By: William C. Head, Uber Accident Lawyer Near Me With 4 Offices in Metro Atlanta GA
Rideshare is a term that was seldom used two decades ago, but Uber, Lyft and a host of other phone app-based services have all but made taxi services obsolete. However, when a paying passenger is injured or killed in an auto accident, the typical rideshare driver's insurance will fall short. But the Uber driver accident may have back-up insurance that will pay for your damages.
The usual ride-share driver's minimal coverage policy "taps out" quickly. Then, the victims want to know about whether Lyft, Grab or Uber insurance will cover the excess financial obligation claims. Ironically, most users of ridesharing services will tell you that they tend to use a well-known brand to assure that extra coverage for accidents will be covered.
SPECIAL NOTE: Remember this highly valuable lesson about trying to self-represent against a giant insurance company: if you talk to an insurance adjuster for the rideshare company alone, and say the wrong things, your claim will be denied and rejected. Expect that conversation to be recorded and used against you later to eliminate any Uber accident settlement offer.
Today, the five largest ride sharing services in the USA are:
- EasyTaxi; and
Being Injured in a Lyft or Uber Atlanta GA Crash
When involved in an accident while riding in a shared trip vehicle, you need car accident lawyers to sue Uber or one of the other rideshare companies. The first thing to know is that multiple factors control when and if coverage will be made available. Some of the following considerations provide answers to these questions, taken from the official Uber website:
- Does State law control how much liability insurance each driver and vehicle must carry?
- Do local laws in major cities or counties mandate coverage for drivers within that local government area. For example, the author hailed a recent taxi ride from Greenwich Village in New York City to JFK Airport. A printed notice was adhered to the safety screen. The notice stated that the driver could not refuse to drive a passenger to any on the many boroughs in the metro NYC area. So, local governments can regulate taxi and rideshare businesses within their area of governance
- Which insurer covers the rideshare company? Recently, Uber switched from Green River to GEICO for its coverage. Injury lawyers in Atlanta know that such shifts in their coverage can mean a substantial difference in how quickly or easily your claim will be paid.
- The next question turns to whether the ride share app you are using had been activated by summoning a vehicle. Between the time of payment via the app and the end of the ride (when that passenger exits the ride at his or her destination), coverage exists.
Be aware that the ride share companies train that drivers to not speak about or disclose insurance issues. This cloud of rideshare company secrecy seems to be based on keeping riders in the dark. Perhaps the secrecy is based on keeping insurance company premiums low.
7 Things Uber or Lyft Accident Victims Need to Know About a Potential Personal Injury Case
The availability of insurance coverage with Uber, Lyft and other companies can add to an injured person's total recovery. This means that passengers in an accident may be able to obtain more financial compensation. In the future, you should expect many Uber vehicles to be driverless vehicles, for which filing a lawsuit based on driver error or fault will pose much greater problems.
Your Uber lawyer may file a claim for your medical costs, lost wages (while recovering and unable to work), plus for pain and suffering. This all assumes that the claimant had no role in causing that accident, which rarely is raised as an issue.
First, you can predict that Uber and Lyft drivers carry minimum limits policies in a vast majority of cases. That could mean woefully insufficient insurance coverage for you, from that source, if serious bodily injury occurs.
The State of Georgia calls for a minimum of $25,000 per person, with no less than $50,000 for all injuries to all parties. If you are in Florida and take a Lyft or Uber trip, the driver may have under $15,000 in total coverage.
Second, any excess coverage that may come from rideshare insurers has been “itemized” by the rideshare companies. This minimizes when and if their insurance providers will willingly admit responsibility. The level of hesitation grows when the big dollars are at stake. This happens if grievous injury or death has happened since $1 million made be paid out to be shared among all riders within that hired vehicle. This is paid as excess liability coverage or uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
Third, your own private car insurance policy may provide you with additional coverage. The portion of your police dealing with “uninsured” or “underinsured” drivers must be carefully reviewed. The best automobile insurance companies quickly pay their insured driver. This payout can be for the policy limits. An umbrella policy may be as high as $5 million. Be aware that if your company pays, it will file a subrogation claim against Uber, Hitch-a-Ride, or Lyft, to offset what it paid you.
Fourth, apart from rideshare riders, significant compensation may be recoverable by a motorist in another vehicle injured or killed by the rideshare driver's negligence;
Fifth, a passenger injured in a collision of any type in which the ridesharing driver was at fault is a viable claim to pursue;
Sixth, a ridesharing driver who is injured in an incident has the right of recovery. If a crash is caused by another at-fault motorist that collides with the Uber driver's vehicle, the rideshare driver may have a claim against his or her company. This extra insurance after a motor vehicle accident lets that Lyft driver be compensated by the rideshare driver's company insurance coverage; and
Seventh, any injured passengers who paid for transportation in a rideshare vehicle where the at-fault operator is unknown or disputed. By way of example, a hit and run driver causes the crash and then disappears. Because passengers within the Lyft, Uber or other rideshare vehicle clearly were not the negligent parties, such claims should be recoverable.
What Happens After an Accident involving a Lyft, Hitch-a-Ride or Uber Vehicle?
If you are a victim of any rideshare service, hiring an experienced rideshare accident lawyer is a smart move. Our law firm's clients often need to obtain compensation for personal injuries or property damage (or both) immediately
Don't assume that every law firm in Atlanta is competent to maximize your recovery. Plus, in metro Atlanta, the accident location can be important. Where your accident occurred and how it happened are major considerations in the ultimate settlement or jury verdict.
These personal injury lawyers know the limitations and quirks about potential rideshare insurance company hesitance to pay. Don't assume that Lyft, Grab, Uber or any other citizen transport service will automatically cover your claims. Uber, Lyft, Carma, Sidecar and other corporations will first worry about their cost of operation.
Their customers are important, no doubt, but they also want to stay in business and not have to fold their tent by paying too many claims. You need an Uber injury lawyer to guide your case.
Uber's High-Tech Solution Created a Dramatic Decline in Taxi Service and DUI-DWI Arrests
Taxi service had traditionally been abysmally unreliable and unpredictable in most places. The advent of an award-winning phone-based application to solve those inadequacies was embraced across the world. These apps identify your driver, his or her vehicle type and tag number plus show a map of that driver's location in proximity to the customer. This revolutionized the car service industry.
Reliable pick-up and delivery by use of these rideshare apps has caused the demise of traditional taxi service. Low-cost and quickly available service has reduced drunk driving in major metropolitan cities. This unexpected public safety byproduct has been welcomed by driver safety agencies and non-profits.
In Georgia, the rise of Uber Atlanta GA ridership has been spectacular. When the Peach State added 4 million new residents in the past 30 years to Georgia's population, and half in the metro counties, new traffic solutions were needed. Hundreds of thousands began to regularly utilize cars within the Uber hub Atlanta. As ridesharing has proliferated in Atlanta Georgia, so has the chance of an Uber (or other ride share company) driver accident.
The drivers for Uber filed a class action lawsuit for benefits, which is still pending. Lyft and Uber accident cases are a recent transportation development and thus involve murky legal waters. Only attorneys who have experience and special knowledge in this complex area of law will be able to supply victims with targeted legal advice.
Does a Rideshare Insurer pay when a Negligent Driver Injures or Kills a Pedestrian?
To answer this question, remember that all rideshare companies mandate that their driver have a basic liability insurance policy in place before that driver can operate under the company's rideshare "label." Next, often these drivers are on the road and have no passenger and are not responding to an app signal for a pickup.
Many rideshare drivers are parents and have a second job. Thus, most of their driving is not related to their rideshare job.
The plan for the rideshare companies was to limit their liability to when their driver was "in service" and only if their passenger or passengers were killed or injured. Yet, car-pedestrian accidents are highly likely in crowded metro cities like Atlanta, Marietta, Savannah and Columbus. Will the rideshare insurance coverage apply or not?
A highly publicized California case in 2013 helped established a precedent. An Uber driver in San Francisco ran over a 6-year-old girl, killing her. That driver was "in service," which means that his car would be eligible and visible to respond to Uber app users. But the driver was neither on the way for an active pickup nor transporting a person when the child was killed.
Uber first denied liability, saying to let that the man had no passenger and was not en route to a call. Common law concepts would usually say such independent contractors are not Uber's agents. Uber tried to only have that driver's minimal coverage insurance policy deal with this situation.
A public outcry from news reporters, civic leaders and child advocacy groups quickly created a negative publicity firestorm for Uber. It was a classic "big company" and "little person" scenario. Ultimately, Uber settled with the girl's family.
Finding a Lyft Accident or Uber Injury Attorney in Georgia
Getting a free consultation with William Head, Uber car accident lawyer will help you see what options are available to you. Dial 404-567-5515, anytime 24-hours a day. Free lawyer consultations with any serious bodily injury or wrongful death cases.
This article has alerted you to many potential pitfalls. Uber and Lyft insurance carriers often seek to deny liability. For occupants of another vehicle (or a pedestrian) who has been hit by a rideshare driver, recovery is possible. This is especially true if no passenger was in that rideshare vehicle when the car wreck happened.
Citizens need to understand that murky legal issues like a contractor's liability for his or her driver in "off duty" situations. you want the results of the case to be favorable. Otherwise, your case outcome could be less than ideal. You must protect yourself above all else after an accident with an Uber driver.