Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have grown in popularity over the last decade. Rideshare companies are convenient and allow people to enjoy a night out on the town or get to the airport or another destination without worrying about driving or parking.
While convenient, when you take advantage of a rideshare, you are putting your safety in the hands of others. What happens when you are injured in an accident with a rideshare driver? Who is liable? Does the driver need additional insurance coverage when working as a rideshare driver? Let’s take a deep dive into the specifics after an accident involving a rideshare driver.
Who Is Liable When You Have an Accident in a Rideshare?
Whether you are a passenger in a rideshare, or a driver or passenger in another vehicle involved in an accident with a rideshare vehicle, liability will fall on the at-fault driver. How is the at-fault driver determined? In personal injury law, you need to prove three things to claim someone was at-fault for an accident:
- The driver, whether operating a vehicle for personal or business use, had a “duty of care.” The duty of care means the driver had a responsibility to keep other drivers and vehicles on the roadway safe from harm. Examples of duty of care would include obeying traffic signals, driving the speed limit, avoiding distracted driving, and driving sober.
- The driver breached their duty of care. In a personal injury case with a rideshare driver, you will need to prove the other driver wasn’t operating their vehicle in a safe manner.
- You were injured as a result of the driver’s duty of care breach.
Determining liability can take some work, especially when the aftermath of an accident is chaotic. A personal injury attorney can take on the tasks of proving liability on your behalf and fight the insurance company for fair compensation for your injuries. Before settling with the driver’s insurance company after an accident involving a rideshare, consult with an attorney to understand your rights. This is especially important when the driver is underinsured.
Are Rideshare Drivers Required to Carry Additional Insurance?
Most drivers with Uber and Lyft are covered by their personal auto insurance policy. This means you can settle your personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer and be compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, and related damages.
It’s important to note, though, that liability coverage may only extend to certain circumstances unless the driver has opted for additional coverage. For example, most policies only cover a driver when they are using their vehicle for personal use, rather than business use. The business-use exclusion essentially removes all liability as soon as the driver picks up a passenger.
Uber and Lyft supplement their drivers with additional liability coverage; in fact, up to $1,000,000. At first glance, this amount sounds generous, however, there are stipulations that determine the amount of coverage based on the driver’s status, or “period”.
- Period Zero: The driver isn’t actively looking for riders and is logged off of the app. No coverage is provided in this period and liability would fall to the driver’s personal auto insurance policy.
- Period One: The driver is logged on and “ready to work,” but has not accepted a ride request. If you are in an accident while operating another vehicle (as opposed to being a passenger in a rideshare), and are hit by a Uber or Lyft driver during this period, the coverage amounts are $50,000 per person and $100,000 total liability for the accident.
- Period Two: The driver has accepted a passenger and is en route to pick up the passenger. Liability coverage goes up to $1M during this period.
- Period Three: The driver has accepted a passenger who is now in the vehicle. In addition to the $1M liability coverage, limited coverage may also apply for damage to the driver’s car and reinsurance driver coverage.
Bottom line – rideshare drivers may – or may not – have adequate auto insurance coverage when they are involved in a car accident. Navigating the legal system after an accident with a rideshare vehicle can be overwhelming. To have the best chance at receiving a fair personal injury settlement, reach out to a personal injury attorney for legal advice.
What to Do if You Are Involved in a Rideshare Accident
If you are involved in an accident with a rideshare driver, do you know what to do? The same process applies after an Uber or Lyft accident as in other vehicle accidents. First, stay as calm as possible and follow these steps:
- Call 911: Even if the accident feels like a minor fender bender, call 911 to alert the police and emergency responders. The police can interview witnesses and document the scene and the EMTs can examine you and others involved for injuries. In a personal injury case, having a police report and EMT files can help build evidence.
- Move to a safe area: In the aftermath of an accident, things may feel chaotic. It’s important to move to a safe area and out of harm’s way. Many accidents occur at busy intersections, traffic lights, or blind curves. Move to safety as quickly as possible.
- Pay attention to your surroundings: Were there witnesses to the accident? Did you notice anything “off” about the driver? How are others acting after the accident? All of these small details may help determine how the accident occurred and who was at fault.
- Seek medical attention: Just feeling like you have a bump or bruise? See the EMTs anyway. In fact, even if the EMTs instruct you to just go home and rest, follow up with your primary care physician as soon after the accident as possible. Some car accident injuries may not be immediately noticeable (internal bleeding, whiplash, etc.), so it’s important to have your health documented after the accident.
- Consult with a personal injury accident attorney: Car accident personal injury cases can become complicated, especially when liability is in question with a rideshare driver. Car insurance companies have a team of attorneys on their side trying to minimize their financial responsibility – you deserve the same representation. You need to focus on your injuries and recovering, not have the burden of a lawsuit on your shoulders.
Rideshare Accident Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm
Being in a car accident is never an easy experience and being in an accident where liability comes into question can be confusing. The team at Dale E. Anstine understands how tough it is after an accident and is ready to take on the stress of a personal injury case for you.
With decades of experience on our back, our team of attorneys and paralegals knows the legal system inside and out. We have been fighting for the rights of the injured for decades and can take on your case with no up-front fees.
Contact us today on our website or call 717-846-0606 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We don’t charge a fee for our time and are only compensated when we win your case.