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What to Do If You’re in an Uber or Lyft Accident in Maryland

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022 By

Getting a ride somewhere is more convenient than ever. With rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, you don’t have to try to flag down a taxi. Instead, you can simply input some basic information in an app, and a car will pick you up and take you to where you want to go.

Uber and Lyft may be convenient, but they aren’t without their dangers. Rideshare drivers have no special training – and may only have a minimal level of personal insurance on their automobile. If you have been hurt in an Uber or Lyft accident, there are certain steps that you can take to protect your right to full compensation for your injuries.

At DuBoff & Associates, we represent injury victims throughout Maryland in all types of accident claims – including those that involve rideshare vehicles. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. Reach out today to learn more or to talk to an experienced Silver Spring car accident lawyer.

Why Rideshare Accidents Are Different

When it comes to filing a personal injury lawsuit, all motor vehicle accidents are not the same. This is particularly true when it comes to crashes involving rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft.

Rideshare companies have very minimal qualifications to become a driver. Typically, a driver must be over a certain age, have a clean driving record, have a four-door vehicle in relatively good condition, and carry automobile insurance. Unlike many other drivers who transport passengers, Uber and Lyft drivers do not require specialized training.

In Maryland, drivers are only required to carry a minimum level of insurance coverage: $30,000 for bodily injury, $60,000 for bodily injury for 2 or more people, and $15,000 in property damage coverage. As a result, if you are in a serious accident with an Uber or Lyft driver in Maryland, you may not be able to fully recover for your losses if you have to rely on their personal automobile insurance policy.

This is what makes Uber and Lyft cases more complicated. There is a special set of rules that applies to determine which insurance policy covers an accident. Injury victims can only access Uber or Lyft’s commercial insurance policy in limited circumstances.

Specifically, if you were hurt in an Uber or Lyft accident where the rideshare driver was at fault, the level of coverage depends on what the driver was doing at the time. It breaks down as follows:

  • If the driver was not using the app at the time, then you are limited to seeking damages from the driver’s personal auto insurance policy;
  • If the driver was waiting for a ride request when the accident happened, then Uber or Lyft will cover up to $100,000 in bodily injury damages ($50,000 per person) and $25,000 for property damage.
  • If the driver was picking up a passenger or driving a passenger somewhere, then you file a claim against Uber or Lyft’s $1,000,000 commercial liability policy.

As you can see, the potential recovery for your injuries is primarily based on what the driver was doing at the time of the crash. A skilled Silver Spring car accident attorney can subpoena electronic records to determine if the driver had the app on or off when the wreck occurred.

The final complicating factor in rideshare accidents is that the drivers are typically considered independent contractors instead of employees. In most cases, if you were involved in an accident with someone who was driving as part of their job (such as an Amazon truck driver), you could file a lawsuit against their employer under the principle of respondeat superior. Because Uber and Lyft drivers are not technically employees, you are limited to filing a claim with either the driver’s personal insurance policy or the company’s commercial policy, as described above.

Steps to Take After an Uber or Lyft Accident

If you are involved in an accident with an Uber or Lyft, there are a few things that you can do to protect yourself. These steps should be taken whether you are a passenger in the rideshare vehicle, a driver or passenger in another vehicle, or a pedestrian or bicyclist who was hit by an Uber or Lyft.

The first – and most important – thing to do is to check for injuries. If anyone has been hurt, make sure that they seek prompt medical attention. Getting medical treatment right away can ensure that you get the right diagnosis. It also creates a link between the accident and your injuries.

Second, call the police to report the accident. If you called 911 to seek medical attention, then a police officer will be sent to the scene. The law enforcement officer will write an accident report that details what happens and lists witnesses, which can be incredibly helpful when pursuing your claim.

Third, if you are able to do so, gather potential evidence. Get the names and contact information of the driver and any witnesses. If you can, take pictures and videos of the scene.

Fourth, when you can, write down everything that you can remember about the accident. Over time, our memories tend to fade – particularly when you have been through a traumatic event like an accident. Writing down as much as possible right after the accident is a good way to ensure that you don’t forget small details.

Fifth, file an accident report with Uber or Lyft. These companies have portals on their websites for reporting a crash. After you file the report, an insurance adjuster or company representative may reach out to you for additional information.

In most cases, you should not talk to an Uber or Lyft representative until you have had a chance to talk to a seasoned Maryland personal injury attorney. Your lawyer can file the report on your behalf, and can even handle all communications with the company for you. By working with an attorney, you increase the likelihood of getting a full recovery for your injuries.

Most personal injury law firms offer free initial consultations, so it won’t cost you anything to learn more about your legal rights and options for pursuing a claim. Better yet, personal injury attorneys typically handle car accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you won’t have to pay anything upfront to hire a lawyer. In Silver Spring and the surrounding areas, call DuBoff & Associates for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

Fighting Back Against Rideshare Companies

Uber and Lyft are massive corporations insured by even bigger insurance companies. If you are involved in an accident with one of their drivers, you may be intimidated by the thought of getting into a legal battle with these corporate giants. Our law firm can help.

Based in Silver Spring, DuBoff & Associates advocates for injury victims throughout Maryland. With more than 3 decades of experience as a leading Maryland law firm, we have the knowledge and skills to help our clients get the best possible outcome for their claims. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a Silver Spring car accident lawyer, give our law office a call at 301-495-3131 or fill out our online contact form.

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