If you are like a growing number of people, you have used a ridesharing service to get you around a city from time to time. Though only in business a decade, Uber has experienced tremendous growth. In an average day, 15 million people worldwide use Uber, and that number is expected to continue rising in the coming years. Because of this, the chances of you being a passenger when an Uber driver is involved in an accident is also rising. But unlike when people are riding a bus or taxi, the rules for what do do from a legal standpoint are murky regarding ridesharing services. In most cases, passengers have little if any idea what they should do, and as a result wind up doing nothing at all, which is a big mistake. If you are involved in a ridesharing accident, here are the most important legal steps you should take to protect your ability to be compensated for your injuries and other damages.
Always Call 9-1-1
Whenever you are a passenger in a ridesharing accident, always make sure you call 9-1-1 to get police, paramedics, and firefighting personnel to the scene. While you should naturally do this to ensure injuries are treated and the accident scene is made safe and secure, it also plays an important role from a legal standpoint. Once police arrive at the scene, they will begin to assess how the accident happened and file an accident report with a preliminary assessment of who was at fault. Once this is done, you should always retain the services of an experienced Uber accident lawyer and make sure they obtain a copy of the report. If it is determined your driver caused the accident, the report can be used by your attorney to negotiate a larger settlement with Uber and its insurance company.
Write Down Details of the Accident
While at the accident scene, make sure you write down as many details of the accident as you can remember. For example, if your driver appeared to be distracted, was exceeding the speed limit, or possibly was impaired at the time of the accident, make sure you note these details and pass them on to your ridesharing accident lawyer in Los Angeles. Once you do, your attorney can take this evidence and compare it with what was in the police accident report. Along with this, your lawyer can also hire the services of professionals who are trained in accident reconstruction analysis to help determine what really led to the accident.
Have Your Injuries Assessed and Treated
No matter how minor you think your injuries may be, never refuse to have paramedics assess and treat you at the accident scene. In these accidents, it is very common for passengers to have injuries to their back, neck, and head, and these injuries are notorious for not displaying symptoms until hours or even days later. Therefore, always let yourself be treated at the scene and be transported to a hospital for further treatment by doctors. In doing so, you will guarantee your injuries will be promptly treated and recorded in your medical records, which makes it more difficult for insurance companies to claim you were not injured in the accident.
Use Ridesharing Insurance Coverage
For many passengers who are involved in these accidents, one of the biggest mistakes they make is failing to realize the ridesharing company has an insurance policy in place to compensate them if they are injured in an accident. In the case of Uber, this involves a $1 million insurance policy that kicks in automatically when an accident occurs. However, if you are not aware of this insurance coverage, you may miss out on your chance to be compensated for medical bills, lost wages, damage to personal property, and pain and suffering. Since an Uber driver will likely not inform you this insurance coverage exists, always have your injuries treated and then immediately schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable Uber accident lawyer. By doing so, your attorney can then explain how this insurance coverage works and advise you of the various legal options you can consider taking to gain compensation for your damages.
Talk to Witnesses
While at the scene, try to talk to anyone who saw the accident and make notes of what they tell you. If you can, use a smartphone to record these conversations, since this will give an undeniable account of what the witness tells you at the accident scene. In addition, also make sure you get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses to whom you speak, since it is likely your ridesharing accident lawyer in Los Angeles will want to speak with them at a future date.
Take Photos and Videos of the Accident
If you can do so safely, try to take photos and videos of the accident scene. To make sure you have important evidence to give your attorney, make sure you focus on such aspects as visible injuries you and others sustained, vehicle damage, nearby stoplights and traffic signs, road conditions and any skid marks that may have been left on the road, damage to any of your personal property, and anything else you believe could be important to your case. Since this will be your only chance to gather this evidence at the scene, make sure you take as many photos and videos as you feel are necessary. Once you have this evidence, give it to your Uber accident lawyer as soon as possible. By having this evidence and being able to compare it to the police accident report, your lawyer can often pressure insurance companies into settling a matter out-of-court for a level of compensation that is fair and equitable based on your injuries and other damages.
Use Discretion When Speaking of the Accident
Whether you are talking to police at the accident scene, discussing what happened with doctors in an ER, or especially when you may be talking to anyone associated with an insurance company, use extreme discretion when having these conversations. If you don’t and choose to say such things as “I’m sorry,” “I’m fine,” or “I should have known better,” there is a good chance these words will be used against you once you file a claim or lawsuit. In many cases, insurance companies will use these words to imply you did something to cause the accident. Also, police may put these statements in an accident report, also noting that it appears as if you may have admitted to doing something that led to the accident. Whatever the case may be, always be very careful what you say to people until your case is resolved. While you may think your words are harmless, others will see them as opportunities to deny you the compensation you need and deserve for your injuries and other damages.
If you are a passenger who is involved in a ridesharing accident, do not believe you will be able to handle this matter alone. Since Uber will have lawyers and insurance companies on its side, it may attempt to deny your claim. Therefore, always consult with a ridesharing accident lawyer in Los Angeles to discuss your legal options.