Our Atlanta car accident lawyers know that Uber and Lyft have become increasingly popular in the city and throughout the state. The use of these two services, and others like it, has boomed in the last few years. Just a decade ago, no one uttered “Call an Uber” as often as they do now. Getting in a car with an Uber or a Lyft driver has become more convenient than ever.
They may be popular, but popularity does not negate the risk. They are still vehicles, after all. When you climb into a car driven by someone else, you are essentially putting your life in their hands.
If you are injured in an accident while riding in an Uber or Lyft, you may not be covered. There are obstacles that are unique to the circumstances surrounding this type of accident.
- Ride sharing revenues are over $17 billion to date.
- Revenue is expected to increase by more than 15% by 2022.
- Average revenue per user in the United States is $293.92.
If you are like others, you assume that the driver you receive has been properly vetted. You assume that they have insurance, that they have a clean driving record, and that they are as safe as if you had hailed a taxi or jumped on a bus.
Unfortunately, both major ride sharing companies have been accused of allowing independent contractors to drive for their companies without adequate background checks. Some people have found that getting in an Uber is no safer than hopping in a car with a stranger.
When it comes to insurance coverage for these drivers, the picture is not very clear. Uber and Lyft drivers are considered independent contractors. These men and women are operating a commercial vehicle as soon as a passenger gets on board.
Even if a driver has adequate personal car insurance, their coverage will not protect anyone once their vehicle turns commercial. Why? Because commercial vehicle insurance is a special type of policy. If an Uber or Lyft driver hasn’t taken the time to bump their policy up, an injured passenger may not be covered.
Many accident victims have quickly discovered that the two companies will make every attempt to avoid paying out a claim. It affects their bottom line. The companies may argue that their driver should have had their own commercial coverage, or that the accident occurred when the driver didn’t have a passenger. In either case, the company wouldn’t be forced to pay out.
Don’t let this news dissuade you from attempting to be compensated for your injuries. Whether you were a passenger in the Uber or Lyft vehicle or in your own vehicle involved in a collision with one of these drivers, you have rights. Here are some steps to take if you are involved in a ride sharing accident. What you do could make a difference in being awarded compensation or having your claim denied.
Steps to Take
1. Call the Police
The first thing you need to do after you check for injuries is to call the police. Never assume that a bystander or other person involved in the accident has already done so.
It’s not an issue if 911 gets more than one call about the collision. If you don’t have your phone handy, ask someone nearby to make the call for you.
2. Take Pictures
Get out of the vehicle if it is safe to do so and take pictures of everything you see. You’ll want photos of the vehicles involved, damage, injuries, weather conditions, and road conditions.
If you are able to take a panoramic video of the scene, do so. All of this could be used as evidence in the event you file a personal injury lawsuit.
3. Get Information
Get information from everyone on the scene. You’ll want the driver’s identification, contact information, and insurance information.
You’ll also want to note which ridesharing company the driver was currently on the clock for during the accident.
4. Stay Quiet
What you say really can be used against you. Don’t make any utterances of apology. This could be interpreted as taking blame for the collision.
If you think you’ll slip, don’t say anything. Don’t talk to witnesses outside of gathering their contact information.
5. Call Your Insurance Agent
Reach out to your insurance company, regardless of fault. You don’t need to elaborate on what happened. In fact, you’d be better off not to.
Simply provide them with the facts of the accident and answer questions truthfully. You are not required to provide any extra information. Don’t feel pressured to do so.
6. Call an Attorney
Accidents that involve Uber or Lyft drivers can be complex. You can expect a fight from the driver’s insurance company, especially if the company had no idea their client was acting as a driver.
You may end up having to fight for what is rightfully yours, and you will fare better in a lawsuit if you have expert representation.
Don’t neglect to seek medical treatment, even if you don’t have obvious injuries. Some discomfort may show up days later, causing you to seek attention from a doctor. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to prove that your injuries came from the accident and not another incident.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer in Atlanta Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, call our Atlanta car accident attorneys. We will help you schedule a free case evaluation and let you know how we can help you. We are available to fight the insurance company for you and, if necessary, file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Don’t leave your financial future to chance. You deserve aggressive representation.