Ride-share services, such as Uber and Lyft, are part of many peoples’ everyday lives in the Southern California area. Whether you are taking an Uber to work or calling a Lyft for a ride home, you probably rely on one of these convenient services to get you where you need to go safely. However, Uber and Lyft drivers are just as vulnerable to car accidents as other drivers, and knowing how to handle an accident while using a ride-share service is imperative to your safety and well-being. So what happens when your Lyft or Uber driver crashes? Explore the steps you can take in the event of an Uber or Lyft accident to make sure you protect your rights.
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1. Call the police
The first thing you or the Uber or Lyft driver should do after a car accident is to call the police. You should call the police regardless of whether there are injuries or not since a police report is necessary for insurance claims and lawsuits. Having a police officer at the scene of the accident can also help protect your legal rights when it comes to proving that you, as the passenger, were uninvolved with the cause of the accident. If the police are not called, the driver could potentially try to blame you for the accident.
2. Seek medical attention if necessary
If you are injured in any way, you should seek medical attention immediately following the car accident. Even if you don’t believe you are injured, it’s a good idea to go to the hospital for a checkup to ensure you have not sustained injuries that could affect you later. Getting medical attention following the accident can also protect you legally if you experience symptoms of injuries following the accident. For example, whiplash can often cause lingering pain that you may not feel until days or even weeks after a car crash.
3. Take photos of the accident scene and the cars involved
Documenting the accident is an important step to take since many insurance companies and attorneys use pictures and videos as evidence. Take pictures of the accident scene and the vehicles that were involved in the crash. You should also take a photo of the road to document any road conditions and to show the time of day that the accident happened. Make sure you can prove the time and location of your photos. The more documentation you have of the accident and the scene surrounding it, the better.
4. Gather as much information as possible
In addition to taking photos of the accident scene, you should also obtain information from the Lyft or Uber driver and the other drivers involved. Information to gather includes:
- The name and contact information of the Uber or Lyft driver.
- The ride-share driver’s insurance information and the insurance details from the ride-share company.
- The contact information of all other drivers involved in the accident.
- The insurance information for the other drivers involved.
- All information (license plate number, make, model, etc.) for all vehicles involved.
- Contact information of any witnesses.
The more information you obtain following the accident, the better prepared you will be when working with insurance companies and lawyers.
5. Report the accident
If you do not go to the hospital for an injury following the car accident, you should contact both the ride-share company and your own insurance company to make a report, letting them know immediately: “My Uber driver was in an accident.” In most cases, the driver’s personal car insurance won’t make payouts for accidents that happen while they were acting as a for-profit driver. Both Lyft and Uber carry liability insurance that covers personal injuries and property damage, so it’s best to contact them directly. Make sure you have a police report and photos ready to submit in order to make a claim.
You should also consider contacting a car accident or personal injury lawyer as well. The sooner you report the accident to the necessary parties, the sooner action can be taken to make the situation right and to reimburse you for any medical bills or other related damages you incurred.
6. Obtain a lawyer
Ride-share companies like Lyft and Uber are for-profit organizations, which means that they are ultimately concerned with taking care of themselves and their driver following an accident. As a result, seeking legal representation in the event of a car crash while in a ride-share vehicle can ensure that your well-being is adequately represented throughout the accident investigation, insurance claims, and other events that follow the accident.
Tips for handling an accident in an Uber or Lyft vehicle
Here are a few tips to keep in mind in the event that your Uber or Lyft driver gets into an accident:
- Consult with a personal injury or car accident attorney even if you don’t plan on using their services. This will give you the opportunity to learn about the situation and your legal rights.
- Call the police even if no one is injured to ensure the car accident is documented by law enforcement and that you receive a police report for your records. You should take charge and work directly with either the insurance companies or a personal injury lawyer to make sure your case is made and your needs are met.
- If you feel your needs are not being met by the insurance company, don’t settle. Many insurance representatives will attempt to get you to settle with the lowest payout possible. This is true for both your own insurance company and the insurance companies that represent the driver and the ride-share company. If you are unsure about whether you are being fairly compensated, contact a ridesharing lawyer.
It can be a frustrating and stressful event if your Lyft or Uber driver got into an accident. Luckily, there are several knowledgeable attorneys that are dedicated to ensuring your rights are fought for following a ride-share accident. If you are dealing with the aftermath of a ride-share accident in Southern California, call Lem Garcia Law for a pressure-free consultation today.