What Happens if I am in an Accident in a Rideshare?

A first-person perspective shot of a woman booking a rideshare on her phone.

Imagine getting in the backseat of an Uber on your way to dinner with some friends, and out of nowhere, when you least expect it, your Uber driver smashes into another car — a situation that would be absolutely terrifying for everyone involved.

Car accidents lead to a lot of stress and confusion, especially right when they happen. Still, passengers must remain calm and know they can hold a rideshare driver accountable when their carelessness caused the accident.

Were you hurt by a ridesharing driver? Ridesharing companies and drivers will fight against making any insurance payouts to their passengers.

If you face this situation, reach out to Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law, today. Our experienced California rideshare accident attorneys have handled many cases over our decades of collective experience, and we have found justice for the victims of ridesharing accidents.

We will provide you with a confidential and no-obligation case review to discuss your strategies available for seeking compensation. Call (559) 878-4958 or contact us online to schedule your appointment today.

How to Handle a Rideshare Accident

Rides offered by companies like Uber, Lyft, and others can quickly become a nightmare when the driver has an accident. To make matters worse, they may try to brush it off to avoid liability for injuring their passengers.

They may also decline to share key details and other evidence in order to assist with documenting the claim. Filing ridesharing accident claims is often challenging for these reasons.

Insurance companies and employers like Uber fight tooth and nail to avoid paying any compensation. In some cases, your driver may even try not reporting the accident at all.

As an injured passenger, know you have the right to call for police when an accident occurs and then file a claim in order to get compensated for any injury treatment costs and other damages you have endured because of the crash.

Working with a car accident attorney who is familiar with rideshare cases and laws can ensure that you have the best chance of receiving compensation for all you have lost.

What to Do if You Are in a Ridesharing Car Accident

First and foremost, passengers should not accept any money from the driver. They should ensure that a crash report is filed and police are called when anyone is hurt, or serious property damage has occurred.

They should also file a report with the ridesharing company to report the incident. Do not, in any case, admit to any form of fault, like offering that talking to the driver distracted them, as it can be considered grounds for dismissal of your claim or a reduction in total claimable damages.

Uber and similar companies do whatever it takes to minimize payout or not pay at all

Passengers must make sure that they take all the needed steps and have all the needed evidence proving that the driver was liable. They can do the following after an accident has occurred:

  • Drivers should stop the car at the scene of the accident, as should all other cars involved.
  • Look for any visible and immediate injuries, and call 911 and request police and an ambulance if anyone is possibly hurt.
  • Do not admit or accept fault. Rideshare drivers have the right to record you after a crash in most instances, and anything said can be used against a claim or to release drivers from liability.
  • Take photos and video of the scene of the accident. Document both cars, damages to personal property, and any injuries you may have sustained. If possible, record the driver to document their behavior and if they request to pay you off. Paying off an injured party at an accident is illegal and can prevent those hurt from receiving full and fair compensation for their injuries.
  • Tell the police what you know and be as detailed as possible about the accident. Passengers need to be honest but careful, though, as what they say can hurt their ability to file a claim.
  • Call Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law for a consultation. During the case review, we will evaluate your claim, determine what types of damages may be available, and what strategies can be used to find recovery successfully.

Passengers must file a claim with the ridesharing company, whether through Uber or Lyft. An experienced ridesharing lawyer can help collect all documents required to formalize a claim.

Types of Compensation Available for Rideshare Accidents

Rideshare accidents can result in a lot of damage depending on the severity of the crash. Claims filed against rideshare drivers can request compensation for:

Medical Bills

Medical bills can be anything related to receiving medical attention after the incident to recover from injuries. This can be an ambulance ride, medication, physical therapy sessions, hospital bills, etc.

Future Medical Expenses

Recovering from some injuries can take a really long time. Particularly in cases where injuries are broken bones or newly acquired disabilities, it can take multiple surgeries and therapy sessions in the future to recover.

The expenses of all rehabilitation, follow-up care, and things like ongoing medications are calculated by an attorney and can become part of the claim.

Any Out-Of-Pocket Expenses

Sometimes, the passenger must pay out of pocket to receive the necessary medical care. This can come from over-the-counter pain relievers, copays, and transportation to appointments. Passengers should retain any records of these expenses, such as receipts.

Lost Wages and Reduced Income

Injured passengers will find that they need to take additional time off work to attend their medical appointments or to recover while they are unable to work. This loss of income can be claimed, including the use of any paid time off or other benefits.

Individuals who are unable to return to their previous earnings capacity long-term or permanently can also be compensated for their loss of lifetime earnings.

Property Damage

In accidents, personal property can also be damaged, such as ruined clothes that are ripped, bled on, or need to be cut to provide medical care by EMTs.

Cell phone screens can crack or completely break because of the impact. These items all have value and are claimable damages.

Pain and Suffering

Car accidents take a mental toll on victims. In many cases, they need to attend therapy appointments and may find that they have PTSD or other forms of trauma associated with the event that led to their injuries.

But, especially in cases where the injuries are so severe that they are life-altering, the mental toll is not the only form of damage they will need to claim. Accidents — even a fender bender — can lead to physical pain that draws out for a very long time, if not for the rest of the victim’s life.

Punitive Damages

In cases of gross negligence and recklessness, punitive damages can be claimed in cases that proceed to a jury trial. Not all cases will involve this, but punitive damages may be claimed if there is evidence of extreme negligence.

Do Not Accept Payoffs After an Accident

Often, passengers will find that their Uber driver is willing to pay them off so that they do not file a claim against them or involve a legal team.

Do not take their money. Doing so could prevent you from seeking any further claims for damages you have suffered.

As a passenger, you have the right to seek recovery of full damages in the event of an accident, even if the injuries are minor.

Minor injuries will still require medical attention and possibly physical therapy sessions. Riders will find they will have to go out of pocket or file a claim with their insurer to pay their medical bills.

Mandated Insurance on Behalf of Drivers

Many states, including California, passed legislation that required ridesharing companies to insure their drivers and provide coverage in cases of an accident. This applies to all the drivers, even though they are deemed to be independent contractors. 

All rideshare drivers must maintain these types of coverage in their insurance policies:

  • Liability coverage
  • Collision and Comprehensive Coverage
  • Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
  • Personal Injury Protection Coverage
  • Medical Payments Coverage

All drivers, including those operating for ridesharing services, must be insured at all times. Additionally, they are required to have liability insurance, a $35,000 deposit with the DMV, or a surety bond for $35,000 from a company licensed to do business in California.

Types of Ridesharing Accidents

A car accident is an unfortunate and potentially fatal event that leads to emotional, mental, and physical injuries. Ridesharing drivers for Uber, Lyft, and the like are liable if they are proven to be negligent while on the road.

They can be held liable for the following:

  • Aggressive driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving negligently in dangerous weather and road conditions
  • Driving while under the influence
  • Not yielding to oncoming traffic
  • Running a red light
  • Speeding

Ridesharing accidents are a serious issue, especially since many Americans take Uber and Lyft when traveling, for business, and even while their cars are in the shop. In fact, the more cars on the road, the more likely one is to be in an accident.

The University of Chicago reported a 3% increase in car accident fatalities in 2019 linked to ridesharing drivers.

Caught in an Accident While Riding in an Uber? Call Us Today

Finding yourself in a ridesharing car accident can be terrifying and confusing.

As a passenger, it is not always easy to determine and prove liability. Passengers have the right to file a claim and request compensation for any damages.

Don’t let the ridesharing company try to tell you they aren’t responsible. Speak to an experienced Fresno car crash lawyer today.

Ridesharing companies must provide insurance coverage for their drivers, even if their drivers are independent contractors.

At Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law, our car accident lawyers have years of combined experience fighting and finding compensation for those hurt in ridesharing accidents. Call us today at (559) 878-4958 or contact us online for a no-obligation consultation.