Over the last decade, a revolution in transportation has occurred right on our smartphones. Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have introduced apps where anyone can hail a ride from a local driver with just a few clicks. The catch is that this driver is using their own vehicle, rather than a company-issued vehicle like in the case of taxis. This has led to questions surrounding the issue of liability if an Uber or Lyft driver gets into an accident while driving for the app.
At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our Queen Anne’s County, Maryland Uber and Lyft accident attorneys have years of experience helping our clients to understand how to file these claims properly and to deal with the multiple parties involved. We have fought for our clients to receive full compensation for their pain and suffering. For a free consultation, call us today at (410) 694-7291.
Steps to Take at the Scene of a Queen Anne’s County, MD Uber or Lyft Accident
Just like you would do after any accident, you should first make sure that you and your passengers are all safe and not suffering from any injuries that require immediate medical attention. If anyone is seriously injured, you should call emergency medical services or get them to the hospital as quickly as possible. Even if you have mild injuries, be sure to go to a doctor or healthcare provider so that a report of your pain and suffering is made.
Once you have checked on everyone, you should call the police to come to the scene if you have not already done so. While waiting for the police to arrive, it is smart to collect evidence by speaking with the driver and taking photographs and videos of the scene and the damage caused to the vehicles. Once the officer arrives, be sure to give them a complete, detailed account of what happened so that they can reflect this in the report they make. Before leaving the scene, be sure to get the personal information of the Uber driver, including their personal insurance information.
How to Make a Claim After Uber and Lyft Accidents in Queen Anne’s County, MD
Unfortunately, these types of claims can be difficult because they involve dealing with multiple different companies and their polices. As with a regular accident, if you were the other driver, you should make a report to your insurance company right away. While your insurance company will likely reach out to the other driver’s personal insurance company on their own, you will need to take the initiative to call Uber and Lyft directly. An experienced Uber and Lyft accident lawyer like those at Rice, Murtha & Psoras can assist you in navigating through the multiple levels of bureaucracy.
Recovering damages after rideshare accidents is made difficult by the way Uber and Lyft classify their employees. Most of the time, when a driver is working while an accident happens, the company they work for can be held liable for damages caused by the accident under the theory of vicarious liability. Vicarious liability applies to any actions taken by an employee in the normal course of their employment. This can make a big difference in you actually getting paid, because employers will typically have much “deeper pockets” than a single driver. However, Uber and Lyft classify their drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, making it difficult to sue them under a theory of vicarious liability and be properly compensated for your pain.
There are other options, however. First, all Uber and Lyft drivers are required to carry a personal insurance policy for their vehicles. You can file a claim through these companies, and if they do not offer enough, a skilled lawyer can file a personal injury suit against the driver directly. If the driver is off-duty and not logged into the app when the accident occurs, this will be your only recourse.
If the driver is logged into the app when the accident occurs, Uber and Lyft both offer liability coverage. If the accident occurs while the app is on but before the driver has accepted a ride, the companies will pay up to $50,000 per injury, up to $100,000 for total injuries, and up to $25,000 for property damage. If a ride has been accepted or a customer is in the car when the ride occurs, the companies will pay up to $1,000,000 in liability coverage.
Both of these companies also have uninsured motorist coverage. This means that, if you are a passenger in one of the rideshare vehicles, and an accident occurs that is the fault of the other driver, you can still be compensated up to $1 million if that other driver in uninsured or underinsured.
Proving Fault in Uber and Lyft Cases in Queen Anne’s County, MD
Unless you are making a claim through the uninsured motorist program, you will have to prove the Uber driver was at fault for the accident in order to collect damages. Uber and Lyft will try their hardest to show that their driver was not at fault so that they do not have to pay you. An experienced Uber and Lyft accident attorney like those at Rice, Murtha & Psoras can work to show that the driver violated traffic laws, safety guidelines, or in some other way caused the accident. We will use the evidence you collected from the scene as well as evidence we collect in our own investigations to do so.
Call Our Seasoned Queen Anne’s County Uber and Lyft Accident Attorneys Today
Getting fairly compensated after you are the victim of an Uber or Lyft accident can be difficult, especially because of Uber and Lyft’s classification of their drivers as independent contractors. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our Queen Anne’s County Uber and Lyft accident attorneys have years of experience assisting our clients in navigating this complicated claims process and fighting for them to receive the damages they are owed. We will take the pressure off you by negotiating with these companies on your behalf. Call us today at (410) 694-7291 for a free consultation.