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What Happens if an Uber or Lyft Passenger Causes an Accident?

Posted on October 5, 2022 in Car Accidents

There are many blogs regarding rideshare accidents and the liabilities of the independent driver. The liabilities shared between the rideshare companies and their drivers are no longer considered a gray area. In California, there are laws in place to specify the tranches of responsibility.

When a rideshare passenger enters the vehicle, it is the rideshare company that bears 100% of the responsibility, up to $1 Million, for the driver and the passenger. But, what happens when the fare passenger causes the accident?

This blog will address this issue and will give practical advice on the actions to be taken by the rideshare driver and the rideshare company.

The Typical Accident

Should an accident occur during the period where the rideshare company is 100% responsible for any accident, the company will handle all insurance claims. This involves any claims that could be filed by another driver and other passengers.

A typical accident involves the fault of one of the drivers, and it is rare for a passenger to have any liability.

The Passenger-Instigated Accident

The primary concern of the rideshare companies is any medical attention that may be needed by any party involved in the accident. The companies do not want to get into the situation where their driver could face liability if their actions precluded any medical treatment needed by the passenger.

The independent driver must take steps to document the accident and the surrounding conditions as much as possible. Although all contact information of everyone involved will be collected by the responding law enforcement officer, it is good practice, if possible, for the driver to collect this information independently for immediate access by the rideshare company. The same steps are followed by the rideshare driver when another driver is at fault.

The first step taken by the rideshare company is to claim damage for the repairs to the driver’s vehicle. Any lawsuit against the passenger would occur after this first step is in place.

The Documentation of the Passenger-Instigated Accident

Rideshare companies monitor its independent drivers in real time for the safety of the driver and the passenger. This monitoring is through video recordings of the happenings inside of the vehicle. The purpose of this is to resolve any dispute between the driver and the passenger when no other witnesses are present.

The video recordings cannot be saved by the driver or by a passenger to prevent either from posting the videos on a social medial platform. This technology uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze the video content and use facial recognition to detect distracted drivers.

The videos are encrypted and can only be accessed by the rideshare’s safety team. A driver can request a copy of the video, but the faces on the video will be blurred out.

It is at the discretion of the rideshare company to provide these videos to attorneys and insurance companies to be used as evidence in a trial or in settlement negotiations in cases where the company bears no responsibility. To be sure, though, the rideshare company will use the video to defend its position.

The Steps After a Rideshare Accident

When the rideshare company is provided with the pertinent information of the insurance company paying the compensatory settlements, the driver typically has no involvement or liability in the matter. The company handles all settlement or litigation with the policy company.

The only gray area remaining in rideshare accidents where there is no fault or liability of the independent driver is the effects of the accident upon the driver’s rating and record.