Ridesharing, dominated by Uber and Lyft, has gained widespread popularity among Americans. However, accidents can happen anywhere, and rideshare is no exception.
The arrival of Uber and Lyft increased traffic deaths by 2% to 3% in 2011. Between 2017 and 2019, Uber vehicles were involved in 107 fatal and 2,935 non-fatal accidents in the US, causing 3,221 injuries.
Have you or someone you know recently been in a rideshare accident and do not know what to do or who to call for help? Worry not.
In this article, you'll learn what to do after getting into a rideshare accident. You'll also realize the importance of hiring a ridesharing accident lawyer and how to find the right one.
Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for general guidance, not legal advice. Consult with your attorney for advice concerning your specific situation. This article may not represent the firm's or any attorney's views. Using this article or any links does not create an attorney-client relationship.
When to Contact Uber and Lyft Rideshare Lawyer?
Ridesharing accidents can be categorized into two types, each with its distinct circumstances and potential for injuries:
- Passenger-involved accident. This occurs when you are a ridesharing vehicle passenger when an accident occurs. You can sustain injuries due to the impact of the collision.
- Driver-involved accidents. This happens when you are outside the ridesharing vehicle, and the driver hits you. You are at risk of sustaining injuries caused by the collision with the vehicle.
Lyft and Uber offer up to $1 million in bodily injury liability coverage, but claiming insurance can be complex. You must file a claim through driver's insurance, Uber/Lyft coverage, or a third-party insurance policy.
If you are a victim of an accident involving Uber or Lyft rideshare, contact a car accident or personal injury lawyer. They protect your rights and help you receive compensation for injuries or damages as a passenger, the driver, or if an Uber or Lyft hits you.
What to Do When an Accident Happens When You Are the Passenger?
Accidents can occur despite safe driving practices. In the event of a rideshare accident, the first step is to ensure everyone's safety.
If the accident is not severe, your driver should know to move the car out of traffic and into a safer area.
1. Call 911
Calling an emergency will get a police officer on the scene. The officer will speak to everyone involved in the accident and write a police report.
Remember to ask for the responding officer's name and an incident number so you can request a copy of the report when it is ready. You need that police report to sue for injuries and damages.
2. Collect Evidence
Get the name of the rideshare driver and their rideshare number—if you can take a photo of their license and car plate numbers, the better.
If there are witnesses, ask for their names and contact numbers. Take images of the injuries and damages, get videos of the scene, or do anything else to help your claim.
3. Write Down What Happened
Record every detail about the incident that comes to mind. The sooner you do this, the better it can help your case. You can rely on your record to describe how the incident happened to an insurance adjuster or in court.
4. Report the Accident to Uber or Lyft ASAP
You can report through their app or online. Share the incident's specifics and wait for a representative from the ridesharing company to get in touch with you.
Answer all of the representative's questions, but unless you have undergone a thorough medical examination, don't mention that you have no injuries. They might be looking for ways to dispute your claim initially.
5. Talk to a Lawyer
Getting in touch with an Uber accident lawyer as early as possible is also crucial, as insurance adjusters and agents will attempt to deny liability and coverage. A rideshare attorney can help you recover compensation for injuries and damages.
What to Do When an Accident Happens When the Uber/Lyft Driver Hits You?
The difference between this kind of accident and one in which you are a passenger is the type of insurance covering your claim. If the rideshare driver is at fault, the following three policies might cover you:
- The driver's auto liability insurance
- The rideshare company's contingent coverage
- The rideshare's primary liability policy covers up to $1 million
The step you should take after Uber or Lyft hits your car is similar to what you should do in any car accident:
- Stay on the scene and remain calm.
- Call the police.
- Take photographs of the accident scene.
- Exchange information with the Uber or Lyft driver.
- Seek medical health
- Report the accident to your insurer.
- Speak to a rideshare lawyer.
4 Rideshare Insurance in Different Conditions
Ridesharing services Uber and Lyft are considered transportation network companies (TNCs). State law requires these companies to provide insurance for their drivers.
When the app is active, liability insurance is in effect. However, when the app is not running, the driver's auto insurance policy applies.
Note that personal car insurance typically doesn't cover "business use." Adding another insurance policy to your existing one is advisable to ensure adequate coverage.
Here are four different scenarios for Uber's and Lyft's insurance tiers:
1. The App Is On, but No Ride Request Has Been Accepted
In this case, the insurance policy coverage is typically the lowest. Uber and Lyft maintain third-party liability insurance for covered accidents if your car insurance policy doesn't cover the following:
- $50,000 for bodily injury per person
- $100,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 in property damage per accident
2. It Is On, and the Ride Was Accepted, but the Passenger Is Not Yet en Route
Once the ride has been accepted, the insurance coverage increases, reaching $1 million or more depending on whether the driver is at fault. The policy may also include uninsured motorist coverage if the rideshare driver is not at fault.
3. The Ride Was Accepted, and the Rider Was Picked Up With the App On/Active
Likewise, the insurance coverage could go up to $1 million if the driver is at fault. If not, this insurance policy may include uninsured motorist coverage.
4. The App Is Off/Inactive
If your app is turned off, your auto insurance company's policies and coverages will apply. These insurance tiers give you an idea of how ridesharing covers you as a passenger and its drivers.
How to Find a Good Uber and Lyft Accident Lawyer?
Ridesharing accident cases can be complex, as they involve unique legal considerations for rideshare companies, their drivers, the insurance company, and other parties.
An expert lawyer can navigate the situation, establish liability, negotiate with insurance companies, and present compelling cases in court. Here's how to find a good Uber and Lyft accident lawyer:
Ask family, friends, and colleagues for a referral to a reasonable ridesharing attorney. If someone you know has had a car accident, ask if the law firm they hired handles ridesharing accidents as well.
Talking with them about their rideshare accident experience gives you an idea of what to expect. Their referral can help you streamline your list of potential lawyers.
Check the Online Reviews
One of the best ways to check who the best and most recommended rideshare lawyers are is to check the Internet for reviews. Go online and check the names of some of the top recommended attorneys who can help you with your case.
Check Out Legal Costs
If you decide to hire one, find out the price upfront. Many attorneys and law firms work on a contingency fee basis. Your attorney will only take fees on your awards when your case succeeds.
Look For Experience
A skilled rideshare lawyer will have no trouble winning your case. Their experiences allow them extensive knowledge of the laws and procedures related to your case.
Trim down your list by removing names new to practicing in rideshare cases. A lawyer with local experience can also have local connections that can strengthen your case and give you a higher chance of winning.
The availability of your rideshare lawyer directly affects your access to timely legal advice, guidance, and representation. If they have too many cases to handle, they might neglect yours.
Ensure you are speaking with the attorney who will handle your case and that they will not assign it to a less experienced member of their firm.
Schedule a Consultation
After trimming down your list to 2 or 3 expert lawyers, schedule an appointment. Bring a list of questions to the consultation.
The consultation appointment will help you cover any gaps in your research. It can also help you find a lawyer you are most comfortable with.
8 Questions to Ask a Rideshare Attorney
After your accident with Uber or Lyft, consulting a ridesharing lawyer is crucial for clarifying uncertainties about your potential case. Here are the questions to ask an Uber or Lyft lawyer about your accident:
1. What rights do I have in the event of a rideshare accident?
The rideshare lawyer will explain your rights when you get into an Uber or Lyft accident. These include:
- Right to safety during the ride
- Right to seek compensation
- Right to legal representation
- Right to insurance coverage
- Right to file a lawsuit
2. Is it worth it to file a claim?
Your lawyer can provide a professional assessment of the viability and potential benefits of pursuing your case. Their evaluation considers the following factors:
- The extent of your injuries
- Property damages
- Insurance coverage
- Driver at-fault
- Applicable laws
3. How much do you charge?
Understanding the lawyer's fee structure allows you to evaluate the financial implications of pursuing your claim. Clarify any potential additional costs or expenses related to your case.
Standard fee arrangements include hourly rates, contingency fees, or flat rates. Many attorneys receive a contingency fee as payment for the case.
However, you may be required to pay upfront and case-related costs associated with the claim if the damages are not recovered.
4. What accident insurance will work in rideshare accidents?
Asking your rideshare lawyer about accident insurance applicable to your case allows you to:
- Clarify the available coverage
- Understand the possible compensation amount
- Navigate the insurance claims process
- Identify additional sources of coverage
5. How long do you think this case will take?
This is not a one-time question; you will check with your lawyer over time. As your case progresses, your lawyer will clearly understand how much longer it will take to resolve it.
Less complex cases may take weeks or months. If the defendant is unwilling to settle, this could delay the resolution. Complex cases that go to court may take 1–2 years.
6. Will you be working on my case?
Clarifying with the rideshare lawyer you consult with if they will directly handle your case will enable better connection, consistent communication, and access to their expertise.
7. Can my case be resolved with an out-of-court settlement?
Most lawsuits settle out of court, but there are alternatives to litigation. Some may be resolved through mediation, arbitration, internal appeals, etc. Discussing these options with your lawyer provides a better understanding of the pros and cons.
8. What will you need from me as the case progresses?
Lawyers only work with facts. It is essential to ask your lawyer what information or documentation they need from you.
Your lawyer may need details such as:
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Photographs and video of the accident
- Witness statements
The Bottom Line
Knowing the steps to take when involved in a ridesharing accident and finding a reputable Uber and Lyft accident lawyer is crucial for safeguarding your rights and securing appropriate compensation.