NC Uber and Lyft Accident Lawyer
As of 2021, 36% of Americans have used ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. Only 3% of Americans haven’t at least heard of them. The popularity of these services continues to increase: anyone with a valid driver’s license can work for rideshare companies to make money.
And you’re sharing the road with these rideshare drivers every day – whether in your car or catching a ride with one.
What happens when one of those drivers is involved in – or at fault in – a car accident? What’s different about rideshare accidents? And what should you do if you’re in an Uber or Lyft accident in North Carolina?
If you’ve just been in an accident in your Lyft, report it to Lyft immediately.
You must notify ridesharing services of an accident to qualify for any applicable compensation from their policies. We strongly recommend speaking with a rideshare accident lawyer before agreeing to give an insurance company a recorded statement. Call 1-866-900-7078 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.
What if I’m in an Uber or Lyft Accident?
Like any car accident, especially one with injury, the priority is to seek medical attention. If you were driving, there are several steps you can take after an accident which can help clarify what happened and possibly support your claim for compensation.
- Call the police.
- Seek medical treatment – even if you feel okay.
- Take pictures of the accident scene and vehicles.
- Try to write down exactly what you remember happening as soon as possible.
- Ask any available witnesses for their contact information.
- Make sure you get information from all involved parties.
What if I’m a Rider in an Uber or Lyft Accident?
In addition to the list above, if you’re a rider in an Uber or Lyft vehicle involved in a car accident, there are a few other things to consider:
- Was the driver texting or distracted while driving?
- Was the driver interacting with the app at the time of the accident?
- Was the vehicle in good condition? Making any strange noises?
- Was the driver fatigued or showing signs of fatigue at any point?
- Was the driver speeding or disobeying any traffic laws?
Since you were riding, the driver was engaged in ridesharing. Rideshare drivers are legally different from taxi drivers. North Carolina law sets specific requirements for every rideshare company, including Uber and Lyft. According to Senate Bill 541, passed in 2015, Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft must meet the following criteria to operate within North Carolina:
1) They must have a permit to do business (at the corporate level, not the driver level).
2) While the driver is logged in, they must be covered by at least the minimum bodily injury coverage required by law – $50,000 for bodily injury to one person, $100,000 for bodily injury to two or more people, and $25,000 in property damage coverage for a single accident.
3) The driver must also maintain combined uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that at least meets the minimum coverages listed above.
4) While the driver is engaged in service, for Uber or Lyft, they must have $1.5 million in liability coverage, and $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for the wrongful death of one or more persons, injury to one or more persons, and property damage coverage, or any combination thereof, in one accident. Uber and Lyft provide this policy in North Carolina.
5) Vehicles must pass safety inspections, and drivers must pass background checks before they are allowed to operate.
What if I’m a Driver in an Accident With an Uber or Lyft Driver?
These are car accidents like any other, with a few important exceptions. Just because there’s a placard on the dash doesn’t mean it’s an Uber or Lyft vehicle “in service.” Even if that sign is lit, that doesn’t necessarily mean the driver was working.
This is an important distinction because of the way insurance policies cover damages. The status of the driver determines which policies may apply under North Carolina law. That could make a massive difference in the case of severe injury claims and your ability to seek compensation for your harms and losses.
If the Uber or Lyft driver has a passenger or is en route to a pickup, the law considers them “logged in” or “on the clock.” In these cases, you can file a personal injury claim against the driver, and the coverage of the corporate policy can kick in if that driver’s policy is insufficient to cover your costs, including medical bills, lost wages, and the like.
If the driver is between rides or otherwise has the app on and is waiting on a ride request, there’s a strong possibility that the at-fault driver’s policy may be all that is available to those injured in a crash. This may not legally be a Lyft or Uber accident; it may just be a car wreck.
However, there is some gray area, and there may be limited liability coverage from the rideshare company in these cases, even if the driver was not transporting passengers. Again, it is supplemental to the driver’s policy. Consult with a rideshare accident law firm to ensure you know your rights.
If the driver is logged out of the app, off duty, or otherwise unengaged in ridesharing, then any injuries or damages sustained in an accident will rely on the at-fault driver’s policy without the supplemental policies that Uber or Lyft offer.
Is There Any Difference Between an Uber Accident and a Lyft Accident?
Not really – Uber and Lyft are viewed the same way by North Carolina law, and their drivers are subject to the same rules. The differences you might experience are in their rider policy agreements, the amount of compensation possibly available, and how they treat your claim for compensation.
Are Uber and Lyft Involved in Many Rideshare Accidents?
Physically, Uber and Lyft are simply companies that offer ridesharing through an app. They connect people who want to travel from A to B with drivers who want to take them there. From that perspective, there’s little direct involvement. However, there are a few things to consider.
First, Uber and Lyft are responsible for background checks on their drivers. North Carolina law requires rideshare drivers to undergo a background check in order to drive. A failure at this point could put passengers and other drivers at risk, which would be a separate claim or lawsuit against the company.
Second, the NY Times reported that Uber’s app is designed to keep drivers working. The company hired scientists specifically for this purpose, and the app uses psychological approaches to keep drivers motivated – even when they may be too tired to drive safely. We look at any Uber and Lyft accident caused by driver fatigue with enhanced scrutiny.
What Should I Know When Filing a Claim in a Rideshare Accident?
Whether it was a Lyft accident, Uber accident, or some other rideshare startup accident, we recommend you consult with one of our personal injury attorneys. Your rideshare driver has to have insurance to do business legally. The only question is, will their insurance policy or policies be sufficient to cover your needs when they’re at fault?
You can claim financial compensation for all the harms and losses you suffer, including:
- medical bills
- future medical expenses
- lost wages
- pain and suffering
- loss of consortium
- and others
As discussed above, it’s vital to know what the at-fault rideshare driver was doing at the time of the accident. While a basic policy may easily cover a bump, bruise, or soft tissue injury, things like broken bones and traumatic brain injuries requiring lifetime care may quickly outstrip available coverage.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help?
Our personal injury attorneys can help you through the entire process of a rideshare accident claim. We talk to all parties involved, work to gather crucial evidence, obtain witness reports and testimony, negotiate with the insurance companies, and build your case for maximum compensation.
We also offer a free case evaluation, so you can call or contact us without obligation. It’s our goal to help any rideshare accident victim understand their rights and have the opportunity to recover stress-free while we handle the heavy lifting of their case.
We have the experience and resources to help you. We were selected to the “Best Law Firms” list by US News in 2022,3 and are one of the largest firms in North Carolina, having helped more than 55,000 clients recover more than $1.4 billion in total compensation since 1997.1
3 For standards of inclusion, visit usnews.com.