Experienced Uber and Lyft Lawyers in Atlanta and Savannah
Fighting for the rights of rideshare accident victims throughout Georgia
The way we’re used to getting from “here” to “there” is rapidly changing. With the advent and popularity of ride share apps like Lyft and Uber—quite popular here in Georgia—we no longer have to count on public transportation if it’s not convenient. We don’t have to rely on MARTA’s schedule or fares to get around. And, many local residents find rideshare apps less expensive and easier, as many Uber and Lyft services operate in areas where taxis may be unavailable.
Unlike public transportation or taxi companies, however, you might have questions about what happens if you’re in a car accident as a passenger in a rideshare vehicle. Do you give up your rights when you step into that car? If you’re hurt, who pays for your medical bills or lost wages? Where, exactly, does responsibility lie? You probably have a lot of questions, and we know it can be intimidating to deal with a corporate giant like Uber or Lyft when you have an injury claim.
The attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP, however, have experience dealing with these types of companies and can answer all of your questions. We work hard to protect the rights of people like you when they’re injured in rideshare accidents in Atlanta and Savannah. Our personal injury lawyers hold rideshare companies accountable when they’re negligent or try to deny responsibility.
How do Lyft and Uber work?
The way these rideshare companies work is pretty simple. Think of them as “driver for hire” services offered directly to consumers via a smartphone app. Uber and Lyft work with freelance drivers—who use their own vehicles for transporting passengers—acting as the middleman to connect them with passengers who need a ride.
Using rideshare apps is relatively easy. Users download their app of choice, set up electronic payment, and request a ride via the app; a driver is notified and picks the user up. The user first agrees on and confirms the price of the ride so there are no surprises at the end of the ride. For safety, while the user waits for their driver, he or she can track the driver’s progress, see his or her name and photo, and the make of the car. This mitigates the risk of getting in the wrong car with the wrong driver.
When drivers pick up the passengers, their version of the app has already told them where the passengers want to go, and the passengers have already paid via the app, so no cash needs to be exchanged. The user can also tip via the app after the ride. Another feature is that both the driver and the passenger can rate each other on the app, so both future drivers and passengers know what to expect.
How safe is my Uber driver?
You might be wondering, “Can just anyone apply to be a driver?” You certainly don’t want a bad driver taking you around the city. The short answer to your question is “no.” Anyone who applies to be a driver for Uber, Lyft, or any other rideshare service must undergo a screening process for both criminal charges and a safe driving record. Potential drivers provide companies with personal information like:
- Name and date of birth
- Social security number
- Driver’s license number and copy of driver’s license
- Vehicle registration and insurance
- Proof of inspection
These companies also use third parties to conduct background checks.
Who is liable in Uber and Lyft accidents?
If you’re injured while using public transportation in Atlanta or Savannah, like a bus or a taxi, those vehicles are fully insured and must comply with strict regulations. Their drivers are full employees and work for the company or city. However, rideshare drivers are not considered employees. They’re more like freelancers or independent contractors. Uber and Lyft think of themselves more like middlemen—or even matchmakers— who just provide the technology or app to match drivers and passengers. In fact, they continually lobby the government to ensure they are treated as middlemen, as it frees them of the responsibilities that come with having employees, including many of the liabilities of passenger safety.
Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation in 2016 to regulate Uber and Lyft in Georgia. The bill requires drivers to maintain insurance coverage of up to $1,000,000 from the moment a driver accepts a ride request to the time a ride ends. It also requires a minimum $300,000 coverage for bodily injury or death and $50,000 for property damage whenever a driver is logged into the company’s system but not carrying passengers.
This legislation was necessary because in the early years of rideshare, Lyft and Uber’s policies regarding insurance were unclear. If there was a collision during a ride, the companies would attempt to deflect responsibility off of them and onto the driver by exploiting loopholes and challenging cases in the courtroom. Since then, they have fortunately changed their policies, but if you do suffer injury as a rideshare passenger, you may still encounter difficulty seeking compensation for your losses. This is where your Georgia car accident attorney can help.
An overview of Uber and Lyft’s insurance policies
If you use Lyft or Uber, you do have protection if you’re in a crash. Both companies have liability policies in place when their drivers are on the job:
- $0 when the driver is not logged into the app. So, if you are a passenger in a ride share and the driver is not using the app for some reason, there is zero liability insurance to cover you.
- $50,000/$100,000 bodily injury and $25,000 property damage when the driver is logged in, but has not accepted your ride request. If you’re a passenger and the driver has logged in, but has not officially accepted your request in the app, they only have this level of insurance.
- $1,000,000 when the driver is logged in and has accepted your ride request.
As you can see, it’s important that you only accept rides from the driver you requested—and ensure he or she officially accepted your ride request in the app. Otherwise, the insurance may not be valid in the event of an accident.
Remember, as with all insurance companies, even if a policy states you’re covered, it doesn’t guarantee that the company will automatically pay out. Or, the bills for your injuries might exceed the limits of the company’s liability insurance. You may have to cut through a lot of red tape to get the compensation you deserve. This is where skilled attorneys can step in to assist you.
Contact our Atlanta and Savannah Uber accident attorneys for help
If you’re in a collision as a passenger in an Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare vehicle, don’t sign anything before consulting with a lawyer. At HLM, we work tenaciously to ensure companies like Uber or Lyft are held accountable for negligent drivers. You deserve compensation for your injuries—let us help. Please call 404-998-8847 in Atlanta or 912-417-3774 in Savannah, or complete our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.