Like many people, you probably don’t hesitate to call on ridesharing services such as Uber or Lyft to give you a ride from one place to another from time to time. While the vast majority of these trips go smoothly, ridesharing vehicles are involved in motor vehicle accidents now and then. When this happens and you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, it is critical you take certain steps immediately following the accident to ensure you are compensated for any medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering you may incur due to the accident.
If your Uber driver does not do so immediately, never hesitate to call 9-1-1 to get police, fire, and medical personnel to the scene of the accident. By doing so, you can accomplish several things. First, you can ensure a police report is filed about the accident. Also, you can be evaluated by paramedics at the scene for any injuries you may have sustained, and get immediate treatment at the scene. Even if you are not sure whether or not you are seriously injured, never turn down medical treatment at the accident scene, and also allow yourself to be transported to a local hospital if paramedics believe further treatment is necessary.
Document the Accident Scene
While police will likely take pictures of the accident scene during the course of their preliminary investigation, don’t rely solely on this for evidence of what happened that led to the accident. Instead, if you can, use your smartphone to document the accident scene yourself. In particular, take photos of any visible injuries you sustained, any property you had with you that was damaged or destroyed, vehicle damage, and such things as skid marks on the road, nearby speed limit and stop signs, and traffic signals. While your words may speak volumes to police and others, remember that a picture is worth a thousand words.
Contact an Attorney
Once you get your initial injuries treated, it is best for you to contact an experienced Uber accident lawyer to discuss your accident and how much compensation you may be able to receive. Since a lawyer who specializes in ridesharing accidents has specific knowledge as to how these cases can play out, the guidance and advice you receive during your initial consultation can be invaluable to helping you win your case.
Report the Accident to the Ridesharing Company
While it is likely your Uber driver will report their accident to the ridesharing company, don’t assume anything in these situations. In fact, unless their vehicle was severely damaged, some drivers may try to get by without reporting their accident altogether. Should this occur and you fail to report the accident, it is possible it may simply turn into a matter of your word versus that of your driver. Thus, if the accident was not reported and police were not called to the scene, you may find it difficult to gain the compensation to which you may be entitled.
Say as Little as Possible
Even though you were only a passenger in the Uber vehicle, your ridesharing accident lawyer from West Coast Trial Lawyers will always advise you to say as little as possible about the accident. Whether you are talking to police, doctors, the Uber driver, ridesharing company representatives, or individuals from the Uber driver’s insurance company, stick only to the facts of the accident. If you start talking off-script, you may say something that can be used against you by the insurance company to deny you compensation.
Prepare to be Blamed
Unfortunately, don’t be surprised if your Uber driver tries to blame you for the accident. Whether they say you distracted them, acted unruly, or did something else that caused the accident, prepare for the driver and the company’s insurance company to do all they can to avoid taking responsibility for the accident and providing you with the appropriate compensation. Since you will need your legal rights protected in these situations, always turn to an Uber accident lawyer who has a track record of helping accident victims get maximum compensation for their injuries and other damages.
Don’t Take the Quick Settlement
After you have been injured in your ridesharing accident and are recovering at home or even in the hospital, expect to be contacted by the ridesharing company’s insurer. When this occurs, the insurance company may at first try to engage you in conversation about the accident, hoping it can find something to use against you to deny your claim. If this does not work, they will then pivot and offer you an amount of money to quickly settle your case. Since you may be desperate to pay medical bills and have money to replace your lost wages, you may jump at this offer, which is a major mistake. Since these offers are only a fraction of what you will need and what you could gain by winning a lawsuit or having your attorney settle your case out-of-court, don’t jump at what may initially seem like a fortune. Instead, let your lawyer do the talking for you so that you come away with the necessary amount of money to which you are entitled.
Stay Off Social Media
While you are off from work and recovering from the accident, you may be tempted to go online and have a large social media presence. When you do, it is inevitable you will post pictures of your accident scene, of you as you recover, and more. In addition, you will also post comments where you may express your anger or frustration at the ridesharing company or others. If you do, this could greatly hinder your chances of winning your case. Since it is very common for insurance companies to monitor the social media sites of accident victims, you could be setting the stage to come away with little if any compensation. Rather than make this mistake, take the advice of your ridesharing accident lawyer from West Coast Trial Lawyers and lay low on social media until your case is resolved.
Speak to Witnesses
Though you should always try to say as little as possible about your accident, this doesn’t mean you should not try to get others to say as much as possible about what transpired. Therefore, while you are at the accident scene, do all you can to speak to anyone who witnessed your accident. Since eyewitness testimony is always considered to be very powerful by juries, finding out key details from these individuals could be the deciding factor in helping you win your case. While speaking to witnesses, don’t forget to get their names and contact information, since your Uber accident lawyer will want to conduct follow-up interviews later on.
When you are a passenger in accidents such as these, you will be under tremendous stress. Between the medical treatment you will need to fully recover, the financial strain you and your family may experience, and the pressure insurance companies may try to exert on you to settle quickly, it can be hard to know what to do. To get expert guidance you can trust, consult with a ridesharing accident lawyer from West Coast Trial Lawyers.