A driver suspected of being impaired hit a ride-share vehicle carrying two passengers, one who died from his injuries. The accident happened on a San Diego freeway around 2:30 a.m., Saturday, March 23, 2019, when a 2016 Lexus Sedan rear-ended a Mazda Sedan operated by a Lyft driver who had two fares in his vehicle.

Both cars were traveling southbound on State Routh 163 north of Laurel Avenue in downtown San Diego, and the impact sent both cars off the freeway and into a ditch. One passenger of the Lyft vehicle wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle, however he survived. Another passenger wasn’t so fortunate and he died at the scene.

The driver of the Lyft car, the ejected passenger and the driver of the Lexus were all severely injured and transported to Scripps Memorial Hospital. Police are expected to charge the driver of the Lexus with driving while impaired.

Impaired Driving Accidents

Accidents where alcohol is believed to be the cause  accounts for around 30 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities, according to a report by the Center for Disease Control. In 2017 there are almost 11,000 alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. which is down considerably from a high of almost 24,000 in 1986. However, today it’s still a significant problem.

Deaths aren’t the only concern for motorist who share the road with impaired drivers. Many victims of a DUI crash are severely injured with some suffering permanent injures that change their lives. Often times, a DUI crash can be severe because the impaired driver is often unable to take action to lessen the impact.

DUI and Ride-Sharing

The number of ride-sharing vehicles are on the rise in most cities across the U.S. as passengers turn to this form of transportation to save money compared to a traditional cab fare and because of the ease of calling a ride through a cell phone app.

Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft operate similarly by employing independent contractors who can use an app on their phone to log in and accept fare requests from people using an app on their phone. The driver accepts the request and then uses the app to find the rider who can in turn track the ride-share vehicle as they approach.

A ride-share can save as much as 50 percent compared to a traditional taxicab ride, and the ability to use the app is a positive draw for many users.

The increase of ride-sharing is also credited with lowering the rate of DUI’s as many impaired motorists will use the app and leave their car at the bar and take another ride the next day. Also, both Uber and Lyft have some form of free or reduced ride fares during some events and holiday times to get people home before they drive on the streets impaired.

The ease of use, lower costs and free rides for impaired passengers are credited with lowering DUI rates in many cities. However, this doesn’t protect their passengers from impaired drivers still out on the streets.

Liability for Ride-Share DUI Crashes

Generally speaking, liability for any victim of a car accident falls on whichever driver is at fault in the accident. However, sometimes the driver has no insurance or the injuries surpass the amount of insurance carried by the impaired driver.

If this happens in a ride-share vehicle, then the insurance of the ride-share company will pay for any unpaid for damages through their companies uninsured/underinsured policy which is required for all drivers under California law, and it’s the policy of most ride-sharing companies to carry the insurance.

If the driver of the ride-sharing car is impaired and causes a crash, then if the injured are passengers of the ride-share vehicle, then the company’s insurance will pay for damages. If the driver is not on a fare at the time and causes an accident, then that operators own insurance will pay for the damages.

Do I need an Attorney?

If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver as a ride-share passenger or by a ride-share driver, you are entitled to be compensated for those losses. However, you need to talk to an attorney who is familiar with ride-sharing liability and personal injury.

Don’t go it alone. Call the Law Offices of Steers & Associates at 800 824 5416 or click here to contact us online. We have attorneys with years of experience dealing with every type of motor vehicle accident, and we get results against the insurance companies and their highly-paid lawyers. Call us now to even the playing field and get the compensation you deserve.