January 31, 2022
What Should I Do after a Rideshare Accident?
Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft are making it much easier and more affordable to pay someone else to drive you to where you need to go. Those vehicles are supposed to carry commercial insurance for carrying passengers.
However, the hiring standards do not necessarily ensure your driver is highly experienced and knows the local roads and traffic patterns. Because there are no special licensing standards or training for drivers for rideshare services, you might be running a higher risk of being in a car accident with a rideshare driver.
How to Handle a Rideshare Accident
Surviving an accident while you are the passenger in a ridesharing vehicle is not the same as surviving an accident while you are driving. The issue of fault mostly is decided among the drivers. However, you are a witness as well as an accident survivor.
If you are an accident survivor while in a rideshare vehicle, you immediately should:
- Obtain contact and insurance information
- Get medical treatment
- Hire a lawyer
- Contact the rideshare service
- Request a copy of the police report
Obtaining medical treatment is the most important thing to do after any accident. When you are the passenger in a rideshare vehicle, you are not liable for causing the accident, unless you did something especially distracting. Aside from the potential for causing a distraction, there is no way a passenger could cause an accident.
If you can do so prior to obtaining medical treatment, you need to obtain the contact information for the rideshare driver and any other motorists involved in the accident. If there are witnesses, you should try to get their contact information as well.
Legal Representation Helps to Uphold Your Rights
Once you have the contact information and have undergone a medical examination, you should contact and retain a lawyer. You also need to contact the local police and request a copy of the police report. If you see any errors in it, you should petition the police department to amend the report.
A police report does not have any legal weight in a court of law, but it does enable insurers to deny valid claims based on false information that might appear in the police report. Those injured in accidents in particular are vulnerable to false information told by at-fault drivers that affects their individual cases and causes them to lose settlement money.
Settlement money is supposed to cover the costs of an accident. However, false information could wipe out any settlements.
Report the Accident and Injuries to the Police and Rideshare Service
You need to ensure the police and the rideshare service are aware of the accident. The driver of the rideshare vehicle in which you were traveling might not have reported it to the company for many possible reasons. You need to make sure they know about it and are working to resolve issues, including your potential personal injury costs.
You also need to contact the police and make sure the accident is known and a police report is being compiled. The report could help you to hold one or more drivers liable for damages. However, it might not be accurate or thorough.
Potential Issues with Rideshare Services
A rideshare service is a commercial entity that does not hire drivers. Instead, it has contractual agreements with owners of qualifying vehicles. Those contractors use their personal vehicles to provide a commercial service as independent contractors.
When you are riding in the back of a vehicle that you hailed via Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare service, you are riding in an independent contractor’s car. That driver is supposed to carry commercial insurance while providing paid rides for passengers.
Unfortunately, the driver might just have a private car insurance policy instead of commercial insurance as required by law. And in some cases, rideshare drivers accept passengers without informing the actual ride hailing company.
If either or both situations arose during an accident that you survived while you were a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, you could be left paying for medical bills and other costs.
How a Lawyer Could Help
Whenever you survive an accident in which you were a passenger and have claims for injuries or property damage, you will be contacted by opposing insurers and lawyers. Those insurers and legal representatives are not calling to make your day. They are calling to reduce any liability and eliminate it if possible. Their best hope is to get you to say things that hurt any potential claims that you might file in the matter.
When you have retained a lawyer, that all stops. Insurers and attorneys must contact your lawyer and send all written communications through your legal representative and the respective law firm. That enables you to focus on healing while working with your lawyer to present the strongest possible case.
Your lawyer will schedule any depositions and prevent any negative actions against your credit because of medical bills. When you are an accident survivor, your lawyer is your only legal ally against opposing attorneys, insurers, and false information that could harm your case.
Potential Liability Claims for Injuries and Property Damage
If you are injured in an accident while a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, you might have claims against all parties involved. And if you had any valuable items damaged, those items should be replaced with the cost covered by an insurer.
If another driver causes the accident and is at fault, that driver’s auto insurance underwriter should pay for damages up to policy limits. If the at-fault driver is not the driver for the rideshare service, you still might have claims against the service, its driver, and the at-fault motorist.
An experienced car accident lawyer is your best resource to ensuring at-fault parties pay and your losses are covered.
Norristown Car Accident Lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C., Help Clients in Rideshare Accidents
If you or a loved one has been injured in a rideshare car accident, reach out to the experienced Norristown car accident lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Our legal team will investigate the cause of the accident and will hold the parties responsible for your personal injuries accountable for their actions. Call us at 267-861-7100 or visit our website to set up a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients in Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Chester County, and Norristown.