Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have transformed the passenger transportation business in many areas of the world. In most accidents involving rideshare vehicles, passengers are covered by Uber’s or Lyft’s insurance policy, but “being covered” may not be enough.
Lyft and Uber offer a number of amenities to consumers, and a ride with Lyft or Uber typically costs less than a cab ride. Some customers, however, have not considered the liability and insurance issues that can emerge when a rideshare vehicle is involved in a traffic accident which is why you should speak to a Bronx personal injury lawyer.
WHAT SHOULD LYFT AND UBER PASSENGERS KNOW?
Here in New York City, Lyft and Uber are popular and convenient consumer services, but if you’re injured in an accident involving Lyft or Uber, the legal complications may be vast. When you use any rideshare service, you need to know the answers to these questions:
- Exactly what is the insurance coverage, and exactly how does it work?
- What legal rights do you have if you are injured?
- When an Uber or Lyft driver causes an injury, is the company liable, or just the driver?
After a traffic collision with injuries in New York, an injured victim of negligence is entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost income, and other accident-related damages. But precisely how does personal injury law apply when a crash involves rideshare vehicles and drivers?
HOW UBER’S INSURANCE WORKS
Liability coverage with Uber and Lyft differs depending on whether the driver is not in service, in-service but without a passenger, en route to a passenger, or en route with a passenger. A New York passenger who’s injured riding in an Uber vehicle is covered by a one-million-dollar liability policy as well as a one-million-dollar uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.
And no matter who was negligent and caused an accident, when a rideshare vehicle carries a fare-paying passenger, the injured pedestrians, passengers, and anyone else injured in another vehicle is “covered” by Uber’s liability policy.
WHAT IF A RIDESHARE DRIVER ISN’T WORKING WHEN A CRASH HAPPENS?
So if a passenger is in the vehicle, a million dollars in coverage applies, but if the driver is not working, has no passenger, and crashes into you or your vehicle, the only coverage available will be whatever is provided by that driver’s personal auto insurance policy.
In these cases, an injury claim may be pursued against a negligent driver with a good attorney’s help, but if an Uber or Lyft driver was not on duty and carried no passengers, the accident will be handled like any accident between two private motorists in private vehicles.
Finally, what if an Uber driver is “on duty” but without a passenger? If an Uber driver is without a passenger but is working and has Uber’s app open, and if an accident happens, Uber offers to beef up that driver’s personal auto insurance with additional liability coverage of $100,000.
WHY “BEING COVERED” MAY NOT BE ENOUGH
But again, being “covered” may not be enough, and obtaining compensation may be a challenge. Companies that insure rideshare drivers are like every other auto insurance company. An auto insurance company may try to deny your injury claim or to pay you less than the claim is worth.
For example, if you are injured in a collision, an auto insurance company may offer you a quick settlement. Don’t take it. Quick settlement offers will be low offers.
The right lawyer can almost undoubtedly win a more reasonable settlement amount for you. If you accept an immediate settlement offer, you forfeit any right to additional compensation in the future and any right to take further legal action.
AFTER AN UBER OR LYFT CRASH, WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE?
If you are injured in a collision that involves Lyft or Uber, summon medical assistance and call the police at once. Get details from the other driver or drivers – names and personal contact information along with contact information for the automobile insurance company or companies.
Take plenty of photos of the vehicle damages, the general crash site, and your own visible injuries. If witnesses saw the accident, ask them for their personal contact details. Your attorney may need their statements or testimony.
Have a medical exam within twenty-four hours of any traffic mishap. If you don’t, latent and undetected injuries may emerge as medical conditions days or even weeks after the initial injury. You will also need the medical paperwork an exam provides if you file an injury claim.
DON’T TALK TO THE INSURANCE COMPANY – THAT’S YOUR LAWYER’S JOB
If you are injured in an accident that involves Lyft or Uber, don’t make any statement, recorded or in writing, to an auto insurer, and do not sign anything before you have received advice from a Bronx personal injury lawyer who has experience with Lyft and Uber accident cases.
Here’s what you need to remember: If a careless rideshare driver injures you while that driver is working, you can pursue an injury claim against the rideshare company. If the driver was not working, your claim is against the driver – and his personal auto insurance – alone.
IS THERE A DEADLINE FOR TAKING LEGAL ACTION?
If you are hurt by any careless driver in New York State, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is three years from the date of the accident. But do not wait three years to seek an attorney’s help. You’ll need that help immediately.
If your injury keeps you out of work, your monthly obligations and accident-related medical bills will pile up fast. But how can you retain an attorney if you’re not able to work and the bills are mounting?
HOW DOES THE “CONTINGENT FEE” SYSTEM WORK FOR INJURY VICTIMS?
The answer is good news for the injured victims of negligence. The “contingent fee” system in New York State personal injury cases lets every victim of negligence – whether you’re affluent or your means are more modest – seek justice.
How does a contingent fee work? You pay no attorney’s fee in a personal injury case unless and until you are compensated. A first legal consultation is also free with no obligation. An attorney will review the case and suggest the best way to proceed – which may be with an injury claim.
You’ve been reading a general overview of accidents involving rideshare companies, but every accident is different, and you’ll need personalized advice. If you have been hurt by negligence in any traffic crash, let a good injury attorney explain your rights and fight for your compensation.