You’ve likely jumped into dozens of Ubers or Lyfts without a second thought, and luckily most of us haven’t had to consider what to do if our rideshare driver gets into a crash. However, traffic accidents are on the rise. In 2020, despite a significant decline in traffic from COVID-19 lockdowns and telecommuting, traffic deaths increased in the state of New Jersey. When we pair this with the growing convenience and popularity of Uber and Lyft, it is important to consider the possibility of an accident and all the legal questions that come with it.
If you have had the misfortune of being in an accident while taking an Uber or Lyft somewhere, a Buttafuoco & Associates Northern New Jersey rideshare attorney can help you navigate this unfamiliar legal terrain. In this article, I’ll describe some of the legal considerations you should make if your rideshare driver gets into a wreck while you’re the passenger.
Steps to Take After the Accident
Traffic accidents are confusing enough because of insurance, but any lawyer who is familiar with rideshare cases will tell you that when one of the drivers is an Uber or Lyft driver, there is an added layer of complication. Rideshare accidents are also increasing at alarming rates, and according to a 2018 University of Chicago/Rice University study are largely responsible for traffic accident fatalities, having increased them by 2-3 percent since 2011.
Injuries after this type of accident are also common, so knowing what to do after an accident to protect yourself, your health, and your future is essential.
1. Report the Accident to Uber AND the Police
Police reports are essential to any personal injury situation where you are pursuing compensation. After an Uber or Lyft accident, your first step is to call the police. The police will document important details at the scene and take witness names and contact information. Your lawyer will then use the police report to conduct an investigation.
One major difference in protocol for Uber accidents is that addition to calling the police, you should also contact Uber. They will create a report that insurers will require as proof of the accident. If you fail to contact the rideshare company, an insurer could deny your claim due to a lack of evidence.
2. Write Down What You Remember
Successful lawsuits require a clear retelling of what happened during the accident, how it happened, and the parties involved. In addition to writing down what happened, take photos of the damage to all vehicles involved from various angles. Also take photos of your injuries and gather details from witnesses about what they saw. These will be important to your attorney and to your case.
3. Get Medical Care
As with any accident, seeking medical care is a must after a rideshare accident. Internal injuries, whiplash, and even fractures could all go unnoticed unless you see a doctor. But beyond taking care of your health, your medical records will help establish a link between your Uber accident and your injuries. If you fail to visit a doctor soon after your accident, it will be more difficult to prove that your injuries were caused by your accident, and make it hard for your attorney to effectively argue your case.
4. Seek Legal Help
Settlements after Uber accidents are notoriously difficult to negotiate. This is simply because there are so many different parties involved, including your Uber driver, drivers of other vehicles, yourself, and various insurance companies. As much as we’d like to believe insurers are here to help, this isn’t the case, and they will do everything they can to avoid paying a settlement.
Even seemingly small factors, such as whether your driver was using the Uber app during the crash, can play a big role in the outcome of the case. This is why it’s best to have a Northern New Jersey rideshare lawyer handle conversations with these various parties, as they will have the negotiation skills necessary to secure the best possible claim.
Be sure to keep all documentation of the accident including photos, witness statements, medical records, and other evidence to present your case to the insurance company and your lawyer.
Need Legal Help?
This blog certainly doesn’t cover every situation, and a rideshare attorney in Northern New Jersey understands that insurance companies and rideshare corporations will fight to give you as little money as possible. It is our mission to stand up for the little guy against these companies and get you the best possible outcome for your case.
If you are unsure what to do after your accident involving a Lyft or Uber driver, get in touch with Buttafuoco & Associates to learn all your options.
Call 1-800-NOW-HURT today.