According to Uber and Lyft’s Safety Reports, 99% of Lyft and 99.9% of Uber trips are completed without a critical safety issue. But this doesn’t mean accidents aren’t improbable. In 2019, there were 15,248 victims killed and injured in Riverside County auto accidents.
Have you been in a rideshare accident? There are a few critical steps you need to take to ensure just compensation for your injuries or damage. Rideshare accident claims can be more complex to resolve, as they often involve multiple parties.
Continue reading to learn what to do after a rideshare accident.
Steps to Take After a Rideshare Accident
If you have been in a rideshare accident, you may be unsure where to turn for help.
No matter whether you are the Uber or Lyft driver, the rideshare passenger, or another driver, here are the main steps to take directly after a rideshare accident.
Alert the Police
One of the first things to do after any auto accident is to alert the Riverside police by calling 911.
If the police come to the scene of the accident, you can file a report on the spot. Alternatively, you can also do this at the closest police station.
Currently, you can’t file a police report online in Riverside County for a car accident. For most auto accident cases, the police will need to document the scene of the crash.
A police report is a critical piece of evidence in any accident case. Police reports include vital information on the specifics of the accident. They are the starting point for establishing liability.
Get Medical Assistance
It’s also critically important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you’ve only suffered seemingly mild injuries.
Adrenaline and shock can mask pain, and some injury symptoms may manifest days after an accident.
Seeking prompt medical attention can also benefit your claim. If you delay getting a medical consultation, the other insurance party might try to use this as evidence that your injuries are less serious than you’re stating.
Gather Contact Details
If you are able to, you should gather personal contact details and insurance details from the other parties involved in the accident. If there are any eyewitnesses, ask for their contact details as well.
You should ask for:
- Full name and address
- Phone number
- Email address
- Driver’s license
- License plate number
- Insurance company
- Insurance policy number
File an Insurance Claim
The next step to take after a rideshare accident in Riverside County is to file a claim with your insurance. Because California is a pure comparative fault state, you will need to file a claim with the other party’s insurance company if they’re partially or solely at fault.
Under comparative fault, both parties can share responsibility for an accident. Your share of responsibility determines how much you can claim. For instance, if you were 5% at fault and the other party 95% at fault, you would be able to claim 95% of your damages. The at-fault party’s insurance company is responsible for paying out damages.
Below we go into more detail on how insurance coverage works in a rideshare accident.
Notify the Rideshare Company
If you are in an accident as a Lyft or Uber driver or rideshare passenger, you will also need to notify Uber of the accident. You can do this via the app.
This will increase your chances of receiving any applicable insurance policy benefits from the rideshare company.
Consult a Rideshare Accident Lawyer
A Riverside rideshare accident attorney can investigate your personal injury claim, collect evidence, get witness statements, and deal with the rideshare company and insurance companies on your behalf. An experienced personal injury lawyer will hold the liable parties accountable and help you recover the compensation you deserve.
The Importance of Knowing Your Insurance Coverage
Insurance coverage policies can be tricky to understand. If you’re involved in a rideshare accident, this can add an additional layer of complexity as there will usually be multiple parties involved, including those of:
- The Lyft or Uber driver
- The rideshare passenger
- Third-party drivers
- The rideshare company
The majority of employment agreements stipulate that independent contractors are responsible for their own general liability insurance. However, California law mandates that rideshare companies furnish drivers with additional insurance.
Thanks to this, both Lyft and Uber have insurance policies that apply when drivers are working within the apps. When and how rideshare insurance applies depends on what “period” the driver is in.
If an Uber or Lyft driver is involved in an accident while their rideshare app is off, they are operating as a private driver. Because their activities aren’t related to the rideshare company, they will need to use their personal insurance.
Under California law, all drivers must carry the following levels of minimum auto insurance coverage:
- Bodily injury coverage of $15,000 for each person in an accident
- Bodily injury coverage of $30,000 per accident
- Property damage coverage of $50,000 per accident
Period 1 starts when a driver logs into their app and is looking for ride requests. During this time they are essentially on standby.
If an accident happens during the standby period, the Uber or Lyft driver is still responsible for covering the accident from their own insurance. However, Lyft and Uber do offer drivers additional insurance coverage should their personal insurance not be enough to cover an accident claim in full:
- $50,000 per person per accident
- $100,000 total injury
- $25,000 in property damage
Periods 2 and 3
Period 2 occurs when the Lyft or Uber driver has accepted a ride request and is en route to pick up the passenger. During period 3, the driver is transporting the passenger.
Uber and Lyft both have a $1 million insurance policy that triggers during periods 2 and 3 which covers both the driver and the passenger. The two rideshare companies also offer $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily coverage.
Uber offers contingent comprehensive and collision coverage with a $2,500 deductible. This provides protection for physical damage up to the vehicle’s actual cash value. Lyft also offers contingent comprehensive and collision coverage, but with a $1,000 deductible.
Uber and Lyft drivers may want to consider taking out gap coverage to protect them against these deductibles.
The Critical Role of Documentation
Whether you’re a rideshare passenger, driver, or third party, it’s critical to gather as much evidence as possible after an accident. If you’re able, take photos and videos of the accident, resulting damages, and your injuries.
Note down weather conditions and any other details that might be helpful in proving liability.
If you are a rideshare driver, it can also be very helpful to install a dashcam to provide evidence in the event of an accident.
Understanding Liability After an Accident
Under California’s comparative negligence laws, victims of car accidents receive compensation in proportion to their percentage of fault in an accident.
In accidents with shared fault, victims’ claims are reduced by their percentage share of fault. For instance, if you were 10% at fault during a rideshare accident, and your damages amount to $10,000, you will be able to claim $9,000.
Passengers are rarely at-fault for rideshare accidents, but they might assume a percentage of fault if their actions contributed to the accident. For instance, if they were aggressive, intoxicated, or interfered with the driver’s ability to navigate, they could assume partial fault.
Legal Options for Seeking Compensation
If you have been involved in a rideshare accident, it’s crucial that you consult a Riverside rideshare attorney. These accidents can involve multiple parties, including the rideshare company and their insurance carrier.
The more parties there are in an accident case, the longer it can take for your claim to come through. Communications are often delayed by many weeks, which can jeopardize the validity of your claim.
It’s best to be wary of early settlement offers that don’t adequately cover all of your damages. By enlisting the services of an experienced attorney, you can ensure fair negotiations and maximize your chances of a just settlement offer.
Contact an Uber and Lyft Accident Attorney in Riverside
If you have been in a rideshare accident in Riverside County, the first thing to do is alert the police and seek medical attention. You should also seek the help of a rideshare attorney to aid you with your claim.
Empire Accident Attorneys specializes in Lyft and Uber accident cases. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.