Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies have disrupted travel-for-hire in New York City. In just a few years, ridesharing has created millions of jobs nationwide. Roughly 36% of Americans have used ridesharing at least once. In a place like New York City, that’s not only more money in the local economy, it’s also more vehicles on the road—and a higher chance of accidents – specifically rideshare car accidents.
A rideshare accident isn’t the same as a standard car accident or even an accident in a cab. Should you find yourself in an accident during a rideshare trip, there are a few things you need to know.
Uber Is Not A Taxi
It may seem the same, or even easier, than hailing a taxicab. Just tap and swipe and a driver shows up. Everything is paid through the app, and no cash handling. Like licensed taxi drivers, rideshare drivers must have a Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) License as well as their current driver’s license. However, they are not regulated in the same way as licensed taxi drivers.
Additionally, Uber rideshare drivers (and their cars) are considered “independent contractors,” not employees of the company. The driver shoulders more responsibility than they would if they were taxi drivers, including coverage.
Insurance And The App
Drivers are required to have their own insurance policies, which include personal insurance as well as a separate policy for ridesharing. These policies cover them both while they are driving and while they are engaged in driving. After an accident, determining fault depends on when the accident happened.
Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing companies have their own insurance policy that covers accident damages, including passenger injuries. The policy for Uber covers up to $1.25M per accident. But just because there is a high limit doesn’t mean you’ll collect that much. The Uber policy requires that the driver picks up a passenger, engages the app to collect payment and start the ride, then be in the process of driving for the policy to cover him or her. If the driver hasn’t swiped the app on, the driver’s policy limits will have to cover any damages.
After An Uber Rideshare Accident
Because rideshare car accidents are different than one between two drivers, the legal grounds are a bit murkier. If you are able, and before you leave the scene of the accident, it’s important to get pictures of the scene, as many as you can, including your own injuries.
Of course, you’ll need to tend to your injuries. Get medical attention as soon as the police officer releases you. Collect copies of your medical records, receipts, and other accident-related documentation (such as a copy of the police report.) Like any car accident, chances are you will soon hear from an insurance adjuster or the rideshare company’s attorney.
While they may say something innocuous, such as they are calling to “check on you,” the truth is they’re working quickly to minimize your settlement or deny your claim. Politely let them know that they should talk directly to your attorney. If you don’t have an attorney, let them know your attorney will be in touch—and call us to make an appointment.
Let Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier Help After An Accident In An Uber
If you’ve been in a ridesharing accident and aren’t sure what to do, call Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier today at (212) 777-9400, or use our contact form. We’re a family-owned personal injury law firm in New York City with more than 26 years of experience helping people just like you after rideshare car accidents. Our contingency fee arrangement means we won’t get paid until you do, whether we settle your case in or out of court.