Bike Accident Advice: What Happens When An Uber Driver Hits A Cyclist?
Have you been hit by an Uber or Lyft driver and need bike accident advice?
When you get hit by a driver who is driving for work — like a taxi driver or delivery truck driver — you are often actually in a good position for a successful legal case. That’s because companies who employ drivers are required to carry significant insurance for their employees who drive their vehicles, which means you can relatively easily get covered for medical bills and injuries caused by the driver.
Unfortunately, a new kind of company is putting professional drivers on the road — only these ones are much more dangerous. Ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft are throwing a wrench in the post-crash claims process for many victims of crashes caused by their drivers.
Although ride-share drivers are technically driving professionally, they are not actually employees of their parent companies — and these parent companies work very hard to distance themselves from drivers pretty much anytime they get into trouble.
These drivers can be grossly under-insured, or even under-qualified to be driving at all, and it can be extremely hard to get the companies behind the drivers to acknowledge responsibility and help compensate people who were injured by drivers working on their behalf.
So what should you do if you are hit by an Uber, Lyft, or other ride-share company driver? Read on to for bike accident advice — or call us for a free, no obligation consultation at (415) 466-8717 now.
Why ride-share drivers are special cases
Most ride-share drivers work on behalf of a ride-share company, like Uber or Lyft, but they are not actually employees. Instead, they are called “independent contractors”. That status makes it easier for the companies to claim no responsibility for the drivers’ actions, despite the fact that their business model relies on these drivers making money for them.
With companies refusing to take responsibility for the drivers that they put on the road, getting hit by a ride-share driver can end up being almost the same as being hit by an average, everyday driver.
Your most straightforward option in some cases then becomes to make a claim against the driver, rather than the company that put them out on the road.
Does insurance help if you are hit by an Uber or Lyft driver?
Insurance can be a big problem if you are hit by a ride-share driver.
Uber and Lyft require their drivers to carry insurance (but so does state law, so they’re not really going above and beyond to protect the public in any way) and each company carries a certain amount of coverage for their drivers as well. However, this does not by any means guarantee that there will be adequate insurance coverage to match your damages.
That’s because many drivers get coverage for their vehicles through regular, private insurance companies — just like you would get for the car you drive to school or work in every day. And that’s what those policies are meant to cover: personal use of a car for your personal transportation. Which is not how Uber and Lyft drivers use their cars.
Many of these policies are not meant for commercial use, and strictly do not cover cars that are being used for hire at the time of the crash.
As a result, their insurance providers may not actually provide any coverage from a crash they caused while working as a ride-share driver — which means you may not be able to get coverage for your injuries provided by their insurance company, as you would if you had been hit by a normal, everyday driver.
What can you do if you are hit by an Uber or Lyft driver?
The best thing you can do if you are hit on your bike by a ride-share driver is to get a smart, experienced attorney on your side. Ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft are still relatively new, and cases involving them tend to involve exploring uncharted territory, legally speaking.
An attorney who is experienced in bicycle law can help you pursue a successful case against the driver, and may even help you find a way to hold the company itself liable for the driver (for example, if they were negligent in allowing a driver who shouldn’t have been qualified to drive to be a contractor for them).
You should also do your part to collect evidence and make sure your case is as strong as possible.
At the scene of the crash, call the police and stick around to give your version of events for the police report. Make a note of the at-fault driver’s license plate, car make and model, and insurance information.
Take pictures of your injuries, your clothing, your bike, and any important details of the scene of the crash. Write down your version of events — with as much detail as possible, even things you think are too little to be important — as soon as possible so that it is as fresh and accurate as it can be.
Need bike accident advice? Call Bay Area Bicycle Law for help with your case today
As if dealing with medical bills and insurance wasn’t complicated enough after a bicycle crash, being hit by a ride-share driver can make the recovery process even more challenging and complex.
If you want an experienced ally to help you get what you are owed or if you need bike accident advice, call Bay Area Bicycle Law today for a free, no obligation consultation with an attorney at (415) 466-8717.