Ridesharing services are growing in Dunwoody. Many people use them for the convenience of an easy ride, but rideshare drivers are not perfect. Sometimes, they make mistakes that lead to accidents. If you or a loved one were injured in a ridesharing accident, you probably have questions.
You might wonder if you can recover money, and how much. What insurance is available? And can you sue the company? These are questions that a Dunwoody rideshare accident attorney at John Foy & Associates can answer during a free consultation.
Lyft and Uber Can Deny Responsibility for an Accident
Rideshare companies handle accidents differently than anyone else. Ideally, a rideshare company would cover both passengers and drivers, but that’s not how it is. The company can usually deny liability when a rideshare driver causes an accident.
Uber and Lyft drivers are independent contractors, not employees. That means it’s nearly impossible to sue the company after an accident, even if the driver was at fault. However, that does not mean that compensation is impossible.
It’s important to understand your legal options after a ridesharing accident. You have ways to recover damages whether you were a passenger or a driver. An experienced Dunwoody rideshare accident lawyer can help if you have injuries from one of these accidents.
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Insurance Coverage for Rideshare Accidents
Insurance coverage in a rideshare accident is complicated. Several types of insurance cover Uber and Lyft drivers at different times. It all depends on the driver’s status in their ridesharing app.
We’ll look at Lyft’s insurance policies to understand coverage, but other major rideshare companies have similar policies. Knowing who you need to file a claim with is crucial for your case, and your rideshare accident lawyer can help you with that.
When the App Is Off
Rideshare drivers use their personal vehicles to transport people. Thus, drivers will use their car for everyday purposes when they aren’t working for Uber or Lyft. If the driver’s app is off when they cause an accident, their own auto insurance applies. In Georgia, all drivers must have at least:
- Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Property damage liability: $25,000 per accident
These are the minimums. Uninsured motorist coverage is optional, but most drivers have it.
If the driver is “off-the-clock” when they cause your accident, you’ll file a claim with their insurance company.
When Waiting for a Ride Request
If the driver is online but waiting for a ride request, their own insurance applies first. But many insurance companies will not cover ridesharing accidents on personal auto insurance. If the driver’s insurance doesn’t apply, Lyft provides third-party liability insurance with:
- Bodily injury liability: $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident
- Property damage liability: $25,000 per accident
You can try filing a claim with the driver’s insurance. If the insurer rejects the claim, you’ll file with the rideshare company’s insurance company to get compensation.
When Picking Up or Transporting Passengers
Lyft provides $1 million in third-party liability insurance when the driver is:
- On their way to pick up a passenger
- Currently transporting a passenger
Some drivers will already have commercial insurance. Others might have personal insurance with ridesharing coverage. In either case, the driver’s insurance would apply first, and Lyft’s insurance would cover the rest. Note that this large policy is per accident, so you may have to split it among multiple victims.
A $1 million policy sounds impressive, and it can help you a lot. But it won’t necessarily be easy to access. The insurance company will work to protect its money. It’s best to work with a lawyer who can negotiate a fair settlement.
Uninsured Accident Coverage
Ridesharing companies will provide uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage sometimes. UM/UIM might apply if:
- You were injured as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle
- Another driver caused the accident and didn’t have insurance
Your own insurance company might also apply in an uninsured accident. Talk to a lawyer about the details, as this situation gets complicated quickly. The best time to contact a rideshare lawyer is as soon as a doctor has diagnosed your injuries.
Responsibility in a Rideshare Accident
The driver who caused the accident is responsible for the damages. That driver’s insurance company should cover the costs. In an Uber or Lyft accident, the responsible party is usually the rideshare driver or another driver.
As long as your level of responsibility for the accident is under 50%, you can seek compensation for your damages under Georgia Code § 51-12-4. However, you will need to prove the driver’s fault in the accident. You’ll also need to confirm your damages.
Always Report a Rideshare Accident
Always call 911 to report a rideshare accident, then call the rideshare company to report the crash. Your driver should have the contact information for their rideshare company. You’ll also want to get a copy of the police accident report.
You will also need to report the collision to your own insurance, but avoid giving too much detail if you speak to any insurance company. Better yet, wait until you have a lawyer first and let them do the talking. The Dunwoody rideshare accident attorneys at John Foy & Associates can help you handle each step after your accident.
Document Your Accident Injuries
See a doctor as soon as possible after your accident. Even if you feel okay, get a physical exam. This is not a time to “tough it out.” Many injuries won’t fully manifest until days after your accident. Early detection means early treatment and a better prognosis. Keep track of all costs you have from the accident:
- Save all medical bills
- Record how many days and hours you miss work
- Save any quotes for auto repairs or other costs
- Write what the accident has taken away from your life
If there’s no documentation showing how injured you were, it can hurt your case. The insurance company won’t be able to evaluate your case and offer a fair settlement. In fact, the insurer will try to offer you much less without proof of your injuries.
Make sure you have proof that you saw a doctor. If you feel more pain later, go back to your doctor. Also, keep up with all follow-ups and follow all advice from your lawyer, like taking medication, going to physical therapy, and taking time off from work.
Other Important Steps to Take at the Accident Scene
Record as much information as you can at the scene like:
- The driver’s name, phone number, license number, and insurance information
- Names and contact information for witnesses
- Pictures of your injuries
- Photos of the accident scene
- Notes about the driver’s behavior
Document everything you can about the crash. Keep proof of every expense you have. We use that information to help you get an accurate and full amount of compensation after your accident.
What Rideshare Accident Victims Can Recover
As the victim of an accident, you have legal rights. You might be eligible for a full recovery of costs like:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical treatment
If you lost a loved one in a rideshare accident, you might have a wrongful death claim. Talk to an experienced rideshare accident lawyer in Dunwoody to know your full options.
Will I Need to Go to Trial?
It’s not likely. Most of the trouble with rideshare accidents is about finding the right combination of insurance providers we need to use to make a claim. Once that’s done, cases are usually straightforward.
However, there is always the chance that your case may need to go to trial. While rare, it can happen. Our personal injury firm has the resources necessary to pursue trial cases on behalf of our clients. Should this be necessary, we will discuss this option with you.
Talk to a Dunwoody Uber and Lyft Rideshare Accident Lawyer Today
If you were hurt in a rideshare car accident, it’s crucial to know your rights. Talk to our rideshare accident lawyers in Dunwoody who can help you get started today. You have limited time to file your claim, and waiting too long hurts your case.
John Foy & Associates has been helping accident victims for over 20 years. We have the knowledge and experience to win what you deserve. Contact us today to learn if you have a case.