Over the last few years, individuals around the world have taken advantage of rideshare drivers to get them to where they want to go. Many people choose rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft over taxis or public transportation because they are often affordable and flexible, and easily accessible through a smartphone app. Users can locate and hire an Uber or Lyft driver in a matter of seconds after getting off a plane or a train, regardless of the time of day or the day of the week, as rideshare drivers in many cities and countries are available 24/7.
One caveat with rideshare services is that they are not exempt from accidents, and if you are a frequent rideshare user, chances are you may find yourself in an accident at some point. In the first quarter of last year, more than 20 million riders took Lyft trips in the US and Canada, and Uber users globally took up to 19 million visits per day. That is a lot of rides and a lot of driving. With that much mileage, there will also be accidents.
Yes, Rideshare Drivers Have Insurance
The two most popular rideshare companies, Uber and Lyft, have a requirement that their drivers have personal car insurance. Uber and Lyft also recommend that their drivers add rideshare insurance to their policies. Rideshare insurance is recommended since rideshare drivers use their personal vehicles for business purposes. Uber and Lyft offer company insurance to their drivers and are meant to fill in any gaps in coverage. Their driving record determines the amount of company insurance for which they are eligible for rideshare drivers. For example, an Uber driver with a clean driving record may pay a lower premium than a driver who has had an accident, speeding tickets, or other moving violations.
When it comes to an Uber or Lyft accident, drivers have insurance covering accidents involving the following three scenarios, and additional insurance covers accidents that happen outside of the conditions discussed below.
- The driver is covered if the smartphone rideshare app is on: This means that the driver was working and available for rides when the accident occurred.
- The rideshare driver is covered if an accident happens while a passenger is in the car.
- The driver is covered in the event of an accident if a rider is accepted, and when the driver leaves to pick up the rider
How do I Handle a Lyft or Uber Accident?
Accidents do happen, and they can cause severe harm, injury, and even death. Three years ago, Uber accidents resulted in 49 deaths, and in 2018, that number increased to 58. If you are a rider who has been in a rideshare accident as a passenger, call 911 immediately and ensure that everyone involved is out of the way of traffic and is safe. It is company policy for both Uber and Lyft to call 911 if anyone is hurt, and they do have accident-reporting capabilities built into their rideshare apps.
“Filing a lawsuit is not always necessary to recover financially after an auto accident,” says Ottawa car accident attorney Charles Gluckstein of Nicholson Gluckstein Lawyers. “In many cases, the no-fault insurance coverage that all Ottawa drivers are required to carry will provide the compensation needed after a collision, regardless of who is responsible for the car wreck.”
If you have been involved in an Uber or Lyft accident, and are experiencing any pain, get medical help right away, and if possible, take notes and even photos of the scene. Records and documentation are essential if you file a personal injury claim. It is also necessary to save all of your emails and texts with rideshare drivers and customer service. Documentation is especially crucial depending upon the country and the state you are in during the accident and will affect filing a lawsuit. For example, in Georgia, liability lies with the driver because they are independent contractors. Know your legal rights, and be sure to follow insurance and accident-reporting guidelines if you wish to pursue legal action. Before disclosing any statements or comments with rideshare company personnel, contact an attorney first.
Accidents happen, and they can cause emotional, physical, and financial hardship for any individual. And when it comes to rideshares, the circumstances can get complicated. It is vital to know what your rights are in such a situation. A qualified attorney can help you navigate all the details and determine whether you are due compensation for any resulting injuries or hardships.