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Determining Liability In Uber/Lyft Accidents

Passenger in Uber accident

Rideshare, also called transportation network companies or TNC, such as Uber and Lyft, provide simple and relatively inexpensive transportation to riders nationwide. Their services are quick and reliable, and many use rideshare companies to commute and travel daily. Unfortunately, the rise of independent transportation companies with drivers almost everywhere also increases the number of vehicles on the road, leading to more car accidents. Further, because the drivers are independent contractors, traffic incidents and crashes involving transportation network company drivers are complex. The process of determining fault and liability includes many added variables and factors. Many issues with accidents involving Uber drivers do not exist in most regular traffic accidents. Fortunately, there is help for those who have questions or who need assistance to recover a settlement after an accident. Contact the Missouri car crash lawyers of Steelman Gaunt Crowley at (573) 341-8336 if you have questions about determining liability In Uber accidents and Lyft accidents.

What to Do If Your Uber Gets in a Car Accident

With all the rideshare companies and drivers transporting passengers, accidents involving Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare company drivers are inevitable. After being a passenger in a rideshare vehicle or a driver involved in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, essential steps to take include the following: 

  • The individual should check themselves and everyone else for injuries sustained during the collision. 
  • Report the incident to the local police department if the accident resulted in bodily harm or over $500 in property damages. 
  • File an accident report with Uber or Lyft. 
  • Go to the hospital for the treatment of injuries.
  • Gather evidence and documentation to prove damages and liability. 
  • Initiate the procedure to file an insurance claim with the applicable insurance agency. 

The Revised Statutes of Missouri § 303.040 requires motorists in the state to report all accidents that cause bodily harm or death, cause property damage of over $500, or involve uninsured drivers to the local police department. 

Who Is Liable in an Uber or Lyft Car Accident?

After an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, determining liability is the first and most essential step to recover losses successfully. Unfortunately, because rideshare drivers are independent contractors, establishing the at-fault party and which insurance company is responsible for paying the damages is complicated. Many components will be considered, such as whether the driver had the Uber application open to accept passengers. Other factors include whether the rideshare driver accepted a rider and was on the way to pick them up, or whether the rider was already in the vehicle.

The process of determining liability is complex. A car accident attorney at Steelman Gaunt Crowley could provide legal advice and take the investigation and legal work off the plaintiff’s hands, allowing you to focus on resting and recovering from Lyft accidents and Uber accidents. 

The Rideshare Insurance Company Liability Decision 

After receiving the accident report, insurance companies investigate to determine the at-fault party. Once the investigation is complete, they will issue a liability decision and often offer a settlement or prepare to prove their client was not at fault or financially responsible for paying the damages.

The Liability Decision Appeal Process

After receiving notice of the collision, an adjuster from the insurance agency will gather details about the accident, including witness statements, photos, and police accident reports. After analyzing the documentation, they will issue a liability decision. Most insurers have an internal appeal process when there are disagreements about the liability decision. The first step is notifying the agency of the intent to initiate the procedure. 

Collecting Compensation After a Missouri Uber Accident

A liability decision is a determination of who caused the accident and which insurance company is responsible for paying the damages, as Missouri is an at-fault driver state. There is also a deadline for car accident claims called the statute of limitations. Under the Missouri Revised Statutes § 516.120, the claimant must file the petition within five years of the accident or lose eligibility to recover damages through the courts. The civil courts follow a pure comparative negligence rule and will allow the plaintiff to collect damages even if they share a percentage of fault for the incident. 

When the Rideshare Driver’s Private Insurance Covers the Damages 

If the rideshare driver is not actively driving to pick up or transport passengers with the application turned on, the driver’s private auto insurance policy will cover the damages. 

Accidents that Meet Uber or Lyft Accident Fund Coverage Requirements

Rideshare drivers have accident insurance coverage from Uber, Lyft, and other companies if the incident’s specific details meet the company’s guidelines. 

  • If the Lyft driver is logged into the rideshare application but only showing as available, the rideshare insurance fund may cover up to $50,000 in damages.
  • If the Uber driver is driving to meet and pick up a passenger, they are in transport, or are dropping the passenger off at the time of the collision, the rideshare insurance accident fund could pay up to $1 million in damages.  

An investigation to gather evidence of these factors will play a crucial role in collecting the fair settlement amount for injuries and property damage. 

Schedule a Consultation With a Knowledgeable Car Accident Attorney 

Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing services have changed how people travel, and while they offer many benefits, there are also some disadvantages to understand. There is often confusion and additional stress for those without experience with how liability works after car crashes. Transportation network or rideshare companies require their drivers to carry their own insurance policy and coverage, and the company provides supplemental insurance in certain circumstances. Understanding your rights is essential if you were in an accident with a rideshare company driver or while riding as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle. Insurance companies often fight liability to minimize the settlement amount, and rideshare companies are often even more challenging to work with and collect damages from. Schedule a meeting with a Missouri car crash lawyer at Steelman Gaunt Crowley at (573) 341-8336 to learn more about determining liability in Uber accidents and Lyft accidents.