Ridesharing AccidentNavigating the Legal Process: Protecting Your Rights After a Rideshare Accident

July 7, 20240

The rise of ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft has transformed transportation options for many people. However, the increasing prevalence of rideshare vehicles on the road has also led to a growing number of accidents involving rideshare drivers. If you have been injured in a collision with a rideshare vehicle, you likely have many questions about how to navigate the legal process to protect your rights.

This article will provide an overview of key steps to take after a rideshare accident to preserve your ability to pursue injury claims and secure fair compensation under the law. While the laws pertaining to rideshare accidents vary somewhat by state, this guide will focus on general best practices in Hawaii. By taking the right actions promptly after an accident, you can improve your chances of an optimal resolution to your rideshare injury case down the road.

Gather Evidence from the Accident Scene

If you’ve been involved in an accident with a rideshare vehicle, the first priority is obviously to get medical attention for any injuries. However, it’s also important to gather as much evidence as possible from the accident scene. Some key evidence to collect includes:

  • Photos of damage to all vehicles involved, as well as the accident scene. Take photos from various angles and distances.
  • Contact information for the rideshare driver, including their name, rideshare company, license plate number, and insurance information.
  • Contact information for any witnesses to the accident. Get their names, phone numbers, and statements about what they observed.
  • Police report number and officer badge numbers. Even if the police do not respond to the scene, you should file an official report of the accident.
  • Notes about the accident – what happened, the direction the vehicles were traveling, the traffic conditions, weather, etc. Write down all the details you can remember while they’re still fresh.

Preserving this evidence from the outset will bolster your ability to prove liability and damages in a future injury claim.

Seek Medical Treatment

After securing evidence from the scene, the next priority is getting medical care. Even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured, some symptoms of accident injuries can take time to manifest. To protect your health and document your injuries, it’s important to:

  • Get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Emergency rooms will conduct triage and imaging tests to check for internal injuries.
  • Follow up with your primary care doctor and specialists like chiropractors, physical therapists, orthopedists, etc. Your medical records will help substantiate the injuries you sustained.
  • Clearly communicate all your symptoms to healthcare providers. Describe your pain levels, physical limitations, cognitive issues, and any changes since the accident.
  • Follow all recommended treatment plans. Noncompliance could be used against you to minimize injuries.

Getting appropriate medical care promptly demonstrates you are focused on getting better, not profiting from the accident.

Report the Accident to Insurance Companies

Another vital step is contacting the relevant insurance providers about the rideshare accident, including:

  • Your own car insurance company – File a claim if you intend to seek damages under your policy’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
  • Rideshare company insurance – Uber, Lyft, and others provide insurance to cover rideshare drivers during different policy periods. Report details to get the claims process started.
  • Rideshare driver’s personal car insurance – Drivers are required to carry state minimum liability coverage. Report details so they are aware an accident occurred during contracted rideshare activities.

Providing prompt notice to insurers preserves your eligibility for benefits under applicable policies. Insurers also have duties to investigate the accident, so it aids the claims process.

Consult with an Attorney

Engaging an experienced personal injury attorney is highly recommended when pursuing injury claims after a rideshare accident. An attorney can advise you on your legal rights and the best path forward to maximize compensation. Key attorney responsibilities include:

  • Investigating liability and building a strong case proving the rideshare driver caused the accident.
  • Negotiating with insurance companies – Their first offer is rarely adequate. An attorney can advocate for full compensation.
  • Filing a lawsuit if needed – Most rideshare claims settle out of court, but a lawsuit preserves your rights if negotiations reach an impasse.
  • Helping prove and quantify damages like medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

An attorney’s guidance can make the claims process much smoother as you focus on your recovery.

Submit a Demand Letter and Negotiate a Settlement

Once your attorney has gathered evidence and built a compelling case, they will submit a demand letter to the rideshare company and driver. This letter outlines liability facts, details your damages, and requests a settlement payment amount to resolve the claim.

Settlement negotiations can go back and forth before an agreement is reached. Having an attorney handle these discussions takes the burden off you. Be prepared to provide documentation like medical records and income statements to help justify your claimed damages.

If a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your attorney can file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. But the vast majority of rideshare cases are resolved with an out-of-court settlement.

Distribute Settlement Funds Appropriately

If you secure a settlement from the rideshare company or driver’s insurance, the final step is making sure the funds are appropriately distributed. Your attorney will ensure payment of their fees and litigation expenses. The remaining funds must go to:

  • Paying any outstanding medical bills related to accident injuries. This ensures providers are paid what they are owed.
  • Paying back your own auto insurer if they covered expenses under your policy’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
  • Reimbursing lost income or disability benefits from missed work due to the accident.
  • Depositing any remaining money into your own accounts or trusts. These funds compensate your general damages like pain and suffering.

Proper accounting and distribution protects you from any third-party claims on the settlement money.

Protect Your Rights After a Rideshare Accident

Being in a rideshare accident can be scary and emotionally taxing. But taking the proper legal steps will help ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages. Protect yourself by gathering evidence, getting medical care, reporting the incident to insurers, hiring an attorney, and receiving a full settlement. If you’ve been hurt in a rideshare accident that was not your fault, contact our experienced personal injury law firm today to discuss your legal options.

Visit our office at 700 Bishop St, Ste 2100, Honolulu, HI, 96813.

Or call us today for a free consultation on (808) 745-1592.

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