Driving services like Uber and Lyft have become an integral part of modern transportation, providing convenient and affordable options for passengers and offering flexible income opportunities for rideshare drivers.
However, accidents can happen to anyone on the road, including rideshare drivers. When involved in a car accident while driving for a rideshare company, knowing how to respond is crucial.
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Rideshare Drivers: Navigating a Car Accident
If you're a rideshare driver involved in a car accident, it's crucial to remain composed and take specific actions. Your safety and that of your passengers should remain your top priority, so follow these steps and always seek medical attention if anyone is injured, no matter how minor the injuries may seem at first.
1. Ensure Immediate Safety
Safety should always be the top priority following a car accident. Here's what rideshare drivers should do to ensure their safety and the safety of passengers and other parties involved:
A. Check for Injuries
Quickly assess the condition of everyone in your vehicle, including passengers, and check for injuries. If anyone requires medical attention, call 911 immediately.
B. Move to a Safe Location
If it's safe to do so, move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic to prevent further accidents. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers.
C. Set Up Warning Devices
If you have access to warning triangles, flares, or cones, use them to create a safe perimeter around the accident scene to alert other drivers.
2. Contact Emergency Services
After ensuring everyone's safety, it's crucial to contact the appropriate emergency services.
A. Call 911
While North Carolina law doesn’t require an accident to be reported to the police unless bodily injury or a specific amount of property damage occurs, many experts recommend calling 911 and alerting the police no matter the circumstances.
When you call, provide your location, a brief description of the accident, and any information about injuries.
B. Inform Your Passengers
If you have passengers in your vehicle at the time of the accident, communicate with them calmly and provide reassurance. Inform them about the situation, and if necessary, advise them to contact emergency services or seek medical attention if they are injured.
3. Exchange Information
Just like any other car accident, it's essential to exchange information with all parties involved. Obtain the following information:
- Full names and contact information (phone numbers and email addresses) of all parties involved.
- Driver's license numbers and the state of issuance for all drivers involved.
- 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.
4. Document the Accident Scene
Proper documentation of the accident scene can be crucial for insurance claims and legal proceedings. That includes:
- Vehicle damage
- License plates
- Road conditions
- Traffic signals and signs
5. Contact Your Rideshare Company
As a rideshare driver, it's essential to contact your rideshare company (e.g., Uber or Lyft) to report the accident. You can typically do this through the app or by contacting the company's support team.
What Should Rideshare Drivers Do in a Car Accident?: Lyft Drivers
If you are a Lyft driver, contact them to let them know about the accident by going to your Lyft Driver app on your smartphone or visiting Lyft online to file a claim.
- Navigate to Help Center: Tap on your profile picture in the top left corner of the app to access the menu. Then, select "Help."
- Report an Accident: Under the "Help" menu, choose "Report an Accident." Follow the prompts to provide details about the accident, including the date, time, location, and a description of what happened.
- Submit Documentation: Lyft may request additional information, such as photos or police reports. Be prepared to provide these documents if requested.
- Follow Instructions: Lyft will guide you on the next steps, which may include temporarily suspending your driving on the platform until the matter is resolved.
What Should Rideshare Drivers Do in a Car Accident?: Uber Drivers
Uber launched Partner Protection on 1st June 2018, which protects eligible Driver and Delivery Partners from the financial cost of life-changing events with insurance. So if you've been involved in a car accident with an Uber or you're an Uber driver yourself, you'll follow a similar procedure to that of Lyft drivers.
You can file a claim online or go to the Uber Driver app on your smartphone. Then:
- Find the menu: Tap on the menu icon in the upper left corner (usually three horizontal lines) to open the app's main menu.
- Choose "Help": From the menu, select "Help."
- Report an Accident: Under the "Help" menu, choose "Report an Accident." Follow the prompts to provide details about the accident. These may include the time and place, and any additional details of the event.
- Submit Documentation: Uber may also ask for documentation, in the form of photos or police reports.
- Follow Instructions: After this is done, wait for instructions from Uber on how to proceed. Like with Lyft, the company may temporarily suspend your driving on the platform.
6. Notify Your Personal Insurance Company
Even if you are driving for a rideshare company, you should also notify your personal auto insurance company about the accident. Inform them of the incident and provide all the necessary details. Your personal insurance may come into play depending on the circumstances of the accident.
7. Determine Liability
Determining liability in a car accident involving a rideshare driver can be complex. It may depend on various factors, including:
- The actions of the rideshare driver
- The actions of other drivers involved
- Local traffic laws and regulations
Rideshare companies typically provide insurance coverage for their drivers, which can vary depending on the driver's status at the time of the accident:
- While offline: Your personal auto insurance applies
- While online and available for a ride: Rideshare company's insurance may provide coverage
- During a ride: Rideshare company's insurance typically covers both the driver and passengers
It's essential to cooperate fully with both your personal insurance company and the rideshare company's insurance provider. Provide accurate and detailed information about the accident to ensure a smooth claims process.
8. Seek Legal Advice If Necessary
In some cases, seeking legal advice may be necessary, especially if there are disputes about liability, compensation, or if you or your passengers sustained significant injuries. Consulting with a personal injury attorney who has experience in handling rideshare-related accidents can help protect your rights and ensure you receive fair compensation.
9. Maintain Records and Communication
Throughout the claims process, it's essential to keep meticulous records of all communication with insurance companies, rideshare companies, medical providers, and any other involved parties. This includes:
- Saving copies of emails, letters, and notes from phone conversations.
- Documenting all medical treatment and expenses related to injuries sustained in the accident.
- Keeping a record of any expenses related to vehicle repairs or replacement.
Final Word: What Should Rideshare Drivers Do in a Car Accident?
Rideshare drivers shoulder a lot of responsibility, and that includes bearing the burden of the fallout in the event of an accident that occurs while driving for an app. It doesn’t have to be that way though; an experienced car accident attorney can take on much of that weight. From dealing with insurance companies to fighting for any compensation you might be entitled to, to working out issues of liability, an attorney on your side can make all the difference.
Rideshare drivers in North Carolina who have been in an accident can turn to the experienced attorneys at Van Camp, Meacham, & Newman, where we have been providing peace of mind to drivers in Pinehurst in the surrounding area for more than 30 years. You can 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.