What you should do if you are injured in a rideshare accident
If you are riding in a car that you hailed through the ride-sharing app that has a collision, there are several things that you should do to protect yourself and your rights.
Stay calm and conduct injury self-assessment
You should begin by remaining as calm as you can. Assess yourself of any injuries that you might have, and ask for medical help. Keep in mind that some injuries may not show symptoms for hours or days after your collision, so you should err on the side of caution. You should not hesitate to seek treatment or to request transportation to the hospital by ambulance if needed.
If you are able to do so, take photographs of the damage to and positions of all of the vehicles that were involved. The camera on your smartphone is good enough to do this. You should not place yourself in harm’s way in an attempt to get pictures, but pictures that are taken immediately after a collision can be crucial pieces of evidence. In addition to photographing the damage and positions of the vehicles, take pictures of the license plates of all of them as well.
Get the drivers’ information
While drivers are required to exchange information after an accident, you should also ask for the information as an injured passenger. Take pictures of your driver’s insurance card and driver’s license as well as those of the other involved drivers.
Keep your receipt for your ride
Make sure that you save a copy of the receipt for your ride. You can save a digital copy, and it provides proof that you were a passenger.
When officers respond
If officers arrive at the scene or come to the hospital, tell them what happened from your perspective. Do not deny that you were injured. Simply say that you would like to get examined by a doctor. Ask for the investigating officer’s name and badge number along with the NCIC number for the incident. In most cases, the officers will write this number down on the officers’ business cards for victims.
Legal liability issues
If you are a passenger, you are considered to be an innocent party under California law. You should not be worried about holding fault. The legal fault will likely be with either the driver of your vehicle or the driver of the another vehicle involved in the crash. In some cases, all of the drivers will share some fault. While police reports and photographs are helpful, they are not completely determinative of legal fault. An experienced car collision lawyer understands how to analyze legal fault issues.
Insurance issues that are specific to Lyft wrecks
Liability in a wreck involving a ride-sharing app driver will depend on if you were an occupant of the driver’s car and what the driver was doing at the time. If you were in a different vehicle, the driver was not carrying any passengers and was on his or her own time, the company will not be liable. In this type of case, you may recover from the driver’s own policy. The driver may carry the minimum amount of insurance that is required under California law, which might provide only $15,000 per person up to $30,000 per collision and $5,000 for property damage. Some insurance companies also offer rideshare insurance, which is a type of gap insurance that is available to rideshare drivers, but it is not required.
If the rideshare driver was on the app but was not transporting passengers at the time of the wreck, the company has contingent liability insurance available. This insurance provides coverage to the extent that the rideshare driver’s personal insurance does not up to $50,000 for injuries and $25,000 for property damage.
If the rideshare driver was actively carrying you on your ride when the wreck happened, the company has commercial insurance that offers protection for up to $1 million per person or up to a maximum of $2 million per collision.
In addition to the rideshare driver, you may also need to file a claim with the insurance company of the other driver. If that driver was not insured, you may need to file a claim with your own auto insurance for your uninsured or underinsured motorists coverage as we have discussed before.
Attorneys who are familiar with collision claims involving Lyft or Uber are normally best suited to analyze how much your claim might be worth and with which companies it should be filed. Within a few days, you will likely be contacted by a representative from the rideshare company as well as representatives of the other insurance companies. It is important that you understand that these representatives do not have your best interests at heart and are instead tasked with minimizing the amounts that their companies might be forced to pay.
Contact an attorney
If you have been injured in a wreck involving a rideshare driver either as an occupant of his or her vehicle or as an occupant of another, it is important that you remain calm, take photographs and get medical help. The insurance and other issues may be complex in accidents involving rideshare drivers, making it important that you get help from a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in handling claims involving rideshare drivers as soon as possible. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation.