If your loved one was in a rideshare accident and did not survive, you might be wondering, Can I sue Uber or Lyft for wrongful death? The answer is yes, you can most likely file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, who you can ultimately sue or name as a defendant will depend on several different factors and circumstances. However, typically, you cannot sue Uber or Lyft companies themselves.
While employers can generally be held vicariously liable for their employee’s negligence, Uber and Lyft drivers are not employees. They are independent contractors. This means Uber or Lyft cannot be sued in most cases. But while you might not be able to sue the companies directly, you still have legal recourse. Our wrongful death attorney can help you identify the proper defendants and seek the compensation you deserve.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action filed by one of the decedent’s surviving family members or estate to seek compensation for the loss of their loved one. Your lawyer will look at the facts and circumstances of the case. If the facts would have supported a personal injury claim had your loved one survived, then you can likely file a wrongful death action.
Primary Factors to Determine Liability
There are many factors to consider when determining if Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare company can be held liable for the accident and death. You will want to consider, among other things, the following:
- Was your loved one a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle?
- Were they in another vehicle involved in the Uber or Lyft accident?
- Was the Uber or Lyft driver working and logged into the app when the accident occurred?
- Were they a pedestrian hit by an Uber or a Lyft vehicle?
- Could more than one driver be at fault?
- What are the driver’s insurance policy limits?
When you meet with one of our seasoned wrongful death lawyers, we can help you answer these questions and assess other factors relevant to determining liability.
In New Jersey, if an Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare driver gets into an accident, the applicable insurance coverage will depend on the situation. Generally, three different scenarios apply.
Not Logged In
If the driver isn’t actively logged into the app and waiting to pick up a ride at the time of the accident, only the driver’s insurance is available to compensate victims. In New Jersey, drivers must only carry a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury coverage.
Logged in, but No Passenger
If the driver is logged in and seeking passengers, the rideshare insurance must cover up to $50,000 worth of compensation for death, injury, or property damage.
Accepted a Passenger or Has a Passenger
If the driver has accepted a ride and injures someone on the way to pick up the passenger, or if they injure someone once the passenger is in the vehicle—then the insurance must cover $1.5 million for death, bodily harm, or property damage.
As you can see, there is a vast difference between $25,000 and up to $1.5 million. It is crucial to seek guidance from an experienced attorney when pursuing a wrongful death claim so you don’t end up walking away for $25,000 when your losses were far greater and more was legally available.
Rideshare companies often deny claims or offer a meager, unfair settlement to prevent you from filing a lawsuit. It’s imperative to speak with an attorney before accepting a payment.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death, New Jersey
In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for wrongful death is generally two years from your loved one’s death date. In other words, you must initiate your lawsuit within two years; otherwise, you may be forever barred from recovery. However, some exceptions can extend or shorten the deadline for bringing your claim. A wrongful death lawyer can assist you in determining the applicable statute of limitations.
Wrongful Death Damages
While no amount of money will bring your loved one back, if you are successful, you can seek financial compensation for your loss. Common wrongful death damages you can seek include economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include:
- Your loved one’s medical expenses before they died,
- Their lost wages from the time of their accident to the date of their death,
- Funeral and burial expenses,
- Lost anticipated inheritance,
- Lost value of household services, and
- Lost value of childcare.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering,
- Mental and emotional distress,
- Loss of consortium and companionship, and
- Loss of parental guidance.
The type and amount of damages you may be entitled to will depend on the case’s unique circumstances.
Wrongful Death Attorney
At Glugeth & Pierguidi, P.C., we have recovered over $100 million for our clients in New York and New Jersey. We fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve while delivering compassionate representation. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.