Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have helped fuel America’s gig economy and changed the way many people get around their cities. But they have also raised questions about legal liability and the rights of passengers in the event of a rideshare accident. If the ride you hired got rudely interrupted, here is some information to help get you back on track.
How common are rideshare accidents?
According to a 2019 Safety Report, Uber provides around 45 trips per second in the United States — roughly four billion trips in 2017 and 2018 alone. The company maintains that its accident rate per million miles traveled is far lower than that of many other forms of transportation, with only 97 fatal crashes during that two-year period. But other studies suggest that rideshare services have increased congestion and are responsible for a three percent increase in traffic deaths since 2011.
What should I do if I’m a passenger in a rideshare accident?
The first thing to do is remain calm. Take the actions you should take after any car accident: Check for injuries. Call 911. Collect information from those involved and any witnesses —names, licenses, insurance contacts, and so on. File an accident report. But in addition to these steps, take photos of damages and preserve the data on your phone regarding your driver and ride details, including a screenshot of the open rideshare app.
Who is liable for damages in a rideshare accident?
If the driver of the other car caused the crash, that driver is liable for the resulting injuries or property damage. However, if that driver is uninsured or under-insured, the injured rideshare passenger can bring a claim under the rideshare company’s accident policy, which covers the driver and passengers.
If your rideshare driver is at fault, that doesn’t mean you automatically have a claim against the rideshare company. Uber drivers are independent contractors, and the vehicles they operate are typically their personal cars. Uber requires all of their drivers to carry liability insurance and provides supplemental insurance to cover incidents that happen during the course of work —when the Uber app is on. Whether the drivers are on their way to pick up passengers or transporting them, both Uber and Lyft drivers and their passengers are covered under liability policies that the companies provide. But the companies differ in how they apply the coverage, and if the driver is considered “off duty” when the incident happened, the companies may take the position that the coverage doesn’t apply, compelling you to make a claim against the driver’s personal insurance.
What kind of coverage are rideshare companies required to carry?
The amount can vary, depending on state requirements and even what stage of a trip the driver has reached at the time of an accident. Generally speaking, a driver who is logged into the app but has not yet accepted a ride request has coverage for $50,000 in bodily injury and $100,000 per accident. A driver on the way to pick up a passenger or actively transporting one has liability coverage of $1,000,000 per accident and up to $1,000,000 in coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists. And, of course, drivers may carry additional personal coverage that applies in the event of “off-duty” accidents.
Do I need a rideshare accident attorney?
Because of all the variables involved, a rideshare accident can become a complicated legal case, especially when there are multiple drivers and passengers making personal injury claims with multiple insurance companies. That’s why it’s important to get an experienced rideshare accident lawyer involved early in the process. A rideshare accident attorney can make sure that the rideshare company preserves all the relevant data regarding your ride, fully document your injuries, and make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
THE RIDESHARE ACCIDENT LAWYERS AT FDAZAR
For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise in serious injury cases have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Aurora, Thornton, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Greeley, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a bus, car, truck, motorcycle or rideshare accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call the car accident attorneys at FDAzar day or night at 800-716-9032, or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.