After a ridesharing accident, emotions can run high, which makes the situation feel scary and confusing. However, staying calm and working through the right steps can help you a lot in the long run. Whether you’re a ridesharing driver, a passenger, a pedestrian, or the driver of another vehicle, here’s what you should do after a ridesharing accident.
If you drive for Uber, Lyft, or any other ridesharing company, you should review the company’s accident protocol before you start picking up passengers. Then, you know what steps you are expected to take after a ridesharing accident. In most cases, you should do the following.
- Make sure your passenger is okay — Tell the passenger to stay in the vehicle until you move it to a spot where you can both safely get out. Then, ask them if they are okay. You don’t have to give the passenger your personal details, but you should not stop them from reporting the accident in the app.
- Report the accident — As soon as you can, report the accident to the police. An accident report is essential for making insurance claims and for establishing who was at fault. Reporting the accident is also legally required in most areas.
- Get details about other driver — While you wait for the police to arrive, get the other driver’s name and insurance details. If they leave the scene of the accident, try to snap a photo or write down their license plate number so that you can make a report.
- Talk with witnesses — Eyewitness testimony can be essential, especially in terms of proving who was at fault for the accident. If you see any bystanders, ask for their names and phone numbers and see if they are willing to stick around and talk with the police about what they saw.
- Don’t admit fault — While talking with the other driver, witnesses, and your passengers, be careful about what you say. Don’t admit fault for the accident. If you know you caused the accident, you don’t have to lie and say you’re innocent, but to protect yourself from a liability standpoint, you should just not share any details right away. In many cases, both drivers contribute to the accident, and if the other driver was partially at fault, that can reduce your liability for the accident.
- Contact the ridesharing company — If you had a passenger in the car, you should also contact the ridesharing company, but keep in mind that most ridesharing companies deactivate your account until they know whether or not you caused the accident, which can affect your ability to keep working.
When you have a passenger in the vehicle, the ridesharing company’s insurance covers your liability for damage and injuries. You should not have to pay a deductible for that coverage, but you should expect to pay a deductible if you make a claim on the ridesharing company’s insurance to cover damage to your vehicle. As of 2019, Uber’s coverage for drivers has a $1,000 deductible, and Lyft has a $2,500 deductible for collision and comprehensive coverage and no deductible for liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
If you were not using the app at the time of the accident, you have no coverage through the ridesharing company, and you don’t need to contact the company right away. However, ridesharing companies often have stipulations about their driver’s accident records; so, eventually you need to let the ridesharing company know that you were involved in an accident.
- Contact your insurer — To drive for a ridesharing company, you need your own insurance, and depending on when the accident happened, you may have to make a claim on your own policy. As indicated above, ridesharing companies have extensive liability plans to cover accidents if you have a passenger in the vehicle. If you are on the way to pick up a passenger or waiting to get ride request, you also have access to some liability coverage through most ridesharing companies. However, if you caused the accident, your insurance may have to cover damage sustained to your vehicle.
If you get into an accident with a ridesharing driver, you should take the steps you normally take after an accident, but you should keep in mind that you may need to contact two insurance companies. Follow these tips.
- Get to safety — After any accident, safety is your number one concern. Get your vehicle and yourself to a safe position. Then, start to address critical injuries. If anyone involved in the ridesharing accident appears to have neck or back injuries, do not move them or you risk exacerbating the damage.
- Contact the first responders — If anyone is injured, call 911 to get an ambulance to the scene as quickly as possible. In the absence of critical injuries, you can call the non-emergency number to report the accident to the police in your area.
- Ask the ridesharing driver for details — Talk with the ridesharing driver to get their name, the name of the ridesharing company, and their license plate number. Also, get contact details for both the ridesharing company’s insurance provider and the driver’s personal insurance provider. Do not admit fault when talking with the other driver. Even when the police arrive, remember that you always have the right to remain silent or request to have an attorney present before you talk to anyone about the details.
- Document the accident — The more information you have about the accident, the easier it becomes to make a claim. Document the accident by taking photos of your vehicle, the other vehicle, and any injuries that you see on yourself or your passengers. Also, make notes while the event is fresh in your mind, and if you see any witnesses, ask them for their impressions and take their names and phone numbers.
- Contact your insurance company — After taking care of everything at the scene of the accident, call your insurance company. Let them know what happened and give them the details you collected at the scene of the accident. With minor accidents, your insurer can usually handle the rest of the claim, but if you suffered serious injuries or extensive damage to your vehicle, you may want to contact a ridesharing accident attorney to negotiate with the other insurance companies, the ridesharing driver, and the ridesharing company.
Ridesharing passengers are covered by relatively extensive liability plans. As a passenger, you are always innocent, except in rare situations where you contribute to the accident. For instance, if an inebriated passenger distracts the driver to the point of causing an accident, the passenger may be deemed responsible, and they may have to cover part of their damages on their own. Luckily, that’s an extremely rare situation, and in most cases, you should simply follow these steps after a ridesharing accident:
- Seek medical treatment — Even if you don’t have any visible injuries, you should still seek medical treatment. In accidents, you often get a rush of adrenaline which can prevent you from feeling pain. Additionally, some injuries such as concussions and internal bleeding can be asymptomatic right away.
- Report the accident — The ridesharing driver and any other drivers involved in the accident should make a report to the police. If you don’t see that happening, you can also call 911 or the non-emergency number in your area. In addition, make sure to report the accident to the ridesharing company.
If you’re in an accident involving a Lyft, you can contact the company’s safety team. You can report Uber accidents online — the person who booked the ride, their friends or family who are also in the Uber, bystanders, and pedestrians can all use this online form.
- Seek legal help — As a passenger in a vehicle that gets into an accident, you can face all kinds of injuries. You may even end up missing work, suffering a permanent disability, or incurring other damages. To ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries, you may want to seek legal help.
Pedestrians and Bicyclists
Tragically, ridesharing drivers have hit numerous pedestrians and bicyclists over the years and the injuries from these accidents can be extensive. If you are hit by a ridesharing vehicle, get to safety and then follow these steps:
- Call the first responders — Call the police to report the accident and ask the dispatcher to send an ambulance if necessary. Keep in mind that some injuries may not surface right away so you may want to get medical help even if you don’t think you need it.
- Get the driver’s information — Gather as much information as you can about the driver. If you don’t feel comfortable talking with them, take a picture of their vehicle that shows the license plate clearly.
- Speak up — When the police arrive, make sure they hear your side of the story. If there are witnesses nearby, also ask them to speak with the police. You need to ensure that the ridesharing driver doesn’t try to misrepresent what happened.
- Start an insurance claim — To get financial help to cover medical bills or other damages suffered as a result of the accident, contact the ridesharing company’s insurance provider. Your own car insurance may also offer some coverage when you are hit as a bicyclist or a pedestrian.
- Contact a ridesharing attorney — Ridesharing companies are notorious for denying claims, especially if their drivers didn’t have a passenger in the vehicle and weren’t responding to a ride request. To ensure you are justly compensated for your injuries, you may need to work with a ridesharing attorney.
At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we may be able to help if you have been affected by a ridesharing accident or if you have lost a loved one in an accident. To learn more about your rights and to set up a no-cost case evaluation, contact us today.