If you are in an accident involving a rideshare vehicle, you can expect your claim to be a little more complex than your average vehicle collision. Not only will you need to be able to prove that you were not at fault, but you will also need to determine who is liable in a rideshare accident. This could be the driver or the rideshare company, but the difference could greatly impact the amount of compensation available for your settlement. Therefore, it is important to have an attorney by your side who understands how to prove fault in a rideshare accident.
New Jersey Rideshare Regulations
Each state has its own regulations regarding how to handle vehicle accidents. New Jersey is a no-fault state, which means, in most circumstances, your insurance will help pay your damages related to the accident regardless of who caused it. Every New Jersey driver is required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. The minimum required PIP is $15,000, but drivers can purchase up to $250,000.
If the rideshare driver who hit you was working at the time of the collisions, there are nuances related to liability that could change who is responsible for the damage. In New Jersey, Uber and Lyft drivers must also have a Ride Share Endorsement as part of their insurance policy. You may need to pursue compensation from the rideshare company if they do not have this additional coverage, your damages exceed the policy limits, or the insurance company refuses to pay.
How to Prove Fault in a Rideshare Accident
Like other vehicle accidents, there are several proactive steps you can take to ensure you have the necessary information to prove who is liable in a rideshare accident.
- Call the police. Make sure you call local law enforcement to the scene, no matter how minimal the damage may seem at the time. This allows you to have a formal record of the accident and notes on what took place and who was involved.
- Take pictures. Take photos of the accident scene and damage to the vehicles to use as evidence of the position of the vehicles.
- Get contact and ride information. Write down the contact information of the driver and passenger of the rideshare vehicle, and if you can, ask for information regarding the ride. The passenger or driver can share the ride with you through the app if one is in progress.
One of the most important elements of proving fault in a rideshare accident is determining the status of the Uber or Lyft driver at the time the accident occurred. The engaged status of the rideshare driver changes the amount of insurance coverage available. It also dictates whether the driver or the rideshare company’s insurance is responsible for covering the damage.
When the rideshare driver is in their vehicle but not using the app, they have only their own personal insurance available to use. The rideshare company is not liable for any accidents that occur when the driver is offline.
An Uber or Lyft driver that is “available” is in their vehicle with the rideshare app on, and they are waiting for a passenger to accept a ride through the app. In this situation, the rideshare company could be liable for the accident.
A rideshare driver who is “en route” has accepted a ride on the app and is on their way to pick up the passenger. While the Uber or Lyft driver is on their way to the passenger, the rideshare company’s full insurance policy provides coverage for any accident that occurs.
On a Trip
Once the passenger is in the vehicle, the rideshare company’s full insurance policy is available should an accident occur, whether the driver is working for Uber or Lyft.
Who Is Liable in a Rideshare Accident?
No insurance company wants to have to pay for an accident, especially if the damage is costly. It is a good idea to have an experienced attorney negotiate on your behalf to avoid unfair settlement offers. You should never accept less than what you deserve for your injuries, even if you are offered the maximum payout according to the policy. You may have other options.
A personal injury attorney can help you determine who is liable in a rideshare accident, gather evidence, and strategize the best way to pursue meaningful compensation.
If you have been seriously injured in a rideshare accident, the award-winning team at O'Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble, LLC have over 100 years of combined experience representing personal injury clients in New Jersey. We are real people, just like you, and are happy to help when it comes to proving fault in a rideshare accident and helping you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us to schedule your free case consultation.