Rideshares are one of the most popular ways to get around. They’re cheaper than taxis, faster, and allow everyone to have a fun night out without worrying about a designated driver.
With over 140,000 rides shared each day, there are bound to be some accidents. That raises an important question: If I’m in an Uber or Lyft accident, who pays for my injuries?
The most important thing to know about rideshare drivers is that they are not employees of Uber or Lyft. They are independent contractors, legally distanced from the company. For that reason, it is unlikely that someone injured in a rideshare accident will be able to file a claim against Uber or Lyft directly.
Thankfully, popular rideshare companies now provide insurance coverage for their customers and drivers. Coverage begins when drivers turn on the app. Even when looking for a passenger, Uber and Lyft drivers have some amount of coverage beyond their personal insurance.
Insurance coverage dramatically increases once a passenger matches with their driver. Both Uber and Lyft offer $1M in auto liability insurance. This insurance is primarily used in scenarios where the other driver involved in an accident is uninsured or if the crash is a hit and run.
Why Timing Matters
Period 0: Offline
While offline, the driver receives no coverage from their rideshare provider. If they are involved in an auto accident, their personal insurance is used to resolve any injury settlements.
Period 1: Online: Waiting for Passenger
Period One refers to a driver who has their app on but has yet to match with a passenger. In this state, Uber offers third-party liability coverage when the driver’s personal coverage doesn’t apply. This includes $50,000 bodily injury insurance per person, another $100,000 in injury insurance for the whole accident, and $25,000 in property damage for the accident.
Period 2: Online: Driving to Passenger
When a driver accepts a passenger but has not yet picked them up, rideshare companies offer $1M in liability coverage.
Period 3: Online: Passenger in the Vehicle
Once a passenger is in the car, the trip gains uninsured motorist liability (minimum $250,000) and collision protection up to the value of the car. This coverage ends once the passenger exits the vehicle and the driver returns to Period 1.
Liability for Pedestrians
Insurance from rideshare companies also covers pedestrians hit by drivers. However, before a pedestrian can file a claim against the rideshare group, they must determine whether the driver had the app on at the time of the incident.
The same rules and coverages apply to pedestrians hit by a rideshare driver as they do to everyone else involved. The amount of liability insurance beyond the driver’s normal auto insurance depends on whether the app was on, if there was a match, and if a passenger was in the car.
After a Ride Share Accident
If your Uber or Lyft driver has an accident, you should do exactly what you would do in any other auto incident.
First, check the well-being of everyone involved. If someone is seriously injured, call 911.
Second, call for the police. Filing a formal report creates a paper trail that will make it easier to file an insurance claim. The police should question everyone involved, including drivers, passengers, and witnesses.
While waiting for police, make an effort to exchange insurance and contact information with any drivers involved. Also, be sure to take pictures of the scene. It’s important to collect proof of the crash, the damage, and the surrounding area.
After you’ve left the scene, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Going to a doctor within three days of the accident helps document injuries, which can be used to lay the foundation for a future injury claim. Failing to seek immediate medical attention potentially allows the at-fault driver’s insurance to claim the injury was not serious as you did not need immediate treatment.
Why Seek an Auto Injury Attorney?
With over a million dollars in liability insurance for each rideshare service, it’s tempting to think you can let insurance take care of everything. However, insurance companies may go back and forth with the drivers, forcing victims to wait months to receive their just compensation.
Rideshare companies may also try to avoid their liability in the incident. After all, Uber and Lyft’s policies only apply when the damage caused is greater than the driver’s personal insurance or when the at-fault driver does not have insurance.
When you consult an auto injury attorney, you improve your chances of recovering what you are rightfully owed. An attorney can better pursue rideshare companies for damages caused while using their services and can help you get the full amount you deserve.If you were injured in an auto accident involving rideshare apps, you might have a case. If you’d like to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced auto injury attorneys, please call McGee, Lerer & Associates at (310) 231-9717 or send us an email.