Complete Guide To Uber & Lyft Accident Claims
Unlike 20 years ago, it’s now easy to get a ride from anywhere and anytime by either using Uber, Lyft or any other ridesharing company out there.
However, the conveniences of rideshare services come with their own setbacks.
To make it worse, they are complex when it comes to getting compensated due to the many parties involved. If you or your family member has been injured in a rideshare accident, a rideshare accident attorney can help you to recover and be compensated accordingly.
We believe that every USA citizen has a right to be compensated after suffering from accidents caused by other party’s carelessness.
This post has been intentionally created to help you understand ridesharing, your safety when using a rideshare service, and what to do in case of an accident.
What is ridesharing?
By definition, ridesharing is a means of transportation in which multiple people use the same vehicle to get to a similar destination.
However, with the emergence of many Uber and Lyft drivers, not all rides are shared. Nowadays, you can easily get an Uber and be transported to your destination without sharing the ride.
To be precise, Uber and Lyft are Transportation Network Companies. A transportation network company or TNC is simply a company that connects people seeking transport with drivers who can offer it in their own cars for a fee. This connection is facilitated online via a smartphone based platform.
The major difference between TNC drivers and taxi cabs is that TNC drivers do not pick up passengers who hail them. You have to use the TNC online app to request for a ride.
It’s easy and cheap to get a ride with ridesharing.
It’s also safe moneywise because you pay your driver via the rideshare company. All you need is to have their application installed on your smartphone. You can request and pay for transport via the app.
The major benefits of using TNCs are:
- In metropolitan areas, its more convenient, easy and cheap to find an Uber or Lyft car to get a ride than trying to find a taxi cab.
- It’s cheaper than renting or hiring a private vehicle.
- They have created thousands of jobs for competent and eligible drivers.
- Reduced the rate of alcohol related accidents.
Ridesharing is growing fast here in America. Among all the companies offering ridesharing services, Uber and Lyft are the largest players in the industry.
Currently, Uber is operating across major cities in over 58 countries while Lyft only operates here in USA. I am pretty much sure you have used either of the companies to move about in New Orleans or anywhere else you have travelled recently.
Uber, Lyft, and all the other ridesharing services started operating legally in 2015. While taxi companies hire their drivers, rideshare companies require their drivers to work as independent contractors using their own vehicles.
For you to become an Uber or Lyft driver, you need to pass their screening process which mostly involves vehicle inspection and overall background check as well as past driving experience.
Before anyone can join these ridesharing companies, they need to have a personal auto insurance.
How rideshare companies operate
TNC companies consider themselves a separate entity that helps car owners make money by offering transport services on demand. They are not transport companies. They are a technology company that bridges ride seekers and car owners.
Rideshare companies do not maintain their drivers’ vehicles. They do not consider their drivers as employees. Instead, they work with them as independent contractors. Therefore, Uber and Lyft drivers do not get the privileges of an employee.
Are rideshare drivers fit to transport people?
According to Uber, they vet their drivers and run background checks to ensure they work with the best drivers. However, many drivers with criminal backgrounds have found their way into the Uber systems without getting noticed.
Every driver in USA, is required by law to have an auto insurance. Unfortunately, most of these insurance covers do not cover rideshare accidents.
The law has battled over the years with rideshare companies to ensure that they have an insurance to cover their riders and drivers. Uber and Lyft do have an insurance cover for their drivers, passengers and anyone else who might be injured in an accident involving their drivers.
The only problem is that the eligible coverage is different in every situation. Let’s have a look at Uber and Lyft insurance policies.
These two companies have similar insurance policies. Here’s a breakdown of how their insurances work.
When a driver is not using the app
If an accident occurs and the driver is offline, both Uber and Lyft will not insure the driver. This is where the personal auto insurance applies.
Both Uber and Lyft enjoy the benefits of having their drivers as contractors. They don’t have to pay anyone in case of an accident.
When the driver is logged in/using the app but no ride is accepted
When a driver is using the app and has no ride to offer, both Uber and Lyft will step in and offer liability coverage if the personal insurance doesn’t offer coverage in this situation.
Normally, the policy has:
- $50,000 maximum limit per person.
- $100,000 maximum per limit per accident.
- $25000 maximum limit for property damage.
En route to pick up riders and during transport
If an accident occurs when a driver is going to pick up a customer and/or when the driver is transporting customer, both Uber and Lyft will offer full coverage:
- $1 million liability coverage per accident
- $1 million uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
- Full coverage up to the value of your car if your auto insurer has this option on your personal auto policy.
Sometimes it becomes a little bit tricky to solve accident cases that occurred when the driver was on route to pick up a passenger without the help of an experienced Uber accident lawyer.
Here’s why: a rideshare company can demand the driver to show proof that he/she was on the way to pick up a rider when the accident occurred. If there’s no proof, the rideshare company can easily claim that the driver was moving about and not even logged into the app.
A Louisiana Uber accident attorney will tell you to get every detail of the accident including taking a screenshot that shows what the driver was currently doing.
Causes of Rideshare Accidents
Just like the other road accidents, rideshare accidents are not different.
They are commonly caused by:
- Speeding – some rideshare drivers are not cautious enough to observe speed limits. Speeding accidents caused by rideshare drivers are usually as a result of rushing to get more riders. Remember, the amount of money they make depends on the number of customers they transport.
- Driving under drug influence – since rideshare drivers act as independent contractors, they are not closely monitored by rideshare companies.
- Distracted driving – distraction is one of the major causes of accidents among the rideshare drivers. Drivers are constantly checking on their phone to access GPS while driving. Their attention can also drift away from the road when conversing with their passengers.
- Exhaustion – rideshare drivers are often under fatigue due to long working hours. Their income depends on the number of passengers they serve at any given day.
- Failure to maintain their vehicles – rideshare drivers can easily forget the routine maintenance just like any other driver due to their busy routine and long working hours.
- Nature – acts of nature like hurricanes, ice and sleet, and torrential rain can cause an accident.
- Tailgating – driving too close to the vehicle in front is one of the major causes of accidents in the US.
- Unsafe Lane changing
- Ignoring stop signs and traffic lights – it’s also very common for rideshare drivers to run stop signs and red lights to get to their passenger. Ignoring these signs can easily cause accidents.
- Inexperience – ridesharing companies cannot fully access the experience of a driver. While some have a good experience, rideshare companies do not have access to fingerprint data so it’s hard to determine the competence of a driver. Their criteria of knowing if someone is good behind the wheels is not concrete enough to weed out the poor drivers.
What to do to avoid rideshare accidents
To make sure that you are always safe, ensure that you choose drivers that have a lot of positive ratings. Do not sit at the front seat. Use the back seat so that you can easily jump out in case of anything.
Do not engage your driver in heavy discussions that might lead him/her to get distracted from the road. Also, remember to kindly ask your driver to slow down if they seem to be speeding.
Lastly, do not board a rideshare vehicle if you notice the driver is under drug influence. Your life is more important that where you are rushing to be.
What happens when am injured while riding in an Uber or Lyft vehicle?
If you are injured in a rideshare vehicle, your injuries will be covered by insurance. The only problem is, who’s policy applies – is it the rideshare company, or the at – fault driver’s?
Let’s find out.
When you are hurt in an Uber or Lyft affiliated vehicle, you can either be compensated by:
- Insurance company of the driver at fault – this can be the ride sharing company’s driver or another driver involved in the accident.
- Ridesharing car insurance coverage.
Let’s dig in deeper to have a better understanding.
So, whose insurance applies?
If the ride sharing driver has a commercial insurance policy, or a personal car insurance that has a special provision providing insurance coverage that covers him/her while working as a ride share driver, you will be compensated by his/her insurance cover.
Unfortunately, most ride sharing drivers do not have a commercial or personal insurance cover that will cover your injuries. And if they do have a personal insurance cover, most of the times the cover will have a business use exception that will not cover damages and injuries that may occur when the insured is working for profit.
What about the ride sharing company insurance?
Just as we said earlier, Uber and Lyft have a third party liability that pays up to $1 million for any damages and/or injuries per accident.
However, you must know that rideshare company insurance only steps in when the ridesharing driver’s insurance can’t compensate you for injuries or damages.
If you get an accident as a passenger, you’ll be covered by this kind of liability policy, when the driver of the rideshare company caused the accident.
What if the accident was caused by someone else?
If the accident was not caused by your rideshare driver, then the person responsible for your compensation is the at-fault driver. You can claim for compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance cover via a third party car insurance claim.
Alternatively, you can also file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver at-fault.
What happens if the driver at-fault doesn’t have a car insurance in place?
Sometimes the driver at-fault may not have an insurance cover and if they do, the cover won’t be enough to cover your injuries and damages caused during the accident.
Again, the ridesharing company’s uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) insurance cover steps in. This cover also provides $1 million in coverage per accident.
However, the UM/UIM insurance cover only kicks in if
- the driver at-fault is unknown
- does not have an insurance cover in place
- the driver at-fault does not have enough car insurance to compensate you
One thing that you should keep in mind is that these ridesharing insurance covers only apply if the accident occurred between the time the driver picks up a passenger and drops him/her off.
If the insurance policy of the driver at-fault is not capable of financing your injuries and damages or the insurance companies refuse to pay – which happens a lot, you can always go after the ride sharing company’s insurance.
Who will compensate me if an Uber or Lyft driver hits my car?
Just like any other road accident, the driver at fault will have to compensate you for damages and any injuries suffered.
As stated earlier, the car insurance of the driver at fault will compensate you for the damages. If they refuse or can’t fully cover the expenses of your damages, you can proceed and seek the driver’s rideshare insurance.
Who will pay for my injuries if am in an Uber & Lyft accident?
Since Uber and Lyft drivers are independent contractors, they will be liable for any accidents they cause. I am sure by now you are well informed on the criteria followed to compensate anyone injured in a rideshare accident.
However, if you have been hit by a rideshare driver, the case is a bit different. It all depends with the time of the accident. If the driver hit you while he was offline the Uber or Lyft smartphone app, you’ll only be compensated by the driver’s auto insurance cover.
Neither Uber nor Lyft will compensate you, as long as the driver was not logged into their phone application. Rideshare companies are very smart when it comes to handling accidents. Please, scroll back to read all about the Uber and Lyft insurance policies.
What if the driver assaulted me?
Just as I stated earlier, both Uber and Lyft have inefficient ways of filtering bad drivers. Some drivers are not fit to carry out transportation services.
If an Uber or Lyft driver assaults you and you get injured, you are entitled to compensation. You can either be compensated by the offending driver or by the rideshare company he or she was driving, if the driver had a criminal record.
Uber and Lyft have the responsibility to ensure that their drivers are not criminals. If they ignored that duty and you got injured, they are liable for all the injuries suffered.
What to do when you get in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver
Accidents are chaotic in nature. The same can be said about the aftermath too. There are a couple of things that you need to do to ensure that you get compensated for your injuries and any damages.
Call the police
It doesn’t matter if the accident is minor or major. Call 911 if you find yourself in an accident with a rideshare driver. Once the police arrive at the scene of the accident, answer all the questions appropriately as asked by the police. Ensure that you also get a copy of the report written by the police for reference.
Ensure that you get the name and the badge number of the police officer at the accident scene.
Having a police report goes a long way in helping you get compensated. It is one of the requirements you need to have in order to claim for compensation. Auto insurance and rideshare companies will require you produce a police report.
Get contact information of all the people involved
While at the scene, ensure that you get the contact information of everyone involved in the accident. if you had an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver while driving, this is the information that you need to collect:
- Full name and contact information of the driver
- Insurance company and the policy number
- Driver’s license and license plate number
- Type, color and model of the car
- Location of the accident
- Take a screenshot of the location from your Phone GPS system.
- Get the license plate number of the cars involved
These details will come in handy when you start filing your case. Ensure that you cross-check the license plate, some people can give you the wrong license plate. Take pictures of the driving license, the license plate number and all the other documents if possible.
Take as many pictures as possible. Ensure that you capture the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any other details that would be necessary when making a claim.
Additionally, look for any other cameras that may have captured the whole scenario. There are cameras in nearby stores. Traffic lights, convenient stores and gas stations.
The video footage captured by a camera can make it easier in supporting your claim with first hand evidence.
Get witness information
Witnesses can make your case easy to claim. Judges are more interested in witnesses that are not interested in your claim whatsoever.
Ensure that you get their contact information and take down everything they saw as the accident occurred. The best way to do this is by taking a video of them explaining the whole scenario.
This way, they cannot be bribed to talk against you in court. A well-documented witness information can also be used as a reference if they forget what happened. It will also work against them if they choose to favor the driver at – fault.
Get medical help
If you have been injured in the accident, call for medical help. I recommend that you call for medical help no matter what you feel. Choosing to ignore a small injury or pain can hurt your overall well – being as time goes by.
Ensure that you describe all of your symptoms to the medical team.
Once you have been treated, write a report that contains everything of the whole scenario. The best and the fastest way to do this is by making a video or audio of you saying everything that happened.
Limit your conversions with the other party about the accident. Some people are smart enough to trap you with your own words and they will use those words against you. Even if you feel that you caused the accident, do not tell the other party.
Don’t accept any offers
Some insurance companies are smart. Once they realize that their client is at fault, they will approach you and try to cut a deal. Do not accept any of these offers!
They will send their best adjusters or lawyers who will make the deal sound good from all angles but all they’ll be trying to do is get over with the whole compensation thing before you file a lawsuit. Kindly tell them that your attorney will take care of everything.
Call an attorney
Last but not least, call an experienced Uber or Lyft accident attorney. It’s advisable that you call them as soon as possible. This way, they can get your details ready while everything is still fresh in memory. If you take long enough and fail to meet the statute of limitations for your claim, you’ll lose all the rights to pursue the case.
After the accident, ensure that you keep a tab on all the medical bills and any costs that came up due to the accident. Also, note all the pain you have gone through and anything that you can no longer do due to the accident.
Stay away from social media. Most of the insurance lawyers will be keeping an eye on you to dig evidence that can minimize your compensation.
A good example is reporting that you can no long move without crouches but then after a few weeks, you post a photo on social media that was taken before the accident. An auto insurance lawyer can use that against you to say that you exaggerated your report to get more compensation.
Ensure that you are careful of what you do.
How long do I have to file my Uber & Lyft accident claim?
According to the statute of limitations in Louisiana, you have one year to file a lawsuit after you have been injured in an accident. However, it is not smart to wait the full year. There is a lot of work that needs to be done before you can resolve your claim.
Are Uber or Lyft accidents complicated and hard to resolve?
Rideshare accidents get complex when you go at it on your own or get an inexperienced lawyer. You need to have an experienced attorney helping you to maneuver all the difficult challenges that you’ll face in your pursuit for compensation.
The reason as to why these cases tend to linger on and on is because there are so many parties involved. Keep in mind, the insurance companies do not want to release any funds from their end. They exist to preserve their clients’ interest.
Uber and Lyft are not on your side when an accident occurs.
I am sorry to say this but ridesharing companies want nothing to do with compensating you! Their insurance lawyers will work hard to evade all the claims that you’ll make against them.
This is the main reason why you need an experienced Louisiana accident attorney to fight for your rights.
Furthermore, with a competent attorney by your side, you can relax and move on with your life knowing that you have an expert working hard for you to be compensated.
At Smiley Law Firm, we solve auto accidents including Lyft and Uber accidents all the time. We know how to handle insurance companies.
Why Should I hire a Louisiana Uber accident attorney anyway?
Its free to approach an attorney. You will not be charged until we have won your case. If you want to get compensated accordingly, you have to hire an attorney.
Auto insurance companies hire the most experienced lawyers to protect their clients when lawsuits arise against them. If your claim gets caught between two insurers, i.e Uber insurance and the auto insurance of the driver at fault, (which happens a lot in ridesharing accidents) it’s going to be more complex and hard to get compensated (unless you have an experienced and competent accident attorney following up your compensation).
Sometimes these lawsuits take years to resolve.
Auto insurance companies will prolong your case to exhaust you then present you with a low offer. This is where many Uber accident victims give up.
An experienced accident lawyer in Louisiana will ensure that you get compensated what you deserve and use the quickest time possible.
Determining the worth of your Uber & Lyft claim
There are so many factors that come into play when it comes to determining the size of your claim. Most people assume that a claim involves medical bills and car damages but it’s a lot more than that.
If you’re not familiar with the legal processes, you’ll obviously underestimate the value of your losses. This is why auto insurance adjusters rush in to cut you a ‘peanut size’ deal before you realize the real worth of your claim.
Let’s have a look at some of the major factors that determine the size of your losses.
Medical expenses go beyond the typical bills that you get from the hospital. There are other bills that crop up. They include: medications, therapy applications, emergency transport, follow up appointments and many more.
Your injuries could also be serious enough to require ongoing medication. All these expenses should be claimed. You should also include any transport costs incurred to and from the medical center.
Injuries can impact your life in so many ways. Some injuries will require you to:
- stay at home for a period of time
- stop doing some basic job functions
Keep in mind that you’ll not be earning while at home nursing. Your income will also reduce if you cannot carry out some specific functions in your workplace. All of these losses have to be calculated.
Another major setback that comes with serious injuries is that you may never work again for the rest of your life. An experienced attorney will calculate your future earnings together with the type of impairment you got from the accident and present your case with the right amount that you are supposed to be compensated.
Pain and Suffering
This is where an experienced accident attorney comes in handy. Calculating an intangible loss can be quite challenging. You need to hire an attorney that will understand and translate the substantial amount of pain that you have gone through, not forgetting factors like:
- Being limited from certain activities
- Usage of pain medication that can affect your life
- Effect of mental and emotional pain
We have been helping clients in Louisiana to get compensated for a long time now. We know that you deserve to be happy and enjoy your life. We work hard to ensure that our clients are compensated accordingly.
If you have been in an Uber & Lyft Accident, you deserve to be compensated. It doesn’t matter how complicated your case is, give us a call today. Consultation is free. We are here 24/7 to help you get compensated.
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