Ridesharing has become the preferred way for many people in urban areas, (like the City of Boise) to get around. When traffic woes combine with the hassle of parking downtown or near BSU, many people will opt to utilize a rideshare platform like Uber or Lyft, instead of driving themselves to their destination. People of all ages and backgrounds have embraced the mass appeal of ridesharing apps, with their ease of payment and simple, convenient pick-ups.
Uber and Lyft are considered Transportation Network Companies or TCNs. This term also includes other transportation-based private contractors, including food delivery services such as, Uber Eats, Door Dash or Postmates. These companies have drastically altered the game when it comes to food delivery and taxi services in the cellular age.
Most of the time, these rideshare transactions occur safely and without incident, but what should you do if your Uber driver gets into an accident while you’re just along for the ride? Also, what happens if you’re going about your daily routine and you are involved in a car wreck with an Uber or Lyft driver? Perhaps distracted driving caused an accident. Was the driver more focused on their phone, than the road? Learn how to navigate the many details of your personal injury claim.
In the event of an automobile accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, insurance coverage varies, depending on the driver’s “work phase”.
Work phases describe what part of the job a rideshare contractor is currently operating under. A brief description of these work phases are as follows:
- Offline: An Uber or Lyft driver that is offline is someone who is not currently signed into the app, or not currently working. When this is the case, the driver’s personal insurance would be what covers them while they are not actively working “on the clock”.
- Available or waiting: When a driver is signed into the their app, waiting on a ride request to come in, they’re considered “available” or “waiting”. Though they aren’t currently working per se, they are operating in a capacity with the intent to do work. In this circumstance, a third-party liability insurance would cover any injuries or property damage that might occur, if the driver’s personal insurance doesn’t apply.
- Picking-up: If a driver is actively heading to a destination where they are picking up a ride request, or delivering a food order that came through the app, they are considered to be “picking-up”. In this case, the rideshare company’s supplemental insurance would cover any accidental damages that may occur.
Once a ride has been picked up, Uber provides contingent insurance coverage should the driver’s personal insurance not offer coverage for any reason.
The minimum insurance requirements in the State of Idaho for a rideshare driver are, according to the Uber website:
“Uber provides contingent coverage of $50,000/individual/incident for bodily injury, $100,000 total/incident for bodily injury and $25,000/incident for property damage should a driver-partner’s personal auto insurance policy not cover for any reason during this period.”
What should I do if I was involved in an accident with an Uber driver, or as a passenger in a rideshare vehicle?
If you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft car that gets into an accident, or you were struck by a rideshare contractor, please try to remember to take these simple steps in the immediate aftermath of the incident.
First of all, safety is your top priority. Make sure you are no longer in immediate danger and asses your surroundings to evaluate your own personal safety. Hopefully the driver will be able to pull-over to a safe location where you can assess the situation and see if anyone in the car has any injuries. If injuries occurred during the incident, the individual might need immediate medical attention.
Second, you will want to call 911 to notify the police of the accident. Whether it’s you, or your rideshare driver, you will want to notify the proper authorities that the accident has occurred, your current location and any injuries that may need medical attention.
Third, we recommend contacting a lawyer as soon as possible. Even if you’re not sure you have a case, it will help you in asking the right questions, and make you aware of your rights and your options following the incident. Your lawyer should help you understand what to do when it comes time to make important decisions relating to the accident.
Fourth, under this guidance, you should document the incident as much as possible. Photos are always helpful and you should try to take as many as you think are relevant. Also, prepare a written statement on the accident. You may be asked by a law enforcement officer to do this, as part of the police report on the incident. Either way, you should complete this task as soon as possible after the accident, as you may forget some important, yet seemingly minor details in the days and weeks following the accident.
Lastly, seek immediate medical attention, even if you think you feel fine. Remember that your adrenaline may be running high, as it typically does in an accident. As a result, you may not physically feel your injuries, until much later. Common injuries, like whiplash or a concussion may not be felt at the time they are received. The injury may cause pain that will only intensify after days or even weeks following the accident. Seeing a doctor will help you identify any underlying injuries you may have sustained during the incident.
As with any car wreck, you may be entitled to damages resulting from the incident.
This is why we recommend contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following the accident. Damages could be awarded based not only on your injuries and medical bills, but they could also be based on damages to property, lost wages from work and pain and suffering. We know these financial awards may never completely make up for the physical and mental anguish you experience as a result from the car wreck, but they will definitely make your life easier as medical bills pile-up and your wages decline due to lost work.
No matter the circumstance of your rideshare accident case, we are available to help you. Caldwell Law Group can handle the legal process on your behalf. We will help you deal with the insurance companies, which can be a headache all on its own.
We can even schedule a free consultation over the phone and review your case to see how we can help. Please contact us today. You can schedule your free consultation online, or just give us a call.