Rideshare companies, like Uber, Lyft, and Flywheel, have become very popular in the past decade. More and more people are trusting these companies and their drivers to transport them safely from one destination to another. However, accidents still happen and can have devastating consequences. Determining liability in accidents, especially when an Uber or Lyft vehicle is involved, can be challenging.
Car Accident Liability Basics
After you’ve been injured in a car accident, multiple individuals could be held liable for your damages including but not limited to any drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, or anyone whose negligence caused your accident. To establish liability, it must be proven that the guilty party:
- Owed you a duty of care. All drivers (your rideshare driver and other drivers on the road included) have an obligation to drive safely and with due care towards those on the roadway.
- Breached that duty of care. If a driver’s reckless actions caused an accident, they have breached their duty of care. Examples of driver negligence include but are not limited to distracted driving, drunk driving, disobeying traffic lights, and speeding. Pedestrians or cyclists may also act negligently (i.e. leaving the curb suddenly, swerving, etc).
- Is responsible for the damages you sustained in the accident. To receive compensation, you must prove that their negligent actions resulted in your injuries and subsequent damages.
To substantiate your claims, you can collect evidence including but not limited to:
- Eyewitness testimony
- Expert testimony (such as accident reconstructionists or accident investigators)
- Photos or videos
- Medical records (detailing your injuries and treatment)
- Copies of receipts and bills
- Uber/Lyft electronic records
- Other communications or documents that evidence negligence and/or your damages
Filing an Insurance Claim When the Rideshare Driver Is At-Fault
In 2017, Governor Scott signed the “Uber/Lyft Bill” into law, which requires rideshare drivers (referred to as transportation network drivers) to have personal insurance coverage, specifically:
- $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident of personal injury protection (PIP)
- $25,000 of property damage liability coverage (PDL)
Uber and Lyft also require proof of insurance for those applying to become drivers, and they must also provide proof of renewal to continue being allowed to pick up passengers.
If it is proven that a rideshare driver is at fault for the accident, you may be able to file a claim against:
- their personal insurance provider, and/or
- the rideshare company’s insurance coverage.
Who you file a claim against is contingent upon whether the rideshare driver was on duty or not. For instance, the breakdown of Uber’s rideshare insurance policy is as follows:
- When a driver is off-duty, their personal insurance coverage must cover damages, and Uber cannot be held liable for any damages.
- When a driver is on-duty and waiting for a ride request or en route to pick up or drop off a passenger, they are covered by a third-party liability policy if their personal auto insurance doesn’t apply. This means that both the driver’s personal insurance and the liability coverage can be accessed. It is important to note that the amount of coverage changes if the driver is simply on-duty and waiting for a request or is en route to pick up or drop off a passenger.
Each rideshare company’s policies are different, though, and the damages they may cover can change depending on their policy.
What to Do After a Rideshare Crash
If you are a passenger involved in a rideshare accident, after the crash you should:
- Call the police. Not only is obtaining a police report important for your insurance claim but you are also required to report an accident if anyone is injured or fled the scene.
- Receive medical treatment. No matter how minor your injuries are (or if you don’t have visible injuries), you should see a doctor and/or be attended to at the scene. To qualify for PIP coverage, you must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident, and if the driver doesn’t have a valid PIP plan, your insurance policy may cover your damages.
- Screenshot your rideshare app. You will need to prove you were in a rideshare car at the time of the crash. Taking a screenshot ensures that you have proof of the time, route, driver’s information, etc.
- Take photographs of the scene and your injuries. Again, photo evidence is important for supporting your claim.
- Get the names and contact details of those involved. Whether they’re a witness or possibly liable party, you should take down their name, insurance information, contact details, and any other relevant information.
- Contact your insurance provider and the rideshare company. You should report the accident to both companies, letting them know you were a passenger during the crash.
Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys
Insurance companies often make low settlement offers as they want to pay injured victims as little as possible. It is in your best interest to retain an attorney to handle your claim and help you fight to receive the maximum compensation. Our attorneys are equipped to help you:
- Establish liability and file a claim against the guilty party
- Research the rideshare company’s insurance policy (if needed)
- Gather evidence
- Calculate the damages you may be owed
- Pursue fair compensation in settlement negotiations or litigation
- Prepare for multiple case outcomes
At Hubbs Law Firm, we treat our clients like family, and we can work tirelessly to investigate the accident, determine liability, and protect your interests. To speak with our personal injury attorneys, complete this online form or call (305) 570-4802.