Proper Steps to Follow After Lyft Accidents
If you are a ridesharing passenger who has been involved in a Lyft accident, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the experience and all the questions it has brought up. Below, in this article, you can get the information about steps to follow after Lyft accidents.
For that matter, this may also be the first time you have ever fully realized just how different it is to use a ridesharing service versus driving your own car or using public transportation.
It is often not so easy to navigate the process of filing your claim and receiving reimbursement for time off work, injuries sustained and pain and suffering endured. In this article, learn what an experienced Los Angeles Lyft accident attorney has to say about the proper steps to follow after Lyft accidents.
Do Not Expect Lyft to Pay Out Readily
It is true that the state of California has now required ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft to carry auto insurance to protect ridesharing passengers.
But it is not true that just because these companies carry hefty policies (Uber’s policy is reportedly worth $1 million!) that you will automatically receive an insurance payout as a passenger victim of an auto accident.
Ridesharing today is a business that is worth billions. These companies haven’t gotten so rich by paying every single person who demanded a payout. They will try their best to avoid making a claims payout if they can.
Involving a ridesharing accident lawyer is often necessary to force ridesharing companies whose drivers have harmed their passengers due to an accident to pay out and do the right thing.
Understand How Ridesharing Driver Shift Periods Work
You may take Lyft daily, weekly or occasionally. But unless you’ve chatted up your drivers, you probably don’t realize that drivers have different periods during their shifts.
The period the Lyft driver is in impacts what level of insurance coverage (if any) may be in place to cover you, the passenger, in the event of an auto accident.
1. Period one: off shift.
The first period is when the driver is essentially off the clock. The ridesharing app is off. They may be at lunch or on a break or off work entirely.
When you are involved in an auto accident with a Lyft driver who is in the first period, you are not entitled to seek any reimbursement from Lyft. The only coverage that applies is whatever auto insurance coverage that driver may have for personal auto use.
2. Period one: on shift, seeking passenger.
The second period is when the driver has turned on the ridesharing app and is seeking a new passenger but hasn’t found one yet. They may be parked somewhere, cruising around or sitting at home or in a coffeeshop.
When you are involved in an auto accident with a Lyft driver who is seeking a passenger, Lyft only has a limited amount of coverage that you may be able to access.
3. Period three: en route to pick up passenger.
The third period is when the driver has accepted a passenger and is en route to pick them up.
This period is not relevant to the discussion in this blog post.
4. Period four: you are being transported by the Lyft driver to your destination.
The fourth period is when the driver has picked up their passenger (you) and is actively transporting them to the passenger’s chosen destination.
If an accident occurs while you are a passenger in a Lyft vehicle, this is when you potentially have access to the full insurance policy carried by the company for passenger-related accidents.
What You Need to Know About Lyft Insurance Reimbursement
The most shocking thing for most passengers who have been involved in a Lyft accident is that the ridesharing company (Lyft, Uber, et al) is not automatically responsible to reimburse you for any time losses, injuries or pain and suffering.
Part of the reason for this is due to how California views auto accidents inside the state. California is what is called a “fault” state when it comes to auto accidents and insurance claims payouts.
This means that when two drivers get into an accident, each insurance company is going to try to get their driver declared “not at fault.” This means the other driver’s insurer has to pay the majority of the claims payouts.
So let’s say that you are a passenger in a Lyft vehicle that gets into an auto accident. There are three possible outcomes in this scenario.
Outcome one: your Lyft driver is not at fault.
Outcome one is that your Lyft driver is declared not at fault in the accident. In this case, your only recourse for reimbursement would be to pursue the auto insurer of the other driver. This other driver might have comprehensive auto insurance, partial auto insurance or no auto insurance at all, in which case you might wind up paying for your own medical care and rental car!
This situation happens all too frequently in California, and is one of the most common reasons passengers call a personal injury lawyer for help resolving the claims process.
Outcome two: your Lyft driver is declared partially at fault.
In outcome two, you may have to pursue reimbursement from two insurers – Lyft’s and the other driver’s.
Outcome three: your Lyft driver is declared fully at fault.
In outcome three, Lyft the parent company is fully responsible for reimbursing you for any damages as a result of your Lyft accident.
What Steps to Take After a Lyft Accident
While you will never know for sure at first how the state of California will rule regarding who is at fault in a Lyft accident, you can do a lot to protect yourself by following these steps right after the accident occurs.
1. Document absolutely everything.
As long as you are able and it is safe to do so, be sure to document everything you can, including damage to each vehicle, weather, time of day, lighting conditions, road signs, et al.
2. Take down the contact and insurance information of your Lyft driver and the other driver(s).
By getting everyone’s contact information, you make it much easier for your ridesharing accident lawyer to quickly build a compelling case to get you due reimbursement.
3. Call the police and ask them to prepare an accident report.
The accident report is admissible in court as a verified legal document.
4. Take photos and videos of the vehicles, the vicinity and involved parties.
Photos and videos are also legally admissible in court.
5. Contact an experienced ridesharing accident lawyer right away.
An experienced Los Angeles Lyft accident attorney can help you get your case resolved so you can quickly get back to your life again.
Do You Need a Ridesharing Personal Injury Lawyer?
Have you been involved in an Uber or Lyft ridesharing accident as a passenger? We can help.
West Coast Trial Lawyers is an experienced, knowledgable and successful Los Angeles Lyft accident attorney firm. Contact us today to resolve your Lyft claim and get your life back.