As ridesharing continues to become an increasingly popular mode of transportation, Lyft and Uber accidents are also becoming increasingly common. If you have been injured in one of these accidents, it is important that you know your legal rights.
While Lyft and Uber accidents are similar to other types of car accidents in many respects, there are some unique aspects to these accidents as well. In Ohio, special insurance laws apply, and rideshare drivers’ classification as “independent contractors” means that Lyft and Uber accident cases are different from cases involving other paid drivers.
What You Need to Know After a Lyft or Uber Accident in Ohio
The first thing to know about your legal rights after a Lyft or Uber accident in Ohio is that your rights are generally the same whether you were a rideshare passenger or you got hit by a rideshare driver. You have the right to hold the at-fault party accountable, and you have the right to seek full compensation for your financial and non-financial losses resulting from the collision.
As with other types of car accidents, recovering just compensation after a rideshare accident typically involves filing an insurance claim (or multiple insurance claims). In most cases, victims of Lyft and Uber accidents in Ohio will have a claim (or claims) against one or more of the following insurance companies:
- The Lyft or Uber Driver’s Insurance Company – Ohio’s insurance law for rideshare drivers requires all Lyft and Uber drivers to carry coverage above and beyond the state’s standard minimums. If your injuries are the result of a Lyft or Uber driver’s negligence, the driver’s insurance company should be liable for your accident-related losses.
- Another Driver’s Insurance Company – If you got hit while riding in a Lyft or Uber vehicle, you may have a claim against the other driver’s insurer. Ohio law requires all drivers to carry insurance—so the driver who hit you should be covered. Auto insurance covers all forms of driver negligence, including distracted driving, speeding, running red lights and stop signs, and other common driving mistakes.
- The Victim’s Own Auto Insurance Company – If you have auto insurance, you may also be able to file a claim under your own auto insurance policy. While optional, many drivers in Ohio have medical payments (MedPay) and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, and both of these types of coverage can provide a source of financial recovery after a Lyft or Uber accident.
- Lyft’s or Uber’s Insurance Company – In addition to requiring enhanced insurance coverage for Lyft and Uber drivers, Ohio law also requires rideshare companies to carry insurance that covers their drivers’ accidents. This is “primary” insurance coverage, which means that when it applies, accident victims can file claims with Lyft or Uber’s insurance company without first seeking coverage from the driver’s insurer.
There are some other potential options for seeking just compensation after Lyft and Uber accidents as well. For example, if the accident resulted from a pothole, low shoulder or other road defect, the government agency that is responsible for the road could be liable. Or, if the accident resulted from a brake failure or other vehicle defect, then you may have a claim against the vehicle’s manufacturer. Just because a Lyft or Uber vehicle was involved, this does not mean that you should focus solely on filing a claim with the driver’s or rideshare company’s insurer. To make sure you receive the full compensation you deserve, you need to work with an experienced lawyer who can examine all possible sources of financial recovery.
Protecting Your Legal Rights After a Lyft or Uber Accident in Ohio
Regardless of the claim (or claims) you need to file, there are some steps you need to take to protect your legal rights after a Lyft or Uber accident in Ohio. For example, to give your lawyer the best chance of recovering the financial compensation you deserve, you should:
- Document the Accident – You should try to document your Lyft or Uber accident as thoroughly as possible. Keep any photos and videos you took at the accident scene, screenshot your app to show where and when you requested a ride (if you were injured as a rideshare passenger), and write down as many details as you can remember.
- Get the Medical Treatment You Need – Getting the medical treatment you need helps protect your health and your legal rights. Seeking treatment promptly will help link your injuries to the accident, and this will help prevent the insurance companies from claiming that your injuries aren’t accident-related.
- Be Very Careful When Dealing with the Insurance Companies – After a Lyft or Uber accident, you need to be very careful when dealing with the insurance companies. You should not rely on the insurance companies for advice on how to handle your claim, and you should not let them talk you into accepting payment before you know how much you are entitled to recover. If you do, you could end up with far less than you deserve, and you might not be able to go back and ask for more.
- Contact a Lawyer as Soon as Possible – To avoid mistakes when dealing with insurance companies, you can hire a lawyer to deal with the insurance companies for you. Your lawyer can determine which claim (or claims) you need to file, and then your lawyer can negotiate for a fair settlement based on the long-term financial and non-financial costs of your injuries. Ideally, your case will settle (and many Lyft and Uber accident claims do settle out of court), but your lawyer will also be prepared to fight for just compensation in court if necessary.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation About Your Lyft or Uber Accident in Ohio
To discuss your Lyft or Uber accident with a lawyer at Malek & Malek Law Firm, contact us today. Call 888-444-7440 or send us a message online to arrange a free and confidential consultation in Columbus, OH.