If you’re one of over 10,000 individuals driving for rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft in Texas, you likely spend a good deal of time on the road. Unfortunately, even conscientious drivers can find themselves involved in vehicle accidents, and the more time you spend driving in Houston, TX, the higher your chance of being involved in a collision. Contact an accident lawyer immediately after the incident to protect yourself.
Uber and Lyft Accidents: What Should Rideshare Drivers Do After an Accident?
Getting in a collision while you are driving for personal reasons is bad enough. Getting in a crash while driving for work is stressful and overwhelming. When you are in an accident while working for a rideshare service, you may feel uncertain about what to do and the potential liability you hold. Your situation will feel even more intense if you are at fault for the accident.
Whether you have recently been in an accident while driving for Lyft or Uber or want to be prepared if you are involved in a collision, here’s what you need to know to make wise decisions following the crash.
Ensure the Safety of All Parties
At the accident scene, your priority should be ensuring that everyone involved in the collision is unharmed. If you, the other driver, or any passengers are unsure if they are injured, it is better to err on the side of caution and call paramedics. Not all injuries are visible, and conditions such as internal bleeding or brain injuries can be fatal if ignored.
Contact the Police
You’ll want to call the police and have an officer come to assess the scene and take statements from involved parties and witnesses. Having a police report can provide you with protection if the other driver tries to place the blame on you unfairly. It can also make filing a claim more straightforward, as you can submit it to the insurance companies to support your story if there is a discrepancy between your account and the other driver’s account.
Report the Accident to Your Rideshare Company
The company you drive for will have a set protocol for responding to accidents. When you use the app to report your accident, a company representative will contact you to collect any information they need to investigate the accident and begin the claims process. Since each rideshare company has its own way of handling an accident report, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with your company’s policy before you begin driving for them.
Contact an Accident Lawyer
When dealing with the aftermath of a collision, it’s essential to remember that any lawyer hired by the rideshare company isn’t working for you. They are responsible for protecting the rideshare service, not looking out for your best interests. Instead, you’ll want to hire a lawyer who has experience in handling car accidents and rideshare lawsuits to guide you through the claims process. This step is especially critical if you hold any fault in the accident or were injured.
Seeking compensation for injuries received while driving for a rideshare company can be more challenging than if you were injured while driving your car for personal reasons. However, even if you were not injured and didn’t believe you were at fault, seeking the services of a Houston, TX accident attorney is the only way to ensure the rideshare service or the other driver’s insurance company doesn’t attempt to blame you for the accident.
Determine the Extent of the Rideshare Company’s Coverage
Depending on when the accident occurred, the rideshare company’s insurance may apply to the collision. When you drive for a rideshare company, there are three driving phases during which an accident can occur.
Knowing which stage you were in when the accident happened will help you predict what kind of insurance support you can anticipate from the rideshare company and let you know if you need to file a claim with your personal automobile insurance company.
Stage one is considered personal driving. During this time, the app is not turned on, and you are driving for reasons unrelated to the rideshare company. If you are involved in an accident during this time, you will report the incident to your own insurance provider.
You are in stage two when you are online, using the company’s app, but waiting for a passenger to request a ride. Accidents during this time have third-party liability protection as required by Texas law. However, third-party liability coverage will not cover any injuries you sustain in the accident or damage to your vehicle. Typically this coverage will only take effect if the amount covered by your insurance policy is insufficient to handle the claim.
Stage three is when you have accepted a ride request and are either on the way to pick up a rider or in the process of delivering the rider to their location. The company’s insurance will provide contingent collision and comprehensive coverage, third-party liability coverage, and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
For comprehensive and collision coverage to apply to your accident, you must have comprehensive and collision coverage through your insurance provider. Also, contingent collision and comprehensive coverage would apply to your accident even if you were at fault. In contrast, underinsured motorist coverage will only cover you if the other driver was at fault and your insurance coverage isn’t high enough to cover the accident.
Go Over Your Insurance Options
If you have a standard car insurance policy, there is a chance that your coverage does not apply to accidents that take place while you are driving commercially. However, your insurance company may cover certain situations if you have a rideshare policy. It can be challenging to work with the different insurance companies that may be involved in a rideshare accident. Which driver is at fault will determine the process of filing an insurance claim.
For example, say the other driver is at fault and their insurance doesn’t have enough coverage to compensate you completely. In this case, you would file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance and an underinsured motorist claim with your rideshare company for any remaining damages. A Houston, TX accident lawyer will guide you through handling claims and communicating with insurance companies, ensuring you receive the compensation you are owed.
Plan Ahead to Protect Yourself
When you’re a rideshare driver, it can be hard to recover damages after an accident, and depending on your circumstance, you could end up paying for medical bills or repairs to your vehicle yourself. However, protecting yourself before an accident occurs can save you from taking a financial hit after a collision. Steps you can take to protect yourself include:
Adding Coverage to Your Existing Policy
By adding rideshare coverage to your current automobile insurance policy, you prevent being unprotected if you are in an accident while using the app and waiting for a ride request. Since most rideshare companies only offer third-party coverage during that stage, you’ll want to know that your insurance will cover damage to you or your vehicle.
Purchase Additional Coverage From the Rideshare Company
Both Uber and Lyft offer additional insurance coverage that drivers can purchase. This insurance only covers you while you are driving for the company but can prevent you from having to file a claim with your insurance company if you are injured while driving.
Contact an Experienced Accident Lawyer in Houston, TX
Hiring a lawyer to represent your interests is always a smart move following a car accident. If you’re in a collision while driving for a rideshare company, it should be one of the first things you do.
Don’t let a car accident harm your financial future. Instead, contact Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, and let our skilled team handle your legal needs.