The emergence of rideshare apps and rideshare services like Uber and Lytft have continued to increase in popularity, providing near-instant ridesharing at the click of an app. But they also raise the issue of liability when accidents occur.
And as with any auto transport, ridesharing can lead to accidents and liability issues. In fact, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business analyzed the emergence of ridesharing apps and their popularity according to a resulting increase in motor vehicle accidents and fatalities.
This may not surprise given that the two mentioned rideshare services have made over 11 billion trips in the US since their introduction in 2010. The Chicago study indicated that rideshare services, such as Uber and Lyft, have led to a 3% increase in overall car accident fatalities.
While car accident injuries from a rideshare accident are common, death from a rideshare accident can also happen. Below is a list of steps to do if you or a loved one are killed in an accident with a rideshare vehicle.
Rideshare Insurance Companies
Following a fatal accident that causes a death, the first thing that needs to happen is for the filing of a claim with an insurance company. Each rideshare company has its own insurance policy.
If you are a driver for Uber or Lyft, not only will you have your own insurance, but you will also have the company insurance plans. Each policy details a situation policy dependent upon the driver’s actions and whether or not the driver was assisting a Rideshare customer at the time, according to Nolo.
- Period 0: When the driver is not logged into the Uber/Lyft app, Uber/Lyft provides no coverage
- Period 1: When the driver is logged into the app but has not yet accepted a ride request, Uber/Lyft provide liability coverage for any accident that is the fault of the driver, up to $50,000 per person injured in an accident, and $100,000 total injury liability per accident, and $25,000 property damage liability.
- Period 2: When the driver has accepted a trip and is on the way to pick-up, liability coverage increases to $1 million.
- Period 3: When the rider is in the car, ending at drop-off. Liability coverage of up to $1 million, plus limited coverage for damage to the driver’s car and uninsured motorists’ coverage.
In short, the best way to understand a rideshare insurance policy is to hire an Uber car accident attorney. Car accident attorneys have the legal knowledge of navigating insurance policies, as well as dealing with insurance adjusters who try to take advantage of you and your claim.
Rideshare Driver’s Unique Position
Ridesharing drivers are different from other auto services like taxis or car rental operations as private drivers are being used to provide the service on Uber, Lyft and others.
Often the drivers will not have commercial licenses and the companies providing the services do not regard the drivers as employees. They provide commercial insurance cover, the amount of which will vary depending upon the accident details.
Rideshare insurance provides protection for rideshare drivers in the event of an accident or expenses associated with damage or healthcare costs. Some of these expenses are covered by rideshare companies’ own insurance policies, but others are not.
It is for this reason that an attorney can help navigate the troubled waters of insurance cover and damage liability.
When you drive for a rideshare company you need to be aware that you’re working a ‘side hustle’ that is a sideline business and there are different risk profiles that you need to be aware of.
While the rideshare company may offer some insurance there will be key insurance gaps that you need to be aware of and drivers must know when they will not be covered.
Compensation in a Rideshare Accident
Anyone injured in a rideshare accident may be compensated. One of the first things that you need to do is to gather evidence and write down what happened. This includes having the full contact details of the rideshare driver, including license number, vehicle description and details, insurance company details.
Any information relating to the accident and the parties involved should be recorded, including photographic evidence relating to the accident. There is the capacity to obtain damages in any future compensation claim or lawsuit.
These damages include:
- Medical bills, rehabilitation, therapy, long-term treatment
- Medical equipment used from a helicopter, ambulance, MRI, and even a hospital stay
- Lost wages and future loss of wages
- Emotional damages such as pain and suffering
Some of these damages have a price tag attached to them, while others have the price tag hidden underneath. A rideshare accident lawyer will do all that they can through Texas car accident law to determine all the damages suffered and how much compensation you deserve from these damages.
Hire an Experienced Rideshare Accident Attorney
The use of an experienced attorney who can assist in the case of rideshare accidents, including fatalities, is a key step towards achieving a satisfactory compensation outcome. Remember that different states have different laws and, in Texas for instance, a Houston car accident lawyer will help ensure that you have taken the appropriate steps towards achieving compensation, as well as negotiating the best deal with the relevant insurance company.