Rideshare businesses, such as Uber and Lyft, can make traveling much easier and more convenient than traditional taxi travel. At the end of the day, however, rideshare drivers can also be susceptible to reckless driving, negligent driving habits, and serious accidents. While rideshare companies are not lenient towards reckless drivers, navigating the aftermath of an accident can be difficult. Businesses with ridesharing operations may benefit from the assistance of a qualified and experienced accident attorney.
To better understand the legal repercussions of a rideshare accident as well as how an accident attorney can help you, consider the following questions.
What policies you have for ridesharing?
No matter the magnitude of a collision, being in an accident is a jarring experience. There are a few key steps you should take after being in a ridesharing accident, and company policies should reflect those. First, take safety precautions. If possible, the driver should move the vehicle to a safe area away from traffic. Secondly, contact the authorities for appropriate help and documentation. If anyone has been seriously injured, request an ambulance immediately. Third, gather evidence. With authorities, share information about the passenger, other parties, and witnesses to the accident. Take pictures and notes. Fourth, drivers should talk to the company attorney, which is preferably experienced with rideshare accidents. Passengers should have a rideshare accident attorney also. The attorneys can help navigate the aftermath of an accident, avoid error and miscommunication, and determine liability.
Who is responsible for a ridesharing accident?
Rideshare companies typically have policies in place that make it easier to skirt involvement in accidents caused by their drivers. Throughout the country, rideshare drivers are considered, not as employees, but as independent contractors. This distinction safeguards companies from paying taxes, benefits, or unemployment insurance to drivers and largely prevents companies from having vicarious liability for the actions of their drivers. In practice, this makes it easier for rideshare companies to avoid responsibility for wrecks caused by rideshare driver negligence.
Could a rideshare company be held liable?
Some actions and policies may arise that can connect an accident to the rideshare company’s negligence, such as poor hiring policies, making it easier to hold a rideshare company liable. The issue of when liability kicks in and from who can be a complicated one. This is why having an accident attorney on retainer may be especially important for a business because a qualified accident attorney will have a better understanding of who is liable.
Both Lyft and Uber maintain one million dollar policies to cover passengers, third-party drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians for accidents caused by their drivers. These policies may apply towards injuries, medical bills, and damages in situations where the rideshare driver was logged into the app when they caused the crash. If this is the situation, it may be easier to file with a rideshare company for damages.
How does a driver’s insurance affect liability?
Rideshare drivers need to understand the extent of their insurance coverage. Uber and Lyft have similar insurance policies that cover rideshare drivers while they are driving while representing the company. This policy is addressed in three phases. Phase One is the sign-in period, in which a driver is logged into the app, but has not yet received a trip request. The driver in Phase One is covered, but only minimally as required by law. Important to note, the rideshare company’s insurance only covers a driver from financial liability incurred if involved in an accident. It does not typically cover any injuries to the driver or the driver’s property in this phase, and drivers will need to have personal insurance to be covered. Phase Two is the acceptance period, in which you have accepted a trip request from a passenger, and Phase Three is the transportation period, in which the driver is transporting the passenger. In Phases Two and Three, the driver is covered at a higher amount, until the moment the trip is complete. Generally, drivers have $1 million in liability coverage per accident and about $250,000 for injuries caused by uninsured drivers. If drivers have physical-damage coverage, then their vehicle may be covered by the rideshare app.
Given the complications that may arise in understanding who is covered at what stage in the rideshare experience, it will be advantageous to have an experienced accident attorney to help sort through the timeline of events and injury as well as to handle all communications with the insurance company on your company’s behalf.
What are the risks I face if I don’t hire an accident attorney?
An accident attorney has specialized training and likely the experience needed to serve as a winning personal advocate for your case. They will have a comprehensive understanding of the law of your state regarding personal injury and rideshare cases, will conduct the appropriate research, client, and witness interviews, and negotiate any settlements and paperwork needed to help you seek proper compensation for injuries incurred as a result of the accident.
The outcome of an accident is dependent on analyzing the fact-specific circumstances of your case. A rideshare accident may include working with several parties including the driver, passengers, the rideshare company itself, the insurance company, and third-parties. With so many moving components and participants, your case will become overwhelming quickly.
Without the assistance of an experienced and competent accident attorney, you may be missing out on attaining the compensation you deserve to be whole once again.
This is why hiring an accident attorney will be to your best advantage. An accident attorney will work in your best interests to efficiently help you reach a fair and appropriate conclusion. Most importantly, an accident attorney will help you move on from this jarring and unfortunate experience.