If you need to schedule a ride and will pay for the privilege, you have many choices. You may fire up your app and book an Uber, but you should be aware of potential complications before you do. While ride-share services are very popular in markets like Fishers, many customers and even some drivers are not fully aware of the implications should there be an accident.
Even though it is very simple to book an Uber, the legal situation may be much more complex if an accident occurs. This is why it is important to have the phone number of a Fishers Uber accident lawyer so you can understand how the ride-share companies’ auto insurance policy works.
An experienced attorney familiar with Indiana laws can help you understand how liability is determined in the event of an accident and whether you even need legal experts to support your case.
How Uber, Lyft and Ride-Share Services Work
There is no doubt that Uber revolutionized the world of private transportation. Soon after, Lyft came along to offer a similar level of service, and there are now a number of alternatives to the traditional taxi ride.
While this is technically ride-sharing, it’s not the same as the traditional definition of the phrase. Ride-sharing was typically an informal solution where two or more people going in the same direction split the cost of the trip. Historically, this was a popular transportation choice for those living in the suburbs who work downtown.
Fast forward to today, and ride-sharing is a “for-profit” undertaking. Here, the driver is not necessarily headed to any particular destination but is offering a transportation service like a taxi. These commercial drivers use an app that is managed by a third party to connect with riders. The provider of the app (Uber, Lyft, etc.) will take a fee as the intermediary.
Still, there are differences between the traditional taxi and the new ride-share solution. You’re able to hail a taxi if you see one driving past and can flag them down for your ride. This type of arrangement is typically prohibited by Uber and may even be against the law, which differentiates the ride-share option from a traditional taxi service.
How the Uber Process Works
If you want to book an Uber, you need to download the app to your device, and the app will allow you to connect with drivers in your area. You will then choose your destination, and the driver will have the option of accepting or declining your request.
Shortly, the driver will arrive and will take you to your requested destination. You don’t need to worry about paying the driver as you exit, as this will all be handled within the app.
You will have linked a form of payment to the app when you initially set up the account. Both driver and passenger can also “rate” the other, which can encourage a higher-quality service and help maintain respect between drivers and passengers.
It is also possible to pool with another rider who is heading in the same general direction. Should the driver receive another request while you are on board, they can pick up that rider as well and drop them off along the way.
How Ride-Shares Differ from Taxis
As Uber accident lawyers we are occasionally asked about the practical differences between these ride-share apps and a conventional taxi. The business model may be largely the same, but taxis tend to be more regulated.
The ride-share vehicle is usually owned by the driver and will look like an ordinary car apart from a sticker that identifies the ride-share company. While the vehicles must have safety certificates, there is no required training program for its driver. Conversely, taxi drivers typically work for a given company and operate in set shifts. They may not own the vehicle, and it will be clearly branded with the company logo. It may also have a beacon on top to indicate whether it’s available or not.
This industry is heavily regulated in Hamilton County, and each taxi needs to have a license, which can be limited in supply and very costly.
While it’s possible to hail a taxi by the side of the road, you may typically call a central phone number and talk to a member of the dispatch team. The dispatcher will then coordinate and send a driver to your location, and you will need to pay at the end of your ride using a card or cash. You may not know how much this will likely cost you until your trip ends, although some taxi services offer flat rates for airport trips and the like. On the other hand, you will know exactly where you are with Uber before you even request a car.
Still, market forces can dictate the cost of your Uber, with rates that can be significantly more expensive at rush hour or when bars or clubs tend to close. Generally, taxi rates will stay around the same, no matter the expected demand.
What to Do If You Are in an Uber Accident in Fishers, Indiana
Clearly, there is a risk that you can be involved in an accident whenever you get into a car. Unfortunately, some people will experience this when they jump into an Uber or maybe get hit by one instead. If this happens to you in Fishers, you’ll certainly want to think about compensation and should talk with a Fishers Uber car accident attorney. However, there are other steps to take in the immediate aftermath.
To begin with, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Remember that your adrenaline levels may be high immediately after the crash, which may sometimes mask any symptoms. Therefore, you may not be aware of any internal injuries and should get everything checked out, just in case.
You should inform the police and make sure that you get a police report detailing the circumstances. This will certainly help you when it comes to negotiations with an insurance company or as part of a personal injury lawsuit.
If you are able, take pictures of the accident scene using your smartphone camera. If there were any witnesses, gather the details for future reference. Moving forward, you need to keep accurate records of your medical bills, associated reports, and receipts for any out-of-pocket expenses you may incur. The more evidence you gather, the better when staking a claim.
Next, gather information about the driver of your Uber and their insurance company. You should also get the same information from any other driver involved in the accident.
Who Is Liable in an Uber Accident?
After you’ve taken care of your immediate needs and have gathered the relevant information, you will want to know who was responsible for your incurred costs. Unfortunately, as rideshare lawyers, we can tell you, some of these cases can be very complex.
In most cases, the driver of your Uber or Lyft in Fishers will be primarily responsible. However, you may be able to pursue the ride-share company, especially if the driver was reckless or negligent in any way.
These companies have tried to fend off such claims by stating that their drivers are independent contractors and not employees of their organization. They argue that they are simply providing a service and should not be liable in this situation. Still, this is not necessarily the case, and some jurisdictions may insist that these companies have a duty to their passengers, so a case against them may be a viable solution.
If you look at the small print, you will see that both Uber and Lyft have a $1 million insurance policy covering both drivers and passengers in the event of a car accident. These policies can provide compensation for medical costs, injuries and pain and suffering in one of three separate scenarios:
- Potentially for a driver who is hurt in an accident caused by another motorist
- For a passenger who is hurt while inside the vehicle
- For other drivers or pedestrians who may have been hurt in an accident caused by the ride-share driver
To be eligible as a ride-share driver, this person must carry at least the state-mandated minimum within their personal insurance coverage. They most likely need to get ride-share-specific policies rather than simply try to operate under their everyday coverage. Oftentimes their own insurance company will exclude them if they are driving for a ride-share service without a specific ride-share-policy.
It may be possible to claim negligence on the part of the ride-share company if the driver was under the influence. Unfortunately, some drivers have also been convicted of serious charges such as robbery, assault, kidnapping, sexual assault and rape. It might be possible to bring a claim against the company if they failed to perform an adequate background check. Some of these ride-share companies outsource these checks to a third party.
You may even be able to bring a case against the company around its procedures. After all, the driver is basically forced to use the phone or app to follow GPS coordinates or pick up fares. If you are part of a “pooled” trip, the driver may be distracted by an incoming request while behind the wheel, leading to an accident.
Do I Need a Fishers Uber Accident Attorney?
It’s always advisable to seek the services of an experienced law firm if you need to claim for personal injury. It’s even more important when you’re involved in an Uber accident to get the best chance of success.
As mentioned, Uber will provide $1 million of liability coverage in certain circumstances, which is considerably more than the personal injury protection of the basic policy. However, you need to understand when this coverage is available, and the company may want the driver to prove that they were in the middle of picking a passenger up when the accident occurred. It may be easier to prove liability if you were injured while actually riding in the vehicle rather than if you were a pedestrian and happened to be hit by an Uber driver. In this case, the company may try to defend its position by arguing whether the driver was formally on the way to pick up a passenger, or it may also fall back on its claim that the driver is an independent contractor.
What Type of Compensation Can You Expect for Uber Injuries?
The kind of compensation available depends on the scale of your injuries and the circumstances involved. You should be able to claim for medical expenses, treatment in the ER, physical therapy, rehabilitation, as well as lost wages or earning capacity. You may also be able to claim for pain and suffering, emotional trauma and impact on your quality of life.
If it can be proven that the driver was reckless or had a history of driving recklessly, then you may also be able to get punitive damages. Your Uber accident attorney in Fishers, IN, may be able to show that the ride-share company was negligent, as it was aware that the driver had been involved in serious accidents before.
Uber and Lyft Insurance in Indiana
You may well be able to claim against the liability insurance policies carried by Uber and Lyft. As mentioned, you will need help from an Uber accident lawyer to prove that the company was liable in one of those three different scenarios. So, you may be able to claim from the $1 million minimum liability coverage if you were injured as a passenger or a third party while that driver was on the way to pick up a passenger. However, don’t expect this process to be swift; these companies may sometimes hold out to see if you will accept a lower settlement.
Also, remember that ride-share drivers are still considered independent contractors in the state of Indiana. So, you may not be able to sue Uber or Lyft directly for damages at all.
Rideshare Lawyer in Indiana
As you can see, this process can be complex, and ride-share companies will certainly have strong legal representation on their side. Therefore, working with an Uber car accident lawyer is definitely in your best interests should you unfortunately find yourself in an Uber accident.
Some of the locations in and around Hamilton County which our rideshare attorneys serve include Fishers, Carmel, Noblesville, Greenwood, Evansville, South Bend, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Anderson, Avon, and more.
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