A rideshare accident can be especially confusing and complicated for the victims. As with any car accident, those injured in the collision need to establish both who is responsible for the accident and the extent of the damages and losses that occurred as a result. But determining who is liable for paying for those damages isn’t quite as straightforward as it would be in an accident between two individuals because how car insurance works in rideshare accidents.
Determining who is legally responsible for paying for the harms and losses caused in a rideshare accident depends on the victim’s relationship to the rideshare. For example, the rights of a rideshare passenger depend on whether the rideshare driver was at fault or whether the accident was caused by someone else. Similarly, people who are involved in an accident with a rideshare, but are not rideshare passengers, have a different set of rights and options. Finally, rideshare drivers who are hurt in an accident caused by another driver have an even different set of legal rights.
Depending on your case, there may be multiple insurance providers and policies involved, which can make negotiation more difficult, since these carriers may attempt to deny claims. And if you are traveling with other passengers, it may affect the amount of compensation you receive.
If you’ve been involved in a rideshare accident, here are some things you need to know in order to best protect your legal options.
Who’s Liable in a Rideshare Accident?
Like other car accidents, legal liability for rideshare accidents rests on those whose carelessness caused the collision. However, identifying the appropriate insurance companies who will be responsible for paying for your harms and losses in rideshare cases can be especially complex. Further, your options can be impacted by a variety of other factors, including how many people were in the car, who was injured, and the driver’s status at the time of the accident. Coverage may differ depending on whether you were a passenger or a driver or pedestrian who was hit by an Uber or Lyft driver. However, there are typically three insurance policies that should be identified when evaluating your options:
- Liability coverage from rideshare companies. Uber,Lyft and other rideshare companies provide liability coverage for drivers, but that coverage depends on what the driver is doing at the time of the accident. For instance, drivers are not covered by rideshare company policies until they turn their app on and begin accepting requests. Once they log in, Lyft and Uber are only required to offer limited coverage with policy limits of $50,000 per person, $100,000 per incident and $25,000 for property damage. After the driver accepts a ride request, that coverage increases to a minimumof one million dollars per incident. If you are hit by a rideshare driver, it will be necessary to determine the status of the driver before you can begin filing your claim.
However, obtaining adequate compensation from rideshare company insurance can be difficult. Like all insurance companies, rideshare insurance companies have teams of employees working for them to try to lower claim amounts. Additionally, they may attempt to deny the claim if their driver was careless. This is one reason why it’s advisable to contact a rideshare accident lawyer to analyze your case.
- Driver rideshare insurance. Some insurance carriers offer special policies for rideshare drivers to cover the gaps in rideshare company insurance. These insurance policies can offer more extensive coverage than the minimum coverages the rideshare companies are required to provide to their drivers, whether carrying passengers or simply accepting rides from potential passengers. This additional insurance can be very important in rideshare accidents that result in serious injuries.
- Rideshare Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage. In addition to insurance coverage that might protect the person who causes a rideshare accident, rideshares like Uber and Lyft are required by law to provide uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) to passengers. Moreover, you might have your own coverage that protects you in the event of a serious injury. Creating the best strategy for your case often requires an understanding of how much insurance is available to collect from, including UIM coverage.
- Individual insurance policies. If you were hit by a driver who is off the clock — one who has not obtained his or her own rideshare insurance — it can significantly complicate your case, and you may have to fight harder to obtain compensation.
This is because personal insurance policies typically won’t cover vehicles when they are being used for commercial purposes. Carriers will often deny claims made by rideshare accident victims in these situations. A rideshare accident lawyer can help you demand fair compensation for your injuries if this occurs, and help you understand what other insurance coverages might protect you.
Other Factors That Can Complicate Your Case
There are several other things you’ll need to consider as you investigate how best to proceed with your case:
- The rideshare company involved. It’s important to note that the rideshare coverage limits listed above only apply to Lyft and Uber drivers. Other rideshare companies, such as RideAustin, Fasten, etc. may have different insurance policies and limits.
- High potential for denied claims. As discussed above, resolving a rideshare claim can be difficult due to the nature of rideshare driving. Lyft and Uber have teams of lawyers working for them and will often deny accident victim claims as a matter of course, claiming that since the rideshare driver is an independent contractor and not a direct employee, their insurance is not liable for damages.
If you choose to file a claim against the driver’s personal insurance policy, you may experience problems as well. Many insurance carriers will automatically cancel an individual insurance policy if they discover that the insured was using his or her vehicle in this way. Most insurance providers will fight rideshare accident claims made on individual policies, which can make it more difficult to obtain adequate compensation for your damages and losses. A rideshare accident lawyer can help you communicate with these parties and work with you to obtain the compensation you deserve.
- The number of parties involved. Rideshare accidents are much more complicated than a typical accident between two individuals. As a vehicle passenger, you may have to communicate and negotiate with more than one insurance provider in order to obtain compensation. In fact, if both drivers share responsibility for the accident, the two insurance providers may disagree on who is liable — and how much of the blame they share. This makes corresponding with the various parties and negotiating your claim that much more difficult.
If there are multiple passengers injured in the car accident, it can also complicate your case and make it harder to get the settlement you need. Compensation will be split among the victims, potentially limiting your settlement. It typically takes the dedication of a skilled rideshare accident attorney to successfully negotiate for adequate compensation in these instances.
Why Contact a Rideshare Accident Lawyer for Your Case
While it might not be necessary to hire a lawyer to resolve your accident case, consulting with a Lyft or Uber accident lawyer can give you a clear understanding of your rights and options, putting you in the best position to maximize your recovery. Because these collisions are especially complex and often require negotiation with large companies, victims typically achieve better case outcomes with the help of a lawyer. Here are a few reasons why you might consider hiring one:
- Willingness to fight. Because rideshare accidents involve corporate insurance policies, many accident claims are denied — at first. An experienced rideshare accident lawyer will help you defend your right to compensation where the law allows by standing up to rideshare insurance providers.
- Case experience. An expert Uber or Lyft accident lawyer has the confidence and financial resources needed to take on corporate insurance carriers and legal representatives. He or she will work to obtain evidence that will prove damages and liability, and will even take your case all the way to trial if necessary.
- Advocacy and support. Managing an accident case can be difficult, especially if you are trying to negotiate a claim while recovering from an injury. The right personal injury attorney provides guidance on finances, medical care, and other issues in addition to legal counsel.
- An educational resource. Understanding liability and legal rights and options is difficult for those without much exposure to personal injury law. A trustworthy Lyft or Uber accident lawyer will help you make the best choices for your case, with no obligation to pay unless you receive compensation.
How FVF Can Help With Your Rideshare Accident Case
It’s important to hire the right legal representation for your case, especially since there are many personal injury lawyers who are only concerned about their own interests. You won’t find that with our team at FVF. We strive to treat accident victims with dignity, compassion, and the highest degree of integrity. Here’s what our team can bring to your rideshare accident case:
- Superior reputation. FVF attorneys enjoy an outstanding reputation among Austin rideshare accident lawyers. With an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and excellent reviews on Yelp, Google, and AVVO, our pedigree is plainly evident.
- Dedication to outstanding case outcomes. At FVF, our first obligation is to our clients. We will fight — and fight hard — against denied claims and unsatisfactory settlement offers to ensure that you get the compensation you are fairly entitled to under the law.
- Compassion for our clients. Experience is one thing — but it’s also important to find a lawyer who cares about your well-being and is generous with his or her time and advice. That’s what you’ll find at FVF: a caring, supportive ally to help you through this difficult time.
- Education-first approach. We don’t pressure accident victims at our law firm. We work to educate claimants, helping them understand their rights, options, and best course of action — without any obligation to engage our services.
- Free case evaluation. We understand the financial hardships that can come with a rideshare accident. That’s why we offer a no-cost case consultation. We want accident victims to learn about their options before they make the decision to hire an attorney.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a rideshare collision, our accident lawyers can help. Contact us today for a free consultation, and learn how to proceed with your rideshare accident case.