What you do immediately after an auto accident can have a dramatic impact on your legal rights and your ability to recover losses and damages after the accident, this includes an accident where you were driving, riding in, or collided with a vehicle being operated under a rideshare service such as Uber® or Lyft®. Our premiere Pensacola car accident lawyers at Taylor, Warren, Weidner & Hancock always strive to educate victims on the best actions to take immediately after an accident and how to navigate interactions with the insurance company to ensure you are not treated unfairly. Here are some critical steps you should take after an Uber or Lyft accident.
1. Contact the Police and Seek Medical Assistance
Now is not the time to be a hero. If you are in pain or there is any question in your mind immediately after the accident that you have suffered some kind of injury, do not avoid contacting the police or seeking medical help out of pride, fear, or inconvenience. Getting you back walking, driving, and working is the most important thing and early treatment ensures you the best recovery possible as injuries can worsen over time if not treated. Waiting to treat your injuries can severely limit your legal rights as the insurance companies responsible for your injuries will often try to argue the fact that you did not seek medical help at all, or sooner, shows your injuries are not as severe as you claim.
2. Take and Save Photos and Evidence From the Scene
If you took photos at the scene of the rideshare accident, those will likely be very important later. Be sure to save them and back them up so they are not lost. If you did not take photos at the scene of the accident, take and save photos of the damage to your vehicle, if your own vehicle was damaged in a rideshare collision, as soon as possible. If you gathered other evidence at the scene—for example, if you wrote down the rideshare driver's or other driver's contact and/or insurance information or gathered names and contact information of witnesses, etc.—preserve and save that information as well and back it up. This may prove to be crucial evidence later to ensure you are able to fight an insurance company that is trying to wrongfully show you caused the accident, your injuries were not caused by the accident, or your injuries are not as severe as they are so that they can deny your auto accident claim.
3. Report the Accident to Uber/Lyft
Once you have gathered all the required information from the scene and all witnesses or other persons involved, you should report the accident to Uber/Lyft as soon as possible. Both companies have dedicated teams whose sole purpose is to open claims, investigate accidents, and communicate with rideshare customers who have been involved in accidents with a rideshare driver or while using their rideshare services. It would be ideal to contact Uber/Lyft directly within 24 hours of your accident so they can open your claim and begin their investigation quickly while evidence, witnesses, and memories are still fresh. As we have explained previously, Uber and Lyft offer auto insurance to their drivers when they are online or have the app on with varying limits depending on whether the driver is: 1) waiting for a ride request; or 2) they have a customer enroute. Learn more about Uber/Lyft liability insurance and how it works here.
4. Document Expenses and Lost Time From Work
If you are involved in an Uber/Lyft accident, this will often make your day-to-day life more complicated, painful and costly, particularly if you were injured. You may need to go to the hospital, to the doctor, to rehab, taking time out of your normal routine to devote to your physical recovery. You may have out-of-pocket expenses like co-pays and gas to/from doctor's visits. You will likely have to miss time from work if you are unable to perform your job until you recover or if you have to undergo treatment, surgery, rehab, follow-up appointments, etc. You may also have to hire out services you typically could perform yourself but you no longer can because of the accident, such as paying someone to mow your grass, help clean the house, or assist with childcare. Documenting and maintaining receipts and records of these expenses will go a long way toward ensuring you obtain full recovery from the rideshare insurance company that has a duty to pay these costs.
5. Do Not Post About the Accident Or Your Injuries on Social Media
Although social media is often the first place we go to today to "vent" when we get injured in something like a car accident, what you might not realize is that what you say on social media could be used against you. In Florida, attorneys representing the insurance company responsible for your injuries can often get information from your social media accounts and use that against you in your suit to recover damages from a rideshare accident. For example, even if you did not cause the Uber/Lyft accident, if you make a statement on Facebook saying how scary the accident was and how bad you feel that the other driver was injured, an insurance company may try to use this statement to prove you caused the accident when you did not.
6. Contact an Attorney Before Talking to an Insurance Company
It is in your best interest to contact an experienced and qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an Uber/Lyft accident so he/she can advise you about your rights before you talk to or provide any documents, statements, or other information to the rideshare's or another involved-party's insurance company. Insurance companies will often ask you for multiple statements in the hope you will give conflicting answers. They will ask you for bank or medical records the insurance company believes prove your injury is not as painful or debilitating as it is. They will also work to gather witness statements, photos, and other evidence the insurance company feels supports a finding that you caused the accident or that your injuries are not as severe as you claim so they can deny or minimize your claim. You need someone working from the time of the Uber/Lyft accident to make sure your claim for damages and your legal rights are protected. Do not give any statements to an insurance company until you have talked to an attorney.
At TWWH, We Are Here to Help
Don't let your medical expenses or lost wages accumulate while you wait for the negligent party or Uber/Lyft to do the right thing and pay you the compensation you are owed. You deserve an experience, aggressive insurance team fighting for you. Recovering damages in the event of an Uber or Lyft accident can be difficult, making it essential to have strong legal assistance, like that of the experienced car accident attorneys at Taylor, Warren, Weidner & Hancock.
We never charge any fee or cost or require any obligation to simply review your claim and answer any questions you may have. If you then decide to hire our firm to help you, our attorneys will individually manage your claim, conduct a thorough investigation, assess liability for the rideshare accident that caused your injuries, and investigate all of your compensation possibilities. If you or a loved one has been harmed in an Uber or Lyft accident, contact us to find out how we can assist you.