Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing services have revolutionized the way that people get around in West Virginia, especially in the Charleston area. In many ways, using Uber or Lyft is more convenient, it’s cheaper, and it offers more opportunities to move around the city with ease. However, there is an ongoing notion that Uber and Lyft are safer, but, unfortunately, you face many of the same risks of being in an accident in an Uber or Lyft. In a taxi, you have certain protections as a passenger, and West Virginia law is starting to catch up with regards to providing rights and protections for Uber and Lyft passengers as well.
At the Love Law Firm in Charleston, West Virginia, car accident attorney Charles M. Love is one of the leading lawyers representing injured parties in auto accidents. It is important to remember, however, that Uber and Lyft try to avoid as much responsibility as possible in these cases; instead, the driver of the Uber or Lyft ride is often forced to tap into his/her personal insurance. If you were injured and need compensation for damages caused by the injury (medical bills, loss of income at work, etc), make sure to call the personal injury lawyers at the Love Law Firm immediately. This is a complicated area of law, and you need the most experienced auto accident attorneys in the Charleston WV area.
Understanding Uber and Lyft Insurance Policies
One of the most pressing questions in these cases is, “Who is liable?” West Virginia is a “fault” insurance state when it comes to liability after an accident. As such, injured parties have a few options when injured in an accident, such as:
- Filing a lawsuit with his/her own insurance company
- Pursuing a third-party insurance claim with the carrier of the person who was legally liable for the crash
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation from the at-fault party
Uber and Lyft drivers are considered “independent contractors,” according to the ride-sharing companies. This means that they aren’t actual employees. In normal cases, a company is liable for the actions of its employees; because Uber or Lyft drivers are not employees, this legal standard doesn’t apply. However, Uber and Lyft do have insurance policies to cover liability in the event of an accident and injuries.
For instance, Uber and Lyft have a $1 million liability coverage policy and a $1 million uninsured/under-insured coverage policy (in case of accidents with un- or under-insured drivers). If a driver doesn’t have a passenger and is in an accident, the ride-sharing company’s insurance usually doesn’t cover accidents. When there is a passenger, the situation becomes a little more complicated.
What to Do If You’re in an Accident?
If you’re injured in an accident while riding in a Uber or Lyft, the first step is to check your injuries and seek medical assistance, if necessary. Keep in mind that symptoms of head trauma could manifest later, and not seeking medical aid could also compromise a claim if you file one.
Following an accident, some things to do and/or document include:
- Filing an accident report with police. If the police don’t come to the accident, it’s essential to call them and to file a report.
- Taking down all of the information of the parties involved. This includes driver’s license numbers, tag numbers, and insurance information. You may also want to take photos of the accident and take down witness statements and contact information.
In any case, be cautious when speaking with an insurance representative regarding the details of the accident. Often, the insurance company may try to seek an early settlement, but even if you were injured in an Uber or Lyft accident, you still have the right to proper compensation. You also have the right to proper compensation that takes into account any long-term needs and the full scope of the suffering and losses you have incurred.
Contact the Love Law Firm Today
Following a serious accident that left severe injuries or death, it’s difficult to know whether you want to present a lawsuit to the at-fault driver (if this was true) or take Uber or Lyft to court regarding its $1 million liability coverage policy. Additionally, in many cases, you won’t be able to sue Uber or Lyft for damages that exceed $1 million, even if the Uber or Lyft driver was extremely reckless and/or negligent. These cases are complex legal affairs, but it’s essential to remember that you have the right to full compensation, and at the Love Law Firm, one of our main goals is to protect that right and effective litigate so that you achieve fair and reasonable compensation, for now and for the future.
To speak with Charleston WV car accident attorney Charles M. Love, call the Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683.