What Uber & Lyft Drivers Need to Know After A Car Accident

Charbonnet Law Firm

As a driver for Uber or Lyft, it is important to understand your rights and obligations following a car accident. This is particularly true when the accident is not your fault. There are several complications you can encounter when you are driving and you have a passenger who is paying for your services, particularly if your personal auto insurance does not carry a “rideshare endorsement” which is offered by some insurers for rideshare drivers.

Understanding “Active” Phases With Uber and Lyft

As a rideshare driver, you should know how your status impacts an insurance claim. For example if you are not logged in to the Uber or Lyft app, then you are not considered to be in active driver mode. In this instance, any accident would impact your own personal insurance.

The second phase would occur if you are logged into the application and waiting for a ride request. If you are injured during this time, the liability insurance carried by Uber or Lyft would not cover any injury or vehicle damage you suffered in an accident.

The final two phases, which would impact how liability is assessed occur from the moment you accept a passenger until the time the passenger leaves your vehicle. In these cases, if the rider sustained an injury and you were at fault, then Uber or Lyft insurance would cover their injuries. However, they will not cover any injuries you have sustained. This is important because when you suffer an injury, you will have to deal with the insurance company for the other driver. This is typically referred to as a third-party claim.

During these final two phases, if you are involved in an accident that is not your fault the responsibility would lie with the at-fault driver. However, the at-fault driver’s insurance Company is going to do everything possible to minimize their risk. In some instances,  this would involve attempting to shift the blame for the accident to you. In others, they may deny your claim outright.  This is why it is important for you to consider seeking legal advice, particularly if you have filed a claim and had it denied.

Use Caution at Scene of Accident

The steps you take immediately following an accident will be critical. Any accident which occurs on Louisiana roads resulting in any type of injury or more than $500 in damage requires a driver involved to report the accident to law enforcement. As an involved party, it is critical you not give any indication that you may be at fault for the accident.

Secondarily, you have an obligation to ensure everyone at the scene is as safe as possible. This involves removing cars from roadways when necessary, assisting victims and notifying Emergency Medical Services (EMS).  Chances are, when you report the accident to law enforcement they will ask about injuries at the scene. They will most likely request EMS  at the scene.

When it is feasible, you should document the scene by taking photographs of the damage to the vehicles, document weather conditions, and take photos of any traffic signals in the area. This information will be helpful when you make a claim to the insurer, and it may also help you explain the accident to a personal injury lawyer. You can never have too much documentation. Make sure you get the other driver’s name, registration, driver’s license number, and insurance company contact information. Obtaining the contact information for any witnesses will also be helpful, even though law enforcement at the scene will also ask for this information.

When speaking with law enforcement, the other driver, or any passengers in either your car or the other vehicles involved, you must be certain you do not provide any information which may lead someone to understand you are accepting responsibility for the accident. Once you have spoken with law enforcement and provided them with details including your contact information, you should seek medical attention. It is important to establish what injuries you sustained during the accident. This can only be done by a qualified medical doctor. Remember, just because you may think you are not injured does not mean you have not suffered tissue damage or other injuries which may be masked by the flooding of your system with adrenaline.

After Seeking Medical Attention

You should notify your insurance company immediately following your medical care. Let them know the date, time, and location of the accident and advise them of the law enforcement agency who appeared on the scene. As with your discussions at the scene, use caution. You do not want to give the impression you were at fault for the accident. Despite the fact you pay premiums on a regular basis to ensure you are covered in the event of an accident, insurance companies lose money when they pay out a claim. This is why the insurance adjusters will work very hard to shift the blame to any other party.

Chances are, you will receive multiple calls from insurers. Not only will you be fielding calls from your insurance company if there were passengers in either vehicle involved, their insurers will contact you.  You may hear from the insurance agent representing Uber or Lyft, and you will likely hear from the other driver’s insurance company. Most of these agents will all have the same goal; make sure their company does not have to bear the brunt of the liability for the accident. This is why you should speak with an attorney before you discuss the accident with any agent. They will ask questions in a seemingly innocent manner but their goal is the same, to minimize liability. Some questions you may be asked which seem innocuous include:

  • How are you feeling? – This is not a question which seems bad on the surface. However, the insurance company adjuster is asking this question to see if they can determine how your injuries are impacting you. By asking this question, they hope to show that you are not seriously injured.
  • When are you returning to work? – Another seemingly innocent question which is designed to shed light on the extent of your injuries. The expectation is you will say something like “as soon as I am up to it”. This answer seems innocent enough but this could indicate to an insurance company that your injuries are not serious.
  • What caused the accident? – An adjuster will ask this question in the hopes that you make a mistake such as saying – I did not see the brake lights in front of me, I was talking to my passenger, etc. These questions are to see if they can shift part of the blame for the accident to you with the expectation of minimizing their liability.

Remember, anytime you are involved in a car accident, you and your insurance company are no longer working as a team. Your goal is to ensure your medical costs, lost wages and other financial damages are fully recovered. The insurer’s goal is to make sure they pay as little as possible on the claim. This is when a car accident attorney who has experience handling Uber and Lyft driver injury claims is invaluable.

Charbonnet Law Firm Handles Rideshare Accidents

Since 2015 when rideshare applications first became popular in Louisiana, Charbonnet Law Firm has been helping recover compensation for victims of rideshare accidents. We have been working with attorneys who represent the rideshare companies for years, since we have represented hundreds of passengers, people involved in wrecks and drivers of Uber and Lyft.  If you are a Lyft or Uber driver and you suffered an injury in an accident on Louisiana roadways, contact Charbonnet Law Firm today at our Metairie office at (504) 888-2227 or our New Orleans office at (504) 897-3700 today and let us help you recover financially after an accident. We will focus on your financial recovery while you focus on your physical recovery.