If you've been injured while riding as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, you might be thinking about filing a lawsuit over the incident, and wondering what to expect in terms of potential outcomes (perhaps not just in terms of winning or losing). As with most personal injury claims, the majority of rideshare passenger injury cases will reach a settlement at some point before trial.
In the context of a personal injury case, a settlement is a legally-binding agreement between an injured person (the plaintiff) and the party allegedly responsible for causing the plaintiff's injury (the defendant). The plaintiff agrees to accept some amount of compensation in return for releasing the defendant from any future liability for the underlying incident. (Learn more about how a personal injury settlement works.)
A settlement over injuries suffered in a rideshare vehicle will usually include compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, cost of any future medical care, and other losses (collectively known as "damages" in legalese). The specific dollar amount depends on many variables, including the nature and extent of the plaintiff's injuries, and the clarity of the liability picture. Learn why it's important to get medical treatment in an Uber/Lyft passenger injury case.
Rideshare passenger injury cases can get complicated, especially if you and your lawyer decide to pursue a case directly against the rideshare company (in addition to or instead of one against the rideshare driver). And if your injuries are significant, there will certainly be stacks of medical records to sift through, and perhaps expert witnesses to hear from. So it's often difficult for even an experienced lawyer to speculate as to what kind of settlement a claimant is likely to receive. Learn more about factors that determine the value of a rideshare passenger injury case.
With most kinds of lawsuits, the parties involved (and their respective insurance companies and lawyers) want to avoid surprises and minimize risk. Rideshare passenger injury cases are no exception. An injured claimant usually doesn't want to risk going all the way to trial and coming away with nothing, and defendants (and their insurance companies) don't want to put their financial interests in the hands of civil juries, especially when more than a few injury cases have led to multi-million dollar plaintiffs' verdicts, often despite less-than-airtight proof of liability.
Settling an Uber or Lyft passenger injury lawsuit also saves the parties time, money, and stress, in most instances.
Most rideshare passenger injury cases follow a fairly predictable timeline, but these claims can also reach an out-of-court settlement at any time. The parties might reach an out-of-court settlement on their own—sometimes before a lawsuit is even filed, or after information is exchanged through the "discovery" process and one or both sides see the proverbial writing on the wall. Court-ordered attempts at resolution (like mediation and mandatory settlement conferences) can also help coax the parties toward resolution.
It's important to keep in mind that if your Uber/Lyft passenger injury lawsuit settles, the defendant (usually through an insurance company) will pay you an agreed-upon amount, but there won't be any admission of liability in the settlement agreement (the defendant won't admit to having done anything wrong, in other words). And chances are the agreement will require the parties to keep the terms of the settlement (including how much you received from the defendant) confidential.
It's normal to wonder how your rideshare passenger injury case might get resolved—how much compensation you might get, how long it could take—just don't expect any guarantees from an attorney. Learn more about finding the right lawyer for your Uber/Lyft passenger injury case.