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I got into an accident while ride sharing. Who is liable?

Ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft are a convenient option for travelers looking to get from place to place. They aren’t so convenient, however, if they get involved in an accident.

Once you’ve confirmed everyone is safe and notified authorities, you may be asking yourself “who is liable for the damages in this accident?” If you are a passenger, the answer is not you.

Drivers are independent contractors

Uber and Lyft drivers are not employees – they are independent contractors. That means the company can deny liability for crashes. If the cause of the accident is the ride sharing driver, they will likely be liable for the damages. Passengers are covered under a $1 million liability policy with both companies, as many drivers are not financially able to cover the cost of the damages.

Damages are divided into two categories under Arizona law: economic and non-economic. While economic damages are easy to calculate, non-economic can be more vague. These damages cover pain and suffering, emotional distress and disability or disfigurement. There is no cap in Arizona on either types of damages, but there is a two-year time limit for filing a legal case.

What if the other driver is at fault?

Arizona is an “at fault” state, meaning a driver must show fault on the part of the other driver before insurance claims will be paid out. The state is also a “pure comparative negligence” jurisdiction, which means that if you go to trial, a jury will assign a percentage of fault. Unless the other driver is 100 percent at fault, the other driver will recover some amount of damages.

Uber and Lyft offer insurance policies for drivers. Uber’s policy comes with a $1,000 deductible and Lyft’s coverage depends on when the accident occurs.

What to do after an accident

Whether you are the passenger or the driver, you should call 911 right away and then take pictures of the wreck. Be sure to get the names, email addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses. If you don’t already have it in your phone, make sure you have the information of your driver or passenger. Take screenshots of the ride and receipt.

Once you have all of the evidence, contact a personal injury attorney who can help you pursue damages in a claim or prove 100 percent fault of the other driver.

Ride sharing should be a relaxing experience. Know what to do  and who to talk to in the event of an accident.

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Ortega Law Firm | 361 East Coronado Road, Suite 101, | Phoenix, AZ 85004-1525 | Phone: 480-582-0981 | Map & Directions