Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft are all about keeping customers safe and satisfied. But what happens on the road is something different. When you order a ride from a rideshare app, you don’t get to choose your driver. As a passenger, you usually sit in the back seat and have no control over the driver’s speed or maneuvering. That’s why accident claims can get tricky when they occur while you were riding in an Uber or Lyft.
To this end, Lyft even has a “Trust and Safety Team”. The main objective is to reach out to passengers caught in an accident and help them to manage the crisis. However, these apps are not noticeably clear on instructions in case of an accident. In this article, we review a few things that you can do as a passenger if you are involved in such an unfortunate turn of events before contacting the best ridesharing accident attorneys Newport Beach has to offer.
It goes beyond saying, whatever be the nature of the accident and whoever is at fault, the first and foremost thing you need to do is call 911 and inform the local law enforcement about your accident and your location. Whether you feel hurt, ask for medical attention. An official medical report will be used to build a strong case.
Gather All the Info You Can
Next, try to gather all the information that you can, like your driver’s insurance details. If there were additional passengers, try to retrieve their contact information. Taking photographic evidence of your injuries and the accident is strongly encouraged to build a strong foundation for your claim.
Try to Get the Police Report
A police report of the incident is a particularly important asset for you to authenticate your claim if you have any. In California, a police report is required in case of any car accidents resulting in bodily injuries.
Contact the Ridesharing Service You Were Using
Lastly, as you were involved in an accident while riding with Uber/Lyft, you should retain a lawyer to contact the organization itself. These apps generally have a place to report any accident or any issues pertaining to your trip. Having a legal professional oversee or speak on your behalf protects you from accidentally admitting to fault or answer questions that can impact your claim.
If you’ve been injured while riding in an Uber or Lyft, you are not alone. There are various rideshare accident statistics linking the rise in popularity of rideshare apps to the increase in traffic collisions in recent years. Rideshare corporations know this, and they have policies and powerful attorneys in place to help them skirt their responsibilities to public safety.
As a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, the common question people ask is: whose insurance is responsible for the payment of my medical expenses and any other damages?
You cannot sue the driver’s personal insurance, as most policies do not cover drivers when they are on the road for commercial purposes. This means that you will need to deal with the corporation behind the app that you used to call your initial ride.
There are a number of complex issues that the advent of ridesharing has brought to the legal world, and this is why retaining a personal injury lawyer Newport Beach as soon as possible after the incident is critical to your success. Taking action at the very beginning of your case is vital to the overall and ultimate success of your case.
Getting Compensation When the Driver is at Fault
In a traditional personal injury case, a passenger would seek payment for their medical bills and for damages from the insurance carrier for the “host” vehicle. The “host” vehicle is the vehicle in which the passenger was traveling at the time of the accident. However, ridesharing “host” vehicles would need to carry either commercial motor vehicle insurance or elect coverage as a ridesharing driver that would cover payment of such expenses in the event of an accident. This is because the passenger in such an accident is not a traditional passenger; they are in the vehicle as part of a business transaction. More often than not, the “host” vehicle will not maintain the kind of coverage that is required to cover medical expenses and pay for the personal injuries of such a passenger.
This leads the injured party to seek payment for their expenses and damages elsewhere. California legally requires Uber or Lyft to maintain an insurance policy of $1 million to protect their drivers while they are transporting passengers.
While it may seem like Uber and Lyft are looking out for others with their $1 million insurance policy, they will do everything they can to avoid compensating you. Rideshare companies have their own investigators that will try to shift responsibility off of them so they avoid a payout.
An experienced accident injury lawyer can ensure that your claim is well-documented and strong, giving you a better chance at having your damages compensated.
When the Driver is Not at Fault
However, if the “host” vehicle is not at fault for the accident, the next option would be for the injured passenger to seek damages from the offending vehicle that bears liability.
As you can see, this becomes extremely complicated and illustrates the reason that any injured passenger should seek the most experienced ridesharing accident lawyers Newport Beach has to offer. Your attorney will be able to shift the focus of your injury claim to ensure that the liable party is held accountable.
In the event that the “host” vehicle is not at fault for your accident, the injured passenger will need to seek damages from the insurance carrier for the offending vehicle. This is done by filing a claim against the at-fault driver and, ultimately, a personal injury lawsuit if adequate damages cannot be recovered in the “claim” phase of the case.
However, another complication arises if the at-fault driver did not maintain enough insurance coverage to pay for the damages of the injured rideshare passenger. In that case, an “Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist” claim (UM/UIM) will be filed against the rideshare vehicle’s policy of insurance. This coverage is typically in the amount of one million dollars and normally will pay for the damages suffered by the rideshare passenger at the time of the accident.
Contacting a Lawyer
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident as the passenger in a ridesharing vehicle, you need to consult with an attorney who has experience in such matters right away. Handling such a matter on your own will distract you from what is the most important part of your case: recovering from your personal injuries.
It is the role of the attorney to provide a steady, helping hand during this difficult time. Your attorney will deal with medical providers, insurance carriers, and opposing counsel if your case ends up in litigation.
The best personal injury lawyer for this purpose is Accident Lawyers Law Firm and they may be reached at (949) 356-7971. The consultation is free and there is no obligation. Accident Lawyers Law Firm are Newport Beach rideshare accident attorneys who will fight for your rights every step of the way.