Changing the way people view public transportation, ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft have become very common in many people’s lives. With a simple click or two on one’s smartphone, a driver shows up at your location and takes you where you need to go. With 15 million ridesharing requests completed each day worldwide, Uber and Lyft certainly appear to be here to stay. Because of this, more attention is being placed on passengers and their safety, particularly regarding what happens when ridesharing passengers are involved in an accident. Since this industry is still somewhat new, many passengers know little about how they should proceed should they be a passenger in a ridesharing accident. Rather than be unprepared for these situations and possibly do something that may cost you the opportunity to seek much-needed compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses, here are some steps to take should you be involved in one of these accidents.
In any type of vehicle accident where there are injuries and damage to vehicles and property, always call 9-1-1 to summon rescue personnel and police to the scene of the accident. Once they arrive, they will be able to not only assess and begin treating the injured, but also secure the scene so that it is safe for everyone. But in addition to this, police at the scene will speak to drivers, passengers such as yourself, and anyone who witnessed the crash. Once finished with this, police will then make a determination as to who caused the accident and complete an accident report. Once this report is filed, you should make sure a copy is received by your ridesharing accident lawyer. By having this report, your Uber accident attorney can use this in court or as a negotiating tool with the ridesharing company’s insurance firm, especially if police determine their driver was at fault in the accident.
In these situations, it is important to take as many photos as possible of the accident scene. Start with damage to vehicles, then proceed to visible injuries you sustained, property damage, road conditions and skid marks that may be present, and traffic signals, stop signs, or other traffic signs that may be nearby. By having these photos that can be given to your attorney from West Coast Trial Lawyers, it will be possible for your attorney to put together a legal strategy that will help you gain maximum compensation for your injuries.
Use the Uber Insurance Policy
For companies such as Uber, they have a $1 million insurance policy that automatically kicks in when a passenger is involved in an accident while on the way to their destination. However, most passengers do not know this policy exists, and the company may be in no hurry to make them aware of this option. Thus, if you don’t know this insurance exists, you may think you have no options available to you. Rather than let an opportunity slip through your hands to get the compensation you need for the accident and related problems that follow, always contact an experienced ridesharing accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to discuss your legal options.
Record Your Recollections of the Accident
If you can, make sure you write down or record on your smartphone any recollections you have of the accident. In these situations, even the smallest detail may turn out to be very important, so don’t hesitate to record any thoughts you have about the accident. For example, if you think your driver was distracted, impaired due to drugs or alcohol, or was driving at a high speed or in another reckless manner, always record these thoughts and make them clear to your Lyft accident attorney. By doing so, your attorney may be able to combine your recollections with the police report and other evidence from the scene to build a winning case on your behalf.
Make the Insurance Company Work for You
As stated earlier, Uber has a $1 million insurance policy specifically for passengers who are involved in accidents. However, since the company will probably not be eager to pay out for damages, it will be up to you and your attorney from West Coast Trial Lawyers to make the insurance company do the right thing. To accomplish this, you will not only need to gather as much evidence as possible, but also make sure you do nothing along the way to damage your case. Since insurance companies are notorious for attempting to get passengers to admit fault for the accident or offering settlements that barely cover any damages suffered by passengers, never try to take on the insurance company by yourself. Instead, turn to your Uber accident attorney for assistance and guidance, and let them handle any communications and negotiations with the insurance company.
Choose Your Words Wisely
Even though you are the passenger in the accident, it is still crucial you choose your words wisely while at the accident scene and afterwards. Since it is human nature in these situations to say things like “I’m okay” or “I’m sorry,” you may find yourself wanting to say these things to your driver, other drivers involved in the accident, or to police and rescue personnel. However, to protect yourself from a legal standpoint, it is best if you not only do not say these things, but in fact say as little as possible to anyone. While you should of course try to be cooperative with police and others, that does not mean you need to have in-depth conversations about the accident. Unfortunately, a few poorly-chosen words may put your insurance claim or lawsuit at risk, so err on the side of caution and say as little as possible until you have spoken with an attorney.
Document Your Injuries
If you are treated for injuries at the scene, also make sure you are transported to a hospital or visit a doctor within 24 hours of the accident. By doing so, you will ensure your injuries are properly assessed, treated, and documented in your medical records. This can be crucial, since some injuries such as whiplash or back injuries may not show symptoms until many hours after the accident. In addition, the longer you delay seeing a doctor, the greater the chances an insurance company will attempt to show your injuries were not serious enough to warrant them paying your claim.
Avoid Social Media
If you have been involved in a ridesharing accident as a passenger, it is usually best to avoid being on social media until your case is resolved. Time after time, injured passengers in these situations go on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and post angry comments or pictures, usually without thinking of the potential legal consequences. As a result, insurance companies and attorneys for the defendant can monitor these sites and use various posts against you. Therefore, take your attorney’s advice and lay low on social media.
Since there are so many issues that come into play in these accidents, never rely on attorneys who have little if any experience in these matters. Instead, schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable ridesharing accident lawyer from West Coast Trial Lawyers.