You needed a ride and utilized either Uber or Lyft to get to there, or to take you home. Uber and Lyft riders are usually looking for a ride to assist them in avoiding the hassle of parking, or potentially getting a DUI after a fun evening in a casino or bar. As these ridesharing services become more popular, car collisions can still occur. If one should occur, you will find that your are only a passenger. You had nothing to do with the driving that resulted in the car collision. Yet, you do not own the car, and you have no idea what happens next. It is important to know what rules apply to you, what your rights are, and what you should do.
You need to be aware that rideshare companies, like Uber and Lyft, do not own their vehicles. They rely on drivers utilizing their own personal vehicles. This can be viewed as a layer of protection to the company, which is not responsible for damage done by one of their own vehicles.
Rideshare drivers are not “employees” of Uber or Lyft. Uber and Lyft repeatedly seeks to identify their drivers as independent contractors, who pick up passengers on behalf of the rideshare company. Again, this can create a layer of protection to the companies as they are not assuming the negligence of an employee, but rather, they argue that they are not responsible for the actions of independent contractors.
A debate is raging at the moment regarding insurance coverage issues. A person driving their vehicle as an Uber or Lyft driver is driving their own personal vehicle. Yet, unless they have advised their personal automobile insurance company that they are working as a rideshare driver, their automobile insurance carrier could easily deny coverage of the driver if they have acted negligently and caused an injury, while driving a passenger. States require that automobiles registered in their state carry liability insurance policies. In the State of Nevada, the minimum amount of insurance that a driver must carry on their vehicles is $25,000/$50,000. Meaning, for any one person in a car collision, the most the insurance policy is obligated to pay will be $25,000, while if there are multiple injured parties, the most that will be paid is $50,000. However, this policy may deny coverage to a rideshare driver, who has not advised them that they are working in this capacity, as the insurance premium will not have been factored for such coverage.
Passengers are not left on their own. Uber and Lyft have insurance policies that cover their drivers and passengers. Their insurance is triggered by the timing of the rideshare process. When a Uber or Lyft driver has their driving app turned off they are covered by their own personal insurance policy. When the driver as their app on, and in driver mode, but has not accepted a passenger pickup, they are covered by the Uber and Lyft policy of $50,000 for an individual and $100,000 per accident. When the driver has accepted a passenger’s ride request, they are covered by a larger liability policy that is a $1 million comprehensive policy. This policy is in effect until the ride has ended, and allows a passenger to make their claim against Uber and Lyft directly.
What should you do if you are involved in a collision as a driver or passenger of a rideshare like Uber or Lyft?
First and foremost, the answer to the question of whether you have a claim when you are hit by someone driving as a rideshare driver, or as one of their passengers, is YES. Insurance policies are in effect to cover those claims and protect the injured individuals. What you should do is not unlike any car collision.
Following a Car Collision:
- Take photographs of the property damage, even if you do not own any of the vehicles involved. Photographs of the property damage will go to assist in demonstrating the severity of the impact on your body, but it is also important to photograph the location of the vehicles as well should a dispute over who caused the collision ever become an issue;
- You need to call the police so that they can perform an investigation. If the police are unable, or refuse to come out, then the fact that the call was made is the important factor
- Make sure to get a photograph of all driver’s licenses of the drivers involved in the collision, along with their proof of insurance card, and then photograph the license plate for any vehicles involved in the collision
Once the information has been obtained surrounding who the parties are, and the property damage involved, then you need to seek treatment. If you are experience significant pain, certainly feel free to go to an emergency room to seek medical treatment immediately. Getting medical attention for your injuries is critical in both the effort to get better, and make an effective claim.
Have You Been Involved In A Henderson Or Las Vegas Car Accident?
If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Henderson office directly at 702.405.6000 to schedule a free initial consultation.