What Happens After a Lyft or Uber Accident?

December 27, 2018 @ 10:17 am

what happens if you're injured in an uber or lyft? blog photo

They’re not traditional taxis, and their drivers aren’t conventional employees. Instead, Uber and Lyft are ride-sharing services, and their drivers are independent contractors. So what exactly happens when a ride—or stroll—becomes a collision? What happens when you’re injured, and an Uber or Lyft driver is involved?

Whether you’re hurt as a rider or pedestrian, it’s helpful to first understand how ride-sharing service drivers are insured. Then, you can better understand the potential challenges and limitations you might face in requesting needed compensation.

How are Uber and Lyft drivers insured?

Both Uber and Lyft require that drivers maintain their own registration and insurance on the personal vehicles they drive for services. This helps ensure that automobiles meet state vehicle safety standards and that drivers maintain car insurance that complies with required state minimum coverages.

When drivers operate their vehicles for personal use, their ride-sharing apps are required to be turned off, and drivers are covered under their own personal car insurance. Neither Lyft or Uber cover off-duty drivers.

Once a driver is on the Uber or Lyft app—that is, actively working—Uber- or Lyft-supplied insurance coverage applies and covers accidents according to the driver’s status if the service driver is at fault:

  • If the driver is waiting for a ride request and happens to have an accident while passenger-less, the ride-sharing service’s insurance typically cover liability for a third party of at least $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident for bodily injury and $25,000 per accident for property damage.
  • Once a driver accepts a ride request, the level of coverage for the ride typically increases to $1 million per accident and lasts until “the ride has ended in the app.”

Both Lyft and Uber supply their drivers with contingent collision and comprehensive coverage. Limits cover the vehicle’s value or the cost of repairs if something happens while drivers are on duty, regardless of whether they’re at fault. To be eligible, drivers must carry collision on their own personal car insurance policy. Uber has a $1,000 deductible while Lyft’s deductible is $2,500.

Both Uber and Lyft typically supply uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance that will cover personal injuries to the driver and any rideshare passengers should a collision occur and the at-fault driver is an uninsured or underinsured driver. This insurance also covers collisions that are the fault of hit-and-run drivers who cannot be identified. Coverage amounts, however, vary with individual state requirements.

Although both Uber and Lyft require drivers to maintain their own personal car insurance policy, typical personal policies usually will not cover drivers while they are working on the app. Some drivers may add business riders to their conventional policy or carry commercial insurance: UberBLACK, UberSUV or TLC—Taxi and Limousine Commission—drivers, for example. If drivers already carry any commercial or ride-sharing insurance coverage, they must first exhaust those coverage limits.

If an Uber or Lyft driver is involved in a collision, whose insurance is liable?

Generally, the rules of liability are similar to any other collision to a point:

  • If another driver is at fault, the at-fault driver will be responsible for damages and compensation through their insurance policy.
  • If the at-fault party is uninsured, underinsured, or flees the scene and cannot be identified, the uninsured/underinsured portions of coverage typically apply, as long as their driver was on the app.
  • If the on-duty Uber or Lyft driver is at fault, both services clearly state that company-sponsored insurance coverage applies once the Uber or Lyft driver’s personal car insurance benefits have been exhausted:
    • If the driver has only a conventional car insurance policy, it’s unlikely to cover an on-duty collision, so the Uber or Lyft policy will apply according to the driver’s app status at the time.
    • If the driver has a business or commercial policy, all claims must be filed through that policy first.
  • If the driver is not on the app but is at fault, the driver’s personal car insurance coverage typically applies.
  • If you are involved in a collision involving a rideshare driver, it’s important to consider consulting with an attorney to help review all insurance policies that may apply to provide coverage.

Determining Your Case

In theory, the concepts of fault, liability and insurance through a ridesharing service may seem fairly straightforward. Real-life situations, however, are often far more complex. Rideshare service companies may challenge a driver’s status on the app. Insurance companies may delay or deny claims or attempt to pass valid claims on to other providers.

The personal injury attorneys at Morrow, Morrow, Ryan, Bassett & Haik, however, have been resolving conflicts and serving the people of Louisiana for more than four decades. If you are having problems receiving adequate compensation for your injury or loss, contact us through our website, or call us at 1-800-356-6776 to schedule your free consultation. We can ensure that drivers, ridesharing companies and their insurance providers take responsibility for any applicable liability for your personal injury or loss.

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