What should you do if you are in an accident using Lyft or Uber
and can you bring a claim against them
- by Adidem
- July 23, 2019
Uber and Lyft have provided a significance convenience in the lives of commuters around the United States and these companies have had tremendous success, including recent IPOs. In 2018, there were approximately 41.8 million Uber users and Lyft had approximately 19.8 million users in the United States. It will come as no surprise that given the popularity of these services, there will be a number of vehicle accidents during ridesharing or commuting with Lyft or Uber.
If you've been in an accident using Lyft or Uber, you can use Adidem to obtain proposals from multiple lawyers in your State to see if you may have a claim and what that claim may be worth. You can get proposals now by clicking below.
* the contents of this article are for information only. The information below is not legal advice.
If I've Been In An Accident When Using Lyft or Uber, Do I Have A Claim Against Them?
While you likely have a claim if you've been injured in an accident when using Uber or Lyft, it is likely not against Lyft or Uber as:
- if the accident was caused by your Lyft or Uber driver, you would have a claim directly against the Lyft or Uber driver (likely not Lyft or Uber themselves as of the date of this article); or
- if the accident was caused by the driver of another vehicle (and not the Lyft or Uber driver), you would have a claim directly against the other driver.
Technically speaking, both Lyft and Uber are software companies and are not a traditional taxi company. If you're involved in an accident in a taxi, you may have a claim directly against the Taxi company as the vehicle may be owned by that taxi company and the driver may be an employee of the taxi company. This is not the case with Lyft or Uber, as the drivers are not directly employed by Lyft or Uber and are independent contractors (This model is under attack by some States in the US). As a result, when driving with Uber or Lyft you are technically accepting a ride with the driver, and not Uber or Lyft (as Uber and Lyft only provide the platform (the app) that connects you with drivers), however, there can be exceptions to this depending on the State where the accident occured.
With that said, both Lyft and Uber provide insurance to their drivers to protect against claims and Uber and Lyft's insurance should apply to your claim if you've been in an accident while using Lyft or Uber and that claim is caused by the fault of the Uber or Lyft driver.
Why is Car Insurance Needed for Uber or Lyft Accidents?
The American legal system (which is generally consistent among all States) provides a person injured in an accident with a right to recover financial damages from the person who caused the accident to compensate the injured person for his or her injuries that result from the accident (and the impact to their life following the accident). Given this legal right, drivers must protect themselves from claims that may result from accidents they cause, and drivers purchase insurance to make sure money is available to pay an injured person if that driver causes the accident. Lyft and Uber are no different.
Thus, if you've been in an accident that is caused by someone else's fault, its important to determine if the person who caused the accident has insurance as that insurance can pay you for the damages you are entitled to under the laws of your State as a result of the accident.
Does Lyft or Uber have Insurance for my Claim?
Yes, both Uber and Lyft provide insurance for the benefit of Uber and Lyft drivers, however, the amount of insurance varies from State to State. This means if you are involved in an accident while using Uber or Lyft, the following insurance regime will apply:
- If the accident was the Uber or Lyft driver's fault, Uber's or Lyft's insurance policy will respond to your claim up to the limits of insurance. Assuming the accident occured during a ride with a passanger, Uber will provide a minimum amount of $1,000,000 of insurance coverage and Lyft will also provide a minimum amount of $1,000,000 of insurance (granted the exact amount of insurance may vary from State to State). The Uber or Lyft driver may have also have secondary insurance coverage if the amount of Uber or Lyft insurance is insufficient for your claim; or
- If the accident was caused by another vehicle, you will need to rely on the insurance obtained by the driver of the other vehicle.
It should also be noted that Uber carries the minimum amount of $250,000 of insurance for the benefit of passengers using Uber if an accident is caused by another driver who does not have any insurance. Lyft also provides uninsured motorist coverage through a $1,000,000 excess insurane policy. Please note the insurance provided by Lyft or Uber may change if the accident occurs when the Uber or Lyft driver is between trips and does not have a passenger (or has a passenger that was not using Lyft or Uber for the ride).
What Happens If There Is Not Enough Insurance For My Claim?
This can get a little complicated. First, you will need to be in a significant accident or be involved in an accident involving multiple parties before a million dollars of insurance will be insufficient for your claim. The most common injury from a vehicle accident is whiplash, and the value of most whiplash claims (assuming whiplash is your only injury) will likely not exceed the value of Uber or Lyft's insurance program. With that said, your claim (or the claim of others in your vehicle or the vehicle hit by your Uber/Lyft Driver) could exceed the limits of insurance provided by Lyft or Uber. If that occurs, you have two primary options:
- hopefully the Uber or Lyft driver carries additional insurance. In such event you would seek recovery of the amount of your claim against the driver through both the Lyft/Uber insurance policy and the secondary policy of insurance placed by the driver; or
- if your driver does not have additional insurance while driving Uber or Lyft, you would only be able to bring your claim against the driver personally (meaning you would get the benefit of the Uber or Lyft insurance, and then your only recourse would be against the personal assets of the driver). In this event, it may be difficult to recover amounts in excess of the value of the Lyft/Uber available insurance.
Keep in mind, if your Uber or Lyft driver causes an accident, its entirely likely that the driver in the other vehicle will also be injured in the accident and that person may also bring a claim against the Lyft or Uber driver.
Should I Report My Accident to Lyft or Uber?
You do not need to report your accident to Lyft or Uber, however, both Lyft and Uber allow you to contact them in the event of an accident and you can contact them as follows:
A. UBER - Click on the "help" tab in the app. Click on the trip that was subject to the accident and click "help" again, followed by "I was in an accident". This will report the accident to Uber. You can also call Uber directly at 800-353-8237.
B. LYFT- Lyft does not have a feature within their app allowing you to contact Lyft electronically, however, if you'd like to report your accident to Lyft you can call their emergency number at 855-865-9553.
Its important to note that either Lyft or Uber may offer you compensation for the injuries you have suffered in the accident, however, the amount offered to you may not be representative of or the appropriate amount you are legally entitled to. Its important to speak with a personal injury lawyer before accepting any compensation offered by either Lyft or Uber following an accident.
What Should I Do After I've Been In An Accident Using Lyft or Uber?
If you're reading this article and the accident has already happened, you've probably missed your opportunity to gather all the information below, however, after your accident you'd ideally take the following actions:
- Call the police and request that the police attend the scene of the accident to generate a police report;
- See if you can obtain the name and contact information of any witnesses who saw the accident occur;
- Take cell phone photos of the accident scene, including the licence plates of the vehicles in the accident;
- Ask for the personal insurance information of your Uber or Lyft driver, as well as the insurance information for the other driver involved in the accident;
- Take a screenshot of your trip in the Uber or Lyft app, so you have a record of the time of the trip, the name of your driver and to confirm that you were a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the accident (this can be done before or after the accident);
- Visit a doctor, chiropractor and/or physiotherapist to confirm the nature of your injuries and to ensure you have the proper treatment to recover from your injuries. The information from the doctor, chiropractor and/or physiotherapist will also be used to determine the value of the compensation you are entitled to after your accident; and
- contact lawyers to determine the value of the compensation you are entitled to, and to determine which lawyer you want to hire to resolve your claim. Its important to note that hiring a lawyer is simply part of the process to ensure you are entitled to the settlement you deserve considering the injuries you sustained in your accident.
The above assumes your injuries after the accident allow you to obtain the information above. If your injuries are significant, you may want to ask a friend or family member to obtain as much of the information above as possible following the accident.
Are There Personal Injury Lawyers that Specialize in Uber or Lyft Claims?
While there may be lawyers who have more experience with Uber or Lyft personal injury lawsuits than others, a good personal injury lawyer should have the experience needed to navigate the issues associated with your Uber or Lyft personal injury claim. With that said, it is important for you to speak with multiple lawyers to find out what your claim may be worth and whether you are comfortable with that personal injury lawyer. You could also use Adidem who will do all that work for you.
Use Adidem to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer Following Your Uber or Lyft Accident
At Adidem, we use software to simplify the process to hire a personal injury lawyer and to provide you with the relevant information you need to help decide which is the best personal injury lawyer to hire following your Lyft or Uber accident.
We also allow any personal lawyer in the State of your accident to sign-up to use Adidem. No restrictions, no-sign-up fee and no exclusivity with any particular firm or lawyer. Rather than you having to look for the right lawyer, we bring the legal market to you.
This is important, as Adidem:
- can provide you with access to the broader legal market in your State without you needing to contact all those lawyers;
- allows any lawyer with an opportunity to offer their services for your claim;
- allows you to obtain information with respect to your claim to determine which lawyer you may want to hire; and
- makes lawyers compete for your work.
Here is how Adidem works.
Complete the Questionnaire and tell us about your claim.
You start the process by completing an online questionnaire describing the nature of your claim and you then create an account with Adidem. The Adidem questionnaire is designed to ask you questions similar to those a lawyer would typically ask you before the lawyer agreed to represent you and are the questions the lawyer will need to know to assess whether you may have a claim.
It will also only take you about five minutes using Adidem (it may take you an hour to answer these questions if you met with a lawyer in person!). There is no also charge to you to use Adidem (it’s free to use).
That’s it. That’s all.
Adidem sends your claim to personal injury attorneys in your State
After you complete the questionnaire, we send a notification to all attorneys using Adidem that there is a new claim for them to review. As noted above, we allow any personal injury attorney in your State to use Adidem and attorneys can only see your claim details if they have agreed to keep your information confidential. This is the same process that would apply if you visited the lawyer in person.
Lawyers review your claim and provide you with proposals
If a lawyer would like to offer to represent you, that lawyer will review your claim and provide you with a proposal. We have developed software to conduct this proposal process for you. When submitting a proposal, we ask each lawyer to provide you with the following information:
- The lawyer’s credentials and experience with similar injury claims (they can even provide you a video introducing themselves);
- The estimated value of your claim. This means we ask lawyers to tell you approximately how much your claim may be worth and the potential settlement amount;
- How much the lawyer is going to charge you for their legal services (cost to hire the lawyer). We also ask the lawyer to confirm whether the legal fees are only owing if the lawyer is successful recovering you some money; and
- The estimated period of time it will take to resolve your lawsuit.
You review the proposals and select your lawyer
Once you’ve received proposals from different lawyers, you can compare the proposals and decide what is the best lawyer for you.
Let Adidem do the hard work for you.
You can also find Adidem's blog here.