Ridesharing has become one of the most common forms of private transportation in recent years, with companies like Uber and Lyft dominating the market. These companies market themselves as safe and reliable forms of transportation, requiring background checks on their drivers as well as precautions related to public health. However, such precautions do not always protect passengers from the unexpected. Vehicle accidents are extremely common, yet some may be confused about liability when rideshare drivers are involved.
How is Liability in a Rideshare Accident Determined?
Liability in this type of accident may vary depending on its circumstances, which then may affect who qualifies for compensation for injuries or damages.
When determining liability, the parties involved must determine which of the following occurred:
- Did the rideshare driver cause the accident?
- Was the rideshare driver using the rideshare app as the accident occurred?
- How did other parties contribute to the accident?
Determining Whether the Rideshare Driver Was Working or Not
In the state of Arizona, rideshare drivers are not considered employees. This means that as independent contractors, the respective rideshare company may not be directly liable for the negligence of their drivers. Companies like Uber and Lyft provide a limited amount of insurance coverage for their drivers that only activates under certain circumstances. For instance, these companies’ insurance will cover rideshare drivers from the moment they accept a request from the smartphone app until the moment the ride ends at the passenger’s desired location. It is in this specific “window” of time that the driver is technically insured by the rideshare company.
Third Parties in Rideshare Accidents
For drivers or passengers in another vehicle that are involved in an accident with a rideshare driver, seeking compensation from Uber or Lyft may become complicated. It is recommended to speak with an accident lawyer with specific knowledge of rideshare accidents.
What to Do If You Are in a Rideshare Accident
Generally, it is recommended that you follow a similar procedure if you were involved in a regular accident. Consider the following:
- Contact the police. A police report is a proper way to document the sequences of events that lead to the accident. This will be useful later in determining liability.
- Take plenty of photos of the accident. You will want a variety of photos from different angles that captures the damage of each party involved.
- Record as much information as possible by jotting down names, addresses, license plate numbers, insurance information, witnesses, etc.
- Seek medical attention. It is extremely important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident. This is not only important for your own health and safety, but immediate documentation of injuries sustained from the accident is helpful in building credibility for your case.
When it is safe to do so, you should contact an experienced lawyer to help you navigate your case and get the compensation you deserve.