The short answer is that it depends on how the driver was engaged with their rideshare company at the time of the accident. North Carolina recognizes three categories for determining insurance policy responsibilities for rideshare company accidents:A rideshare driver checks his app during a ride.

  1. The driver is off duty, not working for Uber/Lyft 
  2. The drive logged in but doesn’t have an active ride 
  3. The driver is actively driving a passenger for Uber/Lyft

The amount of insurance involved and the level of liability shared by Uber/Lyft and their insurers will typically increase as a driver progresses from 1-3 as the driver becomes more engaged with the act of driving customers for Uber/Lyft.

It is imperative to speak with a rideshare accident lawyer so that they can investigate the accident to determine and prove exactly what state the driver was in to maximize your compensation before the statute of limitation expires on your case and you are barred from seeking compensation.

Below are the three stages, broken down in detail, along with the exact coverage options offered by the at-fault rideshare driver to accident victims:

Stage 1: The Off-Duty Rideshare Driver

When a rideshare driver is not logged into the Uber or Lyft app and gets into an accident, Uber or Lyft’s insurance does not apply. In such cases, any claim for damages or injuries falls under the driver’s personal insurance policy. In North Carolina, the law requires a minimum coverage of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident for bodily injuries, plus $25,000 for property damage. Many drivers opt for more extensive coverage, but these are the minimums.

Stage 2: The Logged-In Driver Without an Active Ride

When a rideshare driver is logged into the app but hasn’t yet accepted a ride request, the scenario changes. In such instances, Uber and Lyft provide limited coverage if the driver’s personal insurance doesn’t apply. This includes $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for bodily injuries, with an additional $25,000 for property damage. This intermediate level of coverage is significant but less than the full $1 million policy.

Stage 3: The Driver on an Active Ride

This stage triggers a single limit of $1 million for liability insurance coverage from Uber or Lyft. It applies from the moment a driver accepts a ride request to the point where the passenger is dropped off. This coverage includes a combination of bodily injury and property damage. This robust policy is in effect whether you are a passenger, pedestrian, or another driver involved in an accident with a rideshare vehicle at this stage.

Recent Legislative Changes in North Carolina Rideshare Coverage

Please note that the NC legislature has recently lowered the UM/UIM coverage for the rideshare companies to the state’s minimum limits of $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident to save the rideshare companies’ money on their insurance coverage. This means that if you are a passenger in a rideshare vehicle accident that is caused by another vehicle, your injury recovery may be limited to the $30,000 minimum limit if the at-fault vehicle is uninsured or only has $30,000 in coverage.

The Most Common Causes of Rideshare Accidents

Rideshare drivers juggle multiple tasks while on the road, from monitoring their phones for navigation to transporting passengers. This multitasking can lead to distracted driving, contributing to accidents. Common causes include speeding, aggressive driving, reckless behavior to maximize income, and various other factors like running red lights or driving while intoxicated.

Key Actions Post Rideshare Car Accident  

When involved in an accident with an Uber or Lyft, taking the right steps immediately afterward is crucial. Here’s what you should do:  

  • Safety First: Ensure everyone’s safety. If needed, call emergency services.  
  • Information Exchange: Exchange information with all parties involved, including the rideshare driver. Get their name, contact info, license number, insurance details, and the rideshare company they’re working for.  
  • Document the Scene: Take photos or videos of the accident scene, including vehicle positions, damage, street signs, and any injuries. This visual evidence can be invaluable.  
  • Gather Witness Statements: If there are witnesses, get their contact information and ask for their account of what happened.  
  • Obtain a Police Report: If the police arrive at the scene, ensure you get a report filed. Request a copy of this report, as it’s an important document for insurance claims.  
  • Seek Medical Attention: Even if you feel fine, it’s wise to get a medical check-up. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent.  
  • Notify the Rideshare Company: Report the accident through the Uber or Lyft app. This is an essential step in the insurance claim process.  
  • Consult with an experienced rideshare accident & injury law firm regarding your potential claim. Most firms provide a free consultation where you may learn more about your rights before moving forward.  

Dealing with Insurance Adjusters After a Rideshare Accident

Once you’ve taken the immediate steps and you have not hired a lawyer, you’ll likely have to interact with insurance adjusters. Here’s how to handle these interactions:  

  • Understand Their Role: Insurance adjusters work for the insurance company, not for you. Their primary goal is to minimize the company’s payout.  
  • Be Prepared and Organized: Have all your documentation ready, including the accident report, medical records, and any correspondence related to the accident.  
  • Keep Communication Clear and Concise: When discussing the accident, stick to the facts. Avoid sharing personal opinions or unnecessary details.  
  • Never Admit Fault: Even casual remarks can be interpreted as an admission of guilt. Let the investigators determine fault.  
  • Decline Immediate Settlement Offers: Early offers may not reflect the full extent of your damages or injuries. It’s often better to wait until all costs are fully understood.  
  • Consider Legal Representation: Before accepting any settlement, it may be beneficial to consult with a lawyer, especially for significant injuries or complex cases.  
  • Avoid Recorded Statements: Politely decline requests for recorded statements. These can be used against you in the claims process.  
  • Don’t Sign Without Understanding: Be cautious about signing any documents. Ensure you fully understand what you are agreeing to.  

What is the Statute of Limitations in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, you have three years from the accident date to file a lawsuit. It’s crucial to act promptly to protect your claim.  

Experienced Rideshare Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help at Auger & Auger in Charlotte

Consider reaching out to Auger & Auger Accident and Injury Lawyers for guidance and assistance in navigating the complexities of a rideshare accident claim in Charlotte, NC. 

Understanding the different insurance coverage stages, knowing the key actions to take post-accident, and dealing with insurance adjusters are crucial for anyone involved in an Uber or Lyft accident. In successful Uber or Lyft accident lawsuits, victims can claim compensation for losses like vehicle repairs, medical costs, lost wages, and emotional distress. Legal representation, while not mandatory, can significantly bolster a case’s value. 

Obtain the representation you can count on from Auger & Auger Accident and Injury Lawyers after your rideshare accident. Working with a personal injury attorney improves the chances of fair compensation from insurance companies with legal representation typically secure settlements or awards approximately 3.5 times greater than those without an attorney. 

Contact our Charlotte office today at (704) 364-3361