Car-Sharing Services and Auto Accidents: Who Is Responsible?
Peer-to-peer car-sharing companies such as Getaround, Zipcar, and Turo offer you a more flexible alternative to traditional car rental. However, before you use someone else’s car through a car-sharing app, it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities regarding car-sharing insurance and potential claims.
Peer-to-peer car-sharing accidents can become complicated if you have an auto insurance policy and buy additional insurance from the car-share company. Hiring an experienced California peer-to-peer car-sharing lawyer from The Shirvanian Law Firm can help you navigate the legal process after an accident and receive appropriate compensation.
How Does Insurance Work with Car Sharing Apps?
Your auto insurance policy will protect you when renting a car from a car-sharing app. Most peer-to-peer car-sharing companies offer supplemental insurance policies for secondary coverage if an accident occurs.
Secondary policies are only effective during the time you use the car. If you don’t have an auto insurance policy, primary coverage will come from the ride-sharing car insurance plan.
Insurance policies with the top three car-sharing apps include the following terms:
Getaround’s Insurance Policy
Getaround’s insurance plan covers all renters and vehicles. The policy covers the renter’s personal liability and property damage. It includes:
- Liability coverages:
- $50,000 for physical injury to one person
- $100,000 for physical injury per collision
- $30,000 for property damage per accident
- Collision and comprehensive policy up to the car’s value
- Uninsured and underinsured (UI/UM) coverage up to a state’s minimum requirements. For California, your UI/UM coverage will be up to the limits of your liability insurance policy
The policy also includes medical coverage for medical payments for a vehicle accident up to $1,000. However, medical coverage is a supplement to your health insurance. Getaround recommends that renters carry sufficient personal health insurance coverage when using their car-sharing service.
Zipcar’s Damage Fees and Protection Plans
The company offers the choice of buying premium or plus damage protection plans. A plus damage protection plan reduces your damage fee to only $375, while the premium damage plan eliminates the cost.
Additional Liability Protection (ALP) is available if you take hourly or daily trips with the car. This protection offers up to $300,000 under Zipcar’s third-party insurance policy.
In California, you are liable when another person causes collision damage to the rented vehicle, regardless of its cause. You must also pay for the towing, storage, and impound fees and the car repairs up to the car’s value.
Turo’s Protection Plans
Turo offers three levels of protection when you choose a vehicle:
- Minimum protection plan: $3,000 for vehicle damage and state-required minimum amount of third-party liability insurance
- Standard protection plan: $500 for vehicle damage and state-mandated minimum liability coverage limits
- Premier protection plan: No vehicle damage fee and $750,000 in liability coverage limits
All the protection plans come with third-party liability coverage from Travelers Excess and Surplus Lines Company. It includes coverage for bodily injury and property damage.
What Should I Do if I Get into a Car Sharing Accident?
A car-sharing collision caused by another driver’s negligence requires knowing what to do afterward to protect your rights and safety. After a crash, remain as calm as possible and take the following steps:
Check for Injuries
Ensure you and your passengers are okay and don’t have visible injuries. If you feel dizzy or experience any pain after impact in the accident, call 911 for emergency responders and the police.
However, it is common for injuries not to show up right away, such as concussions, back injuries, and soft tissue injuries. Therefore, seek medical attention from your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
File a Police Report
The police officer will investigate the accident, speak to witnesses and drivers, and assess the accident scene for their report. When the police interview you, remain objective and talk as factually as possible about the accident.
Try to recall what you witnessed and experienced before and during the collision. Avoid apologizing or admitting to negligence in the accident. Relaying only the factual details of the crash can prevent you from incriminating yourself if an auto insurance company tries to refute your claim.
Gather Information from Witnesses and Those Involved
Exchange information with other drivers involved in the accident. Obtain drivers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, and license numbers. It is also essential to record the make, model, year, color, and license plates of all cars involved in the accident.
Pedestrians, other drivers, passengers and nearby onlookers may have witnessed the accident. Ask for their names and contact information to collect their statements later on with the help of your Glendale car accident attorney. The police report may also identify the witnesses and their contact information.
Take Photos of the Accident Scene and the Damages
Photos and videos offer an objective perspective of the accident. They can help you document the accident site and the resulting vehicle damage.
Use your smartphone to take pictures of the vehicle damage and the accident scene. Try to capture the entire accident scene, including the traffic lights, weather, and road conditions.
Take pictures of the damage sustained by the rental vehicle. Include any warning lights, mileage, and the current time in your rental car in your photos.
Report the Accident to the Car Share Company
Contact the car-share company immediately after the accident. Every car-share company has its own process that may involve completing an incident report.
For instance, Zipcar requires completing an incident report with all the information you gathered from the accident. This report must include vehicle license plate numbers and the drivers’ and witnesses’ contact information names.
Notify Your Insurance Company
If your primary coverage for the car is your car insurance policy, you will need to inform them of the accident. Ensure your auto insurance company is aware of any additional coverage you bought from the car-share company.
If you have liability coverage with the car-share company, it can help pay for injuries and damages to the drivers and their vehicles. If you believe the accident was the fault of another driver, your lawyer can investigate the accident and help you put together your compensation claim.
How The Shirvanian Law Firm Can Help You
The Shirvanian Law Firm can protect your rights to compensation after a car-share accident. A personal injury lawyer for car-sharing apps can manage ongoing communications with auto insurance companies and review your evidence to determine the appropriate legal action for your case. If necessary, your attorney can help you file an insurance claim or seek damages in a personal injury suit to compensate you for accident-related expenses.
Call us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your car share accident with one of our attorneys. Our fee arrangement is contingency-based, so you do not pay unless we win your case.