In the last decade, cars displaying the Uber and Lyft logos have become ubiquitous on the streets of cities and towns throughout America. These companies were the pioneers of the rideshare app for smartphones. Using these apps, people can press a few buttons and have a local driver arrive in minutes to take them to their destination. The catch is that these drivers use their own, personal vehicles rather than a work car like a taxi. This has led many folks to wonder about how trying to recover damages after an accident with an Uber or Lyft differs from the process after a typical auto accident.
At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our Anne Arundel County, Maryland Uber and Lyft accident attorneys have years of experience fighting for our clients who were victims of Uber or Lyft accidents to be fully compensated for their pain and suffering. We will help guide you through this complex process and work to bring it to a successful conclusion. For a free consultation, call our office today at (410) 694-7291.
What to Do at the Scene of an Uber or Lyft Accident in Anne Arundel County, MD
After an accident, you should always start by checking to make sure everyone involved is safe and not suffering from any serious injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, you need to contact emergency services or get them medical attention immediately. Even if your injuries are minor, it is wise to get checked out by a doctor so that there is a medical report available as proof in a potential later case.
The next step is to contact the police if you have not already done so. While waiting for an officer to arrive, you should begin to document the scene by taking photos and videos of the damage that can be used as evidence later. When the officer arrives, be sure to give them a thorough, detailed accounting of what happened so that this will be accurately reflected in their report. Before you leave the scene, you should also be sure to get the personal information of the rideshare driver, including their personal insurance policy.
How to Make a Claim After an Anne Arundel County, MD Uber or Lyft Accident
Getting fully compensated for your damages after an accident involving an Uber or Lyft can be tougher than doing so after a regular accident for a few reasons. First, there are multiple more layers of bureaucracy involved than usual. If you were the driver of the other vehicle, for example, you will need to report the accident to both your insurance company and to the rideshare company. An experienced Uber and Lyft accident attorney like those at Rice, Murtha & Psoras can speak to the players on your behalf and make sure your rights are being respected.
Second, the way Uber and Lyft classify their drivers for employment purposes makes collecting from them more difficult. Usually, when a driver is working and an accident happens, you can also sue their employer in a personal injury case under a theory of vicarious liability. This can make a major difference in the case because, unlike an individual driver, a company can usually pay out expensive settlements and damages. However, Uber and Lyft classify their drivers as independent contractors, meaning they cannot be sued under a theory of vicarious liability for accidents involving their drivers.
This means that personal injury suits against Uber and Lyft themselves rarely succeed. However, there are other avenues to collect just compensation. You should begin by filing a claim against the driver’s personal insurance police, as you would after any accident. All Uber and Lyft drivers must have personal insurance polices for their vehicles. If this policy does not cover all your damages, a skilled personal injury lawyer can file a lawsuit against the driver in court to collect the rest of the money you are owed.
Assuming that the driver had the app turned on when the accident occurred, Uber and Lyft do have company insurance policies to cover cases where the driver’s personal policy is insufficient. If the app is on but the driver has not accepted a ride when the accident happens, the company policies will provide up to $50,000 per injury and $100,000 total for injuries, and up to $25,000 to cover property damage, such as damage to your vehicle. If the driver has accepted a ride or has a customer in the vehicle, the company policies will pay out up to $1 million in liability insurance.
Both Uber and Lyft also have uninsured motorist insurance. This means that if you are a passenger in one of these rideshare vehicles, you can file a claim with Lyft or Uber even if the other driver was at fault, assuming that the other driver is uninsured or underinsured.
Proving Fault in Anne Arundel County, MD Uber and Lyft Accident Cases
Unless you claim through the uninsured motorist coverage, you will have to prove the Uber or Lyft driver was at fault for the accident before the companies will compensate you. This is where an experienced Uber and Lyft accident attorney like those at Rice, Murtha & Psoras can be most helpful. Uber and Lyft will do everything they can to show that their driver was not at fault so that they do not have to pay. Our attorneys will fight to show that the driver violated traffic laws or safety regulations or otherwise caused the accident.
Call Our Anne Arundel County, MD Uber and Lyft Accident Attorneys Today
Getting fully compensated after an Uber or Lyft accident can be more difficult than doing so after a regular car accident. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our skilled Anne Arundel County, Maryland Uber and Lyft accident attorneys have years of experience successfully guiding our clients through the claims process and bringing their cases to a positive resolution. Call us today at (410) 694-7291 for a free consultation.