What happens if you’re injured in a car accident in an Uber or Lyft, or any other ride-sharing program? Who’s responsible for your medical bills, and whose insurance company will you have to deal with? Here’s what you need to know if you’ve been injured in an accident in an Uber or Lyft.
Injured in a Car Accident in an Uber or Lyft: What Now?
Whether you’re a passenger or driver, being involved in a car crash is scary – and the aftermath can be devastating. You could be dealing with serious and even life-threatening injuries, and you may end up being unable to go to work while you heal. So what happens if an Uber, Lyft or other ride-sharing service is involved?
What is a Rideshare Company?
Rideshare companies – the most popular and widely known of which are Uber and Lyft – are companies that provide peer-to-peer rides from one place to another. The drivers are generally freelancers and can choose whom to pick up and where to drive, and they can agree upon payment with the passenger. For the most part, these services are provided through apps that connect drivers and passengers. They’re generally like carpools with money involved.
Are Uber and Lyft Cars Considered Commercial Vehicles?
Uber and Lyft cars aren’t commercial vehicles, even though their owners are charging a fee for rides. They aren’t registered or insured as commercial vehicles (like taxi cabs and buses are). However, there are special insurance options for Uber and Lyft drivers.
What if You’re a Passenger in an Uber or Lyft and You’re in an Accident?
After any type of car accident, the most important thing for you to do is to seek medical treatment. That’s true even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured – and even if you don’t think you’re injured at all. Some injuries can take days or even weeks to show up, including possibly life-changing injuries like TBI. Even whiplash, which is one of the most common car accident injuries, doesn’t always show up right away (you may not even know you have whiplash until several days have passed since the accident).
Your first call, once you’ve begun receiving medical treatment, should be to an attorney who can help you determine your next steps.
The reality is that because Uber and Lyft are new – particularly when you compare them to public transit or taxi services – the laws governing accidents involving them (and other ride-sharing services) are still evolving. It’s important for you to know that the people who work for these types of companies are independent contractors, and liability can be a little tricky in situations like these.
What Kinds of Damages Can You Get After a Car Accident in an Uber or Lyft?
After your attorney determines who’s responsible for your injuries, you’ll most likely enter into negotiations with the responsible party. Your lawyer will explain what the accident has cost you in terms of medical bills and lost wages, as well as psychologically and physically, to the responsible party’s insurance company. Generally, the insurance company will make a settlement offer. You do not have to accept that offer. Your attorney will help you cross that bridge when you come to it.
Often, negotiations go back and forth for a while. You’ll either end up accepting a settlement offer or your attorney will advise you to file a formal lawsuit in court. Lawyers usually only recommend lawsuits when they’re absolutely necessary – like when the insurance company refuses to pay you a fair amount for what you’ve been through. That’s because lawsuits can be time-consuming and expensive (you’ll end up paying your legal fees out of your court-ordered award), and your lawyer’s job is to get you the best possible outcome… even if that means he or she works fewer hours on your case because you settled out of court.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer After Being Injured in a Car Accident in an Uber or Lyft?
If you’ve been injured in a car crash in an Uber or Lyft – or in any other ride-sharing service – we may be able to help you. Call us at 818-230-8380 now for a free consultation. We’ll meet you at home, in the hospital or in our office, or just talk to you over the phone, to discuss your case.