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What Should I Do If I Was Injured as a Passenger in an Uber or Lyft?

Experienced Ride-share Attorney in North Carolina | Nagle & Associates

Were you injured as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft?  Whether the rideshare driver caused the crash or another driver was responsible, the good news is you have a high-limits insurance policy in place to cover your personal injury claims.  As long as a paid ride is underway, Uber or Lyft both currently carry $1 million in insurance coverage to cover passengers’ injury claims.  However, with a lot of money at stake, Uber’s and Lyft’s insurance carriers employ highly-trained adjusters to handle their passenger injury claims, and they will make every effort to avoid or minimize all injury claim payments. 

Even though you are a paying passenger and customer of Uber or Lyft, the insurance adjuster is working only for the insurance company, and their sole objective is to minimize your injury claims.  You have no obligation to speak with them or to sign any type of Release or Medical Authorization.  Please don’t trust the adjuster who is being paid to oppose your Uber/Lyft injury claims.  Even if you prefer not to hire an attorney, you should invest the time to seek a free legal consultation so you will know your safest and best plan of legal action.   

North Carolina Law Regulates Ride Share Companies Like Uber or Lyft

Under North Carolina law, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft must hold permits from the DMV to operate in North Carolina. All rideshare drivers must pass a background check and safety inspection of their vehicles. These laws ensure accountability and provide for the safety of everyone involved. 

Rideshare companies must deny employment to any person that: 

  • Has three or more minor moving violations in the prior three years
  • Has one major moving violation in the previous three years
  • Has a conviction for a serious offense in the last seven years
  • Is a registered sex offender
  • Is under 19 years of age
  • Lacks a valid driver’s license
  • Lacks proof of insurance and registration

North Carolina law further requires that Uber and Lyft vehicles pass annual safety inspections. Additionally, passengers must be able to see a photo of the driver along with a plate number, description, and location of the car. 

Both Uber and Lyft Provide Insurance That Covers Their Passengers in the Event of an Accident

If you sustained an injury as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft, their insurance policies would cover your damages.  If the Uber/Lyft driver was at fault for the accident, the policy pays under the “liability” portion of the policy.  If another driver causes your Uber or Lyft accident, the at-fault driver’s liability policy is first in line to pay your injury claims.  In these cases, Uber and Lyft both carry underinsured motorist coverage with the $1 million coverage limit.  Thus, in all cases, the coverage available for passengers is $1 million.  If the Uber driver and another driver both contributed to causing your collision, you can collect from both policies, resulting in available coverage exceeding $1 million.   

The driver’s status is key to determining the amount of coverage available.  Since a rideshare is always underway when an Uber or Lyft passenger is injured, we know that the driver’s status allows for the full $1 million coverage limit.  However, if you are simply a friend of the Uber or Lyft driver, and they were logged into the app but had not accepted a paying passenger, the coverage available would be only $50,000.00.  If the Uber or Lyft driver was not logged into the app at all, the driver’s personal auto insurance would apply and those would be the limits that apply.  North Carolina law requires rideshare drivers to maintain a minimum coverage of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident.

Steps to Take After an Uber or Lyft Accident

If you are asking, “what should I do if I was injured as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft?” the answer is to seek immediate medical attention.  Report all injuries, use health insurance to fund all medical care, and avoid direct communications with the insurance company’s claims adjuster while your medical treatment is underway.  

Even if you prefer not to hire an attorney, you should speak with one or more and, through a free telephone consultation, learn about your legal rights and options.  Most personal injury cases settle, but you want to settle for the FULL value of your personal injury case, not the discounted amount that the insurance adjuster hopes to pay you.  Your claims adjuster will only pay the full value of your claims if you provide proper medical proof, and only if they believe you will file suit if they don’t extend fair money offers.  

The following steps will assist you in seeking compensation for your injuries: 

  • Make sure that Police are called to the scene and a Police Report is made
  • Exchange contact and insurance information with the driver(s)
  • Photograph the scene if you are able, including damage to all vehicles
  • Request contact information from available witnesses
  • Do not make any statements concerning your injuries or fault

Next, seek medical care even if you do not think you are severely injured. Many injuries will not appear for days or weeks after the accident, and it is crucial to have an examination by a medical professional. 

Contact an Experienced Ride-share Attorney in North Carolina

At Nagle & Associates Personal Injury Lawyers, we focus solely on motor vehicle accident cases, including those that occur with rideshare vehicles. Because we have worked as insurance lawyers and adjusters, we have the experience necessary to negotiate with the rideshare driver’s insurance company. Contact us at (866) 631-2228 for a free consultation.