Tennessee Common Carrier Accidents

There are many popular forms of hired vehicles in Tennessee. Uber is the most popular, then Lyft, followed by regular cabs.

Common carriers are defined as any commercial vehicle that is for hire. The laws in Tennessee and many other states hold professional drivers and professional carriers to a little bit of a higher standard because they are on the road all the time and have the proper training, licenses, and similar documentation.

However, these drivers are not perfect. If you have been injured in an Uber accident, taxi accident, charter accident, or a common carrier accident, it is important that you obtain legal representation immediately. A knowledgeable Tennessee car accident lawyer can build a case to help successfully recover on your behalf.

Defining a Common Carrier

Whether rideshare vehicles have been considered common carriers has not yet been addressed by the court.

One thing that Tennessee has is the statute that has put some special regulations on ride-sharing programs like Uber and Lyft. The law in Tennessee requires that they maintain auto coverage that recognizes the driver as a transportation network company, TNC, driver.

That is a professional-type driver. The driver must have an auto policy of at least a $50,000-$100,000 limit when the driver is in a pre-arranged ride. In other words, when the person's Uber car picks them up, then there has to be a minimum of a $1,000,000 policy on those cars.

Uber and Lyft have agreed that they should all have $1,000,000 policies on the vehicles. If there is an accident and the driver did not have enough coverage, the company is required to provide coverage and defend the case. There are special permits that are required in these instances, and records must be kept to see what driver was involved.

Common Carrier vs. Personal Accident

The legal issues in regards to a Tennessee common carrier accident involving a taxi or Uber driver and an individual driving their own car is about the same. The only difference is the coverage. When an Uber or Lyft is involved, there will always be more insurance.

Many times, a client will claim that they have been hit by somebody without insurance.  Generally, if it is in a rideshare vehicle, there is plenty of insurance. Hopefully, there will be enough money to cover the person’s medical bills, lost wages, and similar elements.

Determining Liability

The at-fault driver is responsible for paying damages in Tennessee common carrier accidents. An attorney must establish who was at fault, who had the right of the roadway, who ran a red light, who was speeding, et cetera, to determine who owes damages in a car accident case. The fact that a person was driving for a rideshare company will not have an impact on the case at all.

If an individual is in a common carrier accident in Tennessee with a hired driver, they should make sure that they get all of the driver’s information. A person should obtain their information, a copy of their license, and a copy of their insurance.

A person does not want to get out, leave the scene, and the only information they have is the information available on the ride-sharing application. A person must confirm all necessary evidence in a Tennessee common carrier accident.

Recovering Damages

To recover damages caused by car accidents with Uber or Lyft drivers, a person would initiate the claim like any other. The first thing an individual would do is figure out what their potential damages are.

A person would generally begin this process with the driver’s insurance itself. If that policy is exhausted, an attorney will then contact Uber, Lyft, or whichever rideshare company is in question and start negotiating with their insurance. If an attorney is unable to reach an agreement with them, then they will move forward with the lawsuit.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not usually available in Tennessee common carrier accidents unless there was a reckless or criminal act.

If a person’s driver was driving recklessly, speeding excessively, or under the influence, then punitive damages may be available. However, this is not specific to ride sharing, and would be available in any such accident.

Benefit of an Attorney

An experienced attorney can help make sure that all of the federal records were in compliance during the Tennessee common carrier accident. Further, a lawyer can determine the reason for the accident, and if the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time. They can also uncover factors such as whether they were in compliance with their on-the-road hours.

It can be difficult sometimes to get through to the ride-sharing insurance carrier and file a suit in some cases. This is normally dependent on what the individual’s damages are.

Most cases are severe and produce significant injuries. It is clear that most individuals in these situations need a lawyer. For an individual to determine the damages available in their Tennessee common carrier accident, it is pertinent that they consult with an attorney as soon as possible.