Frequently Asked Questions - What Happens If I Get Into A Car Accident While I Am Using My Personal Vehicle To Drive For Uber Or Lyft?
Increasingly in this difficult economy, with more traditional means of earning a living harder and harder to find, people find themselves having to seek out employment in what has come to be known as the “Gig Economy”. One such means of earning a living is using their personal automobile to transport passengers. This is usually done thru the more nationally known companies like Lyft and Uber. This 21st-century version of the taxi service naturally gives rise to certain unique questions and issues. For instance, what happens if I get into a car accident while I am using my personal vehicle to drive for Uber or Lyft? What are the insurance coverages for car accidents involving vehicles driven as Lyft and Uber service vehicles? This article addresses the first of those two questions.
What happens if I get into a car accident while I am using my personal vehicle to drive for Uber or Lyft?
Like any car accident, if there are injuries, the first thing anyone should do who is involved in a car accident while either driving or while an occupant of a Lyft or Uber vehicle is call 911. The operator will dispatch emergency medical service personnel who will rush to the scene and render medical treatment for the injured. From a personal injury standpoint, this also creates the first medical record in any subsequent personal injury claim. It cannot be emphasized enough how important it is that persons injured in automobile crashes, including those involving Lyft and Uber cars, seek medical treatment for their injuries immediately with emergency medical providers like ambulances, emergency rooms and walk-in clinics. This simple step documents your contemporaneous complaints and symptoms so that there can be no question that you were in need of medical care as a consequence of the car crash in question. In fact, even if you are not sure if you are injured or not it is always better to err on the side of seeking and receiving medical treatment. Unfortunately, we see too many clients who delayed treatment, but who got worse with time and were ultimately penalized for waiting to seek medical care.
The other advantage of calling 911 is that the 911 dispatcher will also contact law enforcement. This is especially important if you are injured in a car accident. The reason is that by calling law enforcement you create a public record that the car accident actually occurred. This prevents the at-fault driver from later denying there was a car crash. You would be surprised what people will try to get away with, especially when they injure someone. Typically, by calling 911 and reporting the car accident, a law enforcement officer, usually Florida Highway Patrol, will be dispatched to investigate the crash and write a report, called a car crash report. Unfortunately, it is frequently the case that the investigating officer does not appear for a number of hours, much to the frustration of those involved in the car crash. But if there are injuries, and the other driver is at fault, it is vital that you make sure the car crash is investigated and documented in a public car crash report by law enforcement in order to protect your claim and your legal rights going forward.
So if you are in a car accident while driving or occupying a Lyft or Uber vehicle, after first calling 911 your next call should always be to call Trial Pro at 407-300-0000. By hiring us you immediately gain important legal representation which, depending upon the facts and circumstances of the car crash, could be the difference between protecting your legal rights versus losing them. You should call us from the actual scene of the crash if you are able. Our team of experienced attorneys and staff will be able to walk you thru those most difficult moments after a collision. We can answer any questions and help you make the most crucial decisions at this, the earliest part of your case. Most importantly, we can guide you through the important differences between being involved in a car accident while driving your own personal vehicle and being involved in a car accident while driving your personal automobile while working for Lyft or Uber.
The next contact you want to make sure you make, the same day or as soon as you can is a call to your own insurance company and to the insurance company providing automobile insurance through your employment with Lyft or Uber. See my article discussing the second question referenced above: what are the insurance coverages for car accidents involving vehicles driven as Lyft and Uber service vehicles? In that article, I discuss the specific interplay of one’s personal automobile insurance coverages and the insurance coverages typically provided by companies like Lyft and Uber to their drivers in greater detail. That said, you have property damage and possibly injuries to yourself and your passengers. If you are actively working for Lyft or Uber at the time of the crash you will need to call both insurance companies. More importantly, you have an affirmative duty to report the crash to both your own auto insurance company and to the auto insurance company providing coverage thru your employment with Lyft or Uber. If you fail to timely report the crash to either, the insurance company may have grounds for denying coverage to you that you would otherwise be entitled. If you are injured, this could be devastating to your personal injury case. If you are at fault, this could be devastating to your personal finances since it is the insurance company that will be hiring and paying for an attorney to defend you in any lawsuit brought by the non-at fault driver. However, if you fail to put them on reasonable notice of the car accident, they may deny you a defense and refuse to provide coverage for your negligence. Then you would have to pay for your own lawyer and payout of your own pocket the damages you caused. Furthermore, you will undoubtedly have your own property damage to your vehicle, whether it is your fault or the other person. Therefore, you will want the insurance company to inspect the car, estimate the damages, and repair or replace the fair market value of your damaged vehicle.
Driving one’s own personal vehicle for Lyft or Uber is a necessary reality for many automobile owners in today’s world. However, the experienced team of attorneys and staff at Trial Pro are ready and waiting to help you if you find yourself in a car accident, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.