Ridesharing: What Are the Risks?

Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft make getting around convenient and help decrease drunk driving by offering people a safe, affordable ride home. Unfortunately, ridesharing can be dangerous. According to Bankrate, Uber reported 58 fatalities and 3,045 sexual assaults out of 1.3 billion total rides in the United States in 2018.

Like other drivers, commercial drivers (including Uber and Lyft drivers) can crash their cars, but rideshares also present unique risks. For example, criminals can impersonate drivers to kidnap and harm potential riders, and low-rated drivers can behave inappropriately toward passengers or engage in unsafe driving behavior.

Many rideshare services also have options to carpool, and other passengers can be unpredictable and dangerous.

What Are Some Safety Tips for Ridesharing?

When using Uber and Lyft, travel with friends or family members whenever possible. Request your ride inside and minimize the time you spend outside with your phone in your hand by waiting until your driver arrives to head outside.

Always make sure you are getting into the correct car by matching the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicle you are getting into with the ones that appear on the app. Confirm your driver’s name and photograph and ask the driver: “Who are you here to pick up?”

Your Uber driver will have your first name in the app, so they should be able to repeat your name back to you.

You can also maximize rideshare safety by:

  • Only calling and texting your driver through the app
  • Sitting in the back seat, so you can safely exit on either side of the vehicle if needed
  • Always wearing your seat belt in case of an accident
  • Sharing your trip status with loved ones (you can do this in the Uber app)
  • Being kind and respectful while in the car
  • Giving feedback about your trip after each ride

Many people make small talk with their Uber and Lyft drivers, but you should never feel pressured to answer a question that is too personal, and you should avoid sharing sensitive information with your driver.

Always trust your intuition, and if you feel unsafe, ask the driver to stop and get out of the vehicle. If the driver refuses to stop or you believe you are in immediate danger, call 911 or use the emergency button in your app.

Protecting Your Best Interests After a Rideshare Accident

Car accidents happen – even in Ubers and Lyfts. If your rideshare vehicle crashes while you are inside, take the following steps to protect your best interests:

  • Check yourself for injuries.
  • Call 911 if you or anyone else in the vehicle needs immediate medical attention.
  • Make sure your driver calls the police.
  • Stay at the scene until authorities arrive.
  • While you wait, get your driver’s insurance and contact information, the other driver’s insurance and contact information, and the contact information of any potential witnesses.
  • Take pictures of the accident, including the damage to both vehicles, the surrounding areas, and any injuries you may have sustained.
  • Write down what you remember about the accident.
  • Report the accident to Uber or Lyft (usually via the app).
  • Seek medical treatment – even if you do not feel hurt.
  • Discuss your rights and legal options with an attorney.

After a rideshare accident, you must first turn to the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy. If your rideshare driver caused the accident, you will need to go through their personal car insurance policy first. Once you reach the policy maximum, or the insurance company denies your claim, you can file a claim with Uber or Lyft’s insurance policy.

Uber and Lyft usually carry about $1 million in liability coverage, and if you were harmed in the accident, you may be entitled to this coverage.

Our attorneys at Palmisano & Goodman, P.A. can help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries and other losses. We have over 100+ combined years of experience and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for clients like you.

We offer free consultations to all prospective clients, so don’t hesitate to call us at (732) 709-4400 or contact us online for honest advice, personal attention, and energetic representation.

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