After a car accident caused by a rideshare driver, you have the right to file a claim against the driver’s insurance policy. However, you may find the process more complicated than you initially anticipated. In many cases, Uber and Lyft claims can quickly turn complex as you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Still, the insurance company fights to minimize the compensation it has to pay out as much as possible. If you are involved in a car accident while using Uber or Lyft, it’s important to seek the help of a Las Vegas rideshare accident lawyer. If you must file an Uber or Lyft accident claim, you need to know several important things about that process.
1. Uber and Lyft Both Offer Substantial Insurance Policies That Provide Significant Protection in the Event of an Accident
Uber and Lyft both understand the potential dangers of having so many drivers taking on rides for them. Hence, they provide insurance coverage designed to offer protection in an accident.
That can mean up to $1 million in coverage for the damages, including:
- Repairs to vehicles damaged in the accident.
- Medical costs related to injuries sustained in the accident.
- Lost wages because the injured party could not work after the accident.
- Pain and suffering faced by the victim as a direct result of the accident.
Those substantial insurance policies can, in some cases, make it much easier for victims of serious accidents to get the compensation they need for those damages.
2. Rideshare Insurance Providers Have Substantial Legal Teams Who Fight to Reduce the Compensation They Must Pay
Rideshare insurance may offer substantial protection, but it frequently comes at a price: large legal departments that may, in many cases, fight aggressively to lower the compensation paid out to accident victims. Those legal departments may use a number of strategies that frequently reduce the compensation that accident victims can recover for their injuries.
The Insurance Company May Deny Its Driver’s Liability for the Accident
As a ride-sharing vehicle passenger, you may not have the risk of bearing liability for the accident yourself. However, while the rideshare insurance company’s legal team works to deny liability for the accident, it can slow down the claim process and make it difficult to get the compensation you deserve on time. If the insurance company does manage to shift liability to the other driver involved in the accident, it can reduce the compensation you can recover.
Furthermore, the party in the other vehicle may also need to pursue compensation for damages caused by the accident. Suppose you drove the other vehicle at the time of the accident. In that case, the rideshare insurance provider’s efforts may end up pushing liability for the accident onto you, which may leave you liable for some of the damages associated with the accident.
The Insurance Company May Deny That Your Injuries Occurred During the Rideshare Accident
Many car accident injuries do not show up immediately after the accident. For example, you may find that the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury do not seem evident at the accident scene but grow much more apparent over the next few hours or even days. You may not realize that the pain from an accident occurred because of a broken bone, but within a few days, you may realize that you need to have a doctor look over your injuries and provide much-needed treatment.
Unfortunately, that may mean that you forgo medical attention at the time of the accident, which the insurance company may use to insist that you do not deserve full compensation for all the damages you sustained.
Even if you sought medical attention immediately after the car accident, the insurance company may insist that you suffered your injuries at another time. For example, the insurance company might try to claim that you suffered injuries earlier in the day that you now attempt to blame on the rideshare accident or that you must have had those injuries for some time before the accident.
The Insurance Company May Deny the Extent of Your Injuries
Some injuries can prove very difficult to quantify reliably. While you may know what suffering and losses you have faced because of the accident, your doctor might not be able to point at a scan or test and show that you would suffer exactly that injury. People recover at different rates. One person with a broken bone might return to his feet within six to eight weeks after the accident with relatively little residual pain.
Another person with similar injuries might need physical therapy for weeks to regain full functionality. Age, activity level, and overall health and wellness can significantly impact how you bounce back from a personal injury. For people who recover slowly, that can mean increased medical costs, more time out of work, and more suffering as they recover from the accident.
The insurance company, however, may try to deny the extent of your suffering and the injuries you sustained. Large insurance companies like the ones that cover Uber and Lyft may even try to catch you doing something you claim you are unable to do due to your injuries. If the insurance company can establish that you did not suffer injuries as severe as you claim, or that you do not have the limitations you claim from the accident, it may decrease the compensation you can recover from those damages.
The Insurance Company May Deny the Full Extent of the Medical Treatments You Need
Some people will take a different road to recovery than others. You may, for example, choose surgery to treat an injury where another patient might prefer to try to heal on their own first. Some types of injuries can require expensive therapies and treatments. As the injured party, you may work closely with your doctor to develop a treatment plan that fits your unique needs and situation.
That does not necessarily mean that the insurance company will automatically issue the full payment you deserve for those medical costs. The insurance company may fight to establish that you did not need those expensive treatments and refuse to include them in your claim.
The Insurance Company May Say You Worsened Your Own Injuries by Failing to Adhere to Your Provider’s Instructions
When you suffer any injury, your care provider will issue instructions for your injuries and recovery. Your care provider may first work with you to develop a treatment plan considering the full extent of your sustained damages. For example, your care provider may want you to undergo specific procedures or schedule several physical therapy sessions. If you ignore those treatment requirements, the insurance company may insist that you worsened your own injuries.
Likewise, your medical care provider may issue a series of instructions regarding activities that you need to avoid while recovering from your injury. If you suffered a brain injury, your care provider may not want you to do anything that could cause further head trauma, including participating in sports that could cause you to hit your head. You may have to stay off your bike or motorcycle to avoid the risk of further injury. If you engage in those activities anyway, it could end up causing significant further damage, which the insurance company might refuse to cover.
If you break bones, your care provider may recommend avoiding putting weight on or using the injured limb during recovery. Failure to follow those instructions could cause further damage and slow your recovery, which could cause the insurance company to deny any further coverage.
The Insurance Company May Pressure You to Accept a Low Settlement Offer
In many cases, the insurance company may pressure you into accepting a settlement offer that does not reflect the full damages you suffered in the accident. Uber and Lyft, with their large legal teams, may fight hard to push you into accepting as low a settlement offer as possible.
The insurance company may use a couple of common pressure tactics. First, the insurance company may push you to accept a low settlement offer soon after the accident. You may get a fast offer from the insurance company that reflects the initial damages associated with the accident. However, that does not include the full financial concerns you have faced, much less compensation for your pain and suffering.
By issuing that offer early, the insurance company may hope to get to you before you can seek legal support or realize what the injuries from your accident will ultimately cost.
Second, the insurance company may try to convince you that you cannot get additional compensation for your injuries. The company may insist that it has offered you the maximum settlement for the damages you sustained and that, as a result, you cannot hope to get any further compensation. However, a lawyer reviewing your claim may see something very different, which could change the compensation balance considerably.
3. Uber and Lyft Hire Drivers as Independent Contractors
Most of the time, rideshare services hire their drivers as independent contractors. That means that each driver works directly for himself rather than for Uber or Lyft. Many states, notably California, have tried to classify Uber and Lyft drivers as employees. However, most of the time, Uber and Lyft treat drivers as contractors, not employees. That means that Uber and Lyft generally do not accept direct liability for the actions of their drivers.
That does not necessarily mean that Uber and Lyft will never share liability for their drivers’ negligent actions.
For example, the rideshare service might bear liability if the driver routinely committed dangerous actions on the road, including:
- Repeated tickets
- Regular or frequent accidents
- Reports from passengers in the driver’s vehicle
It could indicate a higher level of danger from that driver. If the rideshare service continued to employ the driver despite those dangers, the rideshare service could bear liability for the damages caused by the accident.
4. Having a Lawyer on Your Side Can Make a Big Difference in Your Uber or Lyft Accident Claim
Uber and Lyft have large legal teams on their side. You deserve a committed legal team on your side that can help fight on your behalf as you pursue compensation for the damages sustained in an Uber or Lyft accident. By working with a lawyer, you can get substantial support to make it much easier to manage your injury claim.
A Lawyer Can Help Make Sure That You Know What Compensation You Deserve
Knowing the compensation you deserve after an accident can offer many advantages. First, it means the insurance company cannot take advantage of you.
You know how much compensation you should really expect, so if you receive a low settlement offer, you may know that you need to fight against the insurance company for fair and just compensation for those damages. A personal injury lawyer can help lay out all the damages associated with your accident, including what you can expect in future medical expenses.
A Lawyer Can Help You Find the Evidence You Need
When dealing with a devastating Uber or Lyft accident, you may need to present a great deal of evidence that will clearly show what damages you sustained and how they occurred. You may need evidence of your ongoing medical costs and financial losses. A Las Vegas personal injury attorney can help collect that information and present it as part of a comprehensive injury claim.
Did you suffer injuries due to the negligence of an Uber or Lyft driver? If so, contact an injury attorney to learn more about your rights.