There is a lot to think about when you are traveling. You are likely worried about flight delays, getting to the airport on time, keeping track of your personal belongings, making sure your checked bags arrive at your destination, and downing your drink before security screening, amongst so many other things. The last thing you need to deal with is a vehicle accident.
Airport car accidents are particularly inconvenient, especially if they prevent you from making your flight or dropping off a traveler. If you were hit by a rideshare vehicle, receiving the financial relief you deserve can be complicated. Rideshare accidents at airport drop-off zones can be serious, even at lower speeds. Understanding your rights and who should be held liable—the rideshare vehicle driver, the rideshare app company, or someone else, is important. This determination can significantly impact the recovery you should expect to receive for your injuries.
New Jersey Airports
New Jersey only has three FAA-classified airports offering commercial flights. Newark Liberty International Airport and Atlantic City International Airport are the two most popular New Jersey airports and the only ones with significant passenger numbers. The third is Trenton Mercer Airport.
The Newark airport is ranked the 13th busiest in the U.S., with 21.6 million passengers annually, and is an often-used alternative to New York City airports. Atlantic City airport, on the other hand, serves travelers going to the Atlantic coast in New Jersey. With so many people in one place and in a hurry, accidents are bound to happen.
Who Is Liable in Airport Uber or Lyft Accidents?
New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state, meaning that your insurance will help pay part of the accident expenses regardless of who caused the accident. All New Jersey drivers are required to carry personal injury protection insurance (PIP), but rideshare drivers have additional requirements and must have a Ride Share Endorsement in addition to their PIP, which includes $1.5 million of liability coverage and 1.5 million uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If a rideshare driver is at fault for the accident but does not have this required coverage, or the driver’s insurance refuses to pay for your injuries for any other reason, you may have to seek compensation from the insurance policy held by the rideshare company. This may also be the best option if the cost of your injuries exceeds the insurance policy coverage limits.
It is important to understand whether the rideshare driver was working when the accident occurred. This means that, at minimum, they were logged in on the rideshare app and waiting to accept a ride. The full $1 million insurance policy held by the rideshare company may apply to Lyft or Uber accidents if the driver was on their way to pick up a passenger or had a passenger in the vehicle. Proving the engaged status of the driver on the app will be an important element for determining financial liability.
In some cases, a third party may be liable for the accident if their actions contributed to its cause. Some examples include defective vehicle parts like brakes or power steering, which could be the fault of the manufacturer. Poorly maintained drop-off zones with broken barriers or malfunctioning traffic indicators could be the fault of the airport itself.
How Do Airport Car Accidents Occur?
Some accidents occur when airports become congested and vehicles need more room to make it from the drop-off area to the airport exit. Rideshare drivers are paid per ride, so sitting and waiting is not a good use of their time, though neither is driving around waiting for a passenger to request a ride. Uber now has a re-match feature that pairs drivers dropping a passenger off with a passenger who must be picked up from that airport. Uber does warn drivers that waiting in the drop-off area is illegal while waiting to be re-matched.
With frustrations high, there is a higher probability that irritated drivers will take unnecessary risks to get through airport traffic and make it to their next destination, which could include speeding, cutting in front of other drivers, or even ignoring traffic cones.
In other situations, drivers may change lanes unexpectedly when pulling toward or away from the curb, causing collisions. Pedestrian accidents are also a high risk as people may have to walk across several lanes to get to the airport doors.
How To Receive a Fair Settlement From the Liable Party
Financial recovery for most vehicle accidents starts as an insurance claim filed with your insurance and with the at-fault party’s insurance. When the rideshare company is held liable, you generally have greater access to the funds needed to recover from serious injuries and property damage. Unfortunately, Uber and Lyft are used to these kinds of claims and have the resources to fight against being held liable and issuing maximum compensation. Ensure you understand the full value of your claim and never agree to a settlement that is less than what you are entitled to.
For the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve, it is important to seek professional legal counsel who can negotiate on your behalf and advise you on whether to accept a settlement or pursue litigation. Many insurance companies depend on accident victims accepting fast settlements, assuming something is better than nothing. That is not true, and a low settlement can quickly leave you in financial despair.
While airports and vehicle accidents are both stressful, rideshare accidents at airport drop-off zones are especially stressful. That’s why we strive to ensure that working with the experienced team at Glugeth & Pierguidi, P.C. is simple. Our rideshare personal injury attorneys understand what it takes to win against big companies like Uber and Lyft and their insurance providers. We have obtained multi-million dollar results for New Jersey injury victims over the past three decades and will always strive to obtain maximum compensation for our clients. Contact us to get started.