Millions of people across Missouri, and the nation, use rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft every day. The rideshare industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years, becoming ubiquitous in cities like St. Louis. People enjoy the convenience and comfort of a private car, and some city-dwellers have discarded their personal vehicles altogether to rely on a mix of public transportation and rideshare services.
However, just because you’re not in the driver’s seat doesn’t mean you’re not at risk for injury in a car accident. More and more rideshare vehicles are on the road today – check out these current statistics:
- Today’s ridesharing industry is worth approximately $61 billion
- It’s estimated to hit $220 billion by 2025
- 25 percent of Americans use a rideshare at least once a month
- Uber has nearly four million drivers around the world
- Lyft has 30 percent of the U.S. rideshare market
That’s a lot of drivers out there. And, unlike public transportation operators, rideshare drivers aren’t required to have any special training or certification; they simply need a working vehicle and an up-to-date insurance policy.
Rideshare car crashes can be more complex than a typical car accident. Often, there’s more than one liable party, like the rideshare driver, the rideshare company, or a third party that caused the accident. There may be multiple insurance companies and claims involved, depending on the circumstances of the crash. An experienced St. Louis injury attorney can help you sort out the details.
Steps to take after an Uber or Lyft accident
If you’re involved in a collision or crash with a rideshare, you can take some immediate steps to protect your safety and the strength of any potential legal action:
Check for injuries and assess the situation
Are you injured? Are any other passengers or drivers injured? Call the police or 911 to report the accident. The authorities will get emergency personnel on the scene for urgent injuries. If you are able to get out of the vehicle, do so and get to a safe place away from dangerous traffic.
Document the scene of the crash
Gather information from everyone involved. The police will take a report – ensure you get a copy of this report, as it will contain valuable information (and your insurance company will ask for it). On your end, you can help your case by taking photos of the accident scene. Include photos of the vehicles involved, the road and any debris or skid marks, damage to the vehicles or property, and documentation of your injuries.
Don’t forget to ask for contact information from all involved drivers, passengers, and witnesses. You’ll want their accounts of the accident for later. Typically, you should ask for things like their name, phone number, license plate, and insurance information.
Screenshot your Uber or Lyft ride
As soon as possible after the accident, take a screenshot of your ride info and receipt on your rideshare app. This proves that the crash happened while the driver was on-duty and had a passenger in the car. Doing this immediately after the wreck saves this important evidence while you still have it – even if the rideshare driver or company attempts to remove it after being notified of the accident.
File an accident report
Report the accident to Lyft or Uber – however, stick to the facts and don’t offer any unnecessary details. Don’t talk about who might or might not be at fault. The same goes for reporting the accident to your insurance company in the event you were hit by a rideshare driver. Give only the facts and no opinions; remember that any innocuous comment could later be used against you by the insurance company. Your attorney can take care of the details.
If you haven’t sought medical attention, visit a doctor or urgent care. Some injuries take a day or two to show up and it’s important to have documentation of your injuries for your case – and for your health.
What are my rights as a rideshare passenger?
As a user of a rideshare app or service, you’re afforded certain rights. These include:
- A safe vehicle no more than 15 years old
- A licensed driver and insured vehicle
- Properly-screened and sober drivers
- Clean and sanitized vehicles
If you order an Uber or Lyft and the vehicle or driver doesn’t meet these standards, you do have the right to refuse the ride (and notify the company).
Who is liable for my St. Louis rideshare accident and injuries?
This is where things can get complicated, and where an experienced attorney can be invaluable. Generally, with personal injury liability, fault is assigned to the person who caused the accident. However, because rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft technically employ these drivers, liability could also be assigned to the company.
Your attorney may look into the company’s hiring practices – were they negligent in hiring that driver? Did the driver have a previous history of traffic offenses or drunk driving? Even if the company was liable, Uber or Lyft will do everything they can to dodge liability and accountability. Having experienced counsel on your side allows you to even the playing field.
Rideshare accidents can be complicated. Let The Hayden Law Firm help you with your claim. We can go over the details of your Lyft or Uber crash, get to the bottom of who was responsible, and hold them accountable. Next, we’ll work to secure financial compensation for your injuries and losses. Call us today at 314-798-9942 to schedule a free, no-risk consultation. You can also complete our contact form. We serve the greater St. Louis area and Illinois.
Attorney Amanda L. Hayden has dedicated her legal career to fearlessly advocating for clients and their families after their lives have been devastated by the careless and/or reckless conduct of others.
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