Ride sharing apps have been in the news a lot lately. Lyft went public this past March. Uber will do its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on Friday, May 10th. And, earlier this week, Uber and Lyft drivers are striking to protest their pay and lack of benefits.

Overall, the use of ride sharing apps is steadily growing. These services offer convenience and provide a cost efficient transportation solution for their users. The recent Lyft and Uber IPOs suggest that these types of services will only continue to grow and be more prevalent in our community. 

Like any other automobile travel, accidents are inevitable. Some have suggested that the increased use of ride-sharing apps is responsible for an increase in traffic accidents. Ride-sharing drivers may be distracted because they are required to extensively use their smart phone to do their job. Smart phones are used by drivers to locate passengers, map destination with GPS and transact payments.

Ride-share drivers also need to look around while they are on the road to find their passengers and certain addresses. And, unfortunately, some drivers may be tempted to speed to get more fares and maximize their profits. This combination of conditions may place ride-share riders in danger.

What happens if you are injured in an Uber or Lyft accident? It depends on who is at fault for the accident. Luckily, most injuries caused by accidents involving Uber or Lyft are covered by insurance. The insurance coverage for the damages just becomes more complicated than an ordinary automobile accident.

If your ride-share driver was not at fault for the accident, you may seek recovery for your injuries from the at-fault driver. You can make a claim or file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Uber has the following policy with respect to its insurance coverage for when its drivers are at fault:

If the Uber driver is “off line” from the ride-share app, the driver’s own personal automobile insurance policy is operative and no insurance is available through Uber.

If the Uber driver has the app turned and is waiting to pick up a fare, they have the following coverage: $50,000 in bodily injury per person; $100,000 in bodily injury per accident; and $25,000 in property damage per accident.

If the Uber driver is en route to a fare or is on a trip, the driver has $1 million third-party liability insurance coverage. Uber’s insurance coverage also includes underinsured/uninsured coverage, which protects drivers if there is a hit-and-run accident or the at-fault party has inadequate coverage to pay for damages.

If you were injured in an accident while riding in an Uber or Lyft, you want to take many of the same steps that you would if you were involved in any automobile accident. The most important thing is to get medical treatment – call 911 or go to the emergency room or hospital if you have been injured.

You should take pictures of the accident scene and/or your injuries. The pictures may strengthen your claim by providing valuable information about the weather and road conditions. Photographs of the damage to the vehicles may assist in assessing the liability of the drivers. Photographs of your cuts and bruises and other injuries may assist in making your claim for damages.

You will need to get the contact information and insurance information for everyone involved. It is also important to get the contact information for anyone who may have witnessed the accident. You will want to obtain a copy of the police report when it becomes available.

You need to file a report to Uber or Lyft. Both ride sharing applications allows you to report a crash. This will document that an accident occured with the ride sharing company. This is an important step if you need to make a claim under their insurance.

It is important to act quickly. A claim for personal injuries caused by an automobile accident is subject to a three-year statute of limitations. It is always better to start the process sooner rather than later.  

The laws surrounding ride-sharing apps are constantly changing. M. Koes Law, LLC knows how to handle these types of personal injury cases. If you were injured while riding in Uber or Lyft, contact us and schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights.