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When Should You Hire a Lawyer if an Uber Accident Occurs?

Posted in Blog on April 6, 2020

In a world of tough parking, traffic congestion, and the desire to travel safely, ridesharing has become a popular way to get from place to place. With options that allow for easy pickup and simple payment, people of all ages turn to apps like Uber and Lyft to get from “point A” to “Point B” with the expectation of arriving quickly and safely. 

But, as the number of rides that happen on these apps rises exponentially, there are also some potential dangers when it comes to rideshare. 

While generally, using these services to get around is fairly safe, like any other time you take a car out into the open road, the chances of an accident are certainly there. While these can range from fairly minor dings and fender benders to large scale, multi-car accidents, there is always a certain amount of risk when riding in someone else’s vehicle. This can be for a multitude of reasons, including the fact that you probably won’t know how someone’s car is truly being cared for (and the maintenance they’re putting into it). It’s also very probable that you won’t know how safe someone actually drives until you’re in their passenger seat and see them live behind the wheel. 

If an accident does happen, what kind of protection does an Uber Driver have for themselves and their passengers?

The insurance coverage that an Uber driver has depends on where the Uber driver falls in terms of work phases. Below is a brief breakdown of what each work phase actually entails as far as insurance protection goes. 

— Offline

If a driver is not signed into the app and is not currently working, they are considered to be “offline.” When this happens, the driver’s personal insurance is what covers them and their passengers in case any accidents or damages occur. 

— Available or Waiting

If a driver is signed into the app, but is still waiting on a ride request to come through, they’re considered “available” or “waiting.” 

In this case, there is a third-party liability if the driver’s personal insurance doesn’t apply. 

— Picking Up
If a driver is currently on the way to fulfil a ride request that came through on the app, they’re in the “picking up” phase. The insurance required while actually executing a request for a ride is typically the following:

  • $1,000,000 coverage for third‑party liability
  • $500,000 Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance for bodily injury
  • Contingent comprehensive and collision coverage, which can go up to the actual cash value of the driver’s car

So, what should I do if an accident actually happens? 

If you’re in an Uber or Lyft car as a passenger when an accident occurs, you’ll want to remember a few simple tips for getting through the ordeal: 

    1. Above all else, be safe
      More than anything, you want to make sure that your driver is able to move to a safe location, where you can safely assess if anyone in the car has any injuries. This is one of the most important things to remember since the success of all other tips here depends on your safety first and foremost.
    2. Call the police
      Whether it’s you or your driver, someone needs to notify the authorities that an accident has occurred, your location, and whether there are any injuries that need to be treated.
  • Contact a lawyer immediately
    Although you may not know whether you have a case, it’s important to call representation right away to ensure you’re asking the right questions, completely aware of your rights, and that you know all of your options when it comes time to make decisions.
  1. Document your experience
    If you’re able, be sure to take pictures, and write down any injuries or recollections you have about how and when the accident occurred. This can not only help you to keep an ongoing record of your experience, but it will also allow you to write down what you’re feeling as it’s happening, ahead of any hectic conversations or issues that could make you forgetful. 
  • See a doctor
    Even if you feel fine, remember that your adrenaline may be running high, and those car accidents can often leave you with injuries that you won’t feel until later. Common injuries, like whiplash, are often not felt at the time they’re received and maybe felt the next day, or felt more intensely over the coming days. Make it a point to visit a doctor so that he or she can give you a thorough examination, and make sure you have no hidden injuries that are unseen to the untrained eye. 

Anytime an accident occurs, potential damages could be awarded, making it that much more important to call a lawyer immediately. These damages can range from economic, including medical bills and lost income, to non-economic, like pain and suffering. While any awarded damages may not make up for the event that occurred, they can certainly help with bills and fees that must be paid as a result of the accident. This makes it even more imperative to know who to turn to should an accident occur. 

Rideshare accidents can be scary and difficult to navigate. In short, any rideshare accident that you’re involved in deserves a call to a lawyer to ensure you’re not missing any opportunities to protect yourself, and to get the help that you deserve. Remember, even though you’re in a car that isn’t your own, you have a number of options and rights to help protect you, and others involved.