For many people, the growth of rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have made transportation more accessible and affordable. But it’s not without its risks. Liability issues when it comes to rideshare accidents are complex. And if you sustained injuries as a passenger, you may not fully understand your legal rights. Who is liable in a rideshare accident, and what can you do to protect yourself? An experienced Birmingham AL Uber accident lawyer at Petro Law Firm can answer your questions and explain your options for obtaining compensation.
What Happens When Rideshare Drivers Get Into a Car Accident?
Unlike taxi drivers, Uber and Lyft drivers are not employees. Instead, these rideshare companies use independent contractors who operate their personal vehicles. Uber or Lyft drivers must meet company requirements and prove that they carry auto insurance on their vehicles. They do not need any specialized training or a commercial driver’s license.
Drivers log in to the rideshare app and indicate that they are accepting fares. When you as a passenger hail a ride using the Uber or Lyft app, you’re assigned to a nearby available driver. Many people love the ease and affordability of Uber and Lyft. However, when a driver is reckless — or is hit by a negligent driver — the complexity of rideshare company liability policies can cause significant headaches.
Who Should Pay for My Uber Accident?
If Another Driver Is at Fault
When it comes to car accidents, Alabama is a fault-based state. That means that whoever caused the accident is financially responsible for the victims’ damages. This includes such things as lost income and medical care. If someone other than your Uber driver caused the crash, you can file a claim with that driver’s insurance company.
If Your Uber Driver Is at Fault
But if your Uber or Lyft driver was at fault, you’ll need to investigate the circumstances surrounding the crash and their level of activity on the rideshare app:
- The driver was NOT logged into the app: You must file a claim with their personal auto insurance company, Uber or Lyft will not contribute to the claim.
- The driver was logged in as “available,” but had not accepted a fare: You first must file a claim with the driver’s personal insurance policy. If it does not cover all of your damages, you can file supplemental claims with Uber or Lyft.
- The driver had accepted a fare: Your injuries are covered by Uber or Lyft’s $1 million liability policies.
Many personal auto insurance policies, however have strict exclusions for commercial driving, like ridesharing. If the driver had logged into the app, but had not accepted a fare, you may discover that their personal insurance company refuses to pay a penny.
For this reason, some responsible rideshare drivers purchase special riders or policies that cover their activities while driving for Uber or Lyft. An Uber accident lawyer can help you determine if these kinds of policies apply in your claim.
Finally, you may also have claims with your own insurance company if you have MPC or UM/UIM coverage. Uber also carries a $1 million uninsured/underinsured motorist policy, which may also apply to your claim.
4 Ways You Can Protect Yourself After an Uber or Lyft Crash
While any car accident can be overwhelming, it’s important to remember a few simple steps to take to protect your legal rights after an Uber accident:
- Call 911 immediately, even if it doesn’t seem like a major wreck.
- If you have any discomfort, seek medical care.
- Take pictures of the crash scene. Get contact information from everyone who was involved in the wreck or witnessed it.
- Call an experienced Uber accident lawyer right away.
By taking these steps, you are creating valuable evidence that documents the circumstances surrounding the accident as well as the severity of your injuries. Any time there are multiple insurance companies involved in an injury claim, it’s more likely that they will try to shift blame to someone else, leaving you in the lurch. At Petro Law Firm, we understand the nuances of rideshare claims. We can help you get the answers and accountability they deserve.
Talk to a Birmingham AL Uber Accident Lawyer
We will do our best to identify which insurance policies apply to your claim. This is an important step when Uber and Lyft carry significantly more insurance than their independent contractors. For help navigating a complex rideshare liability claim, speak to an experienced Birmingham AL Uber accident lawyer at Petro Law Firm today.