Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have added hundreds of thousands of jobs to the gig economy and changed the way people navigate their city. But they have also raised questions about legal liability and the rights of passengers in the event of a rideshare accident.
What happens if you are in a crash while riding as a customer in an Uber vehicle? Who is liable for any injuries you may have suffered in a rideshare accident? Do you need a rideshare accident attorney to handle your case? If the ride you hired got rudely interrupted, here are a few things you should know to help guide you through the process.
RIDESHARE FACTS AND STATISTICS
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 analysts contend that the exploding rideshare market has reduced use of public transit, increased congestion, and contributed to an overall increase in fatal crashes in the U.S. since 2010. It’s also added to the complexity of the legal landscape for passengers who get injured in a rideshare crash.
STEPS YOU SHOULD TAKE AFTER A RIDESHARE ACCIDENT
The first thing to do is remain calm. Go through the same checklist of immediate actions you would take in any car accident:
- Check for injuries. Symptoms may not surface right away; if the impact was significant or you feel woozy, it makes sense to get checked out by paramedics. If there are other passengers, take a moment and check whether everyone else is safe.
- Call 911. Depending on the situation, it can be critical to get emergency services right away.
- Collect information from those involved and any witnesses— names, licenses, insurance contacts, and so on. Preserve the data on your phone regarding your driver and ride details.
- Take photos of the damages and the surrounding scene; also take notes of whatever details you consider significant regarding possible injuries or circumstances surrounding the accident.
- File an accident report. You may also want to advise your insurance company of the situation.
WHO IS LIABLE FOR DAMAGES IN A RIDESHARE ACCIDENT?
If the driver of the other car is at fault, that driver may be liable for any injuries or property damage caused by the crash. However, if that driver is uninsured or under-insured, the injured Uber passenger can bring a claim against the $1 million Uber accident policy that covers the active Uber 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 automobiles they operate are typically their personal vehicles. Uber requires all of their drivers to carry liability insurance and also provides supplemental insurance to cover incidents that happen during the course of work—when the Uber app is on. Whether the drivers are waiting to accept a request, 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 policy may not apply, compelling you to make a claim against the driver’s personal insurance.
DO YOU NEED A RIDESHARE ACCIDENT ATTORNEY?
Because of all the variables involved, a rideshare accident can become a complicated legal claim, 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 have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Thornton, Aurora, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Greeley, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a 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.