The sharing economy and start-ups have brought many new and wonderful services to consumers, but sometimes the law struggles to catch up to the innovations of technology. In the case of ridesharing platforms like Uber and Lyft, some cities and municipalities have struggled to impose regulations and taxes on individual drivers or the companies as a whole. Ensuring passenger safety through thorough background checks on potential drivers and swift penalties for those who take advantage of passengers has also been a challenge, one left primarily in the hands of ridesharing apps
One area where the law remains clear with regard to rideshare drivers and their passengers is the assigning of liability following an accident. While the law is certain and established on this point, treating an incident with a rideshare vehicle like any other collision, the newness of these apps might lead to some confusion for injured passengers seeking their rightful compensation. Read on to learn what you should do if you are involved in a car accident while using a rideshare app as a passenger.
When an accident occurs, you should remain as calm as possible. If you are able to, assist others who might not be able to assist themselves due to injury or preexisting disability. Do not leave the scene without getting the contact and insurance information of all drivers involved; if there are witnesses, like other passengers or passers-by, try to get their contact information as well. As soon as you are in a safe place, and have had proper medical attention—as discussed below—you should also make the accident known to the rideshare service, preferably in writing.
Even if you do not feel injured immediately following the crash, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, preferably just after leaving the accident scene. Many injuries cannot be detected until after adrenaline has worn off. For both medical and legal reasons, it is preferable to receive an evaluation as soon as possible. Delaying treatment cannot only lead to longer healing times and worse health outcomes, but delayed treatment makes it easier for an insurance company to argue that your injuries were not the result of the accident.
As mentioned above, assigning liability is one area of law that has not had to adapt to the new technology of rideshare apps. As a passenger, you are immune from liability, regardless of the other circumstances of the accident. This is why many people turn to rideshare apps such as Uber or Lyft when they need a designated driver; companies and organizations even arrange discounted rides with rideshare apps following parties to limit their liability.
Whether or not the driver of your rideshare vehicle is at-fault will be the deciding factor in your accident. If your driver is at-fault, your first option is to seek compensation for injuries through the driver’s personal insurance policy. However, unless the driver has a commercial policy, or a special clause in their personal policy, accidents that occurred during rideshares are most likely not covered. In this case, you would pursue a claim against the ridesharing company’s policy; such policies often cover up to a million dollars in loss from a single incident.
If a driver other than the one operating your rideshare vehicle is at fault, you may pursue a claim against his or her insurance policy.
Car accidents can be terrifying, life-changing, or—if you are lucky to avoid major injury—an unnecessary annoyance in the midst of your busy life. Having the right lawyer as partner can help you recoup losses, pay for medical treatment, and put an unwelcome chapter in your life behind you. Whether you have been injured as a rideshare passenger or under other circumstances, call our office today to discuss your options.