Being involved in an accident can happen to anyone at any time. It is important to remember to keep your composure throughout the incident. Here are the seven things that you should if you have an accident while driving Uber or Lyft.
1. Seek medical attention if there are injuries associated with the accident.
Assess your own condition right after the accident. Check on the condition of any passengers that were riding with you. Ask the other driver and any passengers in the other vehicle(s) if they sustained any injuries. Call 911 if the situation warrants immediate medical attention. Your primary responsibility after an accident is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those that were involved.
2. Call the police or go to a station, and file a police report.
This is an especially important step if there are injuries involved with the accident. For more minor incidents, this step may not be necessary. You will still need to file an accident report with the police even if they aren’t called to the scene. This step is to protect you against any future claims of injury from the other driver or your passengers. The police investigation may not be helpful when filing your claim with the insurance company. Make sure to not admit fault to the accident even if you feel as though you’re responsible. Even if the cause of the accident is blatantly obvious, any lawyer will tell you, do not admit fault.
3. Document the accident.
Take photos of any damage to both vehicles and the license plates. You may even want to take photos of the scene so that you can actually remember how the accident occurred. Write down what you remember about the accident with as much detail as possible. This can help you if you need to enter arbitration to settle the accident. Gather statements from any witnesses that are willing to talk to you. Make sure to exchange information with the other driver. This means that you get their name and number as well as their insurance information.
4. Report the accident to Lyft or Uber.
The method of reporting will differ depending on the rideshare company. For Uber, you can report the accident in the app. In the lower right hand corner of the app, click on “Account”, then select Help > Trip Issues and Refunds. Then select the trip, click “Help” again, and click “I was in an accident.” You can also call 800-353-8237, Uber’s emergency hotline.
For Lyft, call their emergency hotline number 855-865-9553.
5. Call your insurance company.
Which insurance company will cover the damages depends on what period you’re in with your rideshare company. Period one means that you’re online but you don’t have an active ride request. You will have to contact your personal insurance company during this period to cover the accident. The caution with this is that if you don’t have rideshare insurance, they will deny your claim. During periods two and three, you will contact the rideshare company as they will be your primary insurance company during this time. Period two means that you’re on your way to a passenger, and period three means that you have a passenger in the car. Both Uber and Lyft have primary insurance in a few states, but it’s contingent, or secondary, in most states.
6. Pay the deductible to get back to work.
The amount of your deductible will vary depending on the rideshare company. The deductible for Lyft is $2500 while the deductible for Uber is $1000. If you’re reporting the incident to your own insurance company, the amount for the deductible will vary if they even cover the accident at all. It’s important to have this money saved up prior to an accident. This will enable you to get back to work quicker.
7. Work with the repair shop to reduce the amount of downtime.
Depending on the extent of the damages to your vehicle, there may be significant downtime while it’s being repaired. If your vehicle is still safe to drive and won’t impact the rider experience, you can continue to work while coordinating the repairs. For more extensive damages, you may want to plan on being out a work for a month. This time estimate may be reduced if you’re able to work with the repair shop. Make sure to stay on top of your insurance company to get the claim covered. This will enable you to get back on the road. Uber will require that you undergo another vehicle inspection before you’re allowed to pick up fares. If it’s clear the other drive is at fault, you may be able to have their insurance cover the cost of a rental car. If you’re in a city with HyreCar or Maven, or another service that rents vehicles for Uber or Lyft, that means you can get back to work almost immediately
Being involved in a car accident can be traumatic as well as inconvenient. Be prepared so that you can handle the situation calmly. Set the money aside to cover the deductible and other incidentals.
British Soloman is a contributing writer and media specialist for Service First Automotive. She regularly produces content for a variety of car safety and maintenance blogs.