Over the past decade Uber and Lyft have become ubiquitous in our society. These smartphone applications revolutionized the transportation industry by introducing the concept of people using their own cars to give rides to customers through a centralized app. It quickly became the hottest way to get around, especially among younger generations, and in some places it has put the taxi industry nearly out of business. With the rise of this new technology, however, has come questions about how accidents involving rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are handled under the law.
At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our Cecil County, Maryland Uber and Lyft attorneys have years of experienced navigating our clients through the often-complex insurance claims process involving rideshare companies. We have successfully negotiated settlements and have launched challenges where necessary. For a free consultation, call us today at (410) 694-7291.
Steps to Take after an Uber or Lyft Accident in Cecil County, MD
The first thing you should do after any accident is make sure that you and any other passengers in the vehicle are safe and uninjured. If anyone has serious injuries, you should call emergency medical services or transport them to the hospital as quickly as possible. Even if your injuries are minor, it may be a good idea to see a doctor so that there is some record of your pain and suffering.
You should next contact the police to make a report of what occurred. While waiting for the police to come, you should get out of the vehicle and take pictures of the scene and the damage to the vehicles and to yourself. This can be helpful in proving a case down the line. When the police arrive, be sure to tell them everything that happened in great detail so they can lay it out in their report. After you are finished with the police, you will need to get into contact with Uber or Lyft. However, it its best to first consult with an experienced Uber and Lyft accident lawyer like those at Rice, Murtha & Psoras who can help you deal with these companies and be sure they respect your rights.
How to File a Claim after an Uber of Lyft Accident in Cecil County, MD
If you are the driver of a vehicle hit by an Uber or Lyft, you will need to report the accident to your insurance, as you would with any accident regardless of fault. Typically, your insurance company would get in touch with the other driver’s insurance company and begin haggling about who was at fault and who should be paid what. While this will still occur in the case of Uber and Lyft accidents, you will also need to reach out directly to Uber and Lyft to report the accident.
Typically, if an at-fault driver is working at the time of an accident, as is the case with Uber and Lyft drivers, you could sue their employer under a theory of vicarious liability. Vicarious liability states that those injured in accidents by employees acting within the scope of their employment can sue the employer for damages as well. This is a big deal because usually the employer will have much “deeper pockets” than an individual driver to actually pay out your damages. However, Uber and Lyft classify their employees as independent contractors, which means they cannot be held liable for their accidents through vicarious liability. There is litigation ongoing regarding this classification, but for now personal injury suits against these companies directly are rarely successful.
In the meantime, those in accidents with rideshare vehicles are generally forced to go through the company’s voluntary insurance policies. These same policies apply whether the person injured is a passenger in the rideshare car or a driver or passenger of the other vehicle. If the driver is off duty, you must go through the driver’s personal insurance policy (which all drivers are required to have). If the insurance is inadequate, you may have to consult a lawyer about filing a personal injury suit against the driver directly.
If the driver has the app open but has not accepted a ride, Uber and Lyft offer insurance covering $50,000 per person for injuries, with a limit of $100,00 per accident for all injuries, and $25,000 per accident for property damage. If the driver has accepted a ride or has a customer in the vehicle, these companies offer up to $1 million in liability damage. Uber and Lyft’s third-party insurance policies only apply after you have already collected the maximum from the driver’s personal policy.
These companies also offer uninsured motorist coverage of up to $1 million dollars. This means that, if you are in an Uber or Lyft as a passenger, you can file a claim with Uber or Lyft even if the other driver was at fault, assuming that driver does not have adequate auto coverage.
How Fault Is Proven in an Uber or Lyft Accident in Cecil County, MD
In order for Uber and Lyft to pay out their policies to cover your expenses, you will first have to show that the rideshare driver was at fault for the accident (unless you are claiming based on uninsured motorist coverage). Violations of traffic laws or safe-driving rules by the rideshare driver can be used as evidence to prove fault. Your testimony, the testimony of witnesses, and the testimony of the other driver, as well as any video or photograph evidence you collected from the scene, will be used to reconstruct the accident and determine who was responsible.
These companies will work to show that their driver was not at fault so that they do not have to pay more money. An experienced Cecil County, MD Uber and Lyft accident attorney like those at Rice, Murtha & Psoras can fight for you to be justly compensated and challenge any inaccurate findings.
Call Our Cecil County, MD Uber and Lyft Accident Attorneys Today
Uber and Lyft accidents can be very tricky because of the way these companies classify their employees and the impact that has on potential personal injury cases. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our Cecil County, MD Uber and Lyft accident attorneys have years of experience successfully working with these companies and their drivers to get you the compensation to which you are entitled. If necessary, we will take your case to court. For a free consultation, call us today at (410) 694-7291.