Ridesharing is the newest way to get where you need to go without paying a hefty fee. You can do it with an Uber, with a Lyft, and even black car companies. You get to share the cost of a ride with other people to minimize the financial burden. Perhaps you don’t want to pay the full $100 to get from JFK to Manhattan in an Uber Black or you don’t want to ride alone for 45 minutes or longer, depending on traffic. Whatever your reason for using a rideshare van, you can save money and meet new people as you travel to your destination. Unfortunately, you also put yourself at risk when you get into a rideshare vehicle.
One of the most common misconceptions people have when they utilize public transportation is they are safe. You are no safer in a rideshare vehicle than you are in your own vehicle. You are just as likely to be involved in a car accident in a rideshare van as you are in your own vehicle. That begs the question, who do you speak with first when you are injured in a rideshare accident? There is a proper chain of command here, and it’s important you take note if you use rideshare services.
Call the Police
The first thing you do when you are involved in an accident while riding in a rideshare van with other passengers is call the police. There is never a call you should make prior to calling 9-1-1. You call them to report the accident and have emergency vehicles sent to the scene simultaneously. You don’t know if anyone is in need of medical attention, and you must report the accident to the police. Never assume someone else has already made the call, either. Get on the phone, call 9-1-1 and report the accident.
The operator who takes your call is going to ask your name, where you are, what happened, and if you can provide an address or nearby location. This is important because it helps him or her direct the police and emergency vehicles to the location of the accident. The police who show up will take reports from every passenger involved, the driver of the rideshare van, and any witnesses who saw the accident occur.
Seek Medical Attention
If you are visibly injured, do not deny medical attention. Even if you are not visibly injured, let the doctor check you out to be sure you are not suffering from internal injuries such as organ damage, internal bleeding, or even a concussion. You need to see a doctor to be sure you’re not suffering from internal injuries that will only get worse as they’re left untreated. Furthermore, you need to see the doctor to have it on record you were injured in the accident if you think you might file a claim or lawsuit against the rideshare driver or the company he or she works for.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
The next logical step is to contact a personal injury attorney. Navigating the insurance requirements of a rideshare accident can be difficult. Depending on which rideshare service you used, which insurance company they have, and what type of situation the driver was in can make a difference. You must also speak with your own insurance agent at some point in certain situations.
This is a situation that’s always a little difficult to navigate, depending on the circumstances. You’re obviously going to want the at-fault driver and/or their insurance company to pay for the cost of your medical bills, time off work, and lost wages you incur as a result of accident injuries. You didn’t ask to be involved in an accident, and you certainly didn’t ask to suffer injuries that prevent you from being able to go back to work and earn a living for your family.
However, what happens if the accident was not caused by your driver, but rather the driver of another vehicle? This only adds complication to the matter. You need to contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your case and find out who is responsible and who you should file a claim against.
Rideshare insurance requirements are all different, and most companies don’t take on any of the responsibility of their drivers. They make drivers and passengers agree to terms and conditions that state they understand they are at the mercy of the driver they use while traveling and that the company itself is not responsible. There are some situations, however, that allow you to bypass that law. If, for example, your rideshare driver is drunk at the time of the accident and you find out he or she has been involved in previous DUI cases or multiple accidents, you might be able to file a claim against the rideshare company.
They are responsible for ensuring their drivers are responsible and safe, and a long history of poor driving shows that the company didn’t do an adequate check to see if their driver is a safe and responsible driver. You might find the driver’s insurance is responsible for your claims, or you might go after the driver of another vehicle if that is the person responsible for causing your accident.
What You Should Do
If you are injured in a rideshare accident, the first thing you should do is call the police and see a doctor. However, you must also take the time to document the situation. Use your phone to take photos of the accident and the scene. Get as many photos from as many angles as possible. Get the insurance information of the driver and any other drivers involved in the accident. See a doctor and get your injuries tended to and documented. Having this on hand makes it easier for you to win your case if you decide to file one.
You could be entitled to damages. For example, if you miss work and aren’t paid for the time off while you recover from your injuries, you could be entitled to monetary damages. It’s a situation no one wants to be involved in, but it does happen. It’s why knowing how to handle the situation and what to do is such an important part of this situation. You are not required to file a lawsuit or go after anyone, but it’s helpful to find out if there is anything else you should do when you realize your medical bills aren’t affordable or you miss work as a result of your accident.