WHAT TO DO IF INVOLVED IN A RIDESHARE ACCIDENT
Rideshares have become wildly popular in the last few years thanks to cell phone technology. Major companies like Uber or Lyft have nearly perfected the ease with which their customers can book a ride as a safe alternative to driving under any dangerous influence. With a few simple swipes on a phone, customers can choose their driver, size of the vehicle, pick-up and drop-off locations, and whether or not they want to share the ride with others. While the entire experience seems to be catered to the rider’s preferences, the same can not be said for the repercussions following an auto accident during one of these rides. Before making this a regular option for your travel, educate yourself on the gray areas of fault and insurance coverage due to a rideshare accident.
ARE RIDESHARES SAFE?
Ideally, this option should be as safe as taking a taxi in any major city, but there are always weak spots in any business model. Major companies like Uber and Lyft require all their drivers to go
through a screening process of sorts. In this process, one would have to provide his or her full legal name, birth date, and social security number. A proof of insurance would be required, and the vehicle in question would have to pass a full inspection. The companies utilize background checking services, like Checkr, to run an individual’s identity through various sex offender and driving record registries. While all these steps provide a sense of comfort to the customer, there is still much concern remaining for the fact that they do not require a fingerprint check the way most taxi companies do. Uber now offers a safety toolkit feature within their app. The significant part of this feature is that with a click of a button, you can call 911 from your phone and it will immediately provide the 911 dispatcher with a full description of the car you are in. Similar safety features are being adopted by other rideshare companies and phased into the nation region by region.
DO RIDESHARE DRIVERS HAVE INSURANCE?
Yes, chances are your rideshare driver holds some sort of auto insurance from before he or she became a rideshare driver. Additionally, these companies tend to offer insurance options for their employees. For example, Uber provides insurance for their drivers, but it varies based on the phase of the driver’s shift. If a driver has the rideshare application turned off, then the driver’s personal insurance is all that will cover an accident. When the driver is online and working for the rideshare company, he or she can be covered up to a specific maximum while waiting to pick up a customer, and that amount increases when he or she is driving with the customer in the vehicle. In the state of Florida, the law is that the rideshare company’s insurance will take over as the primary insurance anytime the driver is logged into the app. This has been a gray area for some states because one can make the argument that the driver was technically not using the app while still being logged in to it. To avoid further confusion, Florida has made it clear that if the driver is logged into the app, regardless of activity, the rideshare company’s insurance is absolutely the primary coverage in the event of an accident.
WHAT DO I DO AFTER A RIDESHARE ACCIDENT?
Call 911. Several major rideshare companies have instructed their drivers to call 911 “if necessary,” so be weary of any driver that tries to downplay the seriousness of your accident. Take the initiative to call 911 yourself, and remove yourself from the vehicle if you are able to do so safely. Use your cell phone camera to take photos of any injuries sustained by you or anyone else in the accident, photos of damage done to any vehicles involved, and photos of all proofs of insurance. By taking action immediately following the incident, you are taking advantage of the shock everyone is still experiencing. The longer you wait to gather evidence in this way, the more opportunity someone has to determine reasons against allowing you to do so. After seeking emergency assistance and medical help, give us a call so we can help you start the process of getting what you are owed after such a traumatic experience.
TIPS FOR USING RIDESHARES
- Always confirm the license plate number before entering a rideshare.
- Locate and understand how to use the emergency feature, if there is one provided, on the rideshare app.
- Be alert. Fight the urge to look down at your phone during the drive. If there is an emergency, the details you notice could make a world of difference in a court settlement.
CONTACT US TODAY
If you or a loved one have been hurt in an auto accident with a rideshare company, contact us today for a free strategy session to see how we can help you navigate this legal experience.