Uber/Lyft accident
Uber/Lyft accident

The 7 Most Important Steps to Take When You’re a Passenger in an Uber/Lyft Accident

Having to navigate the California freeways during morning or evening rush hour is nobody’s idea of a good time. As a result, many commuters who’d rather spend their travel time working instead of driving now use on Uber and Lyft as their transportation of choice. If you’re among their customers, you have the right to expect a safe trip.

But as many an Uber accident lawyer can attest, there’s a catch. As the number of Californians relying on ridesharing for transportation has risen, so has the number of accidents involving Uber or Lyft vehicles. A 2018 study from Rice University and the University of Chicago came to an alarming conclusion regarding ridesharing accident rates.

Ridesharing Services: Beware the Risk

The University researchers determined that as the ridesharing services expand into new cities, the frequency of fatal motor vehicle accidents in those cities increases accordingly. From 1985 to 2010 (the year after Uber began operating) the number of accidents had been in a continuous downtrend.

Starting in 2011, however, the researchers found that when Uber or Lyft services become available in a city, its number of fatal motor vehicle accidents climbs by about 2 to 4 percent per week. And the accidents are occurring on weekdays and weekends at any time of day or night.

Why is this happening? Aren’t Uber and Lyft supposed to make us all safer by reducing traffic? Not necessarily, according to the study. Unlike commuters who are on the road only during rush hour, Uber or Lyft drivers are always on the job. They’re either:

  • ferrying passengers to their destinations
  • driving to pick up new fares, or
  • cruising the city in search of fares when none are available

The study also reports that the ridesharing companies even subsidize their drivers to remain on the streets when business is slow, so they’ll be readily available when it picks up.

Another reason Uber and Lyft’s business isn’t reducing the number of vehicles on the roads? Many of their customers use the services as alternatives to public transportation, biking or simply walking.

The bottom line is that whatever you’ve heard about Uber and Lyft making the streets safer for all of us isn’t entirely accurate. If you should become one of their passengers unlucky enough to be in an accident, you may need a ridesharing accident lawyer.

By taking the right steps immediately after your accident, you can help your Lyft or Uber accident lawyer make the strongest possible case on your behalf. What should you do?

The 7 Steps to Take When You’re a Passenger in an Uber or Lyft Accident

  • Check yourself and everyone else involved for injuries.
  • Call 9-1-1 immediately to request police and emergency services.
  • Remain at the scene of the accident to file a police report. The police will document your presence as a passenger, verify your injuries, investigate the accident and talk to the witnesses to determine what happened.
  • Take as many photos as possible of the accident scene and vehicles.
  • Get your Uber or Lyft driver’s phone number, home address, driver’s and vehicle license numbers and ridesharing and personal insurance information.
  • Get the name and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident.
  • Get photos of your injuries and copies of your medical records and bills.

Why are photos, medical records, witness statements, a police report and your ridesharing driver’s personal information so important? They’ll give your Uber or Lyft accident lawyer the best possible negotiating position with the insurance adjuster who’ll be handling your claim.

What you should definitely not do following a ridesharing accident is discuss your injuries with any insurance companies. Their attorneys could use your statements to minimize the amount of damages you recover.

Do You Really Need a Ridesharing Accident Lawyer?

Under California law, determining who is liable for the injuries you suffered in a ridesharing accident is complicated. Lyft and Uber have attorneys experienced in making the ridesharing liability laws work in their favor. They’re expected to settle accident claims as inexpensively as possible.

Without an Uber or Lyft accident lawyer to protect your interests, you’ll never know whether the settlement you’re offered is the best the ridesharing laws entitle you to. An experienced ridesharing accident lawyer would know that as a passenger, your negotiating position is a favorable one. Why?

California Ridesharing Law and Passengers

As soon as you climbed into your Uber of Lyft ridesharing vehicle as a passenger, you were automatically protected for up to $1 million in uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

In simpler terms, this means that no matter who is found responsible for the accident that caused your injuries, you can recover up to $1 million in damages. This coverage applies anywhere in the state of California.

If your driver was at fault, you may have a claim against his or her insurance company. But some personal automotive insurance excludes ridesharing accidents. What if that’s the case with your driver or if his or her coverage is insufficient to pay for your damages? Then the ridesharing company’s commercial liability pays the difference up to $1 million.

If another driver was at fault, you could have a claim against his or her personal insurance carrier. Again, if that policy is insufficient to cover your damages, Uber or Lyft’s uninsured/underinsured motorist policy would do so up to the $1 million per accident limit.

Whatever the circumstances of your ridesharing accident were, remember this: You’re taking on insurance companies who aren’t going to tell you how much compensation you’re legally entitled to. That’s why you need our Uber and Lyft accident lawyer team representing you.