Many people hire Uber and Lyft-type services for basic transportation needs, including a safe ride home after a night out with friends or a way to get home after landing at the airport. These taxi-like services are useful and becoming more and more common.
Unfortunately, as the industry for ride-sharing grows, so does the incidence of accidents. Accidents happen to all kinds of drivers, including Uber and Lyft contractors. If you are a passenger who was injured in a car accident while using this type of service, you can still get compensation for your injuries.
Learn more about what you can do to recoup to recover your health and financial stability after suffering injury as a passenger.
A Question of Fault
Initially, investigators treat a ride-share accident like any other automobile accident. Police determine which driver (if any) was at fault, what traffic laws might have been disregarded, and they give out citations — or in rare cases, arrests — based on the evidence of the crash.
Determining fault is one of the first steps in determining how you will be able to get compensation for any injuries. The driver at fault is responsible to pay for the damages in the accident, including property damage. Usually, this means the driver’s insurance company is the one who ends up paying for the varying costs.
In some cases, no driver is at fault. Instead, the fault lies with others. For example, a bicyclist might have caused the accident. Other factors to consider are poor street maintenance, missing street signs, or even manufacturer error. Your personal injury lawyer can help you get to the bottom of the party or parties that led to your injuries.
The Effects of Insurance
However, in the case of an Uber or Lyft driver, the question of insurance can get complicated. Drivers use their own vehicles, but they use them for commercial business. Their normal driver’s insurance most likely will not cover injuries or damages because the policy is not for business or commercial enterprise.
This type of situation makes it hard to pursue the driver or even the driver’s insurance company for monetary compensation. Your lawyer can suggest a few different avenues to look into:
Some drivers do carry increased insurance coverage. However, that coverage might be limited or capped. These policies can be intricate, and insurance companies try to reduce the amount they must pay using restrictions.
In order to answer the question of who will be liable for accidental damages, Uber has a “back-up” policy to cover up to a million dollars for injuries and other expenses. This money is not easy to access, as it is meant as back-up coverage after the driver’s insurance is used a first-resort.
Your Own Insurance
People often need expensive medical care immediately after an accident. Your lawyer can review your own medical insurance and car insurance policies to see what coverage you can get from your own insurance to help make ends meet.
Working with insurance companies can be challenging, and many people do not realize how challenging it can be to get a fair settlement.
Insurance companies and ride-share companies might call and offer you money in order to avoid a drawn-out lawsuit. You might be tempted to accept the money because you need it, but the initial offers are often less than fair, especially if you do not yet know how your injury will impact your life long-term. Review any settlement offers with a lawyer before accepting.
In a perfect world, the driver would have the correct insurance for their business and you would be able to settle fairly and easily. But there are many complications that can occur with ride-share accident cases. These include:
Uber and Lyft drivers have an app running for every ride they give. This tracks the route and shows the work history. If they give a ride without running the app, the company can claim the driver was not working and therefore not liable to pay any money for an accident, even if you paid for and received the ride through the service.
Lack of Ride Activation
Drivers must show on the app when they pick you up. After they pick up a passenger, the company coverage for accidents increases. If the ride was not activated, then the coverage amount is much lower, making it harder for you to get what you need.
Injuries That Are Not Documented or Difficult to Prove
Keep strict records of doctor visits, procedures, medications, and time off work. These help your lawyer to argue for a fair settlement. Every condition you hope to claim must be backed up medically.
A personal injury lawyer helps you manage each complexity in your personal case. Reach out for a consultation at Garrison Law Firm for more information.