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What Happens After a Car Accident Involving Uber or Lyft

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No matter how big or small, being involved in a car accident is stressful. You may immediately start worrying about injuries, insurance bills, and legal troubles. Unfortunately, the laws and insurance claims get even more complicated when a ridesharing vehicle is involved, such as an Uber or Lyft.

Usually passengers are requesting an Uber or Lyft to avoid hassle. They don’t feel like searching for parking or getting a DUI. But as ridesharing companies gain popularity, there are increasing numbers of crashes involving their drivers.

Since the companies are still relatively new, there are still many questions about who is liable when rideshare drivers are involved in auto accidents. If you’re involved in an Uber or Lyft accident either as another driver, or as a passenger in the rideshare vehicle, these are a few important things to know and understand when it comes to your rights:

1. Uber and Lyft do not own, operate, or control their vehicles.

Rather than Uber and Lyft purchasing their own fleets, they rely on their drivers to use their own personal vehicles. This serves as an additional layer of protection for the companies in the event of a collision since they cannot be held responsible for any damage done to vehicles involved in rideshare accidents.

2. Uber and Lyft do not hire their drivers.

In addition to driving their own cars, Uber and Lyft drivers work for themselves. They are independent contractors who pick up passengers on behalf of the rideshare companies. This important factor makes it difficult to sue Uber and Lyft directly if you are involved in an accident with one of their drivers. The companies assume far less responsibility of their drivers’ negligent actions since they are not technically Uber or Lyft employees.

3. The Uber or Lyft driver’s personal insurance may not cover them.

Nearly every state requires drivers to have car insurance, and Uber and Lyft require their drivers to have it, too. However, some private car insurance providers do not cover rideshare accidents because the vehicle is being used for hire in that moment. The driver would need additional commercial coverage on their policy to be covered when they are choosing to drive for Uber or Lyft.

4. Uber and Lyft have insurance policies to protect their drivers and passengers.

Their insurance plans follow very similar structures that depend on when in the rideshare process the accident takes place. There are essentially three layers of coverage for their drivers and passengers:

  1. If an Uber or Lyft driver has their Uber or Lyft app turned off at the moment of the crash, they are only covered by their personal auto insurance policy.
  2. If the driver has their app on and in driver mode, but hasn’t accepted a passenger pickup yet, they are covered by contingent auto liability up to:
    1. $50,000 per person for bodily injury.
    2. $100,000 per accident for bodily injury.
    3. $25,000 per accident for property damage.
  3. Once a driver has accepted a ride request, they are covered by auto liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage up to $1 million, as well as contingent collision and comprehensive coverage up to the cash value of the vehicle or the repair cost. This level of coverage continues until the ride has ended in the app. When you are injured as a Lyft or Uber passenger, your claim will most likely be made against the rideshare company rather than any of the drivers involved. 

5. You can file a personal injury claim if you’re injured in an Uber or Lyft accident.

If a rideshare driver hits your car, or you are injured as a passenger in a rideshare accident, you should absolutely fight to hold the driver and the company responsible. Because of the way Uber and Lyft have set up their liability programs, the companies are much more difficult to hold accountable than their drivers. However, the rideshare company may have been at least partially at fault since they are supposed to screen their drivers before letting them pick up passengers.

Since Uber and Lyft have insurance policies for these types of crashes, you do have an opportunity to receive compensation. Of course, it isn’t going to be easy taking on either one of these massive companies in court. It is going to involve a great deal of filling out and organizing paperwork. You will need a detailed record of the crash and any expenses you incurred as a result, including vehicle repairs and medical bills.

What to Do Immediately After an Uber or Lyft Accident

Since you may be taking on a large, powerful company in the future, you should be very meticulous in documenting and collecting information at the scene of the crash. As always, call the police, and then get the names, contact information and insurance details of everyone involved. Take plenty of pictures of the scene, and notes on what exactly happened. If there are any witnesses, talk to them as well and ask if you can have their contact information. After a police officer arrives, be sure to document the officer’s name and your case number.

If you are too injured to collect this information, try to ask someone else to document it for you. At the very least, have a friend or family member return to the scene later to take pictures of what’s left, or photograph any vehicle damage.

Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer After an Uber or Lyft Accident in Las Vegas

If an Uber or Lyft driver hits your car, or if you are injured in an Uber or Lyft accident, you may be entitled to substantial compensation that can help cover the bills while you recover. The other party’s insurance company will do its best to reduce your claim and pay you the smallest amount possible. In order to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, be sure to find a reputable attorney with experience in rideshare accident cases.

Shook & Stone’s legal team understands that Uber and Lyft accidents should be treated differently. If you’re involved in a rideshare accident, you will find the support and representation you need working with our attorneys. We can help guide you through complicated court and auto insurance battles, ensuring that you are compensated for medical costs, lost work income, and pain and suffering.

If you or someone you know is involved in a car accident with a Lyft or an Uber, contact us today for a free consultation.

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