If you are in a rideshare car accident, who is liable for your injuries? It’s easy to request a ride using a convenient app, but you never expect that the ride could change the course of your life.
Rideshare services are increasing in popularity, especially in large cities and metropolitan areas. The convenience of having a ride available is appealing to many people. Services like Lyft and Uber allow you to quickly move around the city without the burden of car ownership, parking fees, and other associated costs.
When you are using rideshare services regularly, it’s essential to know your rights. If something goes wrong while you are in the car, then the settlement can be complex. A serious accident can leave you injured, unable to work, and juggling high medical bills. In this situation, your best choice is to work with an experienced rideshare car accident attorney.
Rideshare Car Accident: Is the Driver Liable?
Since the driver is the one behind the wheel, it makes sense that they are usually the one held liable for the accident. But full liability depends on the circumstances of the accident and which driver was at fault.
Since you were in the backseat and not operating the vehicle, you won’t be held liable for the costs.
Another potential liability remains with the rideshare company. Lawsuits against these companies are increasing in recent years as car accident victims are looking for financial coverage to pay for medical expenses.
Companies like Uber and Lyft are proactive in avoiding liability because each driver is an “independent contractor” not an employee. Rideshare companies aren’t actually employing the drivers – these services are just a cell phone app to connect drivers with customers. The hope is that this business model will add a layer of protection to minimize lawsuits against the companies.
As car accident victims are filing more lawsuits against the companies, the court systems across the country are facing the decision to determine liability. For example, a recent case in California had a ruling that rideshare companies are responsible for the safety of their passengers. As a result, rideshare companies are increasing safety and implementing stricter regulations.
Insurance Coverage for Rideshare Car Accidents
The good news is that rideshare drivers have insurance coverage. This insurance pays for medical expenses for both passengers and riders if something happens on the road. Both Lyft and Uber offer insurance coverage for their drivers: up to $1 million per incident.
This rideshare car accident insurance policy covers:
- Rideshare drivers when another driver is at fault for the accident
- Rideshare passengers with injuries occurring while they are in the car
- Bystanders or other drivers when the rideshare driver is at fault
Additionally, both Uber and Lyft have strict requirements that drivers must have a private insurance policy meeting state minimum coverage. The problem is that insurance companies sometimes cancel these plans when they learn the vehicle is a rideshare car.
In some states, major insurance providers offer private rideshare coverage for drivers: USAA, Progressive, GEICO, Allstate, and more.
Who Pays First?
When a rideshare car accident happens, there are usually multiple insurance policies – from the driver and the rideshare company. In most situations, the driver’s private policy is the first coverage. Then, the company’s policy kicks in for excess costs that the driver’s policy doesn’t cover.
It’s good news that multiple insurance policies are available. Too often, the private insurance policy isn’t enough for expensive medical bills. Even when the policy meets the state minimums, these minimums are often too low to cover everything associated with a serious accident.
Other Insurance Coverage from Rideshare Companies
Collisions and car accidents aren’t the only risk with ridesharing. Other serious issues can arise, often with the driver at fault. Rideshare companies also have insurance coverage for other incidents, such as:
- Rape and Sexual Assault
- DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
Since the companies often hold liability for these problems, the companies are more diligent with driver background checks. For example, each new driver must go through a thorough background check process before receiving approval to drive for the app.
Are You Safe in a Rideshare Car?
Both Uber and Lyft are popular apps, giving many passengers a false sense of security. But just because the services are common, doesn’t mean that you are safe. In fact, there are notable legal concerns about the rideshare business model. If you choose to use a rideshare services, then it’s critical that you know your rights in case a rideshare car accident happens.
Keep in mind that rideshare drivers are not professionals. Anyone can sign up to be a driver. There are no requirements for specialized training or licenses. As a result, you might be getting in the car with a careless, aggressive, or inexperienced driver.
While rideshare companies perform background checks, they don’t meet with the drivers individually. Using a rideshare service means that you could be putting yourself at risk because of the time you’re spending with a stranger.
Finally, it’s common for drivers to work with distractions. The apps function using GPS, which means that drivers might be looking at their phones when behind the wheel. Distracted driving is the cause of serious rideshare car accidents resulting in serious injuries – and even death.
After a Rideshare Car Accident: Recovering Damages
Are you the victim of a rideshare car accident? Then it’s time to file a claim with the insurance company. This process can be challenging. Most insurance providers will fight to avoid paying money.
The best solution is to seek legal support from a knowledgeable attorney who specializes in these cases. Our legal team helps you build a case, file a claim, and settle the compensation as quickly as possible. Our lawyers have the best training and experience to maximize your payouts and ensure a fair outcome for your injuries.
For more information about legal services for rideshare car accidents, talk to us at Shamieh Law. We offer full-service solutions to protect your interests in this challenging situation.