One thing about the streets of New York City and Long Island is that you will see a lot of cabs, Ubers, Lyfts, and other private transit vehicles. Our roads are notoriously busy, and not everybody has a ride to get from A to B — or one they want to use at the moment.
While rideshares and taxis are convenient, they can pose a problem if you are involved in an accident with one. This accident could occur while you are a passenger, or you could be driving your own vehicle when a cab/rideshare vehicle collides with you. In either case, the procedure you follow should be similar. Take a look at the best steps to take below, and remember that you always have the right to consult with an experienced Long Island taxi/rideshare accident lawyer for advice on seeking compensation.
Always Report Your Accident
One consideration to be aware of after your accident is that the driver of the cab or rideshare vehicle may pressure you to not report the accident to the police. They may try to downplay the amount of damage, convince you you are not injured or make you feel guilty that you will get them in legal trouble. They may even offer you money, favors, etc. to incentivize you not to report the accident.
The bottom line is that without a police accident report, it can be difficult to prove the accident occurred. Not having a police report can make it impossible to seek compensation, and in the meantime, evidence may have disappeared. In addition, know that New York state law requires you to report any accident that results in an injury or more than $1,000 in property damage.
Check on Everyone’s Health Status Before Calling Emergency Services
When you dial emergency services to request a police respondent in order to report the accident, the emergency dispatcher will ask you if anyone is seriously hurt and in need of medical attention. To answer this question accurately, you must first check on everyone’s health and assess your own condition.
Do not hesitate to request an ambulance if you think you or anyone else might have a significant injury. Failing to request emergency evacuation can impact your injury claim later on. Also, know that you have the option to decline transport (an ambulance ride) once EMS has given you an evaluation.
Protect Yourself by Watching Your Statements and Not Accepting Any Offers
After an accident occurs, never admit fault or apologize for a possible mistake you made. Also, avoid speculating on how hurt you might be. Be honest about the amount of pain and debilitation you currently feel, but also keep in mind that many injuries do not appear until hours — or possibly days — after your accident.
Any statements you make as to guilt or your health status can affect your ability to claim full compensation for the costs of your medical treatment.
Similarly, do not make any agreements with the cab/rideshare driver or their company. Consult with an attorney to review such agreements and determine if they adequately compensate you for all of your losses. Doing something like accepting cash and agreeing not to report the accident may not be legally binding, but it can affect the view of the situation from the perspective of an insurer or, potentially, a jury in a civil case.
Document the Accident Scene
Immediately after reporting your accident, start documenting the accident scene. Take photos of the wreckage, the vehicles, your injuries, and any other relevant details, such as nearby landmarks.
It can be easy to forget to document the scene when you were a passenger in a cab/rideshare vehicle, but remember that you have your own responsibility to do so in case the evidence is needed for a future injury claim.
What Forms of Compensation Are Available After a Rideshare Crash or Taxi Accident?
The exact compensation available depends on the location of your crash, the insurance of the vehicle’s driver, the extent of your injuries, and other factors.
In most situations, your own no-fault insurance policy will pay for the first $50,000 in injury treatment costs, lost wages, and other basic economic losses. Your lost wages claim will be capped at 80% of your lost wages, up to a maximum of $2,000 a month for up to three years. You may be expected to file a no-fault claim prior to any other claims regardless of whether you were a passenger in the for-hire vehicle or if you were involved in a collision with a for-hire vehicle’s driver. If you were a passenger and do not own a vehicle and don’t have a no-fault insurance policy, it is possible that the driver or their employer will have a no-fault policy available to you.
Third-Party Liability Insurance (Filing a Claim Against the Taxi/Rideshare Company)
In the state of New York, you are eligible to pursue a claim against the policy of the vehicle owner if that owner was at fault and your damages exceed the limits of the applicable no-fault policy. This is known as a third-party claim. Importantly, third-party liability claims can provide compensation for pain and suffering after a “serious injury”.
Do Taxis Carry Liability Insurance?
All taxicab companies have a commercial liability policy in place to compensate victims of accidents caused by an employee. If your accident occurred in New York City, local laws require the taxi service to carry at least $100,000 in medical treatment coverage per person injured and up to $300,000 per accident. They may also have an umbrella policy covering up to $1 million in excess damages.
Do Uber, Lyft, and Other Rideshare Services Have Liability Insurance?
Yes. Uber and Lyft provide a certain level of coverage to anyone injured by the driver of a rideshare vehicle if the driver is currently using the rideshare app. The amount of coverage may vary depending on whether the driver currently had a fare, whether they were on their way to pick up a fare, or whether they merely have the app open.
Know that the driver and/or the rideshare company may mislead you as to whether insurance coverage is available for your situation. Review your situation with an attorney, and never sign or declare verbal consent to an agreement related to compensation without first examining the legal consequences.
Always Seek Medical Attention After Your Accident
If you think you may be seriously hurt, do not hesitate to get a full medical exam following your accident.
Even if you think you aren’t hurt, remember that some injuries may not show up until a few days after your accident.
No matter what, remember that a full medical evaluation provides critical evidence for your possible injury claim. The earlier you get an exam, the better documentation you have of your injuries and their connection to the accident.
Speak With a Long Island Car Accident Lawyer
Commercial drivers and rideshare app users have a strong incentive to avoid the financial and legal consequences of the injuries they cause. If you have been in an accident, you may be misled or pressured into doing something against your own interests.
To protect your interests, and to maximize the chances of receiving compensation for your injuries, speak to an experienced New York City and Long Island car accident lawyer immediately.
The attorneys at TonaLaw can provide you with a free, no-obligation case review to assess your situation and inform you of what forms of compensation may be available. Call today at 1-833-TONALAW or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Remember that there is a time-sensitive notice window for most insurers, so act quickly, and call today!