The popularity of rideshare companies in Knoxville quickly eclipsed that of Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) and traditional taxis, making Uber and Lyft the preferred method of getting a ride around town. However, many questions remain about how insurance policies cover these drivers-for-hire operating through smartphone apps. Tennessee’s rideshare laws are some of the strongest in the nation and set an example for other states looking to establish effective insurance policies for these drivers.
If you suffer injuries while riding in a Knoxville Uber or Lyft, or if one of these drivers collides with your vehicle, you will want a knowledgeable rideshare accident lawyer representing you. Call the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC today at 865-546-1111 to set up a free case analysis and let us help you determine how to recover the compensation you deserve.
How can I stay safe using a Knoxville, TN Uber or Lyft rideshare?
Using a rideshare service is a great alternative to driving after having a few drinks or even avoiding parking woes during a big event. Not all accidents are preventable, but there are some general rules you can follow to decrease your chances of a crash or limit your injuries in a minor collision. These include:
- Always wear your seatbelt, whether in your own car or a rideshare vehicle;
- Look for rideshare drivers with the highest possible ratings;
- Never get in the car with a driver who appears intoxicated;
- Avoid distracting your rideshare driver as much as possible; and
- Report any incidents or poor experiences to the rideshare company immediately.
What do I need to do if I am involved in a rideshare accident in Knoxville?
Knowing how to react after a Knoxville, TN Uber or Lyft crash can help protect your rights and make it easier to file for compensation later. If possible, follow these guidelines after an accident.
Tennessee requires drivers to report almost all car accidents, so if there is any damage or injuries you need to contact police immediately. If you were riding in the rideshare vehicle at the time of the crash, ensure the police know you were a passenger who was taking an Uber or Lyft.
Seek Medical Attention
If you have any signs of injury, allow first responders to evaluate you and transfer you to the nearest hospital. Even if you only have minor bruising or soreness, you need to see a doctor for a complete assessment as soon as possible after a crash. Some car accident injuries are not apparent immediately, but can still be serious. This includes some head injuries, neck injuries, and even internal bleeding. If you do have injuries, seeing a healthcare provider as soon as possible after an accident helps to prove you suffered them in the crash and not at some point afterward.
Collect Evidence When Possible
If your injuries are not severe, take the time to collect evidence. Get the names and contact information of everyone involved, as well as any witnesses. Take pictures of all vehicles and of the scene of the crash. Write down anything you believe may be important as soon as possible.
Report the Crash to the Rideshare Company
While the driver should report the accident to Uber or Lyft, passengers should also use their app to report the crash. Different companies have different methods for reporting an incident, but most make it easy to do right from your smartphone.
Talk to a Rideshare Accident Lawyer
Filing an insurance claim after a rideshare accident can get complicated. We can help you identify where to file your claim and make contact with the appropriate insurance company. Then, we will collect evidence to support your case and begin the process to recover the compensation you deserve.
What does Tennessee law say about rideshare insurance?
T.C.A. 55-12-141, called the Transportation Network Company Services Act (TNCSA), went into effect in January 2016. This law requires Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies to meet stringent guidelines when it comes to providing insurance for their drivers. It requires these rideshare companies to provide liability insurance any time drivers are using the app and helps close gaps between these policies and the personal policies carried by drivers.
If you are a passenger in an Uber on a ride arranged through the app, Uber provides
$1 million in liability coverage to pay for any injuries you sustain. This commercial policy takes precedence over the driver’s personal policy and pays out to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. This meets the standards set by Tennessee law and is identical to the policy offered by Lyft and other rideshare companies in Knoxville. If an Uber or Lyft driver hits your car while they have a rideshare passenger, the same coverage applies.
If the rideshare driver hits you while they are “on the app” but have not yet picked up a passenger, things are more complicated. In Tennessee, all rideshare drivers—and all drivers in general—must carry a liability policy that covers at least $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 in property damage. Uber provides a liability policy to cover your medical care and other expenses if the driver’s personal policy will not pay out and they were logged into the app at the time of the accident.
If the rideshare driver was not “on the app,” their personal liability policy should cover your damages.
Is the rideshare company ever liable for my injuries in a Knoxville car accident?
Both Uber and Lyft make it clear their drivers are independent contractors, not employees. While there have been a number of questions raised about vicarious liability and the possibility they misclassify their drivers, the rideshare companies are generally not liable for the actions of an individual driver above and beyond the limits of the commercial insurance they provide. However, if you believe the rideshare company acted negligently by failing to respond to reports, using negligent hiring practices, or creating other issues leading to your accident injuries, we can explore the possibility during your case review.
How can I schedule a time to talk to a Knoxville, TN rideshare accident lawyer?
Uber and Lyft rideshare accidents often create complicated insurance scenarios that can be difficult to navigate on your own. At the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, we have experience with rideshare accident claims and can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call our Knoxville office at 865-546-1111 today to schedule a free, no-obligation case analysis with a Tennessee rideshare accident lawyer.