Uber and Lyft are the most popular ride-hailing companies in the US. Although the companies have taken major steps to improve the platform’s safety, accidents continue to occur–some of which have resulted in serious injuries and fatalities.
In 2018, Elaine Herzberg was hit by a self-driving Volvo-Sport utility vehicle despite the presence of a safety driver as she cycled across the road in Tempe, Arizona. After a lengthy investigation by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the police, they determined the accident was avoidable because the driver, Rafaela Vasquez, was distracted–streaming an episode of The Voice from Hulu.
Uber settled with Elaine’s family, but the settlement details were not publicized. In 2021, Andy Van Pham, a Lyft driver, was arrested for sleeping behind the wheel, killing his 70-year-old passenger in Tustin, California. In a statement shared by CBS News, Andy has been permanently deactivated as the company driver, pending his investigation for manslaughter and drug use.
The Immediate Steps to Take After an Uber or Lyft Accident for Optimal Outcome
One woman, whose identity was not revealed by police, was struck down by two vehicles after a ride-share driver dropped her off northbound on I-25 towards the 470 interchange. The woman supposedly fell ill while in the car.
A couple driving in the same lane witnessed the accident and claimed the woman seemed unaware of her location. Unfortunately, a speeding truck attempted to swerve to avoid hitting the woman, but collided with her.
The truck drove off, and a second vehicle struck the woman shortly after, leaving her dead at the scene. The witness pulled over and contacted the police.
Here are some of the immediate steps you can take after an accident:
- Contact the police to report the accident and get a police report.
- Check for injuries but avoid moving the victims without paramedics
- Safely move the vehicle to a different location, such as the side of the road, to minimize the risk of further accidents or injuries.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the involved parties
- Document the accident by taking photos or videos of the vehicle damage and the surrounding area.
- Notify their insurance company immediately to report the accident. The insurance company will provide further instructions on what to do next.
- Contact Uber or Lyft after the accident. The companies have a process in place for handling accidents and may be able to provide additional support.
- Reach out to a personal injury attorney to discuss legal rights and options, including compensation.
Stay calm and collected during and after an accident. Following these steps, including documenting the accident, can help ensure that you and the others involved are safe.
How to Document and Preserve Key Evidence After an Uber or Lyft Accident
Documenting evidence is an integral part of the insurance claims process. In February 2022, Calvin Crew, 22, was arrested by police after the dashcam in the Uber recorded the senseless murder of the Uber driver.
Christina Spicuzza was found dead near Pittsburgh in a wooded area after the police were alerted by her family a day earlier after she failed to return home. The dashcam provided critical evidence, leading to the arrest of Calvin.
Some of the ways you can document evidence to preserve critical evidence, especially involving ride-share vehicles, include:
- Take photos or videos of the vehicle damage, the surrounding area, and visible injuries. Ensure to capture all angles and include close-up shots, clearly showing the extent of the damage.
- Write down details about the accident, including the time and location, the names and contact information of any other drivers involved, and the names of any witnesses.
- Gather relevant documents, including the police report, medical reports, or bills related to injuries.
- Keep a record of all communications with the insurance company, including phone calls and emails, and written correspondence, such as letters or forms.
Make sure to store all documents and records safely, as evidence can increase your chances of a successful insurance claim.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Navigating the Insurance Claims Process
The insurance claims process following an accident can differ depending on the circumstances of the case and the insurance company involved. However, the general steps involved in the process are as follows:
- Report the accident to the insurance company: Immediately contact your insurance company to report the accident and start the claim process. Provide the company with all the relevant information, including the accident location, the names and contact information of the drivers involved, and details of the damage to the vehicles.
- Provide documentation: Your insurance company will require documentation to support your claim, including the police report, photos or videos of the vehicle damage, and medical reports or bills related to injuries.
- The insurance company will investigate: The insurance company will investigate the accident and gather information from all parties involved. The process may take some time and can involve multiple rounds of communication with you, the other party(s), and witnesses.
- The insurance company will determine fault: Based on their investigation, the insurance company will determine who was at fault for the accident. The result can impact which insurance company will cover the costs of damage or injuries.
- The insurance company will make an offer: If the insurance company determines you are entitled to compensation, the insurance company will make an offer. The offer may include coverage for repairing or replacing your vehicle and medical expenses or other costs related to the accident.
- Accept or negotiate the offer: You can either accept the offer made by the insurance company or negotiate for a higher amount. If you are unhappy with the offer, you can file a lawsuit or use alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or arbitration.
The insurance claims process is complex—one woman in Denham Springs found herself in a tough spot after her accident claim was denied. Karen Soileau, an Uber Eats delivery driver, got into an accident with her SUV while working.
The front of the SUV was unrecognizable, and she immediately called her insurance company, having dutifully paid $400 monthly. However, her claim was denied because she didn’t have a ride-share insurance policy, even if she doesn’t ride people but food.
Since she didn’t have a ride-share insurance policy, she would have to pay $25,000 to fix her damaged car. It’s best to work with an insurance claims adjuster or personal injury lawyer to help guide you through compensation and protect your rights.
Understanding Compensation Limits and Who Pays the Bill
In the event of an accident involving an Uber or Lyft vehicle, the specifics of who pays the bill and the compensation limits depend on several factors, including;
- The circumstances of the accident
- The insurance coverage in place
- The laws of the jurisdiction where the accident occurred
In September 2020, Denver chef Brian Fritts was in the back seat of a Lyft vehicle when another driver crashed into the car and drove off. Denver suffered a broken jaw and vertebrae, and a loophole in Colorado ride-share insurance laws left him unable to pay his medical expenses.
A Colorado Bill being considered by the senate after passing the House will require ride-share companies to provide uninsured motorist coverage. The coverage is worth $1 million for passengers with insufficient auto insurance coverage, and who sustain injuries from accidents caused by uninsured drivers or hit-and-run incidents.
The compensation may include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, property, and punitive damages. It’s important to consult with an attorney to determine your rights and the compensation you may be entitled to receive.
If you were recently involved in a car accident in Des Moines and need legal representation, a Des Moines car accident attorney can help. They have the experience and knowledge to handle your case and fight for your rights.