A rideshare service refers to companies, including Uber and Lyft, that create opportunities for passengers and drivers to connect through their application and arrange for transportation to a destination. This means of transportation has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years and remains a popular choice for residents and visitors in metropolitan areas, such as Richmond.
The vehicles used for rideshare services include private vehicles with private owners as the driver. When an accident occurs, confusion can still arise as to who bears liability depending on the circumstances that have led up to the collision and your relationship to the rideshare driver.
A rideshare accident can refer to several different scenarios, such as:
- You sustain injuries as a passenger in a rideshare vehicle during a hired ride that another driver caused.
- You sustain injuries in a rideshare vehicle as a passenger and the rideshare driver caused the accident.
- You sustain injuries in another vehicle involved in an accident with a rideshare vehicle.
- You sustain injuries as a bicyclist or pedestrian on the road by a rideshare vehicle.
Who Bears Liability in a Rideshare Accident?
Determining liability for the damage in a rideshare accident can prove complicated and will depend on various factors. Beyond the determination of fault for the accident itself, liability can also rely on the current stage of the ride for the rideshare driver and whether the driver was actively working at the time.
In most instances, the fault for a rideshare accident will depend on either the negligence of the rideshare driver or the driver of another vehicle. In certain circumstances, at-fault parties may dispute or share fault, which can further complicate a claim for damages.
Rideshare accident liability can include:
- The rideshare driver
- The other driver
- The rideshare company
What Insurance Coverage Options Can You Access?
One of the most complex aspects of an accident that involves a rideshare vehicle involves what insurance coverage can apply to your losses and who may bear liability for your injuries. The determination of fault in an accident and the role of the ridesharing driver at the time of the crash can help guide you as to which insurance company to file a claim with. You should consult an attorney to ask questions about fault.
The other driver’s insurance. If the other driver bears liability for the accident due to negligence, you should file a claim with that driver’s insurer. However, in certain circumstances, the other driver may not have adequate insurance or may not have any coverage at all. In this situation, you may qualify to seek compensation under the policy with the rideshare service that applies to uninsured or underinsured motorists. You will likely only qualify to receive this compensation if you sustained injuries as a passenger of the rideshare vehicle; however, under certain circumstances, you may qualify if you sustained injuries as a passenger, as well.
The driver’s personal insurance. That rideshare drivers frequently use their own vehicles for both commercial and personal uses can prove tricky in the event of a rideshare accident. If a driver causes an accident when not on a hired ride, then the driver’s personal insurance will apply in that situation. This point, however, can prove highly contested by the personal insurance companies of the driver, who will try to deny any claim that suggests the driver may have used the vehicle to transport passengers at the time. The vast majority of personal vehicle insurance coverage excludes vehicles used for commercial transport services unless the rideshare driver has purchased additional coverage or insurance riders.
The insurance provided by the rideshare company. Individuals who sustain injuries in rideshare accidents should seek compensation under the policy of the rideshare company. Rideshare companies often have much more extensive insurance policies than most personal vehicle insurance policies, which can allow most accident victims to fight for compensation to cover the full cost of their damages.
In all rideshare accidents, injured individuals will have to ask whether certain insurance policies apply. Each rideshare company has policy limitations and distinctions that determine what coverage applies in each stage of a rideshare trip.
Factors that will determine whether rideshare insurance coverage will apply will include:
- Whether the driver had the rideshare app on or off
- If a driver was awaiting a ride request
- Whether a driver had already left to pick up a passenger or had a passenger aboard
What Damages Can You Receive if You Sustain Injuries in a Rideshare Collision?
Rideshare accidents can result in serious to fatal injuries of passengers or occupants in other vehicles. If the actions of a rideshare driver injure you or a loved one, you may seek compensation, including for your injuries and the effects of those injuries on your life. Contact an experienced attorney to ask questions about your eligibility to pursue compensation.
You may qualify to seek compensation in a rideshare accident for damages, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
- Damage to personal property
Do You Need a Lawyer if You Sustain Injuries in a Rideshare Accident?
If you sustain injuries in a rideshare-related accident, you should seek the help of an experienced rideshare attorney in Richmond as soon as possible. Do not make any statements to any insurer or third party until you have consulted with an attorney. These cases can prove complicated and the actions you take in the immediate aftermath of a rideshare collision can influence the availability of recovery to you in your case.
When you sustain injuries in a rideshare accident, you should prioritize getting the medical attention you need and gather the information about the driver, insurance coverage, and all other parties involved in the collision; then, contact a Richmond rideshare accident attorney. Most rideshare accident attorneys offer free consultations, during which you can discuss the details of your accident, ask questions about your legal options, and determine your eligibility to pursue compensation for the full cost of your injuries.