September 18, 2023

Ever since the state legalized ridesharing in 2018, Uber and Lyft have been among Alabama’s most popular transportation options today. Uber is available in thousands of cities worldwide, including Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, and Huntsville, as well as regions such as East and South Alabama.

While these services are popular and convenient, accidents happen, often due to the negligence of the rideshare driver or other motorists on the road. Determining liability in a rideshare crash can be complicated, affecting your ability to receive compensation for damages.

Understanding how Alabama treats rideshare accidents regarding liability and auto accident claims can ensure you protect your rights and take decisive action after a collision.

The Unique Legal Complexities of Rideshare Accidents

A traffic accident involving a driver working for Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare service is often more complicated than a standard auto accident. This is due to the number of parties that may be responsible for your injuries.

Since you are a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, you may be able to seek compensation from the following entities:

  • Rideshare company: The ridesharing company (such as Uber or Lyft) could be held liable for the accident under certain circumstances. They might share some responsibility if the company’s policies, training, or background check procedures were inadequate or if there was negligence in overseeing their drivers.
  • Driver: The rideshare driver can be held liable for the accident if their actions, such as reckless driving, negligence, or violating traffic laws, directly contributed to the collision.
  • Other motorists: If another motorist, not affiliated with the rideshare service, acted negligently or recklessly and caused the accident, they could also be held liable.

How Liability is Applied in Rideshare Accidents

If you or a loved one was injured in a ridesharing accident, you must determine liability to seek compensation from the at-fault party. If the at-fault party is the rideshare driver, determining liability depends on whether they are on duty or transporting passengers.

  • The driver was off duty: If the rideshare driver was not logged into their company’s application at the time of the accident, it generally means they were off duty.

The ridesharing company’s insurance policy does not cover off-duty drivers. Instead, they are treated as private drivers. The driver’s personal liability auto insurance will pay for your damages.

  • The driver was working but not transporting passengers: A rideshare driver is considered on duty or working if they are logged into the company platform. On-duty rideshare drivers may be covered by their company’s insurance policy, which must meet Alabama’s liability coverage minimums.

According to Alabama Code 32-7C-2(b)(1), an on-duty ride-sharing driver without passengers on board must be covered by the following minimums:

  • $25,000 for property damage
  • $50,000 for each person suffering bodily injuries or death
  • $100,000 for each accident involving injuries or death
  • The driver was working and transporting passengers: If a ridesharing driver is on duty and transporting passengers, the law refers to them as engaged in a prearranged ride. Liability coverage minimums for on-duty ridesharing drivers on prearranged rides are higher than when not transporting passengers.

According to Alabama Code (32-7C-2(c)(1), the minimums increase to $1 million each for property damage, bodily injury, or death.

Steps to Take After a Rideshare Accident

While being involved in a rideshare accident can confuse and overwhelm you, keeping calm and taking the proper steps can protect your health and rights. Here’s what you need to do to ensure you recover the highest possible compensation:

  • Seek prompt medical attention: Always seek medical care after a rideshare accident, even if your injuries seem minor. Many injuries don’t manifest immediately, such as whiplash.

Prioritize your health and safety and seek a medical professional as soon as possible. They can help you determine the full extent of your injuries, provide appropriate treatment, and document them in your medical records.

  • Speak to law enforcement: Speak with the responding police officers as soon as they arrive at the accident scene. Provide your contact information, answer their questions, and give them your account of the accident. You and your attorney can obtain the accident report to support your claim about 15 days after the accident.
  • Document the accident scene: Determining fault in a rideshare accident can be difficult. Collecting all possible evidence is crucial to help your attorney identify who is responsible for the crash.

Take pictures of the accident scene and gather other evidence, such as dash-cam recordings, surveillance camera footage, and witness statements. If you are injured or have property damage, keep records by taking photographs.

  • Report the accident to the ridesharing company: Contact the ridesharing company the driver works for and report the accident to them. Include as many details of the accident as possible: date, time, location, a copy of the police report, and your account of the events.

For Lyft, reporting the accident involves filling out an online form. Uber also has an online accident claim form that you can access to notify the company about the crash.

  • Consult an attorney: Seek the help of an Alabama rideshare accident attorney. At The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers, our skilled lawyers can help you explore your legal options, file a claim with the insurance companies, and offer legal guidance and representation to maximize your compensation amounts.

Call The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers After a Rideshare Accident 

The ridesharing industry is continuously evolving, and laws and regulations regarding rideshare accidents are subject to change. It’s important to have skilled legal representation to help you navigate rideshare laws and determine liability in your case.

Our Alabama Uber accident attorneys at The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers know the state’s rideshare and auto insurance laws. We will use this extensive experience to estimate fair damages for your injuries and negotiate with insurers or the rideshare company to pay what you’ve owned.

Contact us today to speak with one of our attorneys about your case in a free case review.

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