Someone slams into the side of your car in an intersection, and you break your arm. Then, you find out that the other party is an Uber driver. What do you do, and who do you sue when the at-fault driver works for Uber or Lyft?
These are common questions you should discuss with an Uber and Lyft car accident attorney. They can handle every step of a car accident claim involving a rideshare driver.
The rideshare accident lawyer will determine who was at fault and which personal or commercial auto insurance policy should compensate you. The consultation is free, so contact a law firm near you today for more information.
Understanding Uber And Lyft Insurance Policies
Before rideshare companies came about, all drivers on the road were personal or commercial. If you needed to get somewhere and didn’t want to drive, you could pay for a cab or a ride with a family member or friend.
Commercial drivers usually drive company vehicles and have commercial auto insurance. Personal auto insurance policies don’t cover those driving passengers for money.
Rideshare drivers for Uber and Lyft fall somewhere between personal and commercial. Uber and Lyft drivers aren’t usually considered employees; they are independent contractors who drive customers in their personal autos.
A Lyft driver can use his personal SUV to drop his son off at school, then turn the Lyft app on and start picking up passengers. Then, he may switch the app off, drive home, and make dinner. What type of insurance policy applies in these various situations?
Under the rideshare company’s insurance policies, insurance coverage hinges on the driver’s status when the accident happened:
If the Uber or Lyft driver was offline when the accident happened, it means they were not working when the crash happened. If the driver wasn’t ferrying a passenger, waiting for a passenger, or on his way to pick one up, you cannot sue the rideshare company for your injuries and other damages.
You will treat the crash like a regular auto accident, and you will file a claim against the negligent driver.
Rideshare companies’ insurance policies cover auto accidents caused by their drivers when the drivers were working at the time. Your car accident attorney will investigate whether the driver was working when the crash happened and then will demand compensation from the appropriate insurance company.
If the rideshare driver hasn’t accepted a ride request, but the app is one, and they’re waiting for a rider, the following insurance coverages apply (Uber and Lyft coverages are similar):
- $50,000 per occupant injured in the accident, up to $100,000 per accident
- $25,000 in property damage per accident
Your attorney can advise you about your legal options if this coverage does not pay for your damages. You may need to file a lawsuit against the driver or rideshare company to recover more money.
Uber and Lyft have a $1 million commercial insurance policy that covers auto accidents that occur after the rideshare accepts a fare. It applies whether the rider is in or outside the vehicle.
Your attorney will determine if the driver had accepted a fare or was ferrying a passenger when the crash happened. This is a significant point; some accident injuries can be severe, and the higher insurance limits may ensure you receive fair compensation for your losses.
What Damages Can You Receive From Uber Or Lyft?
If an Uber or Lyft driver injured you in an accident, you can receive compensation from the company’s insurance coverage.
Some damages may be:
- Medical bills: You can have medical expenses for going to the ER and doctor. You also can have bills for surgeries, hospital stays, and rehabilitation.
- Lost earnings: Many people with serious injuries are out of work for weeks or months. You can be entitled to lost income during your recovery, which may apply if you have to take a lower-paying job as you heal.
- Pain and suffering: Severe car accident injuries, such as broken bones and internal injuries, can be painful. Your attorney will use your medical reports and possibly expert testimony to argue for the most pain and suffering compensation.
Who Can File An Uber Or Lyft Accident Claim?
You can have a personal injury claim after an Uber or Lyft accident as a driver, passenger, or third party:
Uber Or Lyft Passenger
As an injured rideshare passenger, you can file a claim with the rideshare company if your driver caused the accident. If another party caused the accident, you may need to file a claim against that party’s auto insurance policy. If the third party wasn’t insured, filing a claim under the rideshare company’s uninsured driver coverage is possible.
Uber Or Lyft Driver
If another driver caused the accident, a rideshare driver may need to file a claim on that person’s insurance policy. If the third party doesn’t have insurance, the Uber or Lyft driver can file an uninsured driver claim with the rideshare company.
If an Uber or Lyft driver hits you, you can file a claim with the rideshare company’s policy.
Is An Uber Or Lyft Driver The Same As A Taxi?
No. To get a taxi, you can stand on the street and hail one or wait in a taxi line at the airport. Once you get to your destination, you pay for the ride. But Uber and Lyft are different.
You must use their app to request a driver to hail a rideshare ride. Also, the company has your credit card on file, and payment is done through the app.
Also, taxi and rideshare companies hire their drivers differently. The taxi business owns and maintains the taxi and leases it to the driver. The city or county usually regulates the taxi industry in your community, and the driver must have a special license.
On the other hand, rideshare drivers are independent contractors. They use their personal motor vehicles and charge riders fees through the app. If there is an accident and the Uber or Lyft driver caused it, the driver’s personal auto insurance can deny the claim, and Uber and Lyft may contest liability, too.
This is where having an experienced rideshare accident attorney can greatly help. Your attorney knows the law and will determine who is responsible for your injuries and other damages.
Do Uber And Lyft Drivers Cause More Auto Accidents?
Uber and Lyft are popular for consumers who want to get around without driving and are less expensive than cab rides. A recent Safety Report states that Uber offers about 45 rides per second in the U.S. But with more Americans using rideshare services, auto and pedestrian accidents have risen nationally.
Studies have not determined why more accidents are happening, but Lyft and Uber rideshare services can contribute:
- An American Journal of Epidemiology study found that after Uber started in New York City, there was a 10 percent rise in auto accidents. Auto accident injuries rose 6 percent, and auto accident deaths increased by 3 percent.
- A Journal of Transport Geography study found that a small increase in deadly and injury accidents occurred after rideshare companies started in California. Further, the study found that the relationship between Uber and Lyft and crashes varied, depending on the company and accident location.
- A Journal of Transport & Health study determined that the increase in rideshare services in the U.S. led to higher traffic deaths. The study suggested that the increase in rideshare companies caused 1,100 more auto accident deaths in the last five years.
Evidence suggests rideshare company growth has contributed to more severe and fatal road accidents. After a rideshare accident, a lawyer can explain how Uber and Lyft’s liability may affect the legal process.
Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney After an Uber or Lyft Accident?
You aren’t required to hire a lawyer to recover damages in a claim or lawsuit. However, the case can get complex quickly when an Uber or Lyft driver is involved.
Companies are usually more likely found liable in cases involving employee negligence. But remember, most rideshare drivers aren’t employees, they are independent contractors. Maybe you cannot hold the rideshare company to account for your losses, and the driver’s personal auto insurance can object to paying. But your attorney will give you the best chance of a successful claim.
You can have thousands in medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering, but many questions about who should have to pay. An experienced rideshare accident lawyer can provide peace of mind by ensuring that Uber or Lyft pays if they are liable. In the meantime, you can focus your energy on recovering.
What Is an Uber or Lyft Claim Worth?
The value of the Uber or Lyft claim depends on:
- Your past and future medical expenses. How severely you suffered an injury is a major factor in the case’s value.
- Your past and future lost income. Going forward, you can be entitled to more compensation if your ability to earn a living is affected.
- How severe your pain and suffering is. Pain and suffering is subjective, and your attorney may rely on your medical records and doctor’s testimony to argue for more compensation.
Your attorney can’t guarantee what you might receive in a settlement or claim. However, after collecting all accident evidence and medical records, they can provide an approximate case value they will aim for. A car accident attorney in your corner ensures you will get the most for your losses.
Most car accident claims, including rideshare claims, are resolved out of court. It is usually in both parties’ interests to resolve the matter without going to court.
A settlement allows you to obtain compensation sooner to pay for your medical bills, lost earnings, and other losses. A settlement allows the defendant to put the matter behind them without worrying about additional legal action and expenses.
During settlement talks, your attorney will try to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. If they settle, an agreement will be drafted, your attorney will be paid their fee from the proceeds, and you will receive the balance.
But the case will go to trial if the defendant fights liability or won’t offer a fair settlement.
Your attorney will update you on settlement negotiations and advise you on the best legal court. Only you can decide if you want to go to court, but it can be advantageous in many circumstances to settle the rideshare lawsuit.
Speak to an Uber and Lyft Car Accident Attorneys Today
Being in any auto accident is upsetting, but if the crash involved Uber or Lyft, you might not know who to file a claim against or how to do it. You also can bet that Uber or Lyft will try to deny responsibility, but a car accident attorney will hold them accountable.
Your Uber and Lyft auto accident lawyer will identify who is liable for the accident and which insurance policies should compensate you for your losses. They also will ensure that you get the most money possible.
Contact Redding personal injury attorney for a free case evaluation. You can get immediate answers and know you have placed your case in good hands.