Typically, if you get into an accident with another driver, you exchange insurance details, file a police report, and let your insurance companies handle the financial aspects of the claim. But in some cases, the other driver may want to skip these traditional steps and handle the accident privately.
Wondering what to do if you’re in an accident with a Lyft driver and they want to keep the issue between the two of you? Take these tips into account.
Decline the Offer
When you’re in an accident, you should always make a report. Even if you don’t see a lot of damage to your vehicle or feel any injuries on your body, you should still follow the traditional post-accident protocol. Sometimes, it you think that the damage to your vehicle is well under the amount of your insurance deductible, you may be tempted to take the Uber or Lyft driver up on their offer to handle the issue quietly, but for your own financial and physical safety, you should not do that.
Instead, when the ridesharing driver requests to handle the issue privately, simply decline their offer. By making a formal accident report, you create a record of what happened, which can be essential if you need to make an insurance claim. At the site of the accident, you can’t always assess the extent of the damage. Sometimes, a small dent can translate to big issues under the hood. Similarly, you can feel fine after an accident but end up with whiplash, concussions, internal bleeding, or other issues that aren’t always apparent right away.
Report the Accident
Whether the Uber or Lyft driver is receptive to the idea of reporting the accident or not, you should call 911 and let the dispatcher know what happened and where you are. They will send police and other first responders as needed to the site of the accident. Once there, the police can write up a report detailing the location, what happened, and the drivers involved.
If the driver attempts to leave before the police arrive, try to jot down their license plate number or take a picture of their vehicle with your phone. If you were a passenger when the accident occurred, you can use the app to file a complaint against the driver and let the ridesharing company know about the accident. Whether you’re an Uber or Lyft passenger, a pedestrian hit by a ridesharing driver, or the driver of another vehicle, a record of the accident is critical if you eventually need to make a claim.
Try to Stay Calm
Be prepared for some drivers to become agitated or angry if you refuse to handle the accident privately. Don’t argue with them or do anything to exacerbate the situation. If you feel unsafe, get into your own vehicle and lock the doors until the police arrive.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Once you have a police report of the accident, you should contact your insurance company. Let them know about the accident and give them any details you have about the driver. Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have some liability coverage in case their drivers get into an accident, but the maximum coverage only applies when the driver has a passenger in their vehicle.
When an Uber or Lyft driver is on their way to pick up a passenger or is waiting to get a fare, these drivers have limited liability coverage offered by the ridesharing companies; they may need to rely on their own insurance if an accident happens in one of these situations.
Many ridesharing drivers have personal insurance, and if an accident occurs when they are driving for Uber or Lyft, their insurance company may refuse the claim because they weren’t supposed to work on that coverage. According to one survey, 77% of ridesharing drivers have not properly upgraded their policies to reflect the fact that they are using their vehicle for work.
Luckily, in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, ridesharing drivers are legally required to upgrade to a commercial insurance policy so you don’t have to worry as much about their policies not covering your accident.
Consider Getting Legal Help
After an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver or a driver from any other ridesharing company, you may suffer from extensive car repair costs, medical bills, and other damages. In some situations, you may be able to get a fair settlement from the driver’s insurance or from the ridesharing company’s insurance. However, these entities may reject your claim or offer a lowball settlement.
To ensure you receive a fair settlement, consider reaching out for legal help. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we work with clients who have been in car accidents with ridesharing drivers or others, and we help them to get the financial and legal justice they deserve. We pride ourselves on providing all our clients with the individualized attention they deserve through this difficult time. To learn more about what to do if a ridesharing driver wants to handle an accident privately or to set up a no-cost case evaluation, contact us today.