With Uber and Lyft providing a cheaper ride service than taxis and more private experience than public transit, use has exploded all over the nation. The result? More cars on the road, according to a University of Chicago study of large cities with a rideshare presence. Despite these companies selling us on the promise of keeping unsafe drivers off the road, accident rates haven't decreased after Uber, Lyft, and their ilk have rolled into town.
That means those of us who use the road—drivers, bikers, and pedestrians alike—may find ourselves in the unfortunate situation of navigating an accident caused by a rideshare driver. Thankfully, various laws and regulations have forced the companies behind these apps to insure drivers, as most car insurance will not cover commercial activities. Any driver who has their rideshare app open, even if they are in between rides at the time, is insured for property damage and bodily injury. Receiving a fair settlement from their insurance, however, can take a lot of work.
Do Uber and Lyft Have Insurance for Drivers?
As long as a driver is actively working for Uber or Lyft at the time of an accident, they will be covered by that company's insurance policy. If a driver is not working—which means looking for, driving to, or transporting passengers—you should make a claim to their insurance, even if there's an Uber or Lyft sticker/decal on their car.
It's easy for both apps to track when a driver is and is not working; this data may be useful in more than one way as you put together an insurance claim. After an accident, especially if the other party's car is displaying trade dress, you should ask whether the driver was working for a rideshare app or was conducting personal business.
Who Is Liable in an Uber or Lyft Accident?
Uber and Lyft's insurance coverage varies depending on what a driver was doing when they caused the accident. As we've already discussed, when a driver is offline or does not have the app open, their personal insurance carries all liability. As soon as the driver logs on to Uber or Lyft, the company's coverage will kick in.
Coverage for Idle Drivers
Not all of a rideshare driver's time is spent actually transporting people. Some surveys suggest drivers spend around half their time searching for requests. As they wait, they may snake around popular streets hoping for a fare—and increasing their risk of an accident. A driver who is using Uber or Lyft but has no active rides is covered for:
- $50,000 in bodily injury per person
- $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 in property damage
While this is more than the minimum required coverage in any state, some accident victims may wonder if it will be enough. The good news is insurers have started offering new rideshare plans. If a driver has purchased one, it will likely kick in before Uber or Lyft's coverage. You may have to file two separate claims for the same accident to take advantage of this, but you could also have a better chance of receiving the compensation you need.
Coverage for Drivers with Active Ride Requests
Once a driver has accepted a ride and is on their way to pick a passenger up, their insurance will increase greatly. This coverage, which also applies during a rideshare trip, offers $1,000,000 per accident. Once again, there may be an overlap with a driver's personal rideshare insurance, making it difficult to know where to start your claim. If you're in this situation, we are here to help.
When a Rideshare Driver Causes an Accident, We Have You Covered
Uber and Lyft accidents can be caused by anything from a sleepy driver who's worked a long shift to a missed stop sign due to distracting passengers. If you are involved in one, make sure you know what your legal options are. We can break down the claims you could make and advise you on the best next steps.
Though Uber and Lyft are both well-funded tech companies, they would rather protect their billions of dollars than pay an insurance claim. This is true even if one of their drivers was the clear at-fault party in a crash that caused serious injuries like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and disfigurement. Our team can stand up to big companies and national insurers on your behalf, and we'll fight until we've got the best result we can.
Call Karns & Kerrison today to speak with our rideshare accident attorneys at (888) 281-3100 or send us a message online and we'll get in touch.
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