Did you know that 2.3 million people per year are injured in car crashes? Car accidents are all too common, and with the rise in ride share services, ride share accidents are now becoming a problem when traveling in an uber, lyft, or rideshare.
You may know what to do in the event of a normal accident, but do you know what to do after a rideshare accident? Whose insurance covers it?
We’re here to answer those questions and more. Read on to learn all about rideshare accidents.
Immediate Steps to Take After a Ride Share Accident
So you’re riding along as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft, and suddenly, a car accident happens. Whether your driver or the other driver is at fault, you have to deal with it (at least in part).
Or perhaps you’re the other driver, and you’ve been hit by an Uber or Lyft driver. This is even more stressful than being a passenger because you’re directly involved now.
So what do you do? With over 1.7 million rideshare drivers in the country, this is something you should know.
There are a few things you should do after any accident, including an Uber or Lyft accident. Here’s a quick rundown so you can be prepared.
Get to Safety
First and foremost, you need to get yourself (and your vehicle, if possible) to safety. If the car is in the way of traffic and you’re able to move it, make sure you do so. You don’t want to create more problems.
If you’re not sure how to get the car (or yourself) to safety, you can skip to the “call the authorities” step in the process. The dispatcher may be able to help you decide what to do, and if not, the police can block off the area, so no other drivers accidentally cause more damage while you’re in the middle of the road.
In an ideal situation, you’d pull over to the side of the road (or better yet, onto a quieter road or into a parking lot) and have the other driver do the same.
Check for Injuries
Check yourself for injuries. Not all injuries from car accidents are immediately obvious. Sometimes the shock of the accident itself can cause pain to take the back burner, so to speak.
If there are other people in your vehicle, you should also make sure they’re not injured. It can also be helpful to check on the other driver, but this isn’t always possible.
Contact the Authorities
You’re going to need to contact the authorities as soon as possible. When you call, the dispatcher will likely send both police and an ambulance just in case anyone is injured. If the car accident was minor, this may not be the case.
Give the dispatcher as much information as possible about the accident and your location, but make sure not to say anything about who may be at fault (even if you were only a passenger). Let the insurance and rideshare companies deal with that when more information is available.
If you’re one of the drivers, you should exchange information with the other driver. You want to exchange insurance information (more on that later) as well as contact details.
If you’re the passenger, in most cases, you just want to exchange contact information. If you aren’t directly involved with the accident, the drivers may still want to use you as a witness.
Gather Evidence If Possible
Try to gather as much evidence as possible while you’re at the accident scene. Take photos (of both vehicles) and talk to witnesses if there are any around. If there are businesses nearby, get contact information from the owners or managers if they have outdoor cameras that may be helpful.
If you’re injured or otherwise unable to gather evidence, see if you can get someone else to do it for you. Your safety is the first priority.
On that note, if you’re injured, make sure you seek medical care (even if the injury is minor). The record of your visit to the doctor can also be used as evidence, and if the other party is at fault, you may be compensated for the cost of medical care.
Contact the Rideshare Company
After an Uber or Lyft car accident, you need to contact the rideshare company. Both Uber and Lyft want both passengers and drivers to report accidents when they happen. You can find forms to fill out on the company websites.
Someone representing the Company may contact you for a statement if you were a passenger.
Whose Insurance Covers Rideshare Accidents?
This is where things get tricky. This is one of the most frequently asked questions about rideshare accidents. Which insurance companies are responsible after an accident?
Rideshare drivers are technically neither commercial drivers nor personal drivers. Instead, they’re in the middle. A driver’s personal insurance technically doesn’t cover them if they’re transporting people for a fee.
In the early days of these rideshare companies, Uber and Lyft drivers didn’t get any special insurance coverage. After all, they’re independent contractors, so they’re responsible for their own insurance.
However, nowadays, both Uber and Lyft require drivers to have their own personal insurance coverage, and they also offer some commercial car insurance coverage as long as the drivers are logged into the apps at the time of the accident.
Let’s do a quick breakdown of how insurance works depending on who’s at fault. Note that this may vary in some situations.
If the Rideshare Driver Is At Fault
Suppose a rideshare driver is currently “on the job” and waiting for a customer when the accident happens, and they’re at fault. In that case, the rideshare companies will cover up to $100,000 in bodily injuries per accident with a maximum of $50,000 per person.
The rideshare companies will also cover up to $25,000 of property damage.
If the accident happens during a ride or while the driver picks up customers, the companies provide up to 1 million dollars in liability insurance coverage.
Suppose the driver was not currently using the app at the time of the accident (meaning they were using their car as a personal vehicle rather than a work vehicle). In that case, you have to deal with whatever personal insurance companies they use rather than the rideshare companies. The person is not acting as an Uber or Lyft driver if the accident happens during personal time, so all insurance claims are personal rather than work-related.
If the Other Driver Is At Fault
If the other driver is at fault, things are a bit different.
If someone hits a rideshare driver (or otherwise causes an accident with a rideshare driver), that person is then responsible for all accident-related costs, even for the passenger.
Things can get trickier if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured. In some states, rideshare companies are technically responsible for providing coverage in those cases, but this varies.
Can You Sue Rideshare Companies After an Uber or Lyft Accident?
After an accident with an individual, it makes sense that you’d be able to file a personal injury suit against them if you’re entitled to damages. But what happens if it was a rideshare accident? If you plan on taking legal action, do you sue the rideshare company?
In most cases, taking legal action against Uber or Lyft after an accident is difficult because the drivers are independent contractors rather than employees. The Company isn’t responsible for the drivers in the same way an employer would be responsible for commercial drivers.
There are some cases in which it may benefit you to have a free legal consultation call with a personal injury attorney, however.
If the driver’s personal insurance isn’t enough to cover the aftermath of the accident, you may be able to pursue the rideshare company. You may also have a case if you think the Company was careless or negligent. For example, if a driver has had many safety complaints before the accident, you could make the case that the Company was negligent in retaining them.
This is what free consultations are for. If you’re thinking about suing a rideshare company, talk to a lawyer to see if you have a viable case.
Have You Been in a Rideshare Accident?
If you’ve been the victim of a rideshare accident, you’re likely a bit confused about what to do next. Keep this guide in mind while you’re navigating your next steps.
Are you in need of new insurance? We can help at LoPriore Insurance. We want to help you find insurance that fits your lifestyle, whether it’s for your home, your car, or even your business.
Contact us to get a quote today.
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