How to Protect Yourself from Personal Injury During Lyft and Uber Rides

January 27, 2020


Accidents Do Happen in Lyft and Uber Rides

Accidents of any kind can carry devastating repercussions, even if you were a passenger in a rideshare service like Uber and Lyft. In fact, new reports indicate rideshare accidents are on the rise. While many of us choose to take Uber or Lyft as a safe alternative to driving ourselves, this doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk. This is why it is essential to know how to protect yourself from personal injury when taking an Uber or Lyft. The more prepared you are, the better the outcome of any potential case will be.

The purpose of today’s blog is to take a closer look at rideshare accidents and help victims understand their rights. The tips we will go over below are designed to protect you from injury in the event of an unexpected accident. However, it is important to keep in mind that sometimes, regardless of how careful you are, accidents happen. If you find yourself in the middle of a rideshare accident case in Dallas, contact Shamieh Law. Our experienced car accident lawyers have represented clients in similar situations and are prepared to discuss your case today. We understand how stressful any type of accident can be, which is why we are committed to helping you get the compensation you deserve. If you have questions after this article, please do not hesitate to contact Shamieh Law and schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Uber and Lyft accident attorneys.

What is Ridesharing?

Uber was the first rideshare service to hit the market in 2009, followed a few short years later by Lyft in 2012. Since then, both rideshare companies have experienced exponential growth. In 2018 alone, a reported 95 million people [1] used the Uber app each month. If you’ve never taken a rideshare service before, you may be scratching your head, wondering what, exactly, it is. By definition, ridesharing is “the sharing of rides or transportation or relating to a car service with which a person uses a smartphone app to arrange a ride in a usually privately-owned vehicle.”

Basically, it is a way to get from one place to another using a car service. Whether you opt for Uber after a night out on the town, or you want to reduce your carbon footprint by sharing a ride with others, these services have completely changed the transportation industry. However, it is important to remember that accidents can still happen – even in an Uber or Lyft.

Common Causes of Rideshare Accidents

Many Uber and Lyft drivers work long hours that are seriously demanding. The more rides they pick up, the more money they will make. Unfortunately, this means that rideshare service drivers don’t always implement the safest driving methods to get their passengers to their destination. This is just one reason why Uber and Lyft accidents are on the rise [2]. Since 2011, the U.S. has seen a 2 to 3 percent increase in traffic deaths because of rideshare accidents. According to one study, rideshare drivers spend between 40 and 60 percent of their time looking for passengers, also known as “deadheading.” This creates congestion in busy cities like Dallas and means there are more cars on the road at a given time.

Some of the most common causes of rideshare accidents in the Dallas area include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving while tired or fatigued
  • Failure to properly maintain a vehicle
  • Not stopping at stop signs or red lights
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Bad weather
  • Road rage
  • Not understanding the road conditions
  • Inexperience
  • Violence

Tragically, we have seen numerous rideshare accidents that have nothing to do with driver mistakes or negligence. Just this week in South Carolina, an Uber driver fatally shot a passenger[3] following an altercation, and this isn’t the first incident of this nature. When you take a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft, you must be alert and take note of your surroundings. Although the majority of drivers have your best interests in mind and will do everything they can to get you to your destination safely, this isn’t always the case.

I’ve Been in an Accident with Uber, Now What?

If you find yourself amid a rideshare accident, one of the first things to keep in mind is that the insurance situations can be quite complex. Although Uber has a $1 million insurance policy, it is not as straightforward as it could be. When trying to figure out how this coverage applies to you, the first thing to keep in mind is that coverage is based on the driver’s actions. What we mean by this is that if a driver is using his or her car for personal business and isn’t accepting rides at the time of the accident, the policy won’t matter. However, if an Uber driver is available for trips but doesn’t have a passenger when the accident occurs, their personal insurance coverage will be important, but not the $1 million policy.

The only time this coverage kicks in is when an Uber driver has a current passenger in their vehicle when the accident happens. In this scenario, the driver and any passengers are covered under the $1 million insurance policy.

Other things to keep in mind following an accident in an Uber or Lyft include:

  • Seek medical attention immediately
  • Contact the police
  • Document the accident
  • Never admit fault
  • Talk to any witnesses and exchange information
  • Consult an experienced Uber and Lyft accident attorney
  • Report the accident to Uber or Lyft
  • Talk to your insurance company

Tips for Preventing Lyft and Uber Accidents 

Here are a few tips for protecting yourself from personal injury during an Uber or Lyft ride:

  • Wait inside until your ride arrives, if possible
  • Check the license plate number and make sure you are getting into the right car with the correct driver [4]
  • Make sure the driver confirms your name
  • Always wear your seat belt
  • Protect your personal information
  • Listen to your intuition
  • Be respectful and kind
  • Provide accurate feedback about your trip
  • Don’t ride alone, if possible
  • Use trip-sharing features to ensure someone knows where you are
  • Consider other personal safety technology and features, such as the iWitness app
  • Be aware of the traffic around you
  • Don’t distract the driver

We hope the above tips will help you stay safe during your next ride. If you are involved in an accident with an Uber or Lyft, contact Shamieh Law today and schedule a free consultation.