continues gaining popularity across the U.S. as an affordable and convenient transportation option. However, TNC drivers assume serious risks each time they get behind the wheel. Drivers must remain especially cautious for road hazards which could cause an accident. If a rideshare driver or passenger gets injured in a crash caused by poor road conditions, consulting an attorney about potential injury claims against government agencies or other responsible parties is strongly advised. Mounting a successful case takes in-depth legal knowledge and skill which an experienced lawyer provides.

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