In An Accident While Riding In An Uber/Lyft?
Courts are still figuring out how to deal with accidents involving ride-sharing apps. If you should you ever find yourself in an accident while using a ride-sharing app like Uber or Lyft, this is what you should do;
1. MAKE SURE THE POLICE ARE CALLED
For your protection, make sure an official report is filed. It is hard to be compensated for any damages, injuries, or losses if there is no official record of the accident.
NOTE: It’s not your job to determine who was at fault in the accident. Let the police officers do their job. You may be asked to fill out a witness statement. If you do, be sure to only include what you know to be objectively true.
2. IF YOU ARE HURT – GET CHECKED OUT
Whether by requesting EMS from 911 or going to the emergency room, it is important to have a professional medical record of any injuries you may have sustained from the accident. This is crucial when seeking compensation for those injuries. If for some reason you are not able to be examined by a medical professional at the time of the accident, try to be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.
NOTE: Don’t be afraid to go to the emergency room. Many injuries caused by car accidents do not manifest until days or even weeks later. That’s why it is important to have professional medical documentation of any injuries. If you wait, it may be harder to prove that your injuries were, in fact, caused by the accident.
3. GET AS MUCH INFORMATION AT THE SCENE AS POSSIBLE
This includes all divers’ info (phone number, insurance info, license plate numbers, etc.). If there were any witnesses to the accident, get their name and contact information as well.
If you didn’t get info at the scene, get info from the app (listed under “Your Trips” for Uber). This will have the time of the trip, the route that was taken, the make and model of your driver’s vehicle, the license plate number, and the name of your driver.
All Uber and Lyft drivers are required to have insurance policies provided through the company itself. In a covered incident, your own personal insurance probably won’t be utilized. With Lyft, you can view the driver’s certificate of insurance all within the app itself.
NOTE: Use your cell phone! In this day and age, everyone has not only a notepad but a high-quality camera in their pocket at all times in the form of a cell phone. Take notes and pictures with your cell phone. That way you won’t lose any of the information.
NOTE: Only gather information if you are able to do so. If your injuries are serious, seek immediate medical attention and do everything emergency personnel instruct you to do.
NOTE: Uber and Lyft insurance companies may try to limit their coverage of any incident if the app is not turned on “Driving Mode.” Think of “Driver Mode” as a way of indicating to the ride-share coverage that the driver is “on the clock” and working rather than driving for personal reasons. For your protection, always ask to make sure “Driver Mode” is turned on and never permit your driver to switch it off, even if they claim it will save you money. Doing so could result in you not being covered by their insurance.
4. GET YOUR MONEY BACK
Chances are, if your driver was involved in an accident, Uber or Lyft will refund the price of your trip. You can do all this from the app even days after the incident.
With Uber, go under the “Help” menu, select the correct trip, and select “I was in an accident.” Uber will contact you with a follow-up and will likely reimburse you for the trip.
NOTE: Be careful. Once the ride-share company learns there was an accident involving one of their drivers the ride-share company and/or their insurance provider will most likely look to resolve the situation sooner rather than later. This takes us to …
5. GET A GOOD LAWYER
Insurance companies often try to take advantage of people who have not retained an attorney. Avoid signing your name from any party before speaking to an attorney. Once you have hired an attorney, insurance companies are required to stop contacting you directly, meaning all of those annoying phone calls and letters will stop.
We have been handling motor vehicle accident claims in southwest Ohio for 32 years. If you ever have a question, please feel free to call. The consultation is always free.