Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have revolutionized transportation, providing convenience and flexibility to millions of people. However, as with any form of transportation, accidents can and do happen. If you find yourself involved in a rideshare accident in New Jersey, knowing what steps to take can significantly impact the outcome of any legal or insurance claims you might pursue. This article outlines the critical actions to take immediately after a rideshare accident to protect your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Immediate Steps to Take at the Accident Scene

Ensure Safety and Seek Medical Attention: Your safety and the safety of others should be your top priority. Check yourself and others for injuries. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately to request medical assistance. Even if you feel fine, it’s wise to seek medical attention as some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Contact Law Enforcement: In New Jersey, it’s essential to report any accident that results in injury, death, or significant property damage. Call the police to the scene and ensure they file an official accident report. This report will be crucial for any subsequent legal or insurance claims. Gather Information: Collect as much information as possible from everyone involved in the accident. This includes names, contact information, and insurance details of all drivers, vehicle descriptions, license plate numbers, and rideshare company details (e.g., Uber or Lyft). Obtain the contact information of any witnesses and the name and badge number of the responding police officers. Document the Scene: Use your smartphone to take photographs and videos of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, road conditions, traffic signs, and any visible injuries. These visual records can serve as valuable evidence in your claim. Avoid Admitting Fault: Be careful not to admit fault or make any statements that could be construed as admitting fault. Limit your conversations about the accident to the police, your attorney, and your insurance company.

Reporting the Accident to the Rideshare Company

After ensuring your safety and gathering necessary information, report the accident to the rideshare company as soon as possible. Both Uber and Lyft have in-app features for reporting accidents. This step is crucial because rideshare companies have specific procedures and insurance policies that come into play after an accident. Use the App to Report: Open the rideshare app and navigate to the help or support section. There, you should find an option to report an accident. Provide accurate and detailed information about the incident. Follow Up: After reporting the accident through the app, follow up with an email or phone call to the rideshare company’s support team to ensure they have received your report and are processing your claim.

Understanding Insurance Coverage in Rideshare Accidents

Rideshare accidents involve multiple layers of insurance coverage, which can make the claims process more complex. Here’s a breakdown of the potential coverage scenarios:
  • Driver’s Personal Insurance: The rideshare driver’s personal auto insurance may provide coverage if the driver’s app was off at the time of the accident.
  • Rideshare Company’s Insurance: When the rideshare driver’s app is on, but no passenger is in the vehicle, the rideshare company’s contingent liability coverage typically applies. This coverage may include up to $50,000 per person for bodily injury, $100,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 for property damage.
  • During a Ride or En Route to Pick Up a Passenger: If the driver is en route to pick up a passenger or has a passenger in the car, Uber and Lyft provide up to $1 million in third-party liability coverage. This also includes uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in case the at-fault driver lacks adequate insurance.

Steps to Take After Leaving the Accident Scene

Seek Medical Evaluation: If you did not receive medical attention at the scene, visit a doctor as soon as possible. Some injuries may not show symptoms immediately but can become serious later. A medical evaluation will also provide documentation of your injuries. Notify Your Insurance Company: Report the accident to your insurance company even if you were a passenger in the rideshare vehicle. Provide them with all relevant details and cooperate with their investigation. Keep Detailed Records: Maintain a file with all documents related to the accident, including medical bills, repair estimates, correspondence with insurance companies, and any other relevant information. Detailed records will support your claim and help ensure you receive fair compensation.

Legal Considerations and Seeking Legal Assistance

Navigating the aftermath of a rideshare accident can be legally complex. Insurance companies and rideshare corporations may attempt to minimize their liability, making it essential to understand your rights and options. Consult with an Experienced Attorney: Consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in rideshare accident claims. An experienced lawyer can provide guidance on the claims process, help gather necessary evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary. Statute of Limitations: Be aware of New Jersey’s statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims, which is typically two years from the date of the accident. Failing to file within this timeframe may result in losing your right to seek compensation. Understanding Comparative Negligence: New Jersey follows a comparative negligence rule, which means that your compensation may be reduced if you are found partially at fault for the accident. An attorney can help build a strong case to minimize any assigned fault and maximize your compensation.

Contact The Epstein Law Firm Today

Being involved in a rideshare accident in New Jersey can be a traumatic and confusing experience. However, by taking the appropriate steps immediately after the accident and understanding the insurance and legal landscape, you can protect your rights and increase your chances of receiving fair compensation.  The Epstein Law Firm is dedicated to assisting victims of rideshare accidents, providing expert legal support to navigate the complexities of these claims. If you or a loved one has been involved in a rideshare accident, contact us to discuss your case and explore your options for legal recourse. Contact us today at 201-231-7847 or schedule a consultation online to learn more.