Ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the public transportation industry. Anyone with a smartphone can use an app to get a ride from one destination to another quickly and easily. You can’t beat the convenience factor, but what many people don’t consider is the quality of their drivers and what happens when you get into an accident.
Lyft and Uber allow ordinary citizens to sign up for an account and start earning money by driving strangers around. If you are the passenger in one of these cars, you have no way of knowing just how good a driver yours is. Although you don’t plan for it to happen, accidents do happen and if you are in a Lyft or Uber accident, you do have some recourse.
The good news is both Uber and Lyft have substantial insurance policies covering “Contingent Liability (coverage only while in driver mode waiting for a ride request), Primary Automobile Liability, Contingent Comprehensive & Collision, and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM).”
Lyft Takes Safety Seriously
Not only does Lyft require that their drivers have a reliable, safe car that has to be inspected prior to them taking on passengers, they also perform a full background check on each driver before allowing them to start earning money. Additionally, they require that each driver have insurance and a safe driving record. Only people 21 years and older can drive for Lyft.
Additionally, Lyft offers safety materials including videos on their website to help their drivers avoid accidents and mishaps. They caution new drivers to obey all traffic laws and roadside signage and never bring along family, so they don’t get distracted. They also offer tips to keep drivers safe by using a phone holder and other techniques to ensure a safe trip always.
However, regardless of all the precautions, accidents will happen and some won’t even be your driver’s fault. The truth is the roads can be dangerous and you can get seriously hurt as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft situation.
First Steps to Take After an Accident
If you’re in an accident as a passenger of a Lyft or Uber driver, make sure you take the correct first steps so you can get compensated adequately. First, call 911 if you need any medical attention. Next, call the police and fill out a complete police report. Take photos of the entire incident. Jot down witness’ information and the driver’s so you can contact them later if needed. Also take note of the weather, road conditions, and any other related factors.
What complicates these issues is that car is owned by the driver, and they have their own personal insurance. If their insurance does not cover them “driving for hire” then Lyft or Uber’s insurance policy should pick up the damage and any medical costs. Lyft has a “$1,000,000 per accident limit” that supplements the driver’s liability insurance. The supplemental rider is only if the driver carries specific commercial or ride-share insurance. Otherwise, Lyft’s policy will be the only one in play. Lyft also offers each passenger $50,000 coverage for injuries sustained in the crash.
If you were injured, even superficially, be sure to seek medical attention and again take photos of your injuries before consulting a lawyer. You may be entitled to damages or other insurance claim settlements. Some injuries take time to show up, and you don’t want to miss this critical step as it might be pertinent to your case.
You will then need to notify Lyft if your driver hasn’t done so already. They have a specific safety team that works 24-hours per day, seven days a week to respond to reports of accidents. They will most likely contact their insurance carrier to file a claim, but you might want to call yours as well and give them the information too.
Obtaining the Right Lawyer
The next thing that might occur is that the ride-shares’ insurance company may contact you. Do not accept any settlements until you speak with your lawyer. You will want to perform some research and find a lawyer that has experience dealing with cases very similar to your own.
If you were injured or your life was radically altered, you want the best lawyer possible fighting for you to get you compensated for your difficulties. Some lawyers specialize in this type of litigation and call themselves “Lyft accident lawyers.” Find one in your state and share with them all of your evidence inducing medical reports and invoices, photographs, and the initial police report. If you took down witness and driver contact information, share that too.
What Comes Next
While you are waiting for your attorney to handle your case, do not share any information on social media or other places online. You don’t want to jeopardize your case by showing your hand too early. The insurance company could use your photos or other details to deny your claim, so just lay low until the matter is resolved.
You may be out of work due to injuries or dealing with pain and medical expenses, but allow your lawyer to do their job. Keep in close contact with them, and they should be able to get you the compensation that alleviates your financial strife and helps with the emotional impact of the accident as quickly as possible.
Ride-share companies are continuing to grow in the marketplace, and more drivers means more accidents. Although they care about the safety of the passengers, companies like Uber and Lyft’s main concern are their drivers, and they consider accidents to be just part of doing business. The complexity of the situation is why you need a seasoned lawyer to handle interfacing with them on your behalf.
Anytime you are in an accident, regardless of the cause, it’s no fun. Dealing with injuries or other issues is worse. An Uber or Lyft accident may not be pleasant, but it doesn’t have to be that bad either. Follow the steps above, and you should be fine and get a reasonable settlement that you deserve.
Author Info: Noah Rue is a writer, a digital nomad, and a graduate of the lessons of life (primary) and also the University of Idaho. These days, Noah teaches English as a second language in lovely Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and moonlights as a content strategist for an American based marketing company.