Rideshare Accidents Unveiled_ Navigating Liability and Protecting Your Rights

Hurt in an Uber or Lyft accident in Chicago? If so, you might have questions about passenger rights in rideshare accidents. Illinois state law holds that the person who causes a car accident is financially responsible for its consequences, a concept known as liability. However, because the rideshare driver works on behalf of the rideshare company yet is not its employee, liability in these accidents can be difficult. Understanding how the basic principles of liability in these circumstances can help you plan your next move.

Who is Liable in a Rideshare Accident in Chicago?

There’s no simple answer to this question. Rideshare accident liability can depend on numerous factors, such as:

  • Whether a driver was actively transporting a passenger or driving for Uber/Lyft at the time of a crash
  • Whether other motorists contributed to the collision
  • Whether defective vehicle parts played a role in the accident

As such, insurance claims in rideshare accidents can be complex. It’s not always clear to victims with whom they should file a claim. That’s why it’s so important to discuss your case with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

Uber/Lyft Accident Responsibility: What You Need to Know About Rideshare Companies’ Insurance Policies

Illinois requires rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to provide substantial liability insurance policies for drivers working on their behalf. These policies provide up to $1,000,000 for death, personal injury, and property damage insurance for any accident the covered driver causes while actively transporting a fare or traveling to pick one up.

That said, a rideshare company’s insurance policy does not always apply. Rideshare driver liability is also a factor to consider.

A rideshare driver’s own insurance covers them when they’re not actively working for Uber or Lyft. Once they activate the app, coverage from the rideshare company kicks in. If the driver has the app on, is looking for a fair, and has not yet accepted one, this coverage may be in addition to a driver’s own insurance.

An experienced Uber and Lyft accident lawyer can review the circumstances of your accident to determine what insurance coverage applies to your situation.

Rideshare Drivers Are Independent Contractors in Illinois: What Does That Mean for Your Case?

Currently, Uber and Lyft drivers qualify as independent contractors in Illinois, not as employees. That may change in the future. Some rideshare drivers have proposed changes that would allow them to access benefits that independent contractor status denies them. Even the President is proposing such changes

In the meantime, the fact that a rideshare driver is an independent contractor could influence your case. Uber and similar companies have sometimes attempted to deny liability when drivers cause crashes. They may employ the “independent contractor defense,” claiming they are not liable for damages beyond those covered by their state-mandated liability insurance.

Various court cases throughout the country have resulted in challenges to rideshare companies’ ability to employ such a defense. A lawyer can review your case to determine if you have a challenge to this rule.

What About a Rideshare Crash When You’re Not a Passenger?

You don’t have to be an Uber or Lyft customer to get hurt in a crash that one of their drivers causes. You could be hurt as a pedestrian or while driving your own vehicle. Where you can turn to for compensation depends on a number of factors.

First, was the driver actively transporting a fare or on the way to pick one up? If so, the rideshare company’s liability insurance policy likely covers you. If they had the app on but had not accepted a fare, you are covered by a more limited policy in addition to the driver’s own insurance policy. Finally, if the driver wasn’t working for a rideshare company when the crash occurred, their own insurance applies.

As you can see, the driver’s status at the time of the accident determines how much coverage is available. You could be covered by a sizable insurance policy even if there was no passenger in the rideshare vehicle when it hit you. A lawyer can investigate the accident and recover the evidence necessary to pursue the full compensation you’re entitled to.

Legal Steps After a Rideshare Accident in Chicago

a woman holding a phone

Taking proper steps to protect your rights is essential after a collision. In the immediate aftermath of a Chicago rideshare crash, you should:

Don’t skip that last step. While you may feel fine, that doesn’t mean you’re truly unhurt. Some motor vehicle crash injuries result in delayed symptoms. Seeing a doctor is essential, even if you don’t have any injury symptoms now.

At the scene of the crash, people may ask if you’re okay. Don’t tell them you’re “fine,” as doing so might negatively affect compensation later. An insurance company could argue your injuries aren’t that severe if you told someone you felt fine immediately after the wreck.

Keep copies of your medical bills. Seeking compensation later will be easier if you keep thorough and accurate records from the start.

If you were driving at the time of the accident, notify your own insurance after seeing a doctor, as it may require you to report collisions. Check your policy for more information.

Contact a Chicago Uber/Lyft Accident Lawyer

Who is liable for a rideshare accident in Illinois? Because the answer to this question varies on a case-by-case basis, seeking legal advice for rideshare accidents is wise.

Discuss your case with a member of our team at JJ Legal. We can go over the details and explain how you can pursue compensation. If you hire us, a qualified Chicago Uber and Lyft accident lawyer will negotiate for a proper settlement on your behalf. Get started today by contacting us online or calling us at 312-200-2000 for a free case review.

Related Reading: