What To Do If You’re In An Accident As An Uber Or Lyft Driver 

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As a rideshare driver, you spend hours behind the wheel. Many full-time drivers report 60,000 miles a year and even more. With all those miles, and given that rideshare drivers are out at all hours of the day and night, driving in all sorts of conditions, the chances of an accident are considerably greater than the average driver. 

Knowing what to do in case of an accident while driving Lyft or Uber is essential. Both rideshare companies have car accident insurance, but you should be aware of the extent of the coverage, what it covers, and what it doesn’t.

First things first, though. The information in this article is for informational purposes only. In no way should it be considered legal advice from Gridwise. If you feel you need to speak with an attorney regarding a rideshare accident, it is your decision to select an attorney and how to use their services. 

You should also know that insurance requirements and laws regarding accidents vary from state to state. Some jurisdictions are no-fault, and others are at-fault states. You should check your specific state and know the laws.

Topics we’ll cover in this blog post

What you need to do if you get in an accident

If you get into an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, know that both rideshare companies provide coverage. Still, there are things you need to do at the accident scene.  

Is anyone injured?

If you have a passenger or passengers in your car, your first responsibility is to them. Make sure they are okay. Call 911 and request an ambulance and law enforcement if there is an injury. Even if the passenger objects, if you feel they are injured, make that call. The Mayo Clinic reports that trauma and head injuries can leave a person unable to make decisions for their well-being. This includes injuries that are not visible. The individual can be belligerent and unreasonable. When in doubt, call an ambulance.  

Also, check the other driver and all other parties and see if they are injured. 

Call law enforcement 

If it is a minor accident, no one is hurt, the damage is negligible, and the cars are drivable, don’t be surprised if law enforcement tells you to exchange driver information and report it to your respective insurance companies. This is especially true on a Friday or Saturday night or any other time when the police have bigger problems. Still, make the 911 call and request them to come to the scene. If this accident were to end up in court someday, you would look a lot better if you could say under oath that you reported the accident to the police, and they said they wouldn’t come out. “I didn’t think it was worth reporting” is not the statement you want to hear yourself saying in court, especially in front of a jury. 

Stay calm and don’t accept blame

Accidents are traumatic, and people can get rattled and upset. Do your best to stay calm. Bottles of water are an essential part of any rideshare driver’s must-have list of items. Offer one to all parties involved, including yourself. 

Be careful not to accept blame or make statements that might be used against you. You may not be thinking clearly. If your passenger or the other driver presses you, and it is appropriate, say something innocuous such as, “Hey, the important thing is that no one is hurt, everyone is insured, and this will all turn out okay.”

Get as many names as you can

If law enforcement refuses to come out, get the name of the person you’re talking to at the police station. If law enforcement comes to the scene, get their names and business cards. Also, get a report number. The officer should be able to give that to you at the scene. Do not be surprised if it takes as long as three or four weeks to get a copy of the report.

If law enforcement does not come out, you should also consider going to the police station and reporting it. Again, get names and business cards.  

Do not settle privately with the other driver

If you are at fault and it is a minor fender bender with no injuries, it may be tempting to offer to settle privately between yourself and the other driver. Another version of this scenario is if the other driver seems like a nice person and pleads with you to settle privately. They may say they are uninjured and agree to a private settlement. But if they wake up the following day with a crick in their neck, they may report it to the rideshare company. The rideshare company will in turn come to you to verify what happened, putting you in a bad spot. 

Contact the rideshare company

The aftermath of an accident can be chaotic, especially if someone is injured, there is significant damage, or the other driver is belligerent or under the influence. Regardless, you should try to reach the rideshare company while you are still at the scene. 

Both Uber and Lyft make this possible through the app. It is a good idea to look through the app during your downtime so you know where to find this particular function. As best as you are able, respond to all the requests and instructions of the rideshare company while at the scene. 

Exchange information and be cooperative

Be cooperative with the other driver if the police don’t come out. Exchange information, including your driver’s license, registration, and insurance. This is another place where your cell phone camera comes in handy. Rather than write the information down, take photos. Take a picture of the license plate of the other car, too. Make sure the information in all the photos is readable. 

Try to preserve the scene

If there are no serious injuries and the vehicles are driveable, drivers often want to pull the cars over to the side of the road, especially on a busy street, intersection, or freeway. This is understandable, but you should use your cell phone to take photos of the immediate scene, especially skid marks, crash debris on the road, damage to the cars, and the positions of cars. Make sure your photos show evidence of what the weather was like, too. Be careful, however. The last thing you want is to have your photography efforts result in another accident or injury. Be sensible and reasonable about it. 

Beware of possible memory loss

Retrograde amnesia (before the accident) and anterograde amnesia (after the accident) are common, especially if the accident was severe, according to Florida Physical Medicine. The memory may return, or it may not. Look for this in your passengers, too. It is another sign you should call for medical assistance. 

Get the names and contact information of witnesses

Witnesses are important, especially if you suffer from the amnesia we just discussed. In an accident where both drivers refuse to accept blame and there is no evidence otherwise, a witness statement may make the deciding difference. 

Both Lyft and Uber insure their drivers

That’s good news. The other important fact for you to know is to what degree and under what circumstances you are insured. The easiest way to understand the coverage is to look at what was happening with your app at the time of the accident. 

Scenario #1 – You are a rideshare driver, but the app was not on 

The other way to view this is that you were not working at the time of the accident. In this case, your personal insurance applies. 

Scenario #2 – The app was on and you were waiting for a ride request

During this time, you are covered by a basic policy from Lyft or Uber. Coverage includes

  • $50,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $100,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $25,000 per accident for property damage

Scenario #3 – You have received a ride request, you’re on your way to pick up a passenger, or you have a passenger(s) in your car

In these scenarios, your coverage from the rideshare company includes

  • $1,000,000 for 3rd-party auto liability 
  • uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury 
  • contingent comprehensive and collision up to the actual cash value of your car ($2,500 deductible) 

As you can see, Uber and Lyft offer similar levels of coverage, with some variables. Uber car accident insurance includes optional injury protection at a nominal cost to the driver. In some states, Lyft may also offer additional coverage. This Lyft accident insurance can include uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist, personal injury protection, MedPay, and occupational accident coverage. Check Lyft and the laws in your state to verify how it applies to you. 

Remember that Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing companies always evaluate their insurance coverage and procedures in the event you get into an accident. Check their website regularly to see if there is a change in coverage or how you go about reporting an accident. 

What about your car?

In most cases, if you were on your way to pick up a passenger, or have a passenger in the car at the time of the accident, and if the accident was your fault or you were hit by an uninsured motorist, a $2,500 deductible applies to damages to your car. That means you’re responsible for that $2,500 to get your car repaired. That is a lot of money. You need to be aware of that exposure. 

If you are waiting for a ride and have an accident, the rideshare company insurance is third-party liability only. This means you are likely responsible for all the damages to your car. 

Your personal insurance: requirements and recommendations

To become a rideshare driver, you have to submit proof of car insurance, but this doesn’t mean you’re covered in all instances. You should check with your insurance company and verify your coverage. Don’t be surprised if your basic policy does not cover rideshare activities. Some insurance companies will deny you coverage and cancel your policy if they discover that you are a rideshare driver. 

Other insurance companies offer a special addition or rider to your policy that covers rideshare activities, but get specific answers about what’s covered. Will they, for example, cover you and damage to your car in the event of an accident when you are waiting for a ride? Does their policy offer gap coverage to make up for the $2,500-deductible? 

Take the time to shop around for a policy. You might have to change insurance companies. Prices vary from carrier to carrier, ranging from “Are you serious?” to “Eh, that’s not bad.”

While you may think you don’t need rideshare insurance, remember: it’s better to have and not need than to need and not have. Paying for an accident without insurance is much more expensive than making regular payments for insurance coverage.

A dashcam is your friend

Dashcams are an important part of every rideshare driver’s list of must-have essentials. They are an unbiased, independent witness of what happened. Consider making this investment – it could save you a lot of money. 

How can Gridwise help?

Gridwise is dedicated to helping rideshare drivers realize the most from their gig driving activities. This includes offering access to legal assistance, accident medical expense insurance, and accidental death and dismemberment insurance. Download the app here to get access to the following accident related benefits:

More important, Gridwise is the best app for rideshare drivers and includes a free rideshare and delivery mileage tracker, along with many more features that keep rideshare drivers informed and profitable. 

Download Gridwise to drive smarter, not harder

Have fun and stay safe out there!

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