Rideshare services, such as Uber and Lyft, have been growing in popularity since they were introduced several years ago. Hailing a ride through an application is an easy and convenient way for people to get around, especially in larger cities.
Rideshare drivers face the same risks as other motorists, however, and ridesharing accidents do happen. Taking the appropriate steps after an accident involving a rideshare vehicle can help ensure that passengers and other victims can recover from any injuries or property damage.
What Should be Included in a Police Report?
Like any other car accident, the police should be called to the scene when a ridesharing accident occurs. Once they arrive, a police officer can take an official report of how the accident occurred. The report should include thorough details, like weather and road conditions, at the time of the accident. Officers can also include contact information of the drivers as well as witness statements.
Having an official report that was taken immediately after the accident is important for accident victims hoping to recover compensation. While the reports are not always admissible in court, they are used by insurance companies to help determine who is at fault. Accident victims will need this information to recover compensation for medical costs, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering in the event of a personal injury lawsuit.
Should I Collect Evidence at the Car Accident Scene?
If a victim is able to collect evidence, they should do so. Taking videos and photographs of damage to cars or other property can help clearly establish what damage was done before the vehicles are taken to another location. Writing down details and gathering contact information can help to supplement the official report if there are missing elements. It is important to collect these details right away as a person’s recollection of events can change over time.
Car Accident Victims Should Always Receive Medical Attention
Drivers, passengers, and pedestrians should be evaluated immediately after accidents. Some injuries, such as whiplash, may not be evident right away, and there may be internal injuries that are not obvious. Seeing a doctor right away can help mitigate the damage and prevent further complications, as well as create a link between the accident and the injury that may be hard to establish later. If a person is severely injured, emergency medical services should be called to the scene of the accident.
Do I Have to Report the Accident to the Rideshare Company?
it is important to notify the rideshare company about the collision as soon as possible. Passengers may need to later follow up with the company to make sure the accident report was received. The company will then have to notify its insurance provider. Failing to report the accident in a timely manner may make it more difficult to recover compensation from the company. The victim should also notify their own insurance company, even if they were not at fault, as some companies require notification about all accidents.
Ridesharing is still relatively new, and it has raised unique concerns about who is responsible in the event of an accident. There can be different scenarios at play, depending on numerous factors, including whether or not the Uber or Lyft driver was at fault. Since there are usually multiple parties involved in ridesharing accidents, it can be difficult for victims to get compensation.
How is the Victim Compensated?
In Virginia, it is required that rideshare companies have comprehensive insurance policies in the event of accidents. The principle behind this is similar to existing rules for taxi drivers, but the use of the app makes it easier to track accidents. Whether the policies are in effect depends on when the accident occurred.
If the driver is using their rideshare vehicle but their app is not turned on and they are not accepting rides, then the companies will not accept liability for the accident. The driver is on their own time and not acting on behalf of the company, so their personal insurance will be used to cover any injuries or damage.
An accident may occur when a driver has the app on and is available for pick-ups, but does not currently have a passenger. In this case, Uber and Lyft provide limited coverage, but their policies differ slightly. Both companies have a tiered structure, insuring drivers in the amounts of $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 per accident for property damage. However, Lyft only provides contingent insurance in these amounts, meaning that the driver’s personal insurance must pay out first and Lyft will cover the remainder up to these limits. Drivers who use their vehicles for commercial purposes may not be able to recover damages from their personal insurance unless they have a special provision in their policy, forcing Lyft to pay the damages.
Once the driver receives a rideshare request, the amount of coverage available changes. An accident that occurs when a driver is on their way to pick up a passenger or taking a passenger to their destination are fully covered by the rideshare company.
Fault in Ridesharing Accidents
If the rideshare driver is not at fault, the other responsible motorist is accountable for any injuries or damage, and their liability insurance should provide victims with compensation. If the driver does not have sufficient insurance to cover all damages or if they do not have insurance, then victims may be able to recover compensation from Uber or Lyft. Both companies have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, which could be available to accident victims.
Requirements to Become a Rideshare Driver
In most cases, rideshare drivers must be at least 21 years old and have valid licenses. While the companies do check driving records before hiring them, rideshare drivers do not have to go through any additional training or education to begin accepting rides. They are as likely to get into an accident as any other type of driver.
Rideshare drivers are also prone to distracted driving accidents because of the apps that they use. As more rideshare vehicles hit the road, the rate of ridesharing accidents appears to be increasing. A study done by researchers at Rice University and the University of Chicago revealed that the rate of fatal auto accidents has increased two to three percent since rideshare services became available.
Should I Consult a Lawyer After a Ridesharing Accident?
If a passenger or driver is injured by a rideshare driver, it is important to speak to a lawyer. Ridesharing accidents are difficult because multiple parties are involved. A skilled lawyer can evaluate the facts of the case and determine if their client is eligible for compensation. Having a lawyer is extremely beneficial if a victim wishes to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to collect damages.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Provide Comprehensive Representation to Victims Injured in Ridesharing Accidents
If you were recently involved in a ridesharing accident, talk to one of our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we have successfully represented accident victims in all types of cases, and we will be with you every step of the way to ensure you receive compensation. Contact us online or call us at 757-352-2237 for a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.