Over the last few years, ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have quickly grown in popularity by offering a convenient, alternative way to travel for tourists, commuters, students, and those living in suburbs and larger cities. However, people using these services underestimate the potential risks of getting into an Uber or Lyft. Rideshare accidents may lead to severe injuries, leaving victims with mounting medical expenses, lost wages from time off work, and more.
If you’ve been injured as a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, you may be wondering how you will get compensation for your injuries and other damages. The attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson have you covered. Read on to learn more.
What to Do Immediately Following A Rideshare Accident
If you’re involved in a car accident as a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, it’s essential to protect your rights. If you are in an accident, follow the steps below:
- Check yourself for injuries first. If you are injured, call 911. Also, check on your driver. If your driver is seriously injured, you may need to move the car to a safe location out of traffic.
- Collect the insurance information from the other driver. If another driver was at fault, get their information as well, since they might be liable for any damages.
- Document as much as you can about the accident. Take photos of the accident scene and any injuries or damage to your vehicle.
- Screenshot and download info about the ride from the app. While you don’t need to do this on the spot, it’s important to do it soon after the accident.
- Contact the rideshare company to inform them of the accident and any injury or damage you sustained.
- If you’ve been injured in a rideshare accident, avoid the temptation to post any information about it on social media. Social media won’t help your case, but it can hurt it. Your posts are public, and insurance or rideshare companies can and will use them against you when you attempt to obtain compensation. Even the simplest of posts unrelated to the accident can be used to contradict your claim.
Determining Liability In Rideshare Accidents
The process of determining responsibility for your injuries and losses following a rideshare accident can be confusing compared to a typical car accident. There are two types of liability to consider: company and driver.
- Driver liability. In most cases, the driver must have been logged into the rideshare app while you were a passenger to have coverage under company liability claims. If the driver was not logged into the app, your only coverage may be the liability insurance the driver has on their vehicle. Traditional personal liability car insurance policies typically prohibit commercial use of a car. A lawyer can investigate other compensation sources, such as the driver’s assets or your own underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.
- Company liability. You could also argue that the ridesharing company shares blame for the crash in addition to the driver. Both Uber and Lyft carry insurance policies that cover drivers. Uber’s commercial insurance policy now provides $1.5 million of liability insurance covering passengers injured during a ridesharing trip. This policy generally supersedes the Uber driver’s personal auto policy, thus simplifying what was formerly a highly complex insurance policy entanglement. Lyft has a similar insurance policy with high coverage levels for rideshare passengers, even when their rideshare driver was not responsible for the collision.
In situations where the fault is shared, it may become complex. A third party other than the driver(s) may at least share liability for your collision with a rideshare vehicle. For example, you might be able to hold an auto part manufacturer partially responsible for a pair of bad brakes that contributed to the rideshare driver crashing into you.
What If A Rideshare Driver Hit Me?
Your accident claim might look a little different if a rideshare driver collided with your vehicle. Suppose the driver was on duty and logged into the app at the time of the crash, and they caused your accident. In that case, the rideshare company will most likely be responsible for paying for your damages. Additionally, if the rideshare driver was uninsured or underinsured, the rideshare company would carry supplemental uninsured/underinsured motorist protection that should kick in. However, if the at-fault driver was not logged into the app at the time of the accident, your only source of compensation would likely be through the individual driver’s insurance company.
What Compensatory Damages Can I Recover After An Uber or Lyft Accident?
Like all personal injury claims, your rideshare accident settlement amount will depend on the circumstances of your case. Suppose your lawyer has established that the at-fault party owed a standard of care to you, breached this duty of care, and you sustained injuries as a result. In that case, you will be eligible to recover compensation for any harm or damages done to you under the law. After an accident, you may be compensated for medical bills, lost wages, and other economic damages related to the accident, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Should I Accept an Immediate Settlement?
One common way the insurance company tries to limit their payouts is by making a quick settlement offer immediately after the accident. Often, the adjusters are trying to hand you a check before you realize how bad your injuries or damages are. The problem is, if you accept a settlement that doesn’t cover all your expenses and losses, you may be stuck dealing with them on your own.
Filing a Lawsuit Directly Against A Rideshare Company
Just because Uber or Lyft’s policies should cover you following an accident doesn’t mean collecting will be easy. Rideshare companies have worked extremely hard to have their drivers seen as independent contractors, not employees. This is an essential distinction because employees have more rights than independent contractors. In many cases, when a rideshare driver is involved in an accident, the company refuses to take any responsibility because its drivers are independent contractors, no matter how tragic the accident. If you’re injured in a ridesharing vehicle, going after the company directly is probably the last resort. However, if the insurance adjusters or rideshare company do not offer full and fair compensation for your injuries, the case should not be settled, and you should consider filing a lawsuit against the rideshare company. Uber and Lyft have high-powered attorneys and ample protections in place to minimize their responsibility. That’s why having a North Carolina or South Carolina car accident attorney by your side is critical to avoid having your claim ignored.
Contact an Uber or Lyft Accident Attorney To Protect Your Rights
At Grimes Teich Anderson, we know how an injury from a ridesharing accident can affect you. Medical bills can add up quickly and become overwhelming, especially if your injuries caused you to miss work. When the insurance or rideshare company starts challenging your claim, you may be left wondering how you will pay your bills. If you’ve been injured in a North Carolina or South Carolina Uber or Lyft accident, a rideshare accident lawyer at Grimes Teich Anderson can help. Call us today at 800-533-6845 to schedule a free consultation or complete our free case evaluation form online.