Ridesharing accident liability is a kind of car accident law. When you request an Uber or Lyft, the last thing that may cross your mind is that you might be involved in a ridesharing accident. However, as these services have exploded in popularity across Oklahoma, it has become more commonplace for these accidents to occur – and that should concern you. The reality is that ridesharing services are making the roads more dangerous.
As more and more passengers engage these modern services due to their convenience and affordable fares, there are growing concerns among them about the way that ridesharing companies operate and screen their drivers, and what happens in the case of an accident. If you are like many, you are wondering: what happens if I end up in an Uber or Lyft accident? Can I sue the driver or the ridesharing company? What insurance coverage applies?
Here’s what you need to know about ridesharing accidents and liability.
Ridesharing Accident Liability and Fault
As with any other car accident, the first step in determining liability in a ridesharing accident will depend on who is at fault (legally responsible for the incident). To pin the blame on a person, it is necessary for you to prove three main things about them:
You were owed a duty of reasonable care by the person – All drivers, no matter if they are driving a car or truck, have a duty to drive with care which means obeying all rules of the road (e.g. someone who speeds or texts while driving is not obeying the rules of the road).
The person breached that duty of care – The person did not drive carefully or otherwise broke a traffic law (e.g. your ridesharing driver’s speeding or unsafe driving caused your accident).
You were injured because the person breached their duty of care – The accident resulted in your injuries and damages (e.g. you broke your leg because of the ridesharing driver’s failure to drive safely).
If you can prove those three things, you stand to receive compensation in your ridesharing accident lawsuit.
What Insurance Do Rideshare Drivers Carry?
As owners of their own vehicles, most rideshare drivers are covered by their own insurance policies. Because of this, if you are injured in an accident, then you could make a claim with the insurance policy of the driver who is seemingly at fault. This can result in reimbursement for medical expenses as well as other damages; however, the amount that you will be entitled to depends on the driver’s insurance policy. Critically, personal insurance policies are not meant to be used for business purposes. This means that as soon as you step in the rideshare driver’s car, they might not have any applicable liability or collision insurance that applies to you. But fear not: Uber or Lyft’s insurance can come into play to cover you.
How Do I Get Compensated In an Uber, Lyft Accident?
Fortunately, Uber and Lyft provide liability coverage for their drivers. Although these rideshare companies provide insurance coverage for their drivers, the actual coverage that applies depends on the stage that the driver is in:
Stage 0 – At this point, the driver has the app turned off, or they have not logged into their account yet. In this situation, should you be in their car and get into an accident, then their personal insurance policy goes into effect.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t be in the Uber or Lyft driver’s car if their app is not turned on unless you personally know and trust the driver, so this scenario is unlikely. A more likely scenario of an accident in Stage 0 involves you being in another vehicle that is struck by the rideshare driver while they are not on the clock, or involves you being transported by the driver through a service that is unrelated to the ridesharing company that they work for.
Stages of The Accident Case
Stage 1 – The rideshare driver has logged into their account but has not picked up any passengers or accepted any ride requests. At this stage, Uber and Lyft provide liability coverage for any accidents that are the fault of the driver – up to $50,000 in bodily injury per person and $100,000 total per accident. So, if you are in another car when the ridesharing driver hits you, and they are using their app at the time of the incident, then this coverage applies.
Stage 2 – The driver has now accepted a request for a ride and is about to pick up the passenger. If there is an accident, then rideshare companies offer up to $1 million in liability coverage. So, if the ridesharing driver is using the app and is rushing to their destination, and they smash into your car in the process, then this coverage applies.
Stage 3 – The passenger is now in the car. If there is an accident at this stage, then there is liability coverage of up to $1 million, and there is additional coverage for damages to the injured person’s property. So, if you are in the back seat of the Uber or Lyft driver’s car while they are transporting you to your destination, and they smash into a pole, then this coverage applies.
When you have been in a ridesharing accident, things might not work out as clear cut as the stages described above might indicate. For instance, if the driver who injured you was driving recklessly, then the rideshare company may try to deny your claim. Also, if the accident involved a pedestrian that was injured because of the diver’s reckless driving, then it may fall onto the driver’s own insurance policy to pay on the pedestrian’s claim. Further, the majority of personal insurance companies exclude coverage if there is driving for profit involved at the time that the accident takes place. This is why you should make sure that the driver’s app is turned on when you enter their vehicle.
Types of Compensation For Your Automobile Injuries
Medical Bills – Expenses for your medical treatment (e.g. hospitalizations, surgeries, ambulance).
Pain And Suffering – The more severe your injuries, the more compensation you might receive.
Lost Wages – If your ridesharing injury results in you missing work, you could receive compensation for this.
Ridesharing Accident Liability Attorneys Near You
Determining liability in ridesharing cases can be a complex process especially when there are multiple people or insurance companies involved. Also, insurance companies’ lawyers are hired for the purposes of ensuring that these companies pay out as little as possible. For this reason, trying to get the best result possible in your ridesharing accident case necessitates you hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer to get you what you deserve. It is important to remember that you only have two years from the date of your injury to file suit.
If you sustained an injury in a ridesharing accident, then you should contact an experienced ridesharing accident attorney who knows how to prosecute these cases to the fullest extent. At Kania Law Office, our skilled personal injury attorneys know how to hold bad drivers and their companies accountable, and to make them pay you every cent that you deserve for the harm that they have caused you. For a free consultation, get in touch with Kania Law Office by calling (918) 743-2233 or by contacting us online.