If you’re involved in an accident while using a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft, you might find yourself asking if you can file a claim if the ridesharing driver was not at fault?
A car accident lawyer in Kansas City, MO can tell you specifically what to do in your situation, but generally, there are several options for getting compensation if you’ve been in a ridesharing accident.
Rideshare Insurance Policies: the Basics
Every time you take an Uber or Lyft ride, their insurance coverage comes into play, which is different from the driver’s car insurance. Uber and Lyft maintain their own insurance policies that provide different levels of coverage to the driver, but only at specific times:
Before a Request
Before the driver accepts a request on the Uber or Lyft app, their personal insurance policy is their primary coverage source. If an accident occurs in this phase, victims would first turn to the driver’s personal car insurance.
After the Request Through to Passenger Pickup
Once a ride request is accepted, but before the passenger is in the car, both Uber and Lyft activate a contingent insurance policy. This policy steps in if the driver’s personal car insurance doesn’t cover the accident, or if it’s insufficient. There are fairly low limits to this coverage.
During the Ride
Once your ride in the Uber or Lyft vehicle officially begins, until the end of your ride, the rideshare company’s commercial insurance policy is active. This is the most comprehensive coverage, including coverage for bodily injury liability, property damage, and more.
Generally, this coverage from the rideshare insurance company comes into play when the Uber driver or Lyft driver is at fault. When they’re not, things get a bit more complex.
When the Rideshare Driver Is Not at Fault
Accidents are always complex, so determining who is at fault can be a task unto itself, and usually one you may need a personal injury lawyer in Kansas City, MO to work out.
When your Uber or Lyft driver isn’t at fault, your options are:
Other Driver’s Insurance
Initially, you’d look at the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage. If their liability insurance is enough to cover your losses, that’s your primary source of compensation. Coverage limits vary greatly, however, and this may not be enough.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage
In instances where the other driver lacks insurance or has inadequate coverage limits, you can turn to Uber and Lyft’s uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This type of insurance should cover your bodily injury and may even cover significant property damage.
Your Personal Insurance
If you have personal car insurance with uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, this can also be a source of compensation, particularly if you face challenges with the rideshare company’s liability insurance.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you cannot get adequate compensation from the insurance coverage available, you may have to sue Uber or Lyft, or a driver, for damages. Only an experienced lawyer can help you decide if this is the right route.
Getting Help From a Rideshare Accident Lawyer in Kansas City, MO
Accidents involving ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft introduce layers of complexity to the accident because there are so many insurance policies involved. It’s not uncommon for one insurance company to claim the other has to pay, even if both might technically be offering coverage.
Engaging an experienced attorney is always a wise choice here, especially when determining which insurance policy should be approached for compensation.
At Holman Schiavone, LLC, we are well-acquainted with the difficulties that can arise after an Uber or Lyft accident and can help you communicate with the rideshare company and the various insurance agencies involved to access the liability coverage you need to compensate you in your personal injury claim.
Rideshare Companies and Accident Claims
Both Uber and Lyft, as major ridesharing companies, have set protocols for when their drivers get involved in accidents. Regardless of whether the Uber or Lyft driver was at fault, the rideshare company usually steps in, primarily because of the commercial insurance policy they maintain.
From the moment a ride request is accepted on the app to when the passenger is safely dropped off, both Uber and Lyft’s commercial insurance policies are activated. This coverage can handle medical bills, property damage, and other related costs up to their policy limits.
When filing a rideshare accident claim with Uber or Lyft, you’ll first need to provide all pertinent information. This might include details from the accident scene, photographs of vehicle damage, medical records, and a police report.
Keep all this evidence organized. Your attorney can help you decide what evidence is needed, access it, and even present it in the best light.
The amount and type of compensation you can expect will depend on the specifics of the accident, the injuries you sustained, and all the insurance policies in play. Here’s what you can potentially seek:
- Compensation for Bodily Injury: You may be entitled to compensation for your medical treatment: including any ongoing therapy and any future medical expenses that may arise due to the accident.
- Reimbursement for Property Damage: Whether it’s personal items damaged during the crash or harm to your car, compensation for property damage is often part of the claims process.
- Compensation for Lost Wages: If the injuries from the accident led to a loss of income because you were unable to work, you might be eligible to claim compensation for lost wages. This could include not just regular wages but also compensation for missed overtime opportunities and promotions. If the accident has compromised your ability to work in the future, you may be able to get compensation for this, as well.
- Compensation for Pain and Suffering: Emotional and psychological trauma, which are often byproducts of severe accidents, may also be grounds for compensation. This category, however, requires thorough documentation and professional testimony to validate, and the help of a qualified car accident attorney in Kansas City, MO to calculate.
Liability and Independent Contractor Status
Uber and Lyft drivers operate as independent contractors, not employees of the rideshare companies. This distinction can impact how liability is determined and who is held accountable.
Since rideshare drivers are independent contractors, they are usually solely responsible for their actions when they aren’t actively engaged in driving for the company. Their personal insurance comes into play whenever the driver isn’t actually driving for Uber and Lyft.
So, for example, if you’re getting a ride from a friend who works as an Uber driver, but they are just driving you as a friend and not as a rideshare driver logged in for a paid ride, and you get into an accident, Uber and their insurance coverage will not come into play at all.
Even when you are in an accident involving a working Uber driver or Lyft driver, these companies sometimes distance themselves from taking full responsibility, emphasizing the independent contractor status of their drivers.
This can sometimes make pursuing compensation more challenging and makes it especially important to have the help of a car accident attorney in Kansas City, MO.
Steps to Take After an Accident with Uber and Lyft
If you’re in an accident where the Uber or Lyft driver isn’t at fault, act promptly. Always prioritize your health by getting medical attention, even if you feel fine. It’s good practice to seek medical attention, as some injuries might manifest symptoms later, and you may need the medical records for an insurance provider or a personal injury lawsuit.
If you’re not badly injured, gather as much information at the accident scene as possible. Take photos, jot down details, and ensure a police report is filed if necessary.
Due to the complexities of rideshare accident cases, you should also contact a legal professional with experience in vehicle accidents and rideshare accidents. They can help you work with conflicting insurance policies and protect your rights.
Potential Challenges in Rideshare Accident Claims
There are many challenges to a rideshare accident, regardless of which driver is at fault or which insurance company you’re trying to work with. A car accident attorney in Kansas City, MO will help you:
Proving liability in an accident involving multiple parties, including rideshare services, can be extremely difficult. Determining which party is legally liable for the motor vehicle accident is hard when everyone involved is trying to minimize liability and there are insurance companies in back of each hoping to minimize their payouts.
Your lawyer is your best friend here and will have experience in teasing out the truth from the tangled threads of conflicting claims.
Insurance Provider Pushback
Insurance providers can be hesitant in acknowledging claims, especially if there’s any ambiguity in determining fault.
They may do everything they can to reduce the compensation, including minimizing your injuries. Your attorney will help you communicate with them and stop them from dragging their heels.
As with all legal proceedings, time is of the essence. You must act promptly, gather all necessary documentation, and initiate the claim process right away to avoid potential legal barriers.
You may not be in the physical and emotional condition to do all this right after an accident: but your lawyer will help you with your rideshare car accident claim and keep it moving, even when you can’t.
Get Help With Your Uber Accident Claim
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving rideshare drivers, don’t try to work through the complexities on your own.
Work with a legal team that has years of experience with auto accidents, including experience with rideshare accidents. Contact us at Holman Schiavone, LLC at 816-399-5149 right away for a free consultation and get the compensation you need for your accident related losses.