Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are becoming more popular by the day. Of course, when any method of transportation gets more popular, the number of related car accidents tends to increase.
As a passenger, you're not liable when an accident happens. In fact, you're covered by the rideshare company's insurance policy. But as with most insurance coverage, receiving compensation might not be as simple as you think. The best way to navigate the situation is with a ridesharing accident attorney who you can trust.
Uber has a one-million-dollar policy that covers both passengers and drivers from the moment that the trip is requested until you reach your destination. Lyft has a similar policy in place.
If you walk away from a rideshare accident completely unharmed, you probably don't need to worry about pursuing compensation, but you still might need to give a statement to Uber's insurance agency. That's why it's always smart to contact an Uber accident lawyer immediately after the incident occurs.
Memorize the following steps so that you know what to do if you ever end up in a rideshare car accident. An Uber or Lyft accident attorney at West Coast Trial Lawyers will be able to answer any additional questions that you might have.
Step One: Document the Accident
Assuming that you're not hurt after the car accident, pull out your phone and take photos of the damage. As a passenger, you aren't liable like the drivers are, which means your role in the situation is as a witness. Thorough documentation will help your ridesharing accident lawyer pursue any necessary claim, and it can also be used as evidence in a dispute between the two drivers' insurance companies.
Whether or not the other driver was at fault, you should ask them for their insurance policy and contact information just as you would in a normal accident. If you have a personal injury claim, your Uber accident lawyer will want this information.
Uber has your driver's contact information, so you don't need to collect this at the scene of the accident unless they volunteer it. However, you should write down the driver's name and license plate number for future reference.
Step Two: Seek Medical Attention
If you're noticeably injured, you should seek medical attention immediately. Notify the police, and they will take steps to document the accident for you so that you can proceed to the hospital. Your wellbeing is always the highest priority in these situations.
Even if you aren't injured, you should still get a medical examination. The symptoms of your injuries might not surface for days or even weeks after the accident occurred. Your physician will either confirm that you are in good physical health or detect any injuries that you may not have noticed.
Since this medical exam may become part of a personal injury claim, ask the hospital for proper documentation. This can include a statement from the doctor or a form to be filed with your health insurance company. Ask your personal injury lawyer if you're not sure what kind of documentation you might need.
Step Three: Report the Accident to Uber or Lyft
Both passengers and drivers can report a car accident through the rideshare app. If you're using Uber, you can report the accident by navigating to the Help section. Choose the trip in question, and then select "I was in an accident." You and the driver should both notify the company so that they are aware of all parties who were involved.
Uber may not contact you immediately, but an agent will likely call you within the next day or two. Expect to receive an email confirming that the company knows about your accident and that they are working on the issue. You may also be refunded all or some of the cost of your trip.
Step Four: Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
While you're waiting for Uber to get back to you, get in touch with your personal injury lawyer. Inform them of the details of your accident, and they will advise you on how to proceed with the situation.
Even if you don't think that you have a personal injury claim, it's still smart to speak with a lawyer before you make any statements to either your insurance company or Uber's representative. The information that you provide might be used to prove which driver was a fault. In a few individual cases, Uber has been able to prove that the passenger was at fault for the accident - however, these situations are extremely rare, and they always involved disorderly conduct on the part of the passenger.
You should always tread carefully when approaching a potential legal situation. Trust in the advice that your lawyer gives you; they have your best legal and financial interests at heart.
Step Five: Speak with Uber's Insurance Representative
One of Uber or Lyft's agents will contact you shortly after the accident, and you may be asked to give a statement. You are not legally required to give information to either Uber or Lyft's insurance company, and the information that you pass on may be used in a claim by you, Uber, or the driver.
Because the information in your statement may be relevant to your case, you should speak with your personal injury attorney before Uber's agent contacts you. Your lawyer will be able to help you make the correct statements to avoid any potential liability.
If you haven't had time to speak with your attorney, provide minimal but honest details to the agent. You can always ask for a phone number and call them back at a more convenient time. Prioritize your legal security over politeness; the insurance agent will understand.
If you have suffered physical harm and plan on pursuing a personal injury claim, make sure that you ask the agent for contact information; your Uber or Lyft accident attorney will request the phone number as part of the investigation process.
Normal car accidents have varying amounts of severity. In the same way, Uber and Lyft accidents might be minor incidents that are reported and handled immediately, but they could also result in large crashes that require personal injury suits from all parties involved.
If you aren't sure how to proceed after a rideshare accident, always contact your attorney right away. West Coast Trial Lawyers is here to help you navigate difficult legal situations and win battles should you choose to file a personal injury claim. Whether you're a passenger or a driver, stay safe while you're on the road.