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Salvi & Maher, L.L.C.

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Lake County Car Accident Lawyers

Depending on the point during the trip that the accident occurred, whether the driver or a third party was at fault for the accident, and whether the driver also holds ride-share insurance can all determine how you should proceed with your personal injury claim after a ride-sharing car accident.

Ride-sharing services like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar have become extremely popular in the United States over the past few years. These services, unlike traditional taxis and public transportation, rely on a smartphone app to connect riders with nearby drivers. These drivers are not professional drivers – they are simply individuals who meet the companies' requirements for drivers, own their own cars, and are available to provide rides for the app users.

This is where many prospective riders become wary. Because these drivers are not professionals and their cars are not company property, they are not held to many of the same standards that traditional livery and taxi drivers must meet. This can make the prospect of riding in an Uber or Lyft car seem dangerous. If you are injured in an accident while riding in a Lyft or Uber car, it is important that you understand who may be held liable for your damages.

The Coverage Gap and Ride-sharing Coverage

One of the greatest issues that Uber initially faced was its “coverage gap.” This meant that when a driver's app was off, he or she was covered by his or her personal automobile insurance. While transporting a customer, he or she was covered by Uber's insurance. But while the app was on and the driver was looking for potential riders, he or she was covered by neither, creating a dangerous situation where drivers were left uninsured. To combat this issue, several insurance providers throughout the country now offer coverage for ride-share drivers.

Does Uber or Lyft Carry Special Insurance?

Yes. Both Uber and Lyft carry provide up to $1 million worth of coverage to passengers using their services. Your driver may also hold a ride-share policy as well.

In cases where only Uber or Lyft's coverage is available or applicable, you could potentially face issues with having your claim approved. Uber and Lyft drivers are not technically employees of these companies – they are independent contractors. Both companies state that they are not liable for their drivers' behavior, but some injury victims have successfully challenged this and held ride-share companies liable for their drivers' actions.

Another issue to consider is when you are covered: except for while you are riding in the car and covered by the company's policy, you are generally only covered by your driver's personal insurance. Examples of circumstances under which this may occur include getting out of the car or being involved in an accident with an off-duty driver.

What Happens After a Ride-sharing Accident?

As a passenger, you need to determine the negligent party in the accident and file a claim with the appropriate insurance provider. Your attorney can help you with this and file your claim on your behalf.

Lyft's website states the following: “Coverage may be modified to comply with local regulations and state laws.” Both apps' websites also state that riders should assume risk when using their services. However, if the driver is found to be at fault for an accident, the company may be held liable for the passenger's damages.

As a passenger, you can support your claim by having quality documentation of your accident available to show your attorney, attorneys for other parties involved in the claim, and the court if your claim ends up going through litigation. Support for your claim can include photographs, your driver's contact information, license plate number, and account with the service you used, and documentation of your injury diagnosis and treatment. Your attorney might also need to see a record of your use of the app to determine that you were riding with the company when the accident occurred.

Waukegan Car Accident Lawyers

If you have been involved in an Illinois ride-sharing car accident and you need legal representation for your claim, contact Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. at (847) 662-3303 to begin working on your case with one of the experienced Waukegan personal injury attorneys at our firm. We understand the challenges that personal injury victims face and will work hard to secure you a settlement that covers all of your financial needs after your accident.

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