The rise of ridesharing platforms like Uber and Lyft has reshaped city transport. Yet, for drivers in personal vehicles, this also means a higher chance of colliding with these rideshares on the road. If you, as a driver of another car, have found yourself in an accident with a rideshare vehicle, deciphering the subsequent steps and liabilities can be complex. This guide is tailored specifically for such individuals, delineating the essential actions and nuances of handling rideshare-related collisions.
If you are an Uber driver or were a passenger in one that experienced a collision, your circumstances and steps to follow differ considerably. For detailed guidance tailored to your situation, refer to our comprehensive guide on “Was Your Uber in an Accident? Here’s What to Do Next”.
1. Standard Accident Procedures Always Apply
Regardless of the presence of a ridesharing vehicle, always adhere to the primary protocols:
- Ensure Safety: Move to a safe location and check for injuries.
- Call the Police: An official record of the incident is invaluable.
- Document the Scene: Capture photos of damages, license plates, and any landmarks.
- Gather Witness Details: Their accounts can be crucial later on.
2. Identify the Rideshare Status
This is where things differ from a typical car accident. Rideshare drivers can be in different ‘modes’ which affect insurance coverage:
- Offline/Personal Mode: The rideshare app is off, and the driver’s personal insurance applies.
- Waiting for a Ride: The app is on, but there’s no passenger. Here, the rideshare platform’s limited liability coverage may apply.
- Enroute or Passenger Onboard: The rideshare platform’s full insurance policy kicks in, offering more substantial coverage for injuries and damages.
Always ask the rideshare driver about their status at the time of the accident.
3. When the Rideshare Driver is At Fault
If the rideshare driver caused the collision:
- With a Passenger: The rideshare company’s primary insurance should cover third-party injuries and property damages, as they are in ‘ride mode’.
- Without a Passenger: It gets murkier. While there’s some liability coverage, it may not be as comprehensive, potentially necessitating claims against the driver’s personal insurance.
4. When You are At Fault
If you caused the collision:
- Contact Your Insurance Company: Regardless of the rideshare driver’s status, your insurance will likely be the primary coverage for damages to your vehicle and potential liabilities.
- Understand the Claim Complexity: Be prepared for potential claims from both the rideshare’s insurance and the driver’s personal insurance, especially if there’s a dispute about the driver’s status during the collision.
5. No Passenger vs. With Passenger: Why It Matters
The presence or absence of a passenger significantly impacts the potential insurance claims:
- With a Passenger: Insurance claims are generally straightforward as rideshare’s full insurance is activated.
- Without a Passenger: There can be overlaps or gaps in coverage, with both the rideshare’s and the driver’s personal insurances potentially coming into play.
6. Always Consider Legal Counsel
Due to the unique challenges posed by rideshare collisions, it’s advisable to consult with an attorney familiar with ridesharing laws and insurance intricacies. They can guide you on the best course of action, especially if you’ve suffered significant damages or injuries.
Rideshare accidents don’t just involve two drivers; they introduce a third player—the rideshare company. It’s essential to be informed and proactive. With the right steps and expert advice, you can navigate this complicated situation with clarity and confidence.