Companies like Uber and Lyft are part of the new wave of Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) that may soon completely marginalize the traditional taxi industry. Although the ridesharing industry has significantly lowered the cost of intra-city travel for people without access to their own vehicle, it has introduced new complications as well.
TNC drivers are not as well-trained as their taxi driver counterparts, and accidents are not terribly uncommon. When this happens, the legal situation can become complex very quickly, because they potentially involve three different insurance policies – the driver’s commercial insurance (through Uber or Lyft), the driver’s personal insurance and the other driver’s personal insurance.
What to Do After a Ridesharing Accident
The steps to take after a ridesharing accident are more or less the same as the steps you should take after any accident that might generate a personal injury claim, including:
- Seek medical treatment ASAP. Part of the reason for this is to generate evidence for your claim.
- Contact the police and make sure they fill out a police report. This is likely to happen without your initiative under most circumstances.
- Collect driver’s license, phone number, and insurance information from all drivers involved in the accident
- Obtain names and phone numbers of any witnesses
- Photograph the scene of the accident with your cell phone
- Contact a competent personal injury attorney
- Do not speak to any insurance adjusters – refer them to your attorney instead.
If you were seriously injured, you will of course have to skip or delay some of these steps.
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Kinds of Personal Injury Claims We Typically Handle
Below is a list of some of the types of traffic accident cases we handle:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I claim against my own no-fault insurance policy if the app was on and I had no assignment?
Probably not, because most personal auto insurance policies exclude coverage for commercial activities. As long as you were driving with the app on, your activity would be considered “commercial.” Check your policy language to confirm its coverage.
What does Uber insurance cover?
Uber insurance covers:
- $1.25 million in personal liability per accident
- $1.25 million in underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) up to $50,000 for each occupant, regardless of fault
App on, no assignments:
- $75,000 per injury/$150,000 per accident/$25,000 property damage
- $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident uninsured motorist insurance
- PIP protection up to $50,000
What does Lyft insurance cover?
Lyft insurance covers the following:
- $1 million in liability per accident
- $1 million in underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage
App on, no assignments:
- $50,000 per person, $100,00 per accident, $25,000 property damage
Are there any gaps in insurance coverage?
Coverage loopholes in Uber, Lyft, and most personal insurance policies include the following:
- Damage to a ridesharing driver’s car due to an accident that occurred while his app was on with no current assignments (depending on circumstances, the other driver’s insurance might cover these damages)
- Personal injury to a ridesharing driver without an assignment, if the accident was the ridesharing driver’s fault
Can I still file a claim if the accident was partly my fault?
Yes, as long as the accident was not completely your fault. Under New York’s “pure comparative fault” system, you are entitled to some damages (discounted by your degree of fault) even if you were mostly at fault. Keep in mind that the other driver can also sue you as well, and you might end up with a net loss.
I suspect that my driver was intoxicated. Can I add punitive damages to my claim?
Although it is possible to receive punitive damages under New York law in certain circumstances, insurance companies are not obligated to pay these damages. Consequently, you might not be able to collect punitive damages unless the driver can pay them out of his own pocket. Since ridesharing jobs are relatively low-paid, it is unlikely that an Uber or Lyft driver could afford to pay punitive damages out of their own pocket.
What are pain and suffering damages?
Pain and suffering damage compensate you for the physical suffering that you experienced as a result of your personal injury. Unlike punitive damages, these types of damages are commonly awarded, and in some cases they might far exceed the amount of medical expense reimbursement.
Who files the claim if the accident victim dies from his injuries?
In this case, a wrongful death claim is appropriate. It must be filed by the personal representative of the victim’s probate estate – the person named in the victim’s last will and testament or appointed by the probate court. The personal representative must distribute these damages appropriately after they are awarded.
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Turn Time into Your Friend Instead of Your Enemy
The reality of personal injury law is that a personal injury claim is usually at its strongest shortly after it arises. It’s not only the statute of limitations deadline that matters – witness memories, for example, are freshest soon after the event. It is in your interest to secure expert legal representation as soon as possible after your accident.
If you suffered an injury in a ridesharing accident in the state of New York, and if you suspect that someone other than yourself may be responsible for the accident, contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation.