A rideshare driver inputting his next route on a smartphone before driving.Apps like Lyft and Uber have become increasingly popular over the last decade, so much so that the services match or even outperform in demand in places like hotels and airports. Even so, the rising popularity of these taxi alternatives doesn’t mitigate the risk of a potential accident.

A motor vehicle accident can happen anywhere and at any time, so rideshare companies must obtain auto insurance coverage just like individual drivers. These policies are different from ones you may open after getting a car, and they may involve more-complex processes for filing a claim.

Nevertheless, filing a claim is still critical if you want recover financially from the damages that result from your wreck.

After a rideshare wreck, an attorney can offer clarity and peace of mind about the accident claims process, while seeking maximize your settlement for the damages you have suffered. If you have been hurt in a rideshare trip, don’t hesitate to reach out to Bert McDowell Injury Law.

With locations across Connecticut, we aim to help you get more for your claim while avoiding common pitfalls that can leave you on-the-hook for remaining expenses. Find out how much your claim could be worth when you call (203) 590-9169 or contact us online to schedule a free case review.

Who Is Liable: The Rideshare Company or Driver?

Rideshare accidents cause an average of roughly 100 accidents a year, and countless more injuries. Victims often have the option to claim the costs of their resulting medical bills directly from the company, but there’s a catch.

A rideshare driver for companies like Uber and Lyft is considered an independent contractor, meaning that they do not work directly for the company as an employee. Instead, they are contracted by the company to provide a service.

While all rideshare companies are required to carry some type of auto insurance coverage, the limit depends on the specifics of when the accident happened.

Uber and Lyft provide a limit of $1 million in total liability coverage per-accident, but its availability depends on the ”period” that the driver is in. The company offers differing levels of coverage (sometimes none at all), based on the following periods:

  • Period 0: The driver is not logged into the Uber/Lyft app. In this case, the rideshare company will not provide any liability coverage in the event of an accident. Instead, you must rely on your rideshare driver’s personal insurer. Rideshare companies never advise accepting a ride without their driver being online.
  • Period 1: The driver is logged online in the app, but has not accepted a ride yet. In this situation, Uber or Lyft will provide up to $50,000 per person and $100,000 total liability per accident for any accident that is caused at the fault of their driver.
  • Period 2: The driver has accepted a trip and is on their way to the pick-up location. In this scenario, Uber or Lyft will provide up to $1 million in liability coverage.
  • Period 3: The driver has accepted a ride and has the passenger in the car. Uber or Lyft will provide up to $1 million in liability coverage. There is also limited coverage for the driver’s vehicle and uninsured motorist coverage, which may apply in your case.

What Can You Do if Your Rideshare Accident Case Exceeds the Liability Insurance Caps

According to a research report published by the U.S. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, there has been a 3% annual increase in vehicular deaths directly linked to the growing use of rideshare services. This increase has resulted in an estimated 987 additional deaths per year.

The damages from a rideshare accident can potentially exceed the coverage provided by the company. In this case, it is best to consult with a lawyer to assess what your best options are.

Generally, if the company is underinsured, you may attempt to supplement the claim settlement by bringing a lawsuit against the company or the individual driver. There may also be additional coverage for underinsured claims, which your lawyer can help you seek out if it applies to you.

Filing an Auto Insurance Claim With a Rideshare Company

If you have been in an accident in a rideshare car, you’ll have to file a claim with the company and their insurance carrier in order to recover a damage settlement.

Below are the critical steps that a potential claimant should follow to secure evidence and protections regarding their claim. Some steps are time-sensitive, and others are affected by the level of evidence collected, so a claimant needs to be thorough and timely when moving through the steps of filing a rideshare accident claim.

Call 911

Always report the accident to authorities, and request a police respondent to come to the scene. Before calling, quickly assess your own medical condition as well as the condition of the driver and others in your vehicle.

Request an ambulance for anyone who is hurt or who could be hurt.

Report the Accident in the App

A passenger can report a crash from their phone while they are still at the scene of the accident. This is the most efficient way of filing a claim.

It is always best to report the accident as soon as possible, and rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft make it so that you can get assistance from a claim representative immediately.

On either app, you should be able to see an emergency icon in one of the screen’s corners while a ride is active in case of an accident. There, you can begin the process of filing a claim by supplying details and photo evidence.

There should also be a place in your app settings to check on the status of a current claim so that you can check on the progress anytime.

Cooperate With Responding Officers and EMTs

In many accidents, first responders like EMTs, police officers, and even the fire department will promptly arrive to assess the condition of those on the scene and minimize any risk to the public.

The passenger in a rideshare accident should cooperate with requests from first responders, including submitting a statement to police and being assessed by a medical professional. An EMT may suggest that you go to the hospital for further observation or treatment, and it is in your best interest to take their professional advice.

When providing a statement, be sure to note the role of other drivers and vehicles involved, especially if you believe the person providing your ride was the at-fault driver.

Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Even if you deny transport from the EMTs, you should still see a doctor after experiencing an accident. The pain from some injuries may take hours to fully sink in, so you may not realize your true physical condition.

A hospital has advanced medical technology like MRI and X-ray machines to scan you for serious injuries like breaks, fractures, and tears.

Furthermore, the report that your doctor provides after assessing your physical state is a critical piece of evidence in your rideshare accident case. The insurance carrier and your attorney will study this report and utilize its contents to determine details, such as the severity of the crash and your resulting injuries.

Document Injuries and Other Damage

It is essential for a claimant to gather as much evidence as possible in the early stages following their accident. At the scene of the crash, the rideshare passenger should take photos of the vehicle, including the state of their seat after the crash.

Be sure to include small details such as any debris that went flying from the impact. If any clothes have been torn or other property has been damaged, take photos for future reference.

These photos come in handy when your attorney is negotiating the damages of your settlement.

In the weeks following the crash, you should take photos of how your injuries are healing. Whether the bruises and scrapes are worsening or healing nicely, it can be beneficial to have a visual record to refer back to during litigation.

Contact an Attorney

An attorney can oversee all of the steps of your claim, from the point of retaining services to closing the case. Their main goal is to help you maximize the benefits that you recover from your auto accident settlement.

They can do so by investigating the accident, gathering evidence, and helping you assemble documentation of your damages. They will also take over important roles, like communicating and negotiating with the rideshare company’s insurer.

Not only will an attorney’s representation help increase your chances of recovering the full value of your damages, but they can also help ensure that your case is fully documented and included on the company’s regular safety reports.

Call Bert McDowell Injury Law to Learn How to Start Your Claim During a Free Consultation

Getting into an accident is nerve-wracking enough, but the financial aftermath can be a cause of constant anxiety — potentially even preventing victims from moving forward with filing a claim out of fear. It may seem easier to ignore the thought of financial recovery for as long as possible, but the window of opportunity flies by faster than most potential claimants realize.

When the bills and other paperwork begin to flow in, keep an organized file, and reach out to a Connecticut car accident lawyer promptly. They will help you move quickly on documenting your case and negotiating for the maximum amount of damages available, based on your actual injuries and costs.

Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an attorney from Bert McDowell Injury Law when you call (203) 590-9169 or contact us online today.