Virginia Beach Uber & Lyft Accident Attorney
Over the last several years, rideshare popularity has exploded. Popular tourist areas such as Virginia Beach have seen an exceptionally high uptick in Uber and Lyft services, especially during the warmer months. With a rise in popularity and use comes a significant increase in rideshare-involved car accidents. If you or a loved one was recently hurt in a rideshare accident, you should consult a Virginia Beach Uber and Lyft accident attorney to discuss your legal rights and options.
Types of Rideshare Accident Injuries
Generally, the type of injuries you might suffer in a rideshare accident will be similar to those you could suffer in any motor vehicle crash. However, because many backseat passengers choose to forego a seatbelt and most Uber customers ride in the backseat, it is more common to see severe injuries. It is also more common to see significant injuries consistent with a lack of rear airbags.
Common Uber of Lyft accident injuries include but are not limited to:
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries;
- Neck and back injuries;
- Fractures; and
- Spinal cord injuries.
Accident victims often sustain multiple injuries in a wreck. For instance, you may suffer a brain injury from hitting your head while also suffering lacerations to your face. No matter the extent of any immediately apparent injuries, you should always be seen by a doctor to ensure you do not have any internal or slow manifesting injuries.
Who Is Liable for an Uber or Lyft Accident?
In Virginia, rideshare drivers are generally considered independent contractors. What does this mean? Broadly speaking, if you are injured in an Uber or Lyft accident, you typically cannot sue the company itself. Instead, you must seek compensation for your injuries through the appropriate insurance policy.
As in any car wreck, you can pursue damages from the at-fault party’s insurance policy if you are injured in a rideshare accident. However, seeking damages for rideshare accidents can be more complicated and challenging.
Rideshare accidents have unique challenges because they differ from regular passenger car wrecks and are not generally considered traditional commercial vehicles. They usually do not fall under the umbrella of typical taxi or limousine services either. Rideshare drivers fall into a unique category because drivers generally use their personal cars to transport rideshare passengers. Additionally, drivers are not required to hold commercial driver’s licenses by Uber or Lyft.
Practically speaking, this means drivers typically only have personal auto insurance policies, which usually do not cover injuries or damage sustained in an accident while the car is being used for work.
Uber and Lyft maintain similar insurance coverage for a driver’s liability to third parties, and liability will depend on whether the driver was logged into the app, traveling to, or completing a ride. The applicable coverage is triggered by the driver’ status at the time of the collision.
- If the driver is logged into the app and available to receive ride requests, they should have $50,000 for bodily injury per person ($100,000 per accident) and $25,000 for property damage.
- If the driver has a rideshare passenger or is on their way to pick one up, they may have up to $1,000,000 in third-party liability insurance.
Importantly, when a rideshare driver operates a vehicle for personal use and is not “clocked in,” Uber and Lyft will not provide any insurance coverage, and the driver’s auto insurance coverage will apply.
This coverage usually only kicks in after the driver’s individual insurance is exhausted.
In other words, to file a claim with the rideshare company’s third-party policy, you must show the driver did not have enough insurance coverage to compensate you for your injuries or damages. Understanding how to navigate the claims and insurance process after a rideshare accident can be challenging. Contact an Uber and Lyft accident attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.
Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee
Virginia is one of few states where motor vehicle liability insurance isn’t required as long as the driver pays a $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee.
If an individual elects not to pay the fee, they must carry liability insurance with the following minimum coverage:
- $30,000 in bodily injury for injury or death to one person,
- $60,000 in bodily injury for injury or death to two or more people, and
- $20,000 for property damage per accident.
Once a motorist pays the $500 fee, they can legally operate a car without insurance coverage. However, they are personally liable for damages if they get into an accident.
What Should You Do Following a Rideshare Accident?
Most steps you will take immediately following an Uber or Lyft accident will be the same as any motor vehicle crash.
Seek Medical Attention & Treatment
As with any car accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention and treatment. This may include receiving on-scene care from EMS, emergency room treatment, or a visit to your primary care physician or specialized doctor.
Report the Accident to the Rideshare Company
In addition to contacting the police immediately after the crash, you should also report the accident to the rideshare company. Even if you only have minor injuries or walk away uninjured, you should notify the company about the crash. It is wise to have a record of this later.
Consult a Lyft and Uber Accident Lawyer
We strongly encourage anyone involved in an Uber or Lyft accident to speak with an attorney to discuss your options. Even if the accident was minor and you do not believe you sustained any injuries, learning your rights and options is a good idea. Many injuries develop over time, and it may not be until days or weeks later that you realize you are injured. Time missed from work and medical bills can quickly send you into financial distress. Navigating a rideshare accident claim can be complex and challenging to do on your own. A seasoned and skilled attorney can help you.
VA Beach Rideshare Accident Lawyer
With more than four decades of experience, The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett has extensive experience helping clients involved in the most severe and life-changing car accidents. If you were recently injured in a rideshare accident in the Virginia Beach area, contact us for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.