A driver on the phone calling for help after a read-end collision by a rideshare driver.Picking up a ride from a car service like Uber and Lyft can be convenient and sometimes the  safer choice. However, an accident can happen anywhere or anytime, so each rideshare service must have precautions in place to protect their passengers and drivers.

In most places, calling an Uber or Lyft car is easy and quick, but that can’t be said for the accident recovery process. Rideshare companies are notorious for trying to undervalue a claim or lighten the severity of an accident — not only to prioritize their profits but also to game their safety statistics.

Your lawyer will support you from start to finish when filing a rideshare accident claim, providing professional insight and guidance along the way.

The team at Bert McDowell Injury Law is locally trusted and has served countless claimants in the community. Our representation starts with a simple call or click, so reach us at (203) 590-9169 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

Working With an Attorney Can Help Maximize Rideshare Claim Benefits

Effective claim management is crucial to recover a damage settlement after a crash. Your lawyer will thoroughly oversee each step of the rideshare accident claim process by taking over the:

  • Exhaustive investigation: While the representing insurer is reviewing the evidence of the claim, your attorney will be doing the same. It is important to have a second professional opinion during your claim’s investigation to ensure that no details are being downplayed or disregarded.
  • Liability determination: Using the evidence from the investigative process, the representing insurer will accept or deny if they are liable for the crash. Your attorney can review this determination and appeal if there is an invalid denial or partial denial of responsibility. Rideshare drivers are considered independent contractors, not employees of the company, so businesses like Uber and Lyft claim aim to claim less responsibility for the driver’s actions in some situations. To determine liability in a rideshare accident, your attorney will review the insurance policies involved and compare the coverage to the events of the crash.
  • Damage assessment: Once your insurance claim is finalized, there is no going back. If you later find that you need additional medical care related to your crash injuries, there won’t be much you can do. Your lawyer can help you make a thorough report of all your damages to ensure that nothing is left behind.
  • Communication with other parties: An accident is an unexpected stressor that can affect anyone at any time, and revisiting the experience with insurance agents and other involved company representatives may only reignite those strong feelings. Your lawyer can take over all communication and provide updates with important details along the way.
  • Negotiation representation: The rideshare company will start by making an initial offer after receiving all of the proper documentation necessary for the claim. Your attorney will advise that you decline this offer in the event that it is insufficient to cover your full damages. Sending a “lowball” first offer is a common strategy implemented by insurers to make the claimant believe that their case is worth less than it is. Your attorney will combat this attempt to undervalue your claim by providing evidence from your damages, pressuring them to reach closet towards the actual value of your losses.

What Are the Steps to Filing a Rideshare Accident Claim?

It is crucial for a potential claimant to act quickly and efficiently after an accident. The statute of limitations on filing a rideshare claim is two years, but the time flies by faster than most claimants realize.

After a rideshare crash, the next steps will look like:

  1. Focus on your medical recovery: If you intend to file a claim after experiencing an accident, staying on top of your injuries and the healing process is essential. Your doctor’s assessment of your physical condition along with their recommended treatment plan will be critical evidence when determining the severity of an accident. Be sure to strictly follow your doctor’s treatment plan and keep records of all continued visits with medical professionals.   
  2. Obtain driver information: Before leaving the scene of the accident, ensure that you obtain the driver’s insurance information. While you may file a claim with the rideshare company itself, you may also recover damages from the driver’s personal auto insurance coverage.
  3. Report accident to rideshare company: On the app, there should be a button in one of the corners to report an accident during a ride. There, you can begin the process of supplying evidence and documenting initial details. You should also be able to contact a live support agent for further assistance with the app. However, be cautious of the information you share, and defer this process to an attorney if you have any uncertainties or concerns about how your accident occurred.
  4. Gather evidence: You can begin the process of recording evidence at the scene of the crash. Take photos of every angle, including small details like debris and tire marks. Witness statements, police reports, and dash cam footage can all be useful evidence, too. Make sure to obtain witness contact information for later. Also, after the crash, continue to document your injuries’ progression while saving all medical discharge forms and expense information.
  5. Reporting losses: Once you have determined what specific losses you’ve faced, you can report these expenses to the insurance company. Don’t forget to think of the small reimbursements, such as compensation for the damaged clothes you wore that day, as these small payments can add up quickly!  
  6. Your accident claim: All of the information you have collected in the previous steps will be organized in your actual damage claim. Your first report, the related evidence, and reported losses make up the foundation of your claim.
  7. Finalizing a settlement: The final step in settling a claim is determining the settlement amount. While many claimants are eager to get this step over with, one should approach any offers with careful consideration.  
  8. Pursuing a lawsuit and court case, if needed: When a claim does not result in a reasonable settlement offer, you have the option to sue the insurer, rideshare company, or driver directly to compel them to pay for your damages. Cases that cannot be resolved at this stage will progress to a court case, potentially in front of a jury.

How Does Rideshare Coverage Apply, Depending on the Stage of the Trip?

While rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft will cover damages from a crash, the extent of said coverage depends on the ‘period’ in which the accident happened.

  • Period 0: The driver is not logged into the app. The rideshare company will NOT cover any damages for an accident that occurred while the driver was offline.
  • Period 1: The driver is logged in but waiting for a ride. If they hit another motorist or a pedestrian in this period, the rideshare company will typically cover $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $100,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $250,000 in property damages per accident. However, in some cases, the at-fault driver may need to use their own insurance, instead.
  • Period 2: The driver is headed to pick up their passenger. The rideshare company will generally cover up to $1,000,000 in liability. The state also requires underinsured motorist coverage.
  • Period 3: The driver is transporting their passenger. The coverage is the same as period 2 – up to $1,000,000 in liability.

Types of Damages in a Rideshare Accident

Every accident will result in a unique combination of damages, but the most commonly recovered damages from a rideshare accident include:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost income
  • Property damage
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other emotional damage

Uber reports an average of 100 deaths annually that occur during the use of their services. Wrongful death claims are distinct from claims for other personal injuries and can involve an additional set of damages, such as loss of consortium and the costs of funeral and burial.

When Will a Rideshare Company NOT Cover Damages?

In some situations, a rideshare company may only partially accept or outright deny a claim. In these cases, the claimant must file a claim with the driver’s personal car accident coverage or file a formal lawsuit.

For a rideshare service, insurance coverage depends on how and when the accident happened. Companies like Uber and Lyft will not cover damages from a crash if:

  • The driver violates employment agreement: If the driver is proven to be in violation of the driver agreement at the time of the crash, such as by being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the rideshare company may not cover the resulting damages on their behalf.
  • The driver is using the commercial vehicle for personal use: Companies like Uber and Lyft may provide some drivers with a work vehicle, but the insurance coverage on these vehicles only covers accidents that happened while the driver was working. If the vehicle was being used for personal errands, the rideshare company will not cover the damages.
  • Driver acting outside of the scope of the job: In other unique situations where the driver was not following standard protocol regarding the transport of a passenger, the insurance carrier and the rideshare company may deny a claim. For example – if the driver accepts cash for an unrecorded stop and an accident occurs, they will not be covered.
  • Filing discrepancies: Technicalities like incomplete documentation or recording incorrect information can jeopardize a claim. The representing insurer has no obligation to help you file a successful claim, so in the event they deny your claim for a filing discrepancy, it can be confusing to figure out what needs to be changed for the claim to be accepted.
  • Rideshare driver was not at fault: In the event the crash was not caused by your rideshare driver, they cannot assume liability for the damages. In this case, you can file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company.

Commonly Treated Injuries From Rideshare Accidents

An accident can result in a wide number of lasting injuries. After a rideshare crash, medical providers most commonly report treating the following conditions:

  • TBIs
  • Whiplash and other neck injuries
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Chest trauma
  • Fractured and broken bones
  • Internal injuries
  • Psychological trauma

What if My Rideshare Driver Wasn’t Online at the Time of the Crash?

Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft require their drivers to be online at all times while transporting passengers. In the event your driver logs offline, experiences a dead phone, or loses signal causing them to go offline, the company may attempt to deny liability for any damages caused in an accident.

In this case, the passenger can file a claim with the driver’s personal insurance policy or file a formal lawsuit.

Uber and Lyft drivers carry auto insurance from the company while they are online. They are also required by the state of Connecticut to carry minimum liability coverage of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 per accident for property damage (CGS § 14-112).

Connect With a Rideshare Accident Attorney and Schedule a No-Obligation Case Evaluation

An accident is a shocking experience that can leave you with more questions than answers — especially when it comes to paying for your medical bills.

At Bert McDowell Injury Law, our associates are standing by to help you better understand the upcoming process ahead. You can meet with a Connecticut rideshare accident lawyer to review all of your questions and immediate concerns while gaining an understanding of the upcoming claims process.

Schedule a free, no-obligation case review when you call (203) 590-9169 or contact us online.