rideshare area in South Carolina

Rideshare companies – primarily Uber and Lyft – offer convenient transportation options, but they also put drivers on the road to ferry passengers at odd times of the night and day. Mounting collision reports from across the state indicate that Uber and Lyft car accidents have caused terrible injuries here in South Carolina.

Because their popularity has grown rapidly, Uber and Lyft have become large companies able to insulate themselves from costly accident claims caused by their drivers. Passengers, drivers of other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists injured in rideshare accidents are typically met with unclear explanations of the company’s or driver’s responsibility for the accident. They are often left wondering how their losses might be covered.

That’s where a lawyer can help. The Joye Law Firm can help if you or your loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a driver for Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare service throughout South Carolina. Our Uber and Lyft car accident lawyers can analyze the facts surrounding the accident you were in and pursue the fair compensation you deserve. We stand up to companies like Uber and Lyft. Contact us at 888-324-3100 or fill out our online consultation form today to get started with your free case review.

How Are Uber & Lyft Accidents Different from Other Car Accidents?

Rideshare companies operate differently from standard transportation companies, like taxi and limousine services. In South Carolina, services like Uber and Lyft are classified as “transportation network companies.” This is a specific designation for entities that connect drivers and passengers through an application on a smartphone or other device.

The rideshare driver or the parent company must maintain auto insurance endorsed for drivers who use their vehicles to transport passengers for a fee. The driver must be covered when they are logged into the application (open to accepting riders), as the driver travels to pick up a rider, and while the driver is transporting passengers.

Uber and Lyft provide liability coverage to their drivers that becomes effective when drivers log into their apps and make themselves available for ride requests.

If you have an Uber car accident claim, you may have to file it against Uber’s insurance policy.

Rideshare Driver Requirements in South Carolina

Some people equate rideshare drivers to taxi or limousine drivers. However, rideshare drivers are not professional drivers with any special credentials. Uber and Lyft minimum driver requirements are similar and include the following:

  • Minimum age – Drivers must be at least 25 years old.
  • Driver’s license – The driver must have a valid driver’s license. Uber requires at least one year of driving with a license.
  • Documentation – The companies require applicants to submit certain documents, such as proof of personal insurance, registration, a driver profile picture, and/or a vehicle inspection report.
  • Driver screening/background check – Lyft and Uber say that applicants must provide consent to complete a criminal background check and have their driving history reviewed.

Additionally, South Carolina’s Samantha L. Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act requires all Uber and Lyft drivers to display their license plate information on the front of their vehicles on a placard that is easy to read and in large print. The law also makes it a crime for a person to pose as a rideshare driver. South Carolina state law requires mandatory vehicle inspections and background checks. This law was passed after a USC student was tragically kidnapped and murdered by someone posing as a rideshare driver.

Who Pays If an Uber or Lyft Driver Injures You in an Accident?

Pursuing a claim after being injured in an accident caused by an Uber or Lyft driver depends on how the driver was engaged at the time of the accident. If the rideshare driver is at fault for the accident, you will generally file a claim with their personal liability insurance policy or the rideshare company’s insurance policy as follows.

  • The driver was not on the app. A driver who has not logged in to the rideshare app is considered to not yet be working. The driver’s own personal auto liability coverage would be used to cover an accident claim. According to the South Carolina Department of Insurance, all registered vehicle owners must maintain a minimum of $25,000 per person for bodily injury or death in an accident, $50,000 for all persons injured in one accident, and $25,000 for property damage in one accident.
  • The driver logged in but had not accepted a passenger. Once the driver has logged in, they are covered under Uber’s or Lyft’s insurance coverage. For a driver with no passengers, the rideshare companies must provide at least a 50/100/25 liability insurance policy, which is $50,000 per person for bodily injury they cause in an accident, $100,000 for all bodily injury in an accident, and $25,000 for property damage. The rideshare company must also provide uninsured motorist coverage equal to the state’s required 25/50/25 liability coverage, which will cover the Uber or Lyft driver if they are in an accident caused by an uninsured driver.
  • The driver has accepted and/or picked up a passenger. When an Uber or Lyft driver is providing transportation services, including traveling to pick someone up, each company provides coverage of $1 million third-party liability. The injured party can file against this coverage after they have exhausted the driver’s liability coverage. The $1 million coverage is also extended to passengers and drivers injured in accidents caused by underinsured or uninsured drivers who hit an Uber or Lyft vehicle.

Joye Law Firm Represents Injured Rideshare Passenger

Our firm represented a client who was severely injured when their rideshare driver drove through a four-way stop without yielding and slammed into a passing vehicle.  There was evidence that at the time of the crash, the traffic control devices were not functioning. When traffic control devices are out, South Carolina state law requires drivers to stop at an intersection as if it is controlled by a stop sign.   To the extent the traffic lights are out at a four-way intersection, each lane of travel must stop at the intersection to ensure it’s safe to proceed before passing through the intersection.  In the case at hand, instead of slowing or stopping, the rideshare driver failed to yield right-of-way and t-boned a passing vehicle at high speed.  The victim, our client, suffered severe injuries and required surgery.

Since the rideshare driver was en route with a passenger, Attorney Milt Stratos sent a demand seeking to recover liability coverage first from the rideshare company.  After months of negotiation, a settlement amount of $600,000 was reached. While no amount of money can make a person whole after a devastating accident, this settlement covered all of the client’s medical bills and allowed them to start fresh and put this challenging situation behind them.

Our client left a thoughtful note at the conclusion of her case, “I was put in contact with the Joye Law Firm and my life changed so much. They got me any and every kind of help I needed. I love lawyer Milt and my case manager Morgan they both stood by me through the toughest of times.”

Steps to Follow After an Uber or Lyft Car Accident

If you have been injured while riding as an Uber or Lyft passenger or you were hit by an Uber or Lyft driver, you should be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, pain, suffering, and more. In South Carolina, a Lyft or Uber car accident lawyer from our firm can help you. Here are some tips to help you prepare for a Lyft or Uber car accident claim:

  • Call the police to report the accident. Request an ambulance if anyone is hurt.
  • Exchange information with the other driver, including names, contact information, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information.
  • Provide only verifiable facts to police when answering questions. Avoid speculating on what might’ve caused the accident.
  • Be careful what you say to any insurance company. Do not agree to provide a recorded statement, and do not sign anything from an insurance company before talking to a lawyer. Do not downplay your injuries or your pain. Do not accept blame for the accident, and don’t blame anyone else.
  • If ambulance attendants urge you to go to the hospital with them, do so. See a doctor soon after the accident. Some serious injuries, including potentially fatal head injuries, may show only mild symptoms immediately after the injury.
  • Save all bills, receipts, and correspondence related to the accident, your injuries, medical care, and other costs, losses, and time spent dealing with the aftermath of the accident and its impact on you. For a successful claim, you will need to document what you have been through.
  • Record what happened. As soon as you can, write out in your own words how the accident happened or record it vocally. Note what you were doing just before the accident, where you were going, who you were with, and other important details while your memory is fresh.
  • Contact a rideshare accident lawyer. An Uber car accident attorney will take care of the complicated steps involved in a Lyft or Uber claim, including gathering evidence, medical records and bills, calculating your costs and losses, and negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf.

Compensation for Your Injuries in a Lyft or Uber Accident

As your car accident attorneys, Joye Law Firm would investigate to determine who was responsible for the accident you were in and how that party was insured. We would calculate the full extent of your costs and losses and submit a “demand letter” on your behalf to the responsible insurers.

We would seek full compensation for you for:

  • Medical bills, from emergency medical care to hospitalization, surgery, follow-up doctor’s visits, medication, rehabilitation, and other expenses
  • Vehicle and/or other property damage
  • Lost income during your medical recovery
  • Diminished earning ability if you are unable to return to work at full capacity
  • Pain and suffering

We can settle most car accident cases through our aggressive negotiations with insurers. If insurance companies will not do the right thing, we will be prepared to file a lawsuit on your behalf.

In most cases, South Carolina’s statute of limitations gives a person who has been injured by another party’s negligence three years to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for their losses. In many cases, investigating the accident, ensuring the injured party has reached their best possible medical recovery, obtaining records, dealing with insurance companies, and preparing a personal injury lawsuit take much of the time allowed under the statute of limitations.

It is best to ask an experienced rideshare accident lawyer about your legal rights as soon as possible after someone has injured you in a car accident.

Contact Our South Carolina Rideshare Accident Attorneys

After you have been injured in a car accident involving a vehicle driven by an Uber or Lyft driver, Joye Law Firm can help you determine whose insurance coverage is responsible to you and what compensation you are owed. Let our South Carolina Uber and Lyft car accident attorneys at Joye Law Firm handle the insurance adjusters for you. We have offices throughout South Carolina in North Charleston, Columbia, Clinton, Summerville and Myrtle Beach.

Contact us now for a free initial consultation. We will not charge for our legal services unless we recover compensation for you. Call us at 888-324-3100 or fill out an online consultation form.