Over the past decade, the rideshare companies Uber and Lyft have grown from a small slice of the transportation industry to behemoths nearly putting taxi companies out of business in some areas. The concept of a smartphone application where you can hail rides from drivers using their own cars has proven to be an extremely successful one. As this concept has become more and more a part of our everyday lives, however, questions have arisen, including the legal ramifications of being involved in a car accident with an Uber or Lyft.
Unfortunately, filing claims surrounding these accidents can sometimes be complex. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our Montgomery County, MD Uber and Lyft accident attorneys have years of experience guiding our clients through the claims process after an accident with a rideshare vehicle and fighting for them to be justly compensated. For a free consultation, call us today at (410) 694-7291.
What to Do at the Scene of an Uber or Lyft Accident in Montgomery County, MD
The first thing you should do after any accident is of course to make sure that you and any other passengers are safe and not suffering from any serious injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, you should call an ambulance right away. Even if your injuries are minor, you should see a medical provider and have a report made of your pain and suffering.
You should then contact the police if you have not already. While waiting for the police to arrive, you should get the Uber driver’s contact information and document the scene by taking photographs and videos of the damage that occurred. When the police arrive, be sure to give them a full account of what happened so that it will be reflected in their report.
After leaving the scene, you will need to get in contact with your insurance company if you were driving the other vehicle in the accident. You will also need to report the accident to Uber or Lyft. An experienced Montgomery County, MD Uber and Lyft accident attorney like those at Rice, Murtha & Psoras can help guide you through this process and deal with the companies on your behalf.
How to Make a Claim after Uber and Lyft Accidents in Montgomery County, MD
The claims process is multi-layered and complex when it comes to Uber and Lyft accidents. Because of the complexity of these matters, it is best that you have experienced counsel working with you. Without the assistance of a lawyer, you may have difficulty dealing with all the insurance agencies involved: yours if you were driving the other vehicle, the driver’s personal insurance, and Uber or Lyft.
Usually, when a driver is working at the time of an accident, you could sue the company they work for as well under the theory of vicarious liability. Vicarious liability holds that an employer is legally liable for their employee’s conduct that occurs within the scope of their employment. This is useful because most companies have the resources to pay damages, while most individual drivers do not. However, Uber and Lyft do not classify their drivers as employees, but rather as independent contractors. As such, it is difficult to file a personal injury claim against the company directly after an accident.
Your first option is to make a claim with the driver’s personal insurance. If their insurance does not cover your injuries, you can hire a skilled accident attorney like those at Rice, Murtha & Psoras to sue them in personal injury court. This is only option you will have if the accident occurs while the driver is off-duty and their app is turned off.
If the driver is on-duty, however, both Uber and Lyft have liability coverage to cover damages beyond the ability of the driver to pay personally. If the app was on but the driver had not yet accepted a ride request, Uber or Lyft will cover up to $50,000 per person for injuries, with a total limit of $100,000, and up to $25,000 for property damage. If the driver had a passenger in the vehicle or had accepted a ride, $1,000,000 in liability insurance from the rideshare company is available.
Note that, if you are a passenger in a Lyft or Uber and an accident occurs where the driver of the other vehicle is at fault, you may qualify for the rideshare companies’ uninsured motorist coverage up to $1 million. This only applies if the other driver does not have adequate insurance coverage.
Proving Fault after Montgomery County, MD Uber and Lyft Accidents
Unless you are claiming through the uninsured motorist coverage, you must show that the Uber driver was at fault for the accident in order to be compensated for damages. The rideshare companies will do everything in their power to argue their driver was not at fault so that they do not have to pay. This is where it is vital to have the services of a skilled Montgomery County, MD Uber and Lyft accident attorney like those at Rice, Murtha & Psoras. Using the evidence you collected at the scene as well as evidence collected through our own investigations, we can work to show violations of traffic laws, driver safety rules, and other indications of fault by the driver.
Call Our Skilled Montgomery County, MD Uber and Lyft Accident Attorneys Today
With the rise in usage of rideshare apps, the major companies have been confronted with what to do about accidents that occur because of their drivers. Though they now offer compensation for victims of such accidents through voluntary liability insurance programs, they still do not make it easy to file a claim. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our Montgomery County, Maryland Uber and Lyft attorneys have years of experience helping our clients to navigate the complexities of these claims and bringing their cases to positive, successful resolutions. For a free, confidential consultation, call our office today at (410) 694-7291.