Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing services are now available in most parts of the U.S. As consumer transportation options have increased, personal injury attorneys in Evansville and across Indiana are handling a growing number of lawsuits filed against ride-sharing companies.
Personal injury lawsuits are sometimes brought against Uber, Lyft, and their smaller competitors based on injuries suffered in accidents involving ride-share drivers and vehicles. When you ride with Uber, how are you protected? What can you expect if you are involved in an Uber accident?
If you’ll keep reading, those questions will be answered in this brief introduction to ride-sharing companies, the insurance coverage they provide, and your rights as an injured victim of negligence in the state of Indiana.
WHAT DO CONSUMERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT UBER?
Uber and Lyft are popular, convenient services for consumers, but when a ride-sharing vehicle is involved in a collision and someone is injured, the legal complexities may be extensive. What should you know when you ride with Uber?
- What is the insurance coverage and how does it work?
- If you’re injured in an accident that involves Uber, what are your rights?
- If a negligent rideshare driver injures you, is the company liable – or only the driver?
After any accident with injuries in Indiana, the injured victims of a negligent driver are entitled by law to reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages, and all other related losses. How does the law apply in accidents that involve ride-share drivers and vehicles?
HOW DOES RIDESHARE INSURANCE WORK?
Uber liability coverage depends on whether a driver is in or out of service and has or does not have a passenger. Any passenger who is injured while riding with Uber is covered with a one-million-dollar liability policy and a one-million-dollar uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.
Without regard to which driver was at-fault, when a ride-share vehicle is carrying a paying passenger, any injured passengers, pedestrians, and anyone injured in another vehicle will be fully covered by the ride-share company’s liability policy.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CONTACT A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY?
Even so, if you are injured in a crash that involves Uber, you must contact an experienced injury lawyer – at once – to protect your legal rights and to provide the advice that you’ll need. Even though you’re “covered,” it may be difficult to acquire the compensation that you are entitled to.
The companies that insure ride-share vehicles are like any other insurance companies. If you’re injured, you may be offered a quick settlement. Do not accept it. A quick settlement offer is invariably a low offer.
Your personal injury attorney can almost certainly negotiate a better settlement on your behalf. Furthermore, if you agree to a quick settlement, you will lose any right to acquire additional compensation or to take additional legal action.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN AN UBER ACCIDENT?
If you’re injured in an accident that involves Uber or Lyft, immediately summon medical help and the police to the accident scene. Get as many details as you can from the drivers – names, contact information, and details for contacting the auto insurance companies.
Also take as many photos as you can of the accident scene, the vehicles, and your injuries. If there were eyewitnesses, try to get their personal contact information.
It is imperative to have a medical examination – even if you feel splendid – within the first twenty-four hours after any traffic accident. Undetected and latent injuries can become serious medical conditions days or even weeks later. Be smart and look out for yourself.
HOW SHOULD YOU DEAL WITH THE AUTO INSURANCE COMPANY?
If you’re hurt in an accident involving Uber or Lyft, do not make any recorded or written statement to an auto insurance company, and don’t sign any documents or other insurance paperwork before you’ve consulted with an experienced Indiana injury attorney.
You must be represented by an attorney with considerable personal injury experience – someone who routinely handles injury claims and who knows what it takes to negotiate effectively with auto insurance companies and their attorneys.
Here’s the bottom line: If a negligent ride-share driver injures you while that driver is on duty, you can file a personal injury claim against the company. Should you lose a family member because a rideshare driver was negligent on duty, you may sue the company for wrongful death.
WHEN ARE UBER DRIVERS “ON DUTY” FOR INSURANCE PURPOSES?
Whether an Uber driver is “on duty” – and what that means – makes all the difference. If an Uber driver is not working, and that driver injures you, the crash is handled like any other accident. If the driver was negligent, and if he or she was not working, only the driver will be held liable.
So if an Uber driver is carrying a passenger, there’s a million dollars of coverage, but if the driver is not working, the only coverage is whatever is provided by the driver’s personal auto insurance policy. However, what if the driver is “on duty” but “between” passengers?
If an Uber driver is not carrying a passenger but is “working” and has Uber’s app open, if an accident happens, Uber offers to enhance the driver’s personal auto insurance with an additional $100,000 of liability coverage.
HOW MUCH TIME DO INJURY VICTIMS HAVE TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION?
If you’re injured by any negligent driver in the state of Indiana, the state’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date you were injured. When an injury is latent or hard-to-detect, the two years may begin when the injury is discovered.
Don’t wait two years to speak with an attorney. You’ll need immediate help dealing with the auto insurance company. And if your injury prevents you from working, your monthly bills – and your accident-related medical expenses – can start piling up fast. Make the call at once.
WHAT WILL JUSTICE COST IF YOU’RE INJURED?
How can you hire a lawyer if you can’t work and your expenses are mounting? The “contingent fee” system allows every injured victim of negligence to seek justice through Indiana’s civil courts. In a personal injury case, you pay no lawyer’s fee until and unless you are compensated.
What you have been reading is a general introduction to accidents that involve ride-share companies, but if you’re injured because a ride-share driver was negligent, you must have one of the personal injury attorneys in Evansville explain how the law will apply in your own situation.
Your first meeting with a personal injury lawyer is free, and there is no obligation. If you’ve been injured by negligence, let an experienced attorney fight for your compensation – and for your rights. It’s the right thing to do.