Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft continue to grow more and more popular, especially in urban areas. They are simple, convenient and cost-effective ways for individuals to find their way from place to place and around big cities, and they are easy alternatives to transportation like buses and taxis. But what happens when your rideshare is involved in an auto accident? Who is held responsible when you are involved in an auto accident with a rideshare driver? Atlanta personal injury lawyers can help you make sense of this seemingly complicated yet not all too uncommon situation. 

As transportation and technology quickly advances, there are many common questions we receive regarding Uber and Lyft and their involvement in accidents. How exactly do rideshares differ from taxis and other car services? Who is held liable in the event of an auto accident? Here we will look at the answers to some of these frequently asked questions regarding rideshares to help you protect yourself the next time you are out travelling on the road or considering using a rideshare company. 

How Is A Rideshare Different From Other Services?

The main difference between rideshares and other services is that rideshares individually contract out their drivers and vehicles. A driver must be able to meet certain requirements to be able to work for a rideshare company. If someone wants to become a driver for Uber or Lyft they must meet certain age requirements, have a valid US Driver’s License, and have an approved insured 4-door vehicle. They are also required to pass a criminal background check as well as a driving record check. Unlike taxi services, rideshares are hired out through an app on your smartphone, and pricing depends on the location, time of day, and the number of driver’s available at that time. 

What Happens If I Am Involved in An Accident With A Rideshare Driver? 

In any auto accident claim, you must be able to prove who was at fault for the accident and the degree or amount of damages or injuries that were acquired in the accident itself. Generally speaking, the easiest claim would hold the rideshare driver liable for damages sustained in an accident where you were a passenger or a pedestrian. Since drivers must hold valid personal insurance in order to drive for these companies, they can be held liable in an auto accident. The question is, can or should the rideshare company be held liable in certain situations? Whose insurance company is ultimately responsible for covering the damages? Every circumstance is a little bit different, so here are some ways to understand how you could be affected. 

Luckily, there are fairly clear policies for both Uber and Lyft drivers who are involved in auto accidents. First of all, if the driver has not logged into their app system at the time of the accident, the rideshare company will not provide coverage. If the driver logged in, but did not accept a request for a ride yet, the company will provide liability coverage for accidents where the driver is at fault up to $50,000 per injured party. They will cover up to a total of $100,000 in injuries and $25,000 in property damages. However, if the driver has accepted a ride request at the time of an accident, the company will provide liability coverage up to $1 million. When applicable, the rideshare driver will be held liable, but it depends on the status of their accepted ride. If you have been in an accident with a rideshare driver and are not sure who will be held liable for damages, it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer who can assess the specific details of your situation and help you determine who is at fault in your claim.

What Should I Do If I Am In An Accident with an Uber or Lyft Driver?

If you are involved in an auto accident, there are immediate steps you should take to ensure your safety. 

  • First of all, always contact emergency service responders. Especially if there are injuries, emergency responders are the first call that you should make. 
  • Be sure that you are able to move to a safe place out of dangerous traffic areas. Once you are in a safe place, you can assess your physical needs and administer any first aid necessary. 
  • Wait for emergency services to arrive, and exchange information with all parties involved. This includes both contact and insurance information, which are necessary to file a claim against an individual party at fault. This is especially important if a rideshare driver is involved in your accident. 
  • Document as much as possible through photographs to be able to provide evidence to support your claim. This is especially important in allowing insurance companies to assess the total damages you may be owed, and if the other driver tries to dispute your claim for any reason.
  • Contact the rideshare company to report the accident. Ask if they can advise you on any policies and next steps.

Every accident and every case is different, but the important thing is to protect yourself. Following these steps may help guide you, but an experienced personal injury lawyer can help advise you about your specific case. We know that accidents can cause trauma, pain and suffering in addition to medical costs and property loss. At Spaulding Injury Law we have experience working in all kinds of cases like these. We want to work with you and for you to make sure you receive fair representation and compensation that you are due for your losses. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an accident involving a rideshare driver please contact us. If you have been injured and are looking for representation in Georgia, you could be due compensation for your losses. Consider a visit with our highly experienced and qualified Atlanta injury lawyers.