In recent years, there has been a major boom in the rideshare service industry. The two leading rideshare services in America are Uber and Lyft. These car services essentially compete with taxi services by picking up passengers (in the driver's own vehicle) from one location and dropping them off at another. Ordering and accepting one of these rides is done entirely by using the Uber or Lyft application on your smartphone, meaning you cannot simply call one of the companies and order a car. Payments for the ride are made and accepted by registering a credit or debit card on the phone application.
With the increasing popularity of Uber and Lyft, the question that arises is what happens if you are involved in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver?
If you were involved in an accident with an Uber of Lyft driver and the accident was your fault, then you and/or your insurance provider will be liable for the damages caused by the accident as if you were responsible for an accident involving a non-Uber or Lyft Driver.
However, if you were involved in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver and the accident was not your fault, then the question of who covers your damages depends on the status of the other driver.
If the other driver works for either Uber or Lyft but at the time of the accident, has their application turned off and is not servicing clients, then the driver or their own personal insurance company will be responsible for the damages.
If, at the time of your accident the driver is accepting fares but is not currently servicing any riders, then your first option is to sue the personal insurance company of the driver. However, many car insurance policies refuse to cover damages if the driver is driving for hire, so Uber and Lyft provide limited coverage for these situations if the driver's personal insurance company denies your claim. These rideshare services' insurance policies will also take effect if the driver's insurance company will cover damages, but your damages exceed the limits of the driver's policy.
Uber and Lyft both provide contingent liability coverage for damages caused by a driver who is accepting fares but is not currently driving anyone. The amount of this coverage is up to $50,000 per person for personal injury (with a maximum payout of $100,000 if there are 2 or more people injured) and $25,000 in property damage. If your damages exceed these amounts, then you will have to seek additional compensation from the driver themselves.
Similar, both Uber and Lyft provide insurance coverage when their drivers are currently serving clients. In this scenario, the amount of personal injury coverage jumps up to a maximum of $1 million and property damage coverage doubles to $50,000. Once again, if your damages exceed this amount then you will have to seek the additional compensation from the driver, personally.
It is important to note, however, that because Uber and Lyft considers their drivers independent contractors, you will not be able to sue these companies for additional compensation in the event their insurance policies do not completely cover your damages.
If you have been injured in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, or any type of car accident, you need a qualified personal injury attorney—like those at the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal—to represent you who get you the compensation you deserve. Our experienced personal injury attorneys offer free consultations to injured people and their families and will fight for you. Contact the personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal today at (303) 647-4511 or visit us online.