I Was Injured in an Uber/Lyft. Now What?
It’s no secret that more and more Americans are taking advantage of ridesharing apps such as Uber and Lyft. In recent years, the amount of rideshare options have grown in accordance with the increasing number of Americans who use them.
As of 2019, 36% of U.S. adults say they’ve used a ride-hailing app. This is quite a jump from just 15% of Americans who responded in 2015, and the number continues to grow. Unfortunately, the increasing prevalence of rideshare use has also resulted in more rideshare-related car accidents on U.S. roads.
Because rideshare car accidents are more complex than normal car accidents, it’s important to understand the dynamics involved in a Lyft, Uber, or other rideshare-related accident. Whether you were a rideshare passenger at the time of the accident or an independent driver whose personal vehicle was damaged by a rideshare car, there are steps you can take to receive the compensation you deserve.
Who Is Liable in a Rideshare Car Accident?
This is where things get complex. In the state of New Hampshire, rideshare drivers are considered independent contractors. While it might appear that rideshare drivers work for Uber, Lyft, or another ridesharing company, the law views it differently: these drivers technically work for themselves.
As you can imagine, this is a means to safeguard rideshare companies from potential lawsuits, damages, and legal repercussions. Despite this clever precaution, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a rideshare company isn’t liable for an accident.
It’s safe to assume that the majority of rideshare drivers don’t opt to splurge on expensive commercial auto policies or ridesharing endorsement. Most of the time, personal auto policies don’t cover commercial vehicle use. So, who pays for damages in the event of a rideshare-related accident?
Both Uber and Lyft have both responded to this issue by providing liability insurance to company drivers—a grand total of $1 million (significantly more than the $750,000 in coverage carried by taxi and limousine services).
However, one of the following conditions must be met for the rideshare liability coverage to apply:
- The driver’s app is on, and they are awaiting a rideshare request from a rideshare passenger.
- The driver’s app is on, and they are on the way to pick up a rideshare passenger.
- The driver’s app is on, and they are actively transporting a rideshare passenger.
If the rideshare driver is offline or not actively using the app to work, they are not covered under the company’s insurance policy. In this event, the rideshare driver is responsible for navigating the fallout via their own personal auto coverage.
When Is the Rideshare Company Responsible?
Despite rideshare drivers being independent contractors, there are some cases in which the company itself is held liable for a rideshare accident—meaning that $1 million insurance coverage will come into play. There are a couple reasons this can occur:
- The rideshare driver caused the crash. This can occur in the event of reckless driving or negligence on the road.
- The rideshare company contributed in some way. For example, if Uber or Lyft hired a driver with a DUI history, approved a rideshare vehicle that wasn’t suitable or safe for driving, or failed to conduct a proper background check, the company may be held liable for damages.
6 Steps You Should Take After a Rideshare Accident
If you have the misfortune of being involved in a rideshare accident, it’s imperative to take the following steps to achieve the most favorable outcome:
#1: Prioritize the safety of both yourself and anyone else on the scene.
Seek medical attention if needed. The preservation of human life should be your top priority after an accident. It’s important to call an ambulance right away if someone is severely injured or requires immediate medical care.
#2: Contact the police.
If you or a fellow involved driver haven’t done so already, dial the police so they can arrive on the scene. When they arrive, be sure to give them a factual and detailed account of the accident. Do your best to include details leading up to the accident as well.
#3: Get contact information from the rideshare driver and other involved parties.
Be sure to get valid contact information from rideshare driver and other involved parties. Consider obtaining contact information from other witnesses on the scene as well. In this scenario, there’s no such thing as too much information.
Take care to get the rideshare driver’s personal identification and vehicle information so you can file a report with the rideshare company.
#4: Collect appropriate documentation and evidence.
Photograph damage to any vehicles involved in the crash. For the sake of preserving the details and jogging your memory later on, consider photographing other distinctive landmarks, such as street signs or nearby buildings. Do a quick scan to see if there are any traffic cameras nearby that may have captured the incident.
#5: Report the accident on the rideshare company’s website.
Using the information you gathered from rideshare driver, visit the rideshare website to submit a report of the accident.
For Lyft, you can:
- Use the Lyft app: submit your report via the “Help” section.
- Visit the Lyft website to report an accident or collision.
- Call the Lyft emergency hotline number at 855-865-9553.
For Uber, you can:
- Use the Uber app: submit your report via the “Help” section. Navigate to “Trip Issues and Adjustments” then select “I was in a crash.”
- Visit the Uber website to report an accident or collision.
- Speak directly with an agent by calling 1-800-354-6012.
#6: Seek support from a qualified personal injury attorney.
Both Uber and Lyft have a reputation for convincing accident victims to settle for fast settlements that are severely less than the amount the victim rightfully deserves. In order to earn fair compensation for damages, it’s crucial to secure the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Why Rideshare Accidents Are So Complex
While it’s perfectly legal to pursue a personal injury claim against a rideshare company on your own, it can be unwise. Remember, companies like Uber and Lyft are known for going to great lengths to reduce the payout or avoid it entirely. In many cases, they even fail to support or protect the rideshare drivers that have enabled the company to be so successful in the first place.
It’s safe to assume that the rideshare company isn’t on your side. Most of the time, they will do anything to avoid paying the amount of compensation you’re due. This is why it’s important to seek counsel from a skilled attorney who has a comprehensive understanding of rideshare accident lawsuits and personal injury law.
Why Hire Our Team
Being injured as a result of someone else’s negligence can have a detrimental impact on your life. From medical expenses to lost wages, there are many setbacks that victims experience following a car accident. This is why it’s crucial to seek support from a firm you can truly rely on.
At Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C., we have your back. We understand how challenging it can be to not only recover from a car crash, but earn the maximum compensation you deserve in court. Our team has a proven track record of achieving justice and fair compensation for our clients in New Hampshire.
Were you injured in a Lyft or Uber? Don’t settle for less than the compensation you deserve. Call (603) 288-1403 to request a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney today.