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You were in a rideshare accident. Now what?
According to the Insurance Journal, although ridesharing services have become mainstream in the past few years, a startling number of Uber and Lyft drivers (60-80 percent) don’t have full coverage rideshare insurance. Uber and Lyft only provide state minimum liability coverage, and no collision coverage. This means the drivers may not have coverage when they are waiting for a passenger.
Further, Lyft has a $2,500 collision deductible. While some insurance companies—such as State Farm—do provide full rideshare insurance (for the driver), more do not. So, if the driver of a rideshare is not completely covered, where do you, the passenger, stand if your Uber or Lyft driver has an auto accident which leaves you with serious injuries?
The person who brings the rideshare accident claim is responsible for proving who the negligent party was, and for showing the extent of their injuries. Therefore, whether you were a pedestrian or motorcyclist who was hit by a rideshare driver, another driver who was hit by an Uber or Lyft driver, or you were in the rideshare vehicle when an accident occurred, you must definitively show who was negligent in the accident.
If an Uber or Lyft driver was the negligent driver, your claim could be against the driver or even against Uber or Lyft. First you will need to determine whether the rideshare driver’s insurance applies, or whether the actual company’s insurance applies. For those who have gone through such an accident, it can be an uphill battle to hold Uber or Lyft liable.
Despite the fact that rideshare drivers must have personal car insurance which meets or exceeds state minimums, most times the insurance will not provide coverage when the driver is working for a rideshare company. Once a driver has accepted a trip, Uber and Lyft provide liability coverage in the amount of one million dollars.
The driver’s personal insurance may pay your third-party claim, up to the policy limits, then Uber or Lyft coverage could pay any amount left over. Unfortunately, there are no absolutes and you could find yourself unable to collect reimbursement for your medical expenses related to your accident injuries unless you have an experienced rideshare accident attorney by your side.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
Your long-term health is most important. Oftentimes, your symptoms may go unnoticed for days or weeks following the rideshare accident. Regardless of how severe your pain is or whether you think your injuries are serious, you should see your primary care doctor immediately.
Keep Detailed Records
Insurance companies are notorious for quickly proposing a minimum settlement offer hoping you’ll accept it as a vulnerable rideshare accident victim. When you have accurate and detailed records of the accident, you’ll have more room to negotiate the settlement you deserve.
Consider Hiring a Rideshare Accident Attorney
With so many steps to take following your accident, it can be overwhelming to deal with all of it yourself. A Uber or Lyft accident attorney will take over negotiations with your insurance company and get you reimbursed for proper medical care with the doctors you choose.
Getting Proper Medical Treatment
Following Your Rideshare Accident
If you are in a rideshare accident, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Your injuries should be examined as quickly as possible, whether you were hit by an Uber or Lyft driver or were a passenger involved in a rideshare accident. If you were a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, then you were probably on your way somewhere. Do not let this deter you from seeing a doctor for your injuries.
Many people who ignore their injuries, regret that decision later on. When injuries become apparent, hours or days after the accident, it can be extremely difficult to prove you were injured in the rideshare accident if you choose not to see a doctor.
As the passenger involved in a rideshare accident, your injuries may depend on the type of accident. If the rideshare driver hit the rear of another car, you could find yourself with neck or back injuries. If the rideshare vehicle was hit directly on the side where you are sitting, your injuries could be more severe, including fractures, cuts, internal injuries, and possibly even brain or spinal cord injuries.
If you were walking or bicycling and were hit by an Uber or Lyft driver, you are also likely to have severe injuries. Even if you believe your injuries are fairly minor, see a doctor—you could be very glad you took the time to be checked out if you end up having to file an accident claim.
Keeping Detailed Records of
Your Rideshare Accident & Procedures
As with any accident, it is very important that you keep detailed records following your rideshare accident. If you are able, following your Uber or Lyft accident, jot down the contact details of all those involved in the accident. If there were witnesses to the accident, obtain their names, addresses, and phone numbers as well. If you have a camera phone, take photos of the scene of the accident, making sure to photograph both vehicles, the place the accident occurred, and anything surrounding the accident which would offer additional context.
Your state may be one of the many which have laws requiring that the police be notified following any accident with injuries. In an Uber or Lyft accident, you definitely want the police on the scene, investigating the cause of the accident, as well as the resulting police report.
Once you have done what you can at the scene of the accident and obtained medical attention, you must maintain meticulous records. Keep a folder with every single medical expense and detail resulting from your injuries, and keep a notebook with other details pertaining to the accident. Even details you believe may not be all that important, could turn out to be extremely important should you have to file a claim against the negligent driver. These details could also make your rideshare accident attorney’s job go much more smoothly than it otherwise would.
Consider Hiring a Rideshare
Because Uber/Lyft/Rideshare accidents tend to be complex, having a rideshare accident attorney working on your behalf is the very best way to protect your rights and your future. Your rideshare accident attorney will determine which driver was negligent, then will determine whose insurance should pay for your injuries. Particularly if your injuries have prevented you from returning to work, or if your injuries are severe enough to cause long-term repercussions, a rideshare accident attorney will work hard to obtain the best settlement possible.
Unfortunately, Uber and Lyft accidents aren’t always easy to navigate without the help of an experienced attorney. Your lawyer will be able to investigate all aspects of your accident to establish liability and determine who is truly to blame. Then, your attorney will be able to negotiate a fair settlement that will cover all of your medical expenses, as well as lost wages, pain and suffering, and decreased quality of life.