Reports | July 19, 2023 | Personal Injury
Rideshare services like Uber or Lyft offer many benefits. They make getting to the airport easier and allow you to avoid driving home after a wedding or a night on the town. Yet, rideshare accidents are common, and many people suffer injuries each year involving Uber or Lyft vehicles.
If you are in a rideshare accident, what should you do? Who is responsible for your injuries and losses?
Rideshare companies and their drivers must have insurance under the law, which means you have some recourse if you suffer injuries.
You need to seek help from a car accident lawyer for the confusing and challenging insurance process. The right lawyer can provide insight and guidance into your legal options and rights. Insurance companies will do whatever possible to minimize your compensation without considering your interests or what is just. An attorney can help advocate for you and seek the payment you deserve following a rideshare accident.
What Can Cause a Rideshare Accident?
Many things cause rideshare accidents. It can be the rideshare driver’s mistake, another driver’s mistake, or even the vehicle manufacturer’s.
Some of the most common reasons rideshare accidents happen include:
- Distracted driving – While distracted driving is a serious public safety issue, and rideshare drivers have many distractions. They use their Uber or Lyft app to accept rides and navigate, often through unfamiliar areas. They have distracting passengers. If drivers are not focusing on the road, they can cause crashes and injuries.
- Impaired driving – While you may hope you hired a sober rideshare driver, you do not know the person behind the wheel. Some rideshare drivers have accepted rides after drinking or using marijuana or other drugs.
- Fatigued driving – Rideshare companies limit how long drivers can use the app to accept rides in one shift. However, many drivers have second jobs – and they might even drive a full shift for Uber and then another full shift for Lyft. Many rideshare drivers are too tired to drive safely.
- Violating traffic laws – Rideshare drivers can break the law like anyone else. They might speed, run red lights or stop signs, or make dangerous lane changes – often trying to drop off passengers faster to accept more rides. Any traffic violations can lead to an accident.
Rideshare drivers present many risks on the road, but they are not always at fault for accidents. You might be in an Uber when another drunk driver slams into the Uber vehicle. In this case, the drunk driver is to blame, not the rideshare driver. Liability is not always as simple as you might imagine.
No matter who caused your accident, you deserve compensation for your losses.
Victims of Rideshare Crashes
When you think of a rideshare accident victim, you might assume it is a passenger in an Uber or Lyft, but this is not always true. Many people can suffer injuries in rideshare collisions and pursue compensation for their losses.
Rideshare passengers may sustain injuries while paying for a ride. They rely on rideshare companies to ensure their safety during the trip, but a seemingly convenient ride can go very wrong very quickly.
People in Other Cars
Other motorists can become victims of rideshare accidents if a rideshare driver hits their car. They may suffer injuries and property damage, requiring medical treatment and repairs.
Pedestrians are vulnerable to rideshare accidents, especially in busy urban areas. If a rideshare driver fails to notice or yield to pedestrians, the driver can hit someone walking, and severe injuries or even fatalities can occur.
Rideshare accidents can also involve cyclists who share the road with rideshare vehicles. Collisions between rideshare cars and bicycles can result in severe injuries for cyclists, just like any other type of car-bike collision.
In all these cases, victims of rideshare accidents can benefit from seeking the assistance of a skilled car accident lawyer with experience handling rideshare accident cases. Trusted lawyers can help victims understand their rights, navigate the complexities of rideshare regulations, and seek fair compensation for their injuries and losses.
Rideshare Company Insurance
Insurance protects not only rideshare drivers and their vehicles but also you as their passenger. However, rideshare companies and drivers have a complex web of insurance policies that might come into play in your injury claim.
State laws require that all rideshare companies maintain proper insurance coverage to operate within a state. Drivers must also have insurance coverage, though they have much less coverage than the Uber or Lyft corporations.
A rideshare driver’s insurance coverage is often insufficient to provide comprehensive compensation for severe injuries. Often, victims must seek compensation from the corporate policies of Uber or Lyft to obtain full financial recovery.
Uber and Lyft are Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), and each state has different TNC regulations, including insurance requirements. If the driver does not have insurance coverage meeting the state minimum requirements, the TNC must provide coverage up to that limit.
Additionally, Uber and Lyft have their own policies for insurance coverage. The coverage depends on the specific circumstances of the accident and the driver’s status at the time.
Here is a brief overview of the insurance policies offered by both companies:
- Period 1 – The driver is offline, or the rideshare app is off. The driver’s personal insurance policy applies during this period, as Uber and Lyft’s insurance coverage is generally inactive.
- Period 2 – The driver is logged in to the rideshare app and waiting for a ride request. Uber and Lyft provide contingent liability coverage during this period. If the driver’s personal insurance does not cover the accident or has insufficient coverage, Uber and Lyft’s contingent liability insurance becomes primary. This coverage includes liability for third-party injuries and property damage, with limits varying by state minimums.
- Period 3 – The driver has accepted a ride request and is en route to pick up or transport passengers. Uber and Lyft provide commercial auto insurance coverage during this period. This coverage includes liability for third-party injuries and property damage, as well as coverage for the driver’s injuries and vehicle damage, subject to certain deductibles and limits. This coverage generally has a $1 million limit per accident.
If you are a passenger in a rideshare vehicle when the accident happens, you know the driver was in Period 3, and the commercial coverage applies. However, if you were a pedestrian or an occupant of another car, you must determine the driver’s status when they crashed.
Available coverage will be much less in Periods 1 or 2, so this determination is critical to know how much you might receive for your injuries. Your attorney can investigate and advise which policies apply to your accident.
While Uber and Lyft provide insurance coverage, there may still be gaps or limitations in certain situations. Additionally, the coverage may differ between the two companies and can vary based on local regulations.
In case of an accident, always consult a car accident lawyer to review the specific details of the accident and insurance coverage to ensure you file the proper claims and receive the appropriate compensation.
What Happens After a Rideshare Accident?
One minute, you are headed to a friend’s party in an Uber, looking forward to a fun night. The next minute, you have severe injuries, and an ambulance is on its way. A car accident lawyer can explain what to expect so you can protect yourself and your rights after a stressful and challenging rideshare crash.
You Need Medical Attention
Seek immediate medical care after a rideshare accident, regardless of the severity of your injuries. Here are some important steps to follow:
Emergency medical care – You need an evaluation of your condition immediately following an accident. Don’t let concerns about medical costs stop you from seeking care. Prompt medical attention can help identify and address hidden injuries. It also makes it much easier to connect your injuries to the accident in a later injury claim.
Document injuries and symptoms – Take photos of visible injuries and note any symptoms you’re experiencing. Consider keeping a pain journal. This documentation can serve as evidence later.
Follow all medical advice – Cooperate with healthcare professionals and follow their recommended treatment plan. This helps ensure your injuries are properly diagnosed and treated.
Retain medical records – Keep copies of all medical records, including doctor’s notes, diagnostic tests, and bills. These documents are essential for insurance claims and legal proceedings. If you do not have certain records, your attorney can help gather them for your claim.
Remember, even if you initially feel fine, some symptoms of injuries may manifest later. Always prioritize your health and well-being by seeking medical care promptly after an accident. Doing so also helps your injury claim.
Insurance Companies Might Contact You
After an accident like this, you may receive a call from an insurance company for the rideshare driver or company. You might trust they mean well, but this is not usually the case. Speaking with the insurance company means you might say something to jeopardize your claim.
You always want a car accident lawyer to handle all insurance communications. You want to hire legal representation early on, so they can speak with adjusters when they call you.
If you must speak with adjusters, remember:
- Tell them only the basic and objective facts of what occurred.
- Do not try to tell a story, elaborate, or guess anything about what happened.
- Avoid phrases like “I think” or “I assume.”
- Do not apologize for anything.
- Do not agree to give a recorded statement.
- Do not agree to any type of settlement.
- Let them know that you will contact your attorney for further communications.
An adjuster might say there is no need to hire a lawyer. They might offer to settle the matter quickly without the need for legal complications. Their settlement offer will certainly be far too low, as they hope you will accept a minimal amount. Never accept this offer or trust you do not need a lawyer.
Legal consultations are free, so you have nothing to lose by speaking with an attorney about your situation and the offer on the table. They can advise you on what is in your best interests.
Calculating Your Losses
After a rideshare accident, your attorney will calculate your losses to know how much compensation to demand. You may have sustained more compensable losses than you realize.
Some common losses include:
- Medical bills for all your treatment
- Estimated costs of future treatment
- Past and future lost income if you cannot work
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent injuries
Many times, a severe rideshare accident can cause injuries that last for a long time. You may struggle with an injury and resulting impairments for the rest of your life. You deserve compensation for these intangible losses in addition to your economic losses, and your lawyer will accurately value your claim.
Tips for Navigating the Legal Process
After a rideshare accident:
- Turn to a car accident attorney as soon as possible
- Avoid making any statements that indicate you were at fault during the accident
- Do not agree to provide insurance companies with your medical records or other information
- Never trust an insurance company to determine what your claim is worth
- Let your rideshare accident attorney handle as much of the legal process as possible
- Stay off social media – do not post anything that can put your case at risk
- Be sure to keep accurate records of all of the losses you have during this process
Seek Legal Help for Your Rideshare Accident Claim
Rideshare accident claims are legally complex due to liability and insurance issues. Fortunately, many car accident lawyers have experience filing injury claims with rideshare companies and drivers, and they can help you. Consult an attorney for free to learn about your rights and what you should do.
Time is short, so once you seek medical attention, get the legal support from our personal injury attorney in Gainesville.