Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft have experienced tremendous growth over the past five years, and led to mass acceptance of the concept of ridesharing. Unfortunately, car accidents happen every day, and when someone is hurt while riding as a passenger, it may not be immediately clear who is liable for their injuries.
If you’re injured while riding in an Uber or Lyft, there may be multiple sources of compensation available to you. In most cases, you will be eligible to seek compensation from three different sources: the driver’s insurance policy, the insurance policy of another driver who caused the accident, or the rideshare company’s insurance policy. The details of your accident will determine which policy is responsible for paying for your medical bills, damaged property, and other expenses.
Ways to collect for damages
If your rideshare driver has been involved in a crash, the first thing you should do is make sure the driver reports the collision to authorities and the rideshare company. Drivers may be tempted not to report minor accidents as they could affect the driver’s ability to continue driving. For you to collect any compensation from a rideshare company, the accident must be reported.
Collecting from the driver’s insurance policy
If your Uber or Lyft driver is at-fault for the accident and has a commercial insurance policy, then you will likely receive compensation from this policy. If your driver has a personal car insurance policy with a provision that covers them while driving for a rideshare company, then you will be able to receive compensation from this policy. These situations are the most straightforward and ideal, but the fact is that many drivers do not have these types of coverage. While the driver’s insurance policy may cover you as a passenger, some do not provide coverage if the driver is on-the-clock with a rideshare company.
Collecting from the other driver’s insurance policy
If you sustain injuries in an accident caused by another driver on the road, you will have to file a claim with the third party’s insurance. For this reason, it is essential to get the driver’s insurance information at the scene of a crash even if you do not feel injured at the time.
So you’ve found yourself in the worst possible situation:, you’re injured from an accident caused by a separate driver, and that driver does not have the insurance to pay for your injuries. It may look like you’ll have to sue, but fortunately, there is one last safety net for you: Uber and Lyft’s underinsured/uninsured insurance policy. Be aware that this policy will only cover injuries if one of three criteria are met: the responsible driver is unknown (e.g.: a hit-and-run accident), the responsible driver does not have insurance, or the responsible driver’s insurance will not pay for all of your damages.
Collecting from Uber and Lyft’s insurance policies
If you find yourself with injuries from an accident caused by your driver, and the driver does not have a policy to cover you. Fortunately, Uber and Lyft both carry insurance policies that allow for up to $1 million in compensation for accidents caused by their drivers. There are some stipulations to this coverage, however, which often require the driver to be on an official trip with the ridesharing app turned on, among others.
What do Uber and Lyft’s policies cover?
Uber and Lyft’s policies cover much the same expenses as an individual’s policy. This includes things such as medical bills, hospital fees, medication, physical therapy, compensation for lost wages, and personal items damaged in an accident. Additionally, Uber and Lyft will refund any fees associated with your ride should you be involved in a crash, even if you are not injured.
What happens if my property is damaged?
Should you sustain property damage of any kind from an Uber or Lyft driver, the process will work much the same as it does for a passenger. If the driver has insurance that covers damages sustained when working as a rideshare driver, you will be compensated from this policy. Should the driver not have this kind of coverage, as is typically the case, Uber and Lyft’s insurance will cover up to $1 million of property damage.
Negligence on the part of Uber or Lyft
If you were hurt as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft, and you feel that the company’s policies were to blame, you may choose to sue the companies directly. Passengers have taken legal action against the company for drivers’ intentional actions that have caused them harm, like physical assault or sexual assault, among other actions.
Uber and Lyft have taken specific precautions to try to protect themselves these actions, including claiming that their drivers are not employees of the company, but independent contractors, so they cannot be held liable for their actions. This makes it harder for people to file claims against the company, but it is not impossible.
Contact an attorney for help
The best course of action you can take if you’ve been hurt in an accident while riding in an Uber or Lyft is to contact an attorney right away. Because of the growing popularity of rideshare services and the increasing frequency of accidents involving drivers who are on-the-clock, there are many attorneys across the U.S. who are familiar with these claims and who know how to help you get the compensation you are owed.