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The Anatomy of a Rideshare Accident Claim

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two police officers responding to a traffic accident. Concept of the anatomy of a rideshare accident claim

As a victim in a rideshare accident in Chicago, you can bring a claim to seek compensation for your injuries. It is important to understand the ins and outs of rideshare accident claims. Specifically, you should know who’ll be considered responsible for the accident and which insurance company to contact for compensation.

two police officers responding to a traffic accident. Concept of the anatomy of a rideshare accident claim

Determining liability in rideshare accidents can be complicated because ridesharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, classify their drivers as independent contractors. Rideshare drivers exercise a substantial amount of control over the work they do, so some victims may not be allowed to recover from the company’s insurance. But don’t write off the chance of recovering from the ridesharing company if you were involved in a rideshare accident. In certain circumstances, a rideshare driver may be considered an employee and you may be able to file a claim against the Uber or Lyft’s insurance policy.

Steps to Take After a Rideshare Accident

When you’re involved in an Uber car accident, there are steps you must take immediately after the crash to make sure that you don’t compromise your chances of obtaining fair compensation. In Uber and Lyft accidents, the situation can be more complicated due to the level of difficulty involved in proving liability. So, you need to take the right steps to protect your rights and improve your chances of receiving compensation.

Address Safety or Medical Needs

The well-being of those involved in the accident comes first. So, you need to check your own body and all other parties for possible injuries and medical needs. If someone needs immediate medical assistance because they’re seriously injured, contact emergency responders. It’s also important to assess the area for risks like oncoming traffic.

Make sure you preserve all records related to your medical examination and treatment. The records will provide a description of your injuries and show that they resulted from the accident.

Document the Accident With the Police

While the rideshare driver is the responsible party to report the accident to law enforcement, it’s important to make sure the police respond to the accident scene for your protection. This will provide you with a report that can be used when you need to file a personal injury claim.

Police reports are the legal proof behind all motor vehicle accident investigations. Most police reports for car accidents contain all details of the incident, ID information of involved parties, description of injuries or vehicle damage, visual evidence of the accident, drawing or diagram of the car accident, and statements from passengers, drivers, and witnesses. The responding officer may note down his or her conclusion about the accident’s cause. By filing a police report you can build a case for any damages, court settlements, or insurance claims, which may be useful to you as a passenger.

Report the Accident to the Ridesharing Company

Your rideshare driver will likely report the accident as an employee before you do, but that doesn’t imply that you shouldn’t also make a report with the company. Be on the safe side and report the accident to confirm that the company knows that the accident occurred and protect your right to file a claim. Rideshare companies carry liability insurance for car accidents that their drivers cause.

You can easily report traffic accidents via the app under the “Trip Issues” section. Doing so allows you to collect from the Lyft or Uber insurance policy. However, be cautious when talking to the rideshare representative. It’s best if you refer the representative to your lawyer.

Get the Rideshare Driver’s Information

If you’re physically able, following an accident involving an Uber or Lyft car, make sure you gather as much information as possible. While waiting for the police, be sure to document the scene of the accident.

Be sure to take pictures and videos of the accident scene, damage to the car involved, and document any injuries you sustained as a result of the accident. If there were witnesses, their testimony could long a long way in case of a dispute. Get their contact information and ask them to give their statement to the police.

Most importantly, ensure you get the driver’s contact information. Be sure to write down the following information:

  • Name of the driver
  • Phone number and address
  • License plate number
  • The car’s registration number
  • Insurance information
  •  Car make and model

Your rideshare accident lawyer will use this information to file and support your claim.

Do Not Talk to Anyone or Post Anything on Social Media

Sharing the details of your accident on social media could hurt your case. There’s a chance that your social media post will controvert the statements in your case. For example, your check-ins, status, and pictures may show that you have physical capabilities contrary to what you claim in your personal injury case. It’s in your best interest to stay off social media while your case is active.

What’s more, don’t talk to anyone, including representatives from your own insurance provider, about the accident. Any information that you give can be used against you. Until you’ve consulted with an attorney, don’t talk to discuss the details of your rideshare accident with anyone.

Contact a Rideshare Accident Attorney in Chicago

If you sustained injuries in a rideshare accident, you may need to file a personal injury claim to recover damages for your injuries and losses. Working with a rideshare accident lawyer can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. A lawyer understands how to deal with insurance companies and secure full compensation.

When it’s time to hire a car accident lawyer, you need to find one with experience handling Chicago Uber and Lyft accidents. These cases can be complicated and you need someone who’s handled a number of such cases with success.

You should follow your attorney’s advice on all matters regarding your case. Make sure your lawyer is present during all conversations with the rideshare company, insurance company, and other drivers. You don’t want the insurance company to talk you into a lowball offer because you’ll lose all rights to seek further compensation.

Whose Insurance Covers a Rideshare Accident?

Establishing liability and determining whose insurance covers a rideshare accident can be quite complicated. Rideshare drivers straddle between being classified as personal and commercial drivers. The drivers aren’t employees of the ridesharing company because they are technically independent contractors. They pay for their own gas, use their own cars, and decide when they will work. In conjunction with the passenger, they also determine the route they’re going to take.

Lyft and Uber are required to maintain a minimum level of liability insurance for each of their drivers. There are limits on these insurance policies. The possible compensation attainable through an Uber or Lyft liability policy varies based on the driver’s status when he or she caused the crash. His or her status will be used to establish the maximum coverage available and whether the rideshare company’s insurance policies could apply.

The Driver Is Transporting a Rider

Both Uber and Lyft offer the highest maximum insurance benefits when a driver is involved in an accident while transporting a paying passenger or en route to pick up a passenger. In such cases, the rideshare firms offer a maximum of $1 million in liability coverage, as well as underinsured or uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage. In this case, you could qualify to pursue a claim through Lyft or Uber’s insurance company if you can prove that the rideshare driver was to blame for the collision. If the driver engaged in distracted driving, for example, you need to show how his or her actions caused the accident.

The Driver Is Actively Seeking a Rider

A rideshare driver that isn’t actively transporting a passenger can still obtain some insurance coverage from the company. However, the coverage is only available if he or she is making use of the app to actively seek out passengers. In such instances, Uber and Lyft provide:

  • A maximum of $50,000 per person
  • Up to $100,000 per accident in bodily injury coverage
  • Up to $25,000 in property damage coverage

This coverage could be claimed by a third party injured by the driver, such as a pedestrian or someone in another vehicle.

The Driver Isn’t Using the Rideshare App

When the rideshare driver is using his or her vehicle for personal reasons or not using the app at the time of the accident, he or she is not covered under the rideshare company’s policy because the drivers are not acting on behalf of the company when the app is off or the driver is offline. In an accident involving an off-duty rideshare driver, you may need to seek compensation through the driver’s personal auto insurance policy.

How to File a Lawsuit Against a Rideshare Company Directly

You’ll need to file your rideshare accident claim with the defendant’s insurance company. The insurance company may appoint an adjuster to review your claim. The adjuster looks for loopholes in claims and determines their validity. So, it’s important to pull out all the reports, estimates, and receipts, provide documentation of injuries and how much you’ve lost because of the accident, share photos from the scene, and provide a written account of the accident to prove how the driver was negligent or reckless.

The next step involves sending a demand letter to the insurance company. This is meant to kick-start negotiations. A demand letter explains how the policyholder is responsible for the accident. You’ll need to describe the type and severity of your injuries and the treatment you’ve received, reveal your medical expenses, cost of lost income, and mention any pain and suffering. The letter should end with a demand for a specific dollar amount you want to receive from the insurance company.

Negotiations start based on the insurance company’s perception of the dollar amount indicated in the demand letter. A settlement figure can be reached through negotiations.

If you cannot agree on a fair settlement amount, you may want to take the case to trial. This way, you can share evidence that supports your case before a judge and jury. An experienced rideshare accident attorney can argue on your behalf to paint a clear picture of your losses and get the right amount of compensation.

Damages You Can Recover in a Rideshare Accident

The damages you may recover in an Uber or Lyft accident include compensation for present and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, and lost earning capacity. A large portion of your settlement or damage award will cover the cost of medical care you’ve received, as well as the estimated cost of medical care you will need in the future. You can also receive compensation for lost income if your injuries limited your ability to work.

Discuss Your Rideshare Accident With a Chicago Injury Attorney

One of the most important things you can do after a Lyft or Uber car accident is to hire a top-rated rideshare accident attorney in Chicago who knows how to deal with ridesharing companies and their insurance companies. Your attorney will evaluate the incident, identify the liable party, and help you with the claims process.

About the Author

Kurt D. Lloyd is a plaintiff’s trial lawyer who focuses on medical malpractice and other catastrophic injury cases. He lives in Chicago and represents injured clients throughout Illinois. He is also the founder of Lloyd Miller Law, Ltd.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

Kurt D. Lloyd is a plaintiff’s trial lawyer who focuses on medical malpractice and other catastrophic injury cases. He lives in Chicago and represents injured clients throughout Illinois. He is also the founder of Lloyd Miller Law, Ltd.

Years of Experience: Over 35 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar Admissions: Illinois State Bar