Ride Share: What Are Your Rights in an Accident?

At one time, a person would call a taxi when they needed a ride. Today, rideshare apps make it easy to get transportation whenever it is needed. Numerous companies now offer these services, including Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, as more people turn to rideshare services rather than using their personal vehicle or public transportation when they want to go somewhere. Ease of use and affordability serve as two reasons why the services continue to increase in popularity. People love how those services make ommuting easy. 

Nevertheless, the companies have been involved in several controversies. For instance, one rideshare provider failed to carry out proper background checks on drivers. This failure led to the safety and security of passengers being put at risk. Furthermore, rideshare drivers are humans and make mistakes.

What happens when a rideshare vehicle is involved in an accident while the driver is transporting a passenger? Who is liable for the passenger’s injuries? Abels & Annes, P.C. helps men and women navigate this challenging situation. What do passengers need to know at this time? 

Causes of Rideshare Accidents

Rideshare accidents happen more often than people realize. There are several reasons why this is the case. Both Uber and Lyft contact drivers by phone to accept and pick up clients. They do so while the driver is transporting other passengers. As a result, the driver may become distracted and cause an accident. However, this serves as only one cause of rideshare accidents. 

A rideshare driver might speed to pick up more customers while working and make more money. Drowsy driving could be a cause of a rideshare accident, or the driver may be intoxicated while behind the wheel. The passenger cannot always determine if this is the case. 

Drivers might ignore the right-of-way and bring about an accident. They could run a stop sign or red light. Whatever a driver might do when operating their vehicle for personal reasons, they may do the same with a passenger in the car. 

What Should a Person Do if They Are Involved in a Rideshare Accident? 

Passengers often assume their insurance provider will cover any damages resulting from a rideshare accident. This isn’t the case. Although a ridesharing service operates as a business, the drivers aren’t considered employees of the company. They function as independent contractors in the eyes of the insurer. California tried to make the drivers employees, but the measure failed. Other states may follow suit and attempt to classify the drivers as employees. Until this happens, the rideshare company itself cannot be deemed liable for the accident. 

Measures Taken by Rideshare Companies

Uber and Lyft have opted to provide accidental coverage for rideshare accidents. The $1 million coverage, however, remains subject to certain conditions. For instance, the coverage only comes into play if the passenger is in the car at the time of the accident. Furthermore, the company’s smartphone app must show the ride was in progress at the time of the accident. 

Passengers must speak to the rideshare service to learn if they will be covered in an accident while using the service. Furthermore, they must know who else to contact at this time. What are the exclusions when it comes to this coverage? Which insurance company will handle the claim? It may be that the victim must contact the driver’s insurance or they may be required to contact their own insurer to handle the claim. 

Only those individuals who meet all criteria have the right to file a claim against the rideshare company when they are involved in a rideshare accident. Anyone who has sustained injuries in an accident involving a rideshare vehicle should speak to an attorney. The attorney works to identify the responsible parties and seek compensation on behalf of the client. This removes a great deal of burden from the victim as they recover from their injuries. 

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