As of December 2020, after more than a year and a half of lobbying and negotiating, Uber has officially begun providing rideshare services to Nova Scotia. For many people across the province, especially those in major cities, the arrival of the multi-billion dollar ridesharing service has been a long time coming. And for frontline workers or those with an essential need to travel outside their homes during lockdown, the availability of Uber’s rideshare vehicles may provide a safe, convenient, and affordable alternative method of transportation. 

Although the company is currently requesting that all non-essential travelers stay at home to try reducing the spread of COVID-19 during the province’s lockdown, Uber could quickly become a popular way to get around when public safety regulations are eventually eased. With 78 million regular users worldwide, it’s clear that the company’s once controversial ridesharing service is now a widely acceptable way to travel locally. 

Of course, with more app users and more rideshare vehicles on the road comes the risk of more accidents involving Uber drivers. When passengers are hurt in a ridesharing accident, it can be difficult to know where to go to find accountability and financial compensation for any damages caused by their injuries.

If you were injured in a collision involving a rideshare vehicle, a Nova Scotia car accident lawyer may be able to help you recover damages for financial losses you’ve incurred as a result.

Regulation Changes Allowing Rideshare Services in the Province 

Following changes to provincial licensing regulations announced by the Nova Scotia Ministry of Transportation, popular rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have voiced their enthusiasm for bringing their services to municipalities across the province. Beginning in December 2020, Uber began operating in the Halifax region, and while Lyft is not planning to expand its services to Nova Scotia at this time, the company appears to be considering a foray into the province in the future. 

Shortly after the Halifax regional council approved new rules allowing ridesharing companies to operate in the region, the province’s transportation department removed certain regulatory barriers that had previously made it difficult for large tech companies to recruit local drivers. 

In order to operate a taxi or a ride-hailing vehicle in Nova Scotia, drivers are required to hold a Class 4 driver’s license. In the past, this meant that individuals holding a standard Class 5 license were required to retake road and knowledge tests, and pay the fees associated with both. Beginning in the autumn of 2020, the provincial government removed the administrative burden and financial costs previously required by those wishing to drive a taxi or rideshare vehicle by establishing a new restricted Class 4 license. This means that Class 5 license-holders who’d like to use their vehicles to drive for Uber are not required to retake licensing examinations that they’ve already passed, or pay the testing fee. 

However, drivers who wish to upgrade their licenses to a Class 4 are still required to undergo a medical assessment. They must also be over the age of 18, and have had their full Class 5 license for more than one year. 

Despite changes to these provincial regulations, the legislative bodies of Nova Scotia’s regional municipalities oversee their cities’ additional safety requirements for taxis and ridesharing services. In Halifax, rideshare vehicle operators are required to have clean driving records, and must pass a criminal record and child abuse registry check.

The changes to Nova Scotia’s licensing regulations were made to address the growing demand for accessible ridesharing services while making sure that drivers who wish to operate their vehicles for hire all meet the provincial safety standards. That said, even the most cautious driver is susceptible to accidents on the road.

What To Do After a Ridesharing Accident

Drivers who operate rideshare vehicles like Ubers may be at a greater risk of being involved in a collision than a regular driver for a number of different reasons. Since they’re operating their vehicles for a fee, Uber drivers may engage in aggressive behaviour on the road, like speeding, to try and get to their next fare quickly. 

Also, an Uber driver’s focus is likely to be split between the road, their cell phone’s navigation screen, their car’s GPS system, notifications from their company’s app, and their conversation with passengers in the car. By driving recklessly or distractedly, or by engaging in other illegal behaviour behind the wheel, an Uber driver may put themselves and their passengers at risk of being injured in an accident.

Some common injuries resulting from car accidents include:

  • Neck injuries
  • Whiplash 
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Concussions
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • And more

As a passenger in a ridesharing vehicle that has been involved in a collision, it can be difficult to know what to do next, especially if you’ve sustained an injury. First and foremost, seeking immediate medical attention may be crucial, even if you don’t feel as though you’ve been badly hurt. In the aftermath of an accident, a body may experience symptoms of shock which can diminish or delay severe pains caused by an injury. By seeking emergency medical care, you may be able to avoid future complications in your recovery process. 

Additionally, if it is safe to do so, taking some other preemptive measures at the scene of your accident may help you strengthen future legal cases against the driver at fault. These measures include:

  • Requesting the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses
  • Providing a thorough account of the accident to responding law enforcement officers
  • Writing down specific details about the cause of the collision while they’re fresh in your mind
  • Screenshotting information related to your ride on your phone’s ridesharing app
  • Keeping a record of any correspondence or communication with the driver’s ridesharing company
  • Taking photos of the accident scene before the vehicle are moved

Pursuing Damages for Injuries Sustained in a Rideshare Vehicle Accident

When a casual Uber ride ends in a serious collision, it’s easy for passengers to feel powerless  about their situations, and confused about where to go to find accountability. If you’ve been injured as a result of another driver’s negligence and have suffered financial losses as a result, a Nova Scotia car accident lawyer may be able to help you file a claim for damages

All drivers in Nova Scotia are required to carry insurance policies covering third party liability. But when an accident is caused by a driver covered under a rideshare company’s insurance policy, the process of recovering damages can be complicated and onerous. That being the case, the assistance of a car accident lawyer may prove very beneficial when pursuing financial compensation for your injuries. 

If you were injured in a rideshare vehicle as the result of a driver’s negligence, a Nova Scotia car accident lawyer may be able to help you recover costs for damages including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Ongoing medical care/in-home care
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Adjusted living expenses
  • And possibly more

In tragic circumstances, if an on-duty rideshare vehicle is involved in a collision, its passenger may sustain catastrophic, debilitating injuries. In these cases, the injured passenger’s quality of life may be permanently diminished, which may cause emotional trauma. In these unfortunate cases, a car accident lawyer may be able to help injured accident victims recover damages for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • And possibly more

Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers Today

The new availability of ridesharing companies in the province has the potential to provide Nova Scotians with a convenient and reliable transportation service. But if one of these companies’ drivers exhibits negligent behaviour behind the wheel, rideshare services also have the potential to cause severe injuries.

If you were a passenger in a ridesharing vehicle that was involved in a collision and sustained injuries as a result, you may be eligible to recover damages. Preszler’s car accident lawyers may be able to review the circumstances of your case, and advise you of legal options that may be available to you. To discuss your accident and learn if you’re eligible to pursue damages, contact us today

For a free, initial consultation, call Preszler Injury Lawyers at 902-405-8282.