Dealing with car accidents is stressful enough, but it gets even more complicated when you’re driving for another organization at the time, like Uber or Lyft.
Right after the accident, shock and adrenaline may keep you from thinking clearly at first.
First and foremost, you should focus on calming down so you can take stock of the situation and deal with the problems one at a time. Everything may seem more complicated and overwhelming than it is until you take a moment to breathe.
If you got in an accident while driving a rideshare, here are 3 tips on what to do next:
1. Make sure you and your passengers are OK
Take things one step at a time.
After an accident, your first step should be to make sure you and your passengers are unhurt. If anyone is unconscious or injured, make sure your car is out of harm’s way and seek medical attention. Call 911 and see if there’s anyone else around the outside the vehicle, but don’t try to move them until a medical professional gets there.
Once you’ve taken care of your passengers, you should check with the other vehicle involved in the accident and make sure they don’t need help either.
Plan to visit a doctor for your health as well, even if you feel fine at the time. You may be suffering from whiplash or other injuries that you won’t notice until the shock wears off.
2. Record the facts
After dealing with any medical emergencies, your next priority is to exchange information with the passengers and the other driver.
Driving for a rideshare company can make resolving these incidents more complicated because the passengers and the rideshare company itself become separate parties involved in the case. Complicated accidents can sometimes require a lawyer to help sort out the obligations and relationships.
As a start, you should take down each individual’s name and contact information. Also write down the insurance and car information from the other driver. Then, you should gather evidence about the accident in case there are disputes later about who was at fault.
File a police report, take pictures of the vehicles, and connect with witnesses who may have seen the accident.
3. Determine liability
After you’ve handled the urgent needs of the accident and gathered the information you’ll require, you’re ready to tackle the task of dealing with insurance and seeking compensation for your damages.
If the other driver was responsible, both you and your passenger should be looking to your own respective insurance companies for compensation
If the accident was your fault, however — or if the other driver’s insurance won’t pay — there are 2 possibilities for compensation:
- Your insurance coverage, or
- The rideshare company’s insurance.
If you had a rideshare passenger in your car when you caused the accident, then your company’s insurance should be the first to pay out. Even if you’re logged into the application and officially matched with a passenger, but you hadn’t picked them up yet, you should still be eligible for payment from the company’s policy.
If that’s not the case, though, then you will likely have to rely on your own car insurance.
If you had a passenger in your car, you may also have to worry about the passenger suing you for any pain and suffering they may have experienced.
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident doesn’t have to be agonizing and stressful.
If you understand what the different insurance policies in play are and how they should apply, you should be prepared to resolve your car accident case.
Seeking a personal injury attorney's help is another option for helping to untangle questions of fault or responsibility, and to secure payment when one party or another tries to refuse to compensate you.