Uber and Lyft have grown from niche companies based on smartphone applications to two of the major American powerhouses, not only in ridesharing but in the transportation industry as a whole. Both of these apps are based on a simple concept. Users download the app onto their smartphones and are able to request a ride from a local driver with just a few clicks. The driver uses their own vehicle to transport customers, rather than one issued by the company. This has led many people to question how compensation is obtained if someone is the victim of an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, either as passenger in the rideshare vehicle or as a driver or passenger of the other car.
At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our Howard County, Maryland Uber and Lyft accident attorneys have years of experience helping our clients navigate the complex claims process associated with these types of accidents. We will use our hard-earned skills to fight for you to be justly compensated for your pain and suffering. For a free consultation, call our office today at (410) 694-7291.
What to Do at the Scene of Howard County, MD Uber and Lyft Accidents
As always, your first priority after a vehicle accident should be checking on yourself and your passengers and ensuring that no one has serious injuries that need immediate treatment. If anyone is seriously injured, you should contact emergency medical services as quickly as possible. Even if your injuries are minor, you should still see a doctor soon after the accident so a medical record of your injuries can be made.
Once you have checked on everyone’s safety, you should contact the police. While you are waiting for them to arrive at the scene, exchange information with the rideshare driver and be sure to get their personal insurance information. Also, you should document the scene by taking photos and videos that can later be used as evidence of what occurred.
When an officer arrives on the scene, be sure that you give them a full and accurate account of what happened so that their report will reflect your perspective on the accident. This report will also be used as evidence during the claims process.
How to Make a Claim after Uber and Lyft Accidents in Howard County, MD
Unfortunately, claims for insurance damages after these types of accidents are subject to a multi-tiered level of bureaucracy that can be difficult for an inexperienced individual to navigate. If you were the driver of the other vehicle involved in the trash, the first thing you should do after you are done at the scene is to make a report with your insurance company as you would after any other accident. However, you are also going to need to make a separate report of what occurred to Uber and Lyft. An experienced Uber and Lyft accident attorney like those at Rice, Murtha & Psoras can work with these companies on your behalf.
One of the aspects that makes recovering after these accidents difficult is the way that Uber and Lyft classify their drivers. Normally, if you are involved in an accident with a driver who is working at the time of the accident, their company can be held liable under the theory of vicarious liability. Vicarious liability means that employers can be held responsible for actions their employees take while within the scope of their employment. This allows people to recover from a company with “deep pockets” rather than a single driver who may not be able to pay what you are owed.
However, Uber and Lyft classify their drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, which means that they cannot be sued under a theory of vicarious liability. As such, filing a personal injury suit against them is unlikely to be successful. Instead, you should start by filing a claim under the personal insurance plan of the driver. All drivers are required to have personal insurance on their vehicles. If the amount paid out by insurance is not satisfactory, a skilled lawyer like those at our firm can file a personal injury suit against the driver directly.
Assuming that the rideshare driver had their app turned on, there is also a way to recover from Uber and Lyft through liability insurance plans each company has purchased. If the accident occurs before the driver has accepted a ride, the companies offer up to $50,000 per person and up to $100,000 total to cover injuries, and up to $25,000 to cover property damage. If the driver has accepted a ride or a customer is in the vehicle when the accident occurs, they will pay out up to $1 million for injuries and other damage.
It is important to note that both of these companies also have uninsured motorist coverage. This means that if you are a passenger in a Lyft or Uber, you can potentially collect damages from them even if the driver of the other vehicle was at fault in the accident. This program only applies, however, if the other driver’s insurance is not deemed adequate.
Proving Fault in Howard County, MD Uber and Lyft Accident Cases
If you are not claiming through uninsured motorist coverage, you will have to demonstrate that the rideshare driver was at fault in the accident in order to receive compensation from Uber and Lyft. These companies will try to show that their driver was not the cause of the accident so that they do not have to pay. Our experienced Uber and Lyft accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate the accident and make a case that the driver caused the accident by violating traffic laws or safety regulations. We will use the evidence from the scene as well as interviews with you and any witnesses to reconstruct what occurred and prove fault.
Call Our Skilled Howard County, MD Uber and Lyft Accident Attorneys Today
Dealing with the multiple levels of bureaucracy required to successfully make a claim after Uber and Lyft accidents can be a major headache. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our Howard County, Maryland Uber and Lyft accident attorneys have the experience to guide you through this process and make it a much simpler experience. We will use every tool we have to fight to make sure you are justly compensated for the pain and suffering that resulted from the accident. Call us today at (410) 694-7291 for a free consultation.