Ridesharing offers a cheap and convenient way to get around, but it’s up to you to do everything you can to ensure you get to your destination safely on Uber. This requires taking action to protect yourself in advance as well as knowing what to do after an accident. While a Los Angeles ridesharing accident lawyer can help you recover compensation for the damages you suffered in a ridesharing accident, there are several steps you will have to take to help your case. This guide outlines what you can do to protect yourself and what you should do if you are involved in a ridesharing accident as a passenger.
How to Make Sure Your Uber or Lyft Ride is Safe
Check Reviews of the Driver
Once you schedule your ride, take a minute to read the reviews previous riders left for the driver that will be picking you up. While this may seem like a trivial matter, it is important for your safety. Although Lyft and Uber both conduct criminal background checks and look into each individual’s driving record, those reports only provide half a picture. You can get much more detail from the reviews left by previous riders. While some poor reviews are to be expected, your driver should have more positive than negative reviews. It can also help to read each review beyond just looking at the rating. This will help you uncover specific problems that have been experienced by previous riders.
Check the License Plate
When your ride arrives, don’t be in a rush to get inside the vehicle. Take the time to verify the license plate number and the make and model of the vehicle. You should also ask for the driver’s name just to be extra careful. This will help you ensure you’re getting into the right vehicle. Additionally, you’ll need to provide this information to an Uber or Lyft accident attorney if there is an accident. In addition to taking a ride from someone who isn’t insured to carry riders, mistakenly taking the wrong vehicle can put your safety at risk.
Insist on Safe Driving
As you get into the vehicle, be sure your seatbelt works properly and fasten it before the driver pulls away. Some drivers may not obey all of the traffic laws even though previous customers haven’t criticized their driving in reviews on the ridesharing app. You should be aware of any violations the driver makes and ask them to obey all of the traffic laws while you’re in the vehicle. If your driver is engaged in distracted driving, such as checking their phone or eating a snack, gently mention that safety is a concern for you. If they need to consult their phone for directions to your location, offer to provide the directions for them.
Choose a Safe Drop-Off Point
When you arrive at your destination, give the driver specific instructions as to where to park. Ideally, they should pull into a driveway or parking space to allow you to exit the vehicle safely. You should avoid situations in which you’ll be stepping into traffic as you exit the vehicle. You should also choose a drop-off point that’s populated if possible. Alternatively, a location near a security light with a motion sensor will also ensure your safety. If you have groceries or other types of baggage with you, make sure your driver parks someplace that provides easy access to your door or to an elevator. Picking the right place for a drop-off can help you avoid being left in high risk situations.
What You Should Do After a Ridesharing Accident
Assess the Scene
Just as you would do in any type of accident, you should assess the scene and determine who has been injured. This starts with determining your own injuries and whether or not you can move about safely. If so, you should also look for the nearest cross streets in comparison to your location. This information will help the 911 dispatcher determine what type of help to send and where to send those first responders.
Even though you may consult a Lyft or Uber car accident lawyer later, you should still do what you can to collect evidence at the scene. Start by getting the full names, contact information, and insurance information for your ridesharing driver and the other drivers involved in the accident. Your Uber or Lyft accident attorney may also need the names and contact information for any witnesses or other passengers at the scene of the accident. At this time, you can also use your phone to get pictures of the damages to the vehicles and the license plates of each vehicle. The pictures will be helpful in determining fault and the severity of the accident.
Get a Medical Evaluation
As soon after the accident as possible, you should ask your doctor to conduct a full medical evaluation. Even if you feel fine, an evaluation is essential for a couple of reasons. First, there are some serious injuries, such as head trauma or spine damage, that may not produce severe symptoms right away. In some cases, a mild yet persistent headache may be the only sign that you have suffered physical trauma to your brain. Early diagnosis and treatment can positively affect your chances for a full recovery.
Secondly, failing to undergo an evaluation and medical treatment can hurt your case. If you delay treatment, even the best Uber car accident lawyer may not be able to help you recover the full amount of damages you deserve. That’s because delaying treatment is seen as a tactic to increase how much an individual can claim for their injuries. This is called contributory negligence, and it can be used to limit the most you can claim in a personal injury case. For example, if your claim has an estimated worth of $100,000 and you’re found to be 20% negligent for delaying medical treatment, the most you can recover is $80,000.
File Your Claim
After seeking medical treatment, the next thing you should do is file a claim for damages. This involves notifying the ridesharing company about the accident. They will want you to complete an accident report for them so they can begin the claim process with their insurance company. Even though both Lyft and Uber maintain $1 million in liability coverage for riders while they are in the vehicle, they may look for ways to limit how much they pay out. For this reason, be sure you complete the form with accurate information and make a copy of the completed form for your records.
Hire an Attorney
At this point, it’s a good idea to consult a Los Angeles ridesharing accident lawyer about your case. The initial consultation will be free of charge and your lawyer will work for a contingency or percentage of your award or settlement. This ensures you won’t face upfront fees that will make your sudden financial hardship more difficult. Your attorney will negotiate with the ridesharing company’s insurer on your behalf. If they can’t obtain a fair settlement offer on your behalf, your attorney will be prepared to go to court to pursue damages in a civil suit. These types of personal injury claims are subject to a statute of limitations, which is usually two years or less, so hiring an attorney sooner is in your best interests. Working with an experienced lawyer can help you get a fairer settlement than that which the insurance company would offer directly to you.