4 Important Questions for Ride Share Auto Accidents
Who pays for my injuries when an Uber or Lyft driver caused the accident?
Transportation Network Companies, “TNC” for short, are commonly known to most people as Uber and Lyft. No one can argue that the TNC services are a modern convenience that is a cheaper and easier alternative to a traditional taxi. These services have become wildly popular over the last few years and they continue to grow. But who foots the bill when one of their sub-contracted drivers causes an auto accident? While there may one be one vehicle and one driver, but there are three different insurance policies at work.
- The driver’s personal coverage is in effect when they are driving for personal reasons, and the Uber or Lyft application is turned off. This affords you the normal insurance coverage equal to any other Texas driver.
- If the driver has the Uber or Lyft application turned on and is actively searching for customers while driving, the TNC’s insurance or a special part of the driver’s auto policy is in place. This raises the minimum amount of coverage. It is almost double the amount of normal state minimums.
- If the driver is actively on route to pick up a passenger or transporting a passenger, the TNC’s full auto policy goes into effect. This affords one million dollars of coverage whether you are the passenger in the vehicle or hit by the driver.
What do I do if I was hit by an Uber or Lyft driver?
If you are in an auto accident with an Uber, Lyft or other TNC vehicle, your actions will be similar to any other auto accident:
- If your vehicle is drivable, pull to the side of the road, out of harm’s way.
- Call 911 and request police assistance.
- Take photos of your vehicle, their vehicle and the surrounding area.
- Records names, phone numbers, and addresses of all parties, especially any witnesses.
- Ask for the insurance information of all vehicle involved, recording the insurance company’s name and the policy number.
- When the responding agency arrives, be sure to tell them of any pain you might be feeling. Do not volunteer that you feel fine. Advise them that you plan to be checked by a doctor.
- Ask the Uber or Lyft driver if they were driving for personal reasons, cruising for passengers or transporting a passenger. Take the time to record their answer.
- Do not give a recorded statement to anyone until you have consulted an attorney.
If you need emergency medical care, allow the ambulance to transport you and leave the initial investigation to the police. As soon as you are able, call an attorney. Do not risk your health if you are severely injured, when you hire an attorney, they will do the investigation for you.
What if I am a passenger in the Uber or Lyft vehicle when the accident happens?
Although you are not a driver, you still want to make sure the accident is documented properly. Sitting back and allowing your driver and the driver of the other vehicles to handle everything could result in a lack of proper reporting of the accident.
- Call the Police.
- Screenshot the app on your phone to document you were a paying passenger.
- Take photos of both vehicles and your surroundings.
- Records names, phone numbers, and addresses of both drivers.
- Make sure you catch any witnesses, taking down their names and phone numbers.
- Ask for the insurance information of your driver as well as the other driver, including the insurance company’s name and the policy number.
- Be sure to cooperate with local authorities when they arrive. Only advise them of your medical condition if you are feeling pain otherwise, tell them you plan to be checked by a doctor.
- If you are severely injured, please ride in the ambulance to the emergency room.
- Talk to an attorney before you talk to your insurance carrier. Under no circumstances should you provide them with a recorded statement.
If you are a passenger in a TNC vehicle, there will be one million dollars in coverage for you whether or not your driver was at fault.
Do I really need an attorney?
If you are a passenger in a ride share vehicle when an accident occurs, you can breathe a sigh of relief as you know there is a large amount of insurance coverage available to compensate you for any injuries. You want to concentrate on getting better, getting much needed medical care and getting back on your feet. Let an attorney work towards getting you the maximum amount of compensation possible for your pain and suffering.
If you are hit by an Uber or Lyft driver, the insurance carriers can make the claims process difficult. Trying to prove the driver was carrying a passenger or driving while searching for a passenger can be challenging for a layperson not experienced with these types of investigations. The insurance carriers are not likely to cooperate with you and you may have a difficult time uncovering and proving the truth. Many TNC insurance companies will try to minimize paying claims by not fully investigating the facts and denying your claim. They may try to convince you that the driver was not logged into their application or actively carrying passengers. You will need an attorney to investigate this matter for you and document the details.
If you have been the victim of an auto accident with an Uber or Lyft vehicle, call an attorney immediately. Their insurance carriers are already working hard to minimize or deny your claim. Put an attorney to work for you today.
Michael S Callahan is an attorney and founder of The Callahan Law Firm. He focuses his practice on representing individuals and families in personal injury cases involving motor vehicle and truck accidents, workplace accidents and defective products. With over 25 years of experience, he is dedicated to fighting on behalf of people whose lives have been forever altered by the negligence and carelessness of corporations and individuals. Originally trained as a mechanical engineer, Michael has been practicing law and fighting for justice for those who need it most since 1994. He is board-certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and a member of various esteemed legal associations. Outside of work, Michael enjoys spending quality time with his family, outdoor activities, and continually striving to improve as a trial lawyer and human being.