Most rideshare trips are quick, safe, and convenient, but what happens when something goes wrong? Uber and Lyft’s market-busting innovation is not just hailing from apps. These companies engage drivers as independent contractors, not as employees, which means that the company can avoid legal liability when a driver is involved in an accident. Nonetheless, South Carolina law requires rideshare drivers to be insured, and Uber and Lyft both maintain insurance coverage to compensate accident victims when the driver’s own insurance does not apply. If you have been involved in a rideshare accident in South Carolina, a personal injury attorney can determine how to recover the damages you need for medical care, lost wages, and other expenses.
When There Is an Accident During an Uber or Lyft Ride
It is complicated to determine who is at fault in a car accident. Insurance investigators will examine police reports, photos from the scene, and other evidence to calculate exactly how liable each party was. South Carolina is a “comparative negligence” state, which means that liability for an accident is apportioned by percentages. Anyone who was less than 50% at fault for an accident can make a claim to recover damages, and as a passenger, you probably have little or no liability for the accident.
Under South Carolina law, your rideshare driver should have at least one source of insurance coverage for bodily injury and for property damage. However, if the driver’s insurance policy was not intended to cover work as a rideshare driver, the company may be able to avoid paying your claim. Lyft and Uber both maintain coverage of up to $1,000,000 that applies when the driver’s insurance does not.
Uninsured Motorists, Underinsured Motorists, and Unknown Parties
If your driver was not at all responsible for the accident—if, for example, the car was T-boned by a driver running a red light—the other party’s insurance company will be entirely liable. That other party might be uninsured or underinsured, carrying less coverage than your damages, or they might be impossible to find. In that case, if your driver’s insurance cannot or will not cover your injuries and expenses, Uber and Lyft’s UM/UIM coverage may do so.
After a rideshare accident, you will just want to get the medical care and expenses you need to move forward. But be careful—insurance companies do not make money by paying out claims, and they will often try to stall or pressure you into accepting less than your claim is worth. An experienced plaintiff’s attorney works with insurance companies every day; they can evaluate your claim and advocate for your needs.
What to do after you have been in an accident with an Uber or Lyft
Keep all documentation of your ride, including any and all contacts with the driver and the rideshare app on your phone, and of any medical attention you received afterward. Call a personal injury attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible, and get the help you need.
It is in your best interest to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who knows how to protect your legal rights. Here at Cavanaugh & Thickens we have over 60+ years of personal injury experience handling auto accidents. Our attorneys are here to guide you through this process. Call us today at (803) 888-2200 to get all your questions answered for free.