Car Accident Liability with Uber and Lyft Accidents
Hailing a taxi is a thing of the past.
We are no longer dependent on good luck, good timing, and the kindness of others to get a ride to where we're going.
We don't have to hop out into traffic to signal down the only vacant taxi we've seen in the last 15 minutes.
With the rise of Lyft and Uber, it is much easier now.
Are you heading out of the office for lunch at noon?
Perfect, just use your phone to schedule a ride with Uber or Lyft 15 minutes ahead of time from the comfort of your office.
The app will tell you the kind of car you're getting, a picture of your driver, when they are expected to arrive, and their exact location while they are on the way.
What could be more convenient than that?
The drivers are even encouraged to be courteous due to the rating system that accompanies the app.
However, nothing is perfect, and the drivers are still human.
That means there is still a chance you could be involved in an auto accident while you're riding with an Uber or Lyft driver.
But what happens after an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver?
Who's responsible? Do the drivers have insurance or do the companies insurance cover it?We'll answer these questions, and more, in the article below.
The Rideshare Business Model
To understand what happens after an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, you need to understand the "rideshare" business model first.
Uber and Lyft's biggest competitors are taxies and other car services in major U.S. cities.
Uber and Lyft are very similar to traditional taxi companies because they don't own, operate, or control their cars, and they don't hire their drivers.
Instead, the driver's work under a contract with the companies in order to pick up passengers.
The main difference between Uber and Lyft and the traditional taxi companies is how the cars are "hired" and their pricing structure.
As previously mentioned, passengers do not hail an Uber or Lyft driver on the street.
Instead, they download an app to their phone and hire the driver ahead of time using the app.
The pricing will vary. Some rides will be cheaper than traditional taxis while others tend to be more expensive.
Common Causes Of Uber And Lyft Accidents
Now that we have a better understanding of how ridesharing works, let's discuss the major causes of accidents that involve an Uber or a Lyft driver.
One thing to keep in mind is that Uber and Lyft drivers don't go through extensive driver training in order to become a driver.
They are human just like us, and they are prone to all the same factors that cause drivers like us to crash.
However, there are a few circumstances that can make an Uber or Lyft driver even more likely to be in an accident.
First of all, most Uber and Lyft drivers have to pay close attention to their GPS so they can find their passengers and then get them to their destination.
Taking your eyes off the road for even a split second can cause a serious accident, and the GPS isn't the only thing that distracts them.
The passengers they transport can also be quite distracting.
On that note, one significant benefit of being a driver for Lyft or Uber is that you get to meet all kinds of people.
Sometimes, though, the conversations can be too good, pulling the driver's attention away from the road, leading to an accident.
And finally, exhaustion plays a large role in accidents involving Uber and Lyft drivers.
Many Uber and Lyft drivers work long hours to maximize their earning potential, but those long hours can lead to serious mistakes behind the wheel.
Uber and Lyft do take measures to ensure that their drivers are as safe as possible.
The monitor the speed of their driver's vehicles, and will disqualify drivers who surpass a certain threshold of traffic citations.
They also allow passengers to rate their drivers in the app, ensuring that the drivers are always in their best behavior.
Who Is Liable If You Are Hit By An Uber Or Lyft Driver?
Ok, so it's happened. You've been involved in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver.
How do we determine who's liable?
First of all, just like with any other car accident case, the person presenting the claim has to be able to prove who was at fault, and then they have to prove the damages.
If you were hit by an Uber or Lyft driver you have to prove they were negligent in order to have a claim.
If the negligent party was the Uber or Lyft driver, your case will be pretty straightforward and will proceed like any other car accident claim.
The tricky part is determining whose insurance will pay for your claim, your driver's or the rideshare companies.
It's usually a long uphill battle when you try to hold Uber or Lyft accountable for an accident caused by one of their drivers.
But, the companies have recently started carrying liability car insurance coverage for their drivers.
So, legal responsibility aside, it's entirely possible to hold Uber or Lyft financially responsible when you're a non-negligent driver in an accident caused by an Uber or Lyft driver.
Uber And Lyft Drivers And Car Insurance
Let's talk a little more about the car insurance involved with Uber and Lyft drivers.
Both Uber and Lyft require their drivers to have personal car insurance that meets or exceeds state minimums for liability coverage.
However, the driver's personal policy probably isn't going to provide coverage while they're driving for Uber or Lyft.
Most non-commercial policies exclude coverage when the policyholder is driving for hire. So what happens when they cause an accident?
Luckily both Uber and Lyft provide liability coverage for their drivers with coverage that varies depending on how the accident occurred.
Here is a breakdown:
- When the driver isn't logged into the company app, there is no coverage.
- When the driver is logged into the app but hasn't accepted a ride request, Uber/Lyft will provide liability coverage up to $50,000 per person injured in an accident, and $100,000 total injury liability per accident, and $25,000 property damage liability.
- When the driver has accepted a ride, Uber/Lyft provides liability coverage up to $1 million.
What To Do After An Uber Or Lyft Accident
Just like with any other accident, the first thing that should be done is to make sure you and everyone else involved is okay and out of harm's way.
Then you need to get their names, contact information and insurance details.
Ask any witnesses for their contact information as well.
Next, get out your phone and start taking pictures of the accident scene including the vehicles and anything else that might be relevant to your claim.
Before you do that, though, you should've already called the police.
You should always call the police after an accident, but with an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, you want the accident investigated as soon as possible.
And finally, if you've been in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, you should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.
Car accident claims are confusing to begin with, and adding in a company like Uber or Lyft complicates things even more.
If you don't have a lawyer, click the button below to speak with the Uber and Lyft Auto Accident Attorneys at The Roth Firm.
Their experience and expertise will help guide you through the entire process, ensuring you get what you deserve.