Rideshare accidents can often be notoriously complex when it comes to determining who is responsible for your injuries. Depending on the nature of the accident, whose insurance coverage applies can be a hotly contested.
The good news is liability tends to be more straightforward when your Uber or Lyft driver was not at fault in causing the accident. Here's what you need to know about recovering compensation from an accident when your rideshare driver is not liable.
Recovering Compensation When Another Driver Is At Fault
When another driver aside from your Lyft or Uber driver is responsible for an accident and your injuries, you will need to pursue the other driver and their insurance company for compensation. Your personal injury lawyer will work to determine the amount of insurance coverage available to you. From there, your attorney will seek to negotiate on your behalf in order to reach a fair settlement that fully compensates you for all of your injuries.
In a best-case scenario, the driver has sufficient insurance coverage and you will not need to also work with the rideshare company. If the other driver was uninsured or underinsured or you were injured in a hit-and-run as a rideshare passenger, you may also be able to file a claim through Uber or Lyft.
What Happens if the Other Driver Doesn't Have Enough Insurance?
Lyft and Uber both carry underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage that pays for injuries to a rideshare passenger when the at-fault driver doesn't have enough insurance coverage to pay for the claim. This coverage from the rideshare company will cover you even if the rideshare driver was not negligent.
This is a common occurrence in rideshare accidents. Many drivers only carry the minimum liability coverage required by law in Washington, D.C. and Fairfax which is $25,000 per person in bodily injury and $50,000 per accident.
A serious car accident can quickly exceed these limits. A typical in-patient hospital stay can exceed $10,000 within five days without considering the cost of procedures, ambulance fees, prescriptions, physical therapy, and lost wages. Uber and Lyft both carry UIM coverage of $1 million to cover the rest of your claim that the at-fault driver's insurance won't cover.
What Happens if the Other Driver Was Uninsured?
If the at-fault driver in your accident was uninsured, you can file a claim through Uber or Lyft's insurance carrier. This is an important benefit because the only alternatives in most accidents are suing the at-fault driver -- who may lack the assets to pay damages -- or filing a claim against your own policy if you have uninsured motorist coverage.
The risk of the at-fault driver being uninsured is higher than you may think. In Washington, D.C. alone, an estimated 17% of drivers are uninsured compared to the national average of 13%.
As with underinsured motorist coverage, Lyft and Uber carry $1 million in uninsured motorist coverage to pay for your claim when the at-fault driver lacks insurance, even if the rideshare driver had no liability in the accident.
How Do I Receive Compensation if a Hit-and-Run Driver Is at Fault?
Hit-and-run accidents are becoming an epidemic across the country. In the D.C. area, hit-and-run crashes have reached an all-time high and account for about 10% of all accidents.
If you are injured in a hit-and-run accident as an Uber or Lyft passenger, you have recourse to recover compensation for your injuries. Uber and Lyft carry $1 million in UM coverage to pay injury claims when a hit-and-run driver cannot be located. If the driver is located but they are uninsured or underinsured, Uber or Lyft's insurance carrier can still pay your claim.
What to Do After a Rideshare Accident
If you have been hurt in an Uber or Lyft accident as a passenger, it's important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights. The insurance companies involved in the accident often seek to minimize or deny your claim and may use statements you make against you.
You will need to notify the rideshare company about the accident but remember that the rideshare representative is not always on your side either. They will document what you say and if you minimalize your injuries, they can document that you are not very injured and this can damage your claim.
If possible, get contact information and insurance information from both your rideshare driver and the other driver. Document what you remember about the accident and seek medical attention right away, even if you feel fine. Even serious injuries can take days to show symptoms, especially in the case of head injuries. Seeking medical attention can help document the extent of your injuries and ensure you get the care you need.
Hiring an Experienced Rideshare Accident Attorney
Have you been injured in an accident as an Uber or Lyft passenger? Depending on the details of the accident, you may have a claim against the rideshare driver, Uber or Lyft's insurance company, or the other driver.
An experienced rideshare accident lawyer in Washington, D.C. can help you navigate the complex legal landscape, protect your rights, and help you seek fair compensation for your injuries. The attorneys at Shevlin Smith have more than 130 years of combined legal experience representing injury victims in their unique situations.
Call (703) 721-4233 to schedule a free consultation with Shevlin Smith to discuss your case.