Ride-hailing services, like Uber and Lyft, are rapidly growing in popularity, especially among those who need a ride home after drinking. It may seem like having more sober drivers and fewer drunk ones on the road would be a good thing. However, Massachusetts residents may be surprised to hear that, according to a study from the University of Chicago, the rise in ride-hailing services correlates to an increase in the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents, not a decrease in them.
The study found that fatal accidents have gone up around 3% since the advent of ride-hailing apps in 2011. In 2010, nearly 33,000 people lost their lives in fatal car accidents. However, in 2016, 37,400 people died in car crashes. And, the sobering fact is that this increase is only expected to grow worse over time, as ride-hailing apps increase in popularity. Researchers hypothesize that the rise in fatal accidents is due to the simple fact that ride-hailing services put more vehicles on the road, which naturally leads to more crashes.
While ride-hailing is safer than drunk driving, this doesn't mean that there won't be fatal accidents. Those who have lost a loved one in an accident involving a ride-hailing vehicle may want to determine if they can pursue a wrongful death claim. In general, these claims are brought by a personal representative of the deceased's estate, and it must be shown that the responsible party had a duty to the victim that was breached, that the breach caused the victim's death and that the victim's family suffered financial damages.
Of course, every wrongful death case is different, as the facts of every case are unique. While this post does not contain legal advice and cannot guarantee the outcome of any specific claim, those who do want to pursue a wrongful death claim will want to make sure they understand how the law applies to their situation before proceeding.