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Car Accident While Ride-Sharing

In less than a decade, the smartphone has had an incredible impact on our world and how we interact with those around us. Information and communication are now literally at our fingertips. It’s amazing to think that each of us holds a powerful computer in the palm of our hands.

In the past several years, the smartphone has also changed the way we move throughout our cities. You’ve probably noticed cars in your community with black Uber stickers or wearing Lyft’s pink mustache. Lyft and Uber are rideshare companies operating in most major cities across the globe. Rideshare companies pair passengers in need of a lift with willing drivers through a smartphone application (app). All fees and monetary transactions are handled through the app with a credit card. Ride-sharing is becoming a popular and profitable alternative to traditional modes of urban transport like taxis, chauffeured vehicles, buses, subways and personal vehicles.

If you’ve been hurt in a rideshare accident, you probably have lots of questions. Our Seattle auto accident attorneys at Pendergast Law have answers. Call 888-539-9211 for a free consultation.

What If There’s A Ride-Sharing Accident?

Any time you’re in an accident, if it’s in a taxi, a rideshare vehicle or your personal vehicle, it is a good idea to contact the top Seattle car accident attorneys at Pendergast Law.

The liability laws regarding ride-sharing are different in each state. Both Lyft and Uber carry $1 million liability policies that cover their drivers while carrying passengers, but there are certain gray areas in the coverage that you need to be concerned about.

A rideshare company’s insurance policy only covers a driver from the time they accept a ride by tapping on the app to the moment they drop off their passenger and end the ride (again, by tapping on the app). In most states, the driver is not covered by the rideshare company’s insurance while driving around with the app activated and waiting for a ride request. The tricky part of this equation is that if the driver is involved in an accident while driving with the app activated, both their personal auto insurance company and the rideshare company can deny liability.

As of July 2015, California law mandated that the rideshare company’s policy must cover drivers during this gray period while they are driving with the app activated. The state of Washington hasn’t passed this kind of legislation. What further complicates rideshare liability questions is that it’s a relatively new phenomenon and many insurance issues haven’t been tested in court.

Is It Safe To Use A Rideshare In Washington?

That’s a good question. While drivers do need a valid driver’s license and pass a background check, there is little other regulation in ride-sharing. While both Lyft and Uber do an initial vehicle inspection for cleanliness and safety, only Lyft does a brief ride along with a company representative to see if the driver is a competent driver. Other than this, there is no face-to-face contact between the driver and the company.

If you’re involved in an accident, either while driving for a rideshare company or as a passenger in a rideshare car, it’s important to protect yourself. Immediately call the experienced Washington rideshare crash lawyers at Pendergast Law. We will fight for you.

Who Is Liable In An Accident?

Depending on the details surrounding a rideshare accident, one of many parties could be liable for your injuries. We have provided four different scenarios for rideshare liability here:

Scenarios And Liability In Rideshare Accidents

As your personal injury representation, we will review the details of your claim to determine who is ultimately liable for your injuries. Some common situations in these claims include:

The Accident Involved A Rideshare Vehicle And The Injured Person’s Own Car, And The Rideshare Driver’s App Was Off

If the rideshare driver’s app was off at the time of the accident, it is likely that it was not working. Because the app was off, neither Uber nor Lyft’s insurance policies were likely in effect, and the claim would be similar to one between two personal vehicles.

The Accident Involved A Rideshare Vehicle And The Injured Person’s Own Car, And The Rideshare Driver’s App Was On, But They Had No Passengers

A rideshare driver can still be working without having a passenger in their vehicle. If the driver was waiting for another ride request, insurance claims often call these situations “period 1” and they call instances where a driver was on the way to pick someone up “period 2”. We can review the rideshare driver’s employee insurance coverage to determine if the driver or their employer would be liable for your injuries.

The Accident Involved A Rideshare Vehicle And The Injured Person’s Own Car, And The Rideshare Driver’s App Was On, And They Had A Passenger Or Were Going To Pick One Up

In this scenario, Uber and Lyft’s full liability coverage is typically in effect, since the rideshare driver was actively working during the time of the crash. It is likely that the rideshare company’s insurance would be responsible for compensation, and we can advocate for you through the claim process with them.

The Accident Happened While The Injured Person Was A Passenger In A Rideshare

If you are a passenger in a rideshare vehicle during a collision, the rideshare company’s insurance should cover your injuries. These companies commonly have strong insurance policies for their rideshare passengers, so it is likely you will receive compensation from them. We can help you do what is necessary to maximize the money you earn from your claim while minimizing the time it takes to resolve your claim.

What About Carpooling?

Carpooling has been around almost since the invention of the automobile. Provided that no one’s being paid to do the driving, most insurance companies will accept liability for the driver and passengers. If you have any questions about auto accidents and liability, call 888-539-9211 and speak to one of our attorneys at Pendergast Law.

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