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What Should I Do if I am Injured in a Rideshare Accident?

February 23, 2022

Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Assist Clients Injured in Collisions Involving Rideshare Vehicles.

The rideshare industry is rapidly growing. The convenience and simplicity of rideshare services and lower costs appeal to many customers around the world as an alternative to traditional taxi services. According to a Statista survey, over 36 percent of Americans reported using an app-based rideshare service in 2018, a 15 percent increase over the previous year. In 2020, top company Uber reported 3.9 million drivers, 91 million active users, and 14 million trips per day.

Rideshare companies do not own, operate, or control the vehicles. Instead, drivers seek out and contract with rideshare companies, using their own personal vehicles to transport customers. The use of private drivers and vehicles presents a unique system of insurance coverage for drivers and passengers alike which until recently existed only minimally and protected only drivers. The sudden growth of the rideshare industry initially allowed companies to operate somewhat independently of state and federal regulations and insurance requirements, as this type of business model for taxi services did not exist.

Recently, however, states have begun adopting requirements and regulations pertaining to insurance coverage for drivers, customers, and pedestrians involved in rideshare car accidents.

After a rideshare accident, it is imperative to get medical help. Once you receive medical help, you should speak to a car accident lawyer to discuss your legal options.

How Does Rideshare Insurance Coverage Work?

In most states, when a car accidents occurs, the injured party files a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to recover compensation for injuries and property damage resulting from the accident. Collisions involving rideshare vehicles, however, is a bit more complex. In Virginia, rideshare requirements and regulations state:

  • If you are a passenger in a rideshare vehicle and the driver is at fault for the accident, you are covered by the rideshare company’s insurance policy for up to $1 million in bodily injuries.
  • If you are a passenger in a rideshare vehicle and another driver is at fault for the accident, the at fault driver’s personal auto insurance is responsible. For underinsured drivers, the rideshare company will provide up to $1 million underinsured motorist coverage.
  • If you are involved in a rideshare car accident in your own vehicle and the rideshare driver is at fault, the driver is insured for $50,000 per person, $25,000 property damage, and $100,000 per incident for death and bodily injury. This coverage is initiated when the driver activates and logs into the rideshare app. If the driver has a passenger in the car or has accepted a ride, then the driver is insured up to $1 million.

Rideshare insurance requirements vary by state, along with covered expenses. Additionally, coverage amounts vary depending on the status of the driver at the time of the accident. The insurance industry divides coverage into four periods of time, depending on the driver’s status:

  • Period 0: The driver’s app is off and operating the vehicle for personal use. The driver’s personal auto insurance provides coverage.
  • Period 1: The driver has activated the rideshare app, but no rides have been accepted.
  • Period 2: The driver has accepted a ride and are en route to pick up the passenger.
  • Period 3: The driver has collected the passenger and are driving to the passenger’s destination.

The industry has designated different levels of coverage for each period. Coverage is minimal in period one and the most substantial in periods two and three. Personal auto insurance cannot apply in period one, as drivers fall under a different category and personal auto policies do not cover using a vehicle for commercial purposes. Recently, many insurance companies now offer a rideshare endorsement that extends personal auto policies to cover accidents that happen during period one.

Additionally, Virginians may also purchase their own medical payments coverage, known as Medpay, which covers medical costs for injuries resulting from the accident, regardless of which driver is at fault. Even those already covered by health insurance can benefit from a Medpay policy, as it helps cover copays and deductibles for emergency medical treatment and hospital stays. Medpay is not available in all states, but many do offer the coverage.

What Should I Do After a Rideshare Accident?

If you are in a collision with a rideshare driver, you should take the following steps:

  • Call 911: Call for the police and emergency medical services. This is a crucial step, and in many states, a requirement. Police will generate a report of the accident that you will need when filing your claim to the insurance company.
  • Remain calm: Remain levelheaded and do not engage in an argument with any others involved in the accident, regardless of how they are behaving.
  • Document everything: Accidents can be difficult to remember accurately, largely due to the shock and adrenaline often caused by the crash, and the scene will be quickly cleared or repaired to restore traffic flow within hours of the accident. To assist your memory and show the scene at the time of the accident, take photographs or videos of the entire scene. Photograph the vehicle damage, your injuries, location, signage, road conditions, lighting, obstructions, and anything else that seems important or contributed to the accident. Note and photograph the location of any traffic or security cameras that may have recorded the accident so you or your lawyer can request the footage later. You can also request copies of the police officers body cameras as well.
  • Obtain statements: Gather contact information from any witnesses and any statements if they are willing, and ask them to share photographs or videos they may have taken of the accident.
  • Get medical attention: Seek an evaluation from a medical professional, even if your injuries seem minor. Many internal injuries and some brain injuries do not present for hours or days, and many can be life-threatening if not promptly treated. Ideally, seek medical attention immediately following the accident or within the first 48 hours. Additionally, the medical evaluation is a crucial document for your liability claim and many insurance companies will deny claims that do not include any medical reports.
  • File a report: Notify the rideshare company of the accident and file a report. Passengers can file a report through the cellphone app or contact the company directly. Make sure that you note any information you receive from the company, such as a claim number. Printing the response or making screenshots is an excellent way to preserve the evidence.
  • Keep everything: Request and maintain all documents pertaining to the accidents, such as the police report, witness statements, medical evaluation and bills, and more.
  • Retain a lawyer: Working with insurance companies following a car accident is a difficult endeavor regardless of who is involved. Given the complexities of insurance related to rideshare vehicles, this can be a monumental task to handle on your own. You should consider hiring a lawyer who has experience in personal injury cases involving rideshare vehicles.

Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Assist Clients Injured in Collisions Involving Rideshare Vehicles

Car accidents involving rideshare vehicles are often complex, given the divided insurance coverage and determining who is liable for damages. If you have been injured in a rideshare collision, our experienced Virginia Beach car accident lawyers can help. Our legal team at East Coast Trial Lawyers will protect your rights. Call us at 757-352-2237 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shore, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.

Areas We Serve

Our law firm proudly serves clients injured anywhere in Virginia or North Carolina on personal injury claims, including cases with traumatic brain injury, spinal and neck injury, wrongful death, and more serious injuries. As Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys with many years experience, our team of lawyers will be ready to fight for you. If you were injured on the job, our Virginia Beach Workers Compensation lawyers are ready to serve you.

Call 757-352-2237 or fill out the online contact form for a free consultation about your personal injury, workers compensation, or other attorney services. Our firm adopts a team approach to every case, so while one primary lawyer will be assigned to your case, you have the benefit of an experienced team of lawyers, all working on your side. We are located in Virginia Beach, VA, and serve clients who were injured anywhere in Virginia or North Carolina.

301 Bendix Road, Suite 460
Virginia Beach VA 23452
Ph: 757-352-2237 | Fax: 757-994-8910