Rideshare apps are growing in popularity with every passing year, with the biggest names in the industry cementing their place in our daily lives. Uber, for instance, is no longer just a proper noun—it’s a verb. But, what do you do if you're involved in a car accident with an Uber driver?
The ubiquity of the Uber name doesn’t mean, of course, that these rideshare drivers are immune to the dangers of the road. Car accidents can still occur whether you're a passenger in the Uber, the driver of another vehicle, or a pedestrian, and when that happens, understanding the steps to take following an accident with an Uber driver is crucial.
In this article, we will walk you through what to do if you find yourself in a car accident with an Uber driver.
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How to Handle a Car Accident with an Uber Driver
If you're involved in a car accident while riding with an Uber driver, it's essential to stay calm and follow a few key steps. After making sure everyone is safe, calling the authorities, and you have exchanged insurance information, you should then begin documenting the accident scene with photos.
It's crucial to cooperate with the police, insurance companies, and Uber to ensure a smooth post-accident process. It's advisable to contact an experienced car accident lawyer to help you handle cases such as this. Your well-being and safety are paramount, so be sure to seek medical attention if you experience any injuries, even if they seem minor at first.
1. Ensure Safety First
The immediate concern after a car accident with an Uber driver, and any other accident, is the safety and well-being of everyone involved. Here are the first steps to prioritize safety:
A. Check for Injuries
First and foremost, assess the condition of all parties involved, including yourself, passengers in the Uber, the Uber driver, and any occupants of other vehicles. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately to request medical assistance.
B. Move to Safety
If it's safe to do so and your vehicle is obstructing traffic, move it to the side of the road or a safer location to prevent further accidents.
C. Activate Hazard Lights and Set Up Warning Devices
Turn on the hazard lights to make your vehicle more visible to oncoming traffic. If you have access to warning triangles, flares, or cones, place them around the accident scene to alert other drivers.
2. Exchange Information
Exchange information with all parties involved in the accident. This includes:
- Full names and contact information (phone numbers and email addresses)
- Driver's license numbers and state of issuance.
- Vehicle registration information, including the make, model, and license plate numbers of all vehicles involved.
- Insurance details, including policy numbers and the name of the insurance company.
3. Document the Scene
Documenting the accident scene is essential for insurance purposes and potential legal proceedings. Use your smartphone or a camera to take photos and videos of potential evidence.
Capture images of all vehicles involved, focusing on any damage sustained in the accident, as well as of the license plates of all vehicles.
If able, take pictures of the road conditions, including any skid marks, potholes, or debris that might have contributed to the accident. It may also be helpful to document the state of traffic signals, stop signs, and any other relevant signage.
4. Notify the Authorities
Depending on the severity of the accident and local regulations, you may be required to notify the police if you are in a car accident with an uber driver. In North Carolina, you only have to contact police if a significant amount of property damage was inflicted, or if bodily injury occurred.
Even if the accident doesn’t meet these criteria, it's advisable to involve law enforcement, as they can create an official accident report that may be crucial for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
5. Contact Uber
If you've been involved in a car accident with an Uber driver, it's essential to notify Uber as soon as possible. You can do this through the Uber app by selecting "Help," then "Trip Issues and Refunds," and finally "I was in an accident." Uber has a dedicated team to assist with accident-related issues and can guide you through the process. You can also visit the rider support portion of the Uber website to find contact information.
Uber's response team will contact you to gather information about the accident and any injuries. It's essential to cooperate and provide accurate details about the accident.
6. Seek Medical Attention
Even if you don't immediately feel injured, it's crucial to seek medical attention after an accident. Certain injuries might not exhibit immediate symptoms, and a medical assessment can help in the early detection and timely treatment of any concealed injuries.
Medical records can also serve as essential evidence if you need to file a personal injury claim later on.
7. Notify Your Insurance Company
Regardless of who is at fault for the accident, you should promptly notify your insurance company about the incident.
Your insurance company will guide you through the claims process and may help you navigate any disputes with the other driver's insurance or Uber's insurance.
8. Determine Liability
Determining liability in a car accident with an Uber driver can be more complex than a typical accident. Liability may depend on various factors, including the actions of the Uber driver, the actions of other drivers involved, and local traffic laws.
Uber provides insurance coverage for its drivers. Here’s a breakdown of when that insurance kicks in:
- When the rideshare driver does not have their app activated, their personal car insurance is the only coverage in effect.
- If the rideshare driver has their app activated and is awaiting a ride request, they have access to insurance coverage of up to $50,000 per person for bodily injury, $100,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 per incident for property damage.
- When the rideshare driver has their app active and is either en route to pick up a passenger or currently has a passenger in the vehicle during an accident, they are eligible for insurance coverage valued at $1,000,000 for third-party liability. Additionally, they have access to contingent collision and comprehensive insurance, subject to a $2,500 deductible.
The coverage amounts can vary depending on the driver's status at the time of the accident. Uber's insurance may cover your damages, but it's important to consult with your own insurance company and potentially seek legal advice to ensure you receive fair compensation.
9. Consult with an Attorney
In case of substantial injuries to yourself or any party involved in the accident, or if there arises a disagreement concerning liability and compensation, seeking advice from a personal injury lawyer is a prudent step. An attorney can safeguard your legal rights, engage in negotiations with insurance companies on your behalf, and guarantee that you are appropriately compensated.
10. Keep Records and Communicate
Throughout the claims process, it's crucial to maintain meticulous records of all communication with insurance companies, medical providers, and any other involved parties. This includes copies of emails, notes from phone conversations, and letters.
Also, stay in touch with Uber, your insurance company, and any legal representatives.
Final Word: What to Do if You’re In a Car Accident with an Uber Driver
When you get into an Uber, you should feel that your safety is a top priority to those behind the wheel. Car accidents do happen, though, and if they do, a car accident lawyer will be able to offer the peace of mind that they do consider your safety and well-being above all else.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident with an Uber driver, the car accident lawyers at Van Camp, Meacham, & Newman can help. Schedule a free 30-minute initial consultation with us by contacting our firm online, or calling us at 910-295-2525.
Disclaimer: The information seen on this website, including the article above, is not legal advice or legal counsel. If you wish to speak to a car accident lawyer who serves Raleigh, Fayetteville, Pinehurst, Sanford, and beyond, contact our North Carolina personal injury attorneys directly using our online form or by calling 910-295-2525.