Up until only a few years ago, you would have used a taxi or bus to get where you needed to go, or perhaps had a friend or family member act as your chauffeur. However, once ridesharing companies came into existence, everything changed. Suddenly, you could simply summon a driver to your location by using an app on your smartphone. Yet while Uber and Lyft have made getting from Point A to Point B more convenient, the fact remains these are still motor vehicles that do get involved in accidents while transporting passengers. If your Uber or Lyft driver does have an accident while you are a passenger, here are some important details you should always keep in mind.
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Determining Who Was At Fault
When a ridesharing accident takes place, it will be very important for police to determine who was at fault for the accident. This will be critical due to the insurance implications, since determining fault will set the stage for which insurance company will be responsible for paying compensation. For example, if it is determined your Uber or Lyft driver caused the accident that led to your injuries, you will be able to pursue a claim through the ridesharing company’s $1 million liability policy. However, if the other driver was deemed to be at fault, your focus will be on that driver’s auto liability insurance policy. As for situations where the other driver was at fault but was uninsured, the $1 million liability policy from Uber or Lyft will again come into play. Since these cases are still relatively new to many attorneys, always put your trust in a personal injury attorney in Northern Kentucky who possesses extensive experience with such cases.
Getting Medical Treatment
Just as it would be if you had been driving your own vehicle when an accident took place, always make sure you seek medical treatment as soon as possible for your injuries. Since police and rescue workers will usually be called to the scene of the accident, never assume you are not injured and thus refuse treatment. Instead, allow medical personnel to assess your condition at the scene and administer first-aid. Also, since you won’t know the full extent of your injuries, it is best to allow yourself to be taken to a nearby hospital for more tests and treatment. By doing so, your injuries will get the treatment they need, while doctors will enter your information into medical records and thus make it more difficult for an insurance company to say you suffered no serious injuries in the accident.
What Was Your Driver Doing Prior To The Accident?
While you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, always make sure you pay close attention to what your driver is doing during your ride. While it does not happen often, there have been cases where a ridesharing driver was found to be driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Also, some accidents have occurred due to a driver being distracted by talking or texting on their cell phone. If you believe any of these actions led to the accident, you should document them as much as possible and turn whatever evidence you have over to your personal injury attorney in Northern Kentucky. If any of your suspicions were also documented by police in their accident report, you will have a far better chance of winning your case and gaining financial compensation needed to pay your medical bills and other damages.
Was The Driver’s App On?
When an Uber or Lyft driver is on duty, they are required to have their app on while transporting passengers. By doing so, you can have instant verification that the driver was acting in an official capacity at the time of the accident. Therefore, when you step into a vehicle, always verify the driver’s app is on prior to beginning your journey. If for any reason the app was not on when the accident happened, it is possible Uber or Lyft may refuse to provide any compensation from their $1 million liability insurance policy.
In these situations, you will get nowhere if you try to handle things on your own. Therefore, you will need to hire an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in ridesharing accidents as soon as possible following your accident. Once the company realizes you have legal representation, they are often far more willing to compromise and eventually do the right thing in settling your case.
Could You Be Held Responsible?
While it may seem unlikely to you, it is not far-fetched that the Uber or Lyft driver who was transporting you may try to blame you for the accident. By saying you did something to distract them prior to the accident, they may attempt to rid themselves of any responsibility. If this progresses to a certain point, you may find yourself unable to gain the compensation you’ll need to replace lost income, cover your current and future medical expenses, and help you recover from the pain and suffering resulting from your injuries.
Rather than be railroaded by a dishonest driver, always document everything once you step into the vehicle, such as the driver’s app being on, if the driver is exhibiting any unusual behavior, or if the driver talks or texts on their cell phone while behind the wheel. If you use your smartphone to make video recordings of these or other situations, your attorney can use this as evidence in court or when negotiating out-of-court settlements with insurance companies.
Don’t Deal With The Insurance Companies On Your Own
When an auto accident of any type takes place, the goal of an insurance company is to pay out little if any compensation to the victims, no matter how seriously injured they may be afterwards. To accomplish this, insurance companies will use a variety of tactics to intimidate or coerce accident victims into making poor decisions. For example, after your ridesharing accident, an insurance company may contact you and want to speak with you about the accident.
While the adjuster may act as if they are sympathetic to your situation, they are in reality trying to get you to say something that can be used against you in court. In other situations, the insurance adjuster may contact you and offer you an immediate financial settlement, hoping to take advantage of your possible desperation for compensation. If either of these situations develop, never try to make any deals with the insurer or provide them with details of the accident. Instead, refer them immediately to your personal injury attorney.
Don’t Sign Anything
While Uber and Lyft love making money off of your need for transportation, they do not like the thought of paying you compensation for your injuries. To keep from doing so, they may ask you to sign various types of release forms which could potentially exclude them from being responsible for any injuries you suffered as a passenger in one of their vehicles. Just as it is when insurance companies contact you, never sign anything until you have allowed your personal injury attorney to look it over and give you advice on how to proceed.
Like any auto accident, ridesharing accidents are filled with various complexities from beginning to end. To make sure you gain the financial compensation you need and deserve, don’t trust your case to just anyone. Instead, schedule a consultation immediately with a personal injury attorney in Northern Kentucky who will fight hard for you from start to finish.