Collision insurance, rotating your tires, and ridesharing are a few subjects that aren’t often adequately covered in many legal blogs. The fact is, these are overlooked issues that cause big problems for many people. So, to make sure the subjects are given their due attention, here are 4 things you probably didn’t know about car accidents.
1. What Do I Do When I’ve Been in an Accident and I Don’t Have Collision Insurance?
The inevitable has happened. You were driving down the road, minding your own business, hopefully, when someone hit your car with their car. (Or vice versa.)
You don’t have collision coverage to have your car repaired. Furthermore, you can’t get a rental car. To make matters worse, the defendant won’t return a phone call to his own insurance company.
When you’re in this situation, it’s like being in purgatory. Essentially, the defendant’s insurance company isn’t going to make a decision with regard to liability without a recorded statement from the other party about the auto collision.
If the defendant refuses to answer the call, you’re going to be sitting at home with no car. The insurance won’t move forward on your property damage claim.
This all leaves you wondering, “Well, how am I going to get back and forth to work?”
What Do I Do Now?
If you find yourself in this situation, the first thing to do is get a rental car. Make sure that you keep the receipts to mitigate your damages.
Insurance companies won’t typically pay more than $30 per day for your rental, so keep your daily cost below that. Get a mid- or economy-sized vehicle to keep the price down.
Now you can get to work and run whatever errends you need to run. When the insurance finally gets their insured party on the phone, two to three weeks later, they will eventually accept liability. At that point, you can say, “Look, I’ve had a rental car for the past two weeks,” and you can present that bill for the rental car to them as part of the property damage claim.
Next, tell the insurance company where your car is being stored. They will send an adjuster to take a look at the vehicle and decide whether the vehicle should be totalled out, or repaired. Even if they haven’t talked to the other party, this can still be done. Not to mention, you can cross it off of your to-do list.
The advantage to getting this done as soon as possible is saving time on processing your property damage claim. The more items crossed off of your list in advance, the sooner you can expect to be compensated for damages.
2. Should I Rotate my Tires, and, If so, Why?
Common sense isn’t always the best sense, in the modern world. In some cases, what seems intuitive might just be the wrong way to get something done. Take car tires, for instance.
Most people are under the impression that the best tires on a vehicle should be kept on the front axle. This is because the majority of cars are front wheel drive. Common knowledge dictates that you keep your best tires on the front.
Ironically, studies show that it’s better if you have your newer tires on your rear axle. This is particularly relevant to Charleston, South Carolina residents.
As many Charleston residents know, between 2:30 and 3:30 in the afternoon during the summer and spring seasons, it rains for 20 minutes to an hour. This results in two or three inches of water on the roads that wasn’t there before. There are a lot of car wrecks as a result.
If you put your tires on the rear axle of your vehicles, you have better control in the event of hydroplaning.
What is Hydroplaning?
It’s common knowledge that your tires keep you on the road. They are the mode of “locomotion” that keeps you going where you steer.
When water gets on the road, your tires literally pull it into the tread, and under the rubber. At high enough speeds, the friction between the tires and the water becomes greater than that of the tires and the road. As a result, your car literally begins to waterski, better known as hydroplaning.
Once any object begins to hydroplane, momentum takes over the steering. An object in motion, they say, stays in motion. Unless, of course, there’s another car in the way. In this case, there will be an accident.
Keeping the better tires on the back of your vehicle provides better traction where water has already been moved by the front tires. So, when you hit the brakes, the back wheels are still in contact with the ground, and they have better stopping power, because they’re in better shape.
Tires should be rotated every time you get your oil changed. Waiting too long can lead to uneven tread wear, loss of alignment, and even less steering control.
3. What Insurance Coverage Do I Need if I Drive For Uber or Lyft?
‘Your friend with a car’ a tag line of Lyft, a car service company.
It’s as easy as pulling up an app on the Smartphone and booking a car for a ride to your destination. Instead of hailing a taxi on the roads, these apps are designed for easy booking of a car with a driver that makes one’s life easier.
All payments are done through the app and no cash is paid to the drivers. The drivers of these companies aren’t employed with them but are in contract with the companies to pick up passengers on their behalf. Drivers use their personal vehicles, unlike other conventional cab companies.
In the case of traditional cab companies, vehicles are licensed and regulated through the state or municipality. There are cab-specific laws supporting such issues.
But Uber and Lyft drivers have their own insurance policies. So, what happens when an Uber or Lyft driver hits someone?
What Happens After a Rideshare Service Accident?
You may think the procedure of the claim following a car accident would be just like any other claim. However, there can be complications. For example, if an Uber or Lyft driver is ‘on the clock’ but not carrying a passenger.
Insurers typically won’t cover an accident while one is conducting a commercial activity. So the Lyft or Uber driver’s car insurer may claim there is no coverage for an accident that occurred when the car was ‘ridesharing’.
It may be interesting to know that no one really knows how many drivers there are working for Uber and Lyft, as of 2019. Well, Uber and Lyft know, but they’re not telling, because it’s their company’s secrets.
Estimates on the number of rideshare service drivers come in between one- and one-and-a-half-million for Uber. Somehow, it is known that Uber controls about 87 percent of the driver marketshare, meaning that there are an estimated 850,000 to 1.2 million Lyft drivers.
As ride-share services become more popular, companies and independent drivers are concerned about insurance coverage. This includes who is responsible in an accident and what type of coverage is needed.
Currently, there aren’t any standards in the insurance industry regarding coverage for ride-share vehicles. In many states, insurance companies have started to modify and adopt their individual car insurance policies to exclude ride-share services.
Controversy arises when there’s an accident and everyone wants to know who is liable, and whose insurance policy will cover a car accident claim? Should the ride-share company be liable, and provide the coverage to the driver? Or, is it the individual driver’s responsibility to provide the coverage?
Who’s Responsible for Rideshare Insurance Coverage?
You certainly don’t want to have a car accident, only to learn later that your insurance policy doesn’t cover the claim. Even worse, the company who you frive for won’t cover the claim, either. What do you do?
Some states, such as California, have settled this issue by requiring the ride-share companies to provide insurance for their drivers from the minute they become available on the app. It’s expected that other states will follow suit.
In the meantime, if you drive for a rideshare company, you should speak with your insurance company about exactly what claims they will cover. Some companies are beginning to provide hybrid policies that will cover, not only your personal use of the vehicle, but the ride-share use as well.
Rideshare customers should also be aware of their rights and what’s covered by insurance. In the event that there’s an accident with injuries to the driver and/or passengers, some insurance may not cover damages.
If you’ve been injured in accident in or around Charleston, you should contact an attorney to discuss your car accident claim. Since this is a new area, many attorneys are unfamiliar with the limitations. That’s why it’s important to contact an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer like Frank Hartman.
Frank knows about car accidents, injuries, property damages, and what needs to be done to assist you in taking your best course of action.
The subject of insurance coverage for ride-share isn’t going to go away. In fact, it will most likely become a major topic in the insurance industry.
Because of the popularity of ride-share, it’s anticipated that it will increase substantially over the coming years. The insurance industry should do a better job of making sure customers are aware of what’s covered in case of an accident. That doesn’t mean that they will.
How Can I Get More Information, or Help With My Car Accident Claim
Being involved in any auto collision is a stressful and overwhelming experience. Frank will take the pressure to handle your legal and insurance issues, so you can focus on recovering.
Call Frank now at (843) 300-7600, contact him online, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.