Rideshare apps like Lyft have changed the way we view transportation in this country. Need to get from point A to point B? Tap a button on your smartphone and within minutes a driver is waiting for you at your location, you have already paid for the ride, and you can rate your experience. But the sharing economy also comes with unique legal challenges. For instance, when you are the passenger in a Lyft car accident, what do you do? What rights and responsibilities do you have?
1. Notify the authorities.
Of course, your first priority is your safety. If you are injured in an accident, 911 should be notified immediately so you can receive assistance from police and paramedics right away. If you do not appear to be injured, police should still be called to create an accident report. An accident report may be necessary to resolve property damage claims and to pursue personal injury claims (even if you do not feel that you are injured at the time of the accident, it’s not uncommon to develop pain shortly after).
2. Notify Lyft.
The “Call Me” button in the Lyft app is designed for just such emergencies. Manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the customer service center has employees trained to deal with accidents and incidents of all types. They can walk you through next steps for accident reporting, even if your driver insists on not reporting the accident.
3. Take Pictures.
If you are not injured or if your injuries are not severe, use your smartphone to take as many pictures as you can of the vehicle you were in (including the license plate), your Lyft driver, the other vehicle, the location where the accident took place, and any responding police officer’s names and badge numbers. Be sure to turn on the timestamp and location features on your phone to add time and location information to your photos.
4. Get insurance information from all drivers.
Even though you are a passenger in the car, your injuries may be covered by the auto insurance of the at-fault driver. Many Lyft drivers have a “ride share” addition to their insurance policy that covers injuries and accidents at a higher level than if they were driving around without a passenger. Likewise, Lyft’s $1,000,000 insurance policy covers drivers and passengers from the time a ride is accepted until the passenger leaves the car. If you have injuries or loss of property as a result of your Lyft accident, you may be entitled to damages under these policies.
5. Call an attorney.
Sorting out fault and responsibility in a Lyft driver car accident is a tricky process, one that requires a knowledgeable attorney. If you have been in a Lyft car accident, Lyft, their insurance company and the driver’s insurance company will want to settle as quickly as possible, for as little money as possible. An attorney can help you unravel the complex legal nature of an being in an accident while using a ride sharing app and help you receive the compensation you deserve.
If you have been in a Lyft car accident, call the Lyft accident lawyers at The Elan Law Firm to discuss your case.