Rideshare Accidents Involving Uber and Lyft

If you were injured due to someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Contact one of our experienced lawyers at (757) 244-7000 for legal advice and representation.

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The massive upsurge in popularity of rideshare and ride-hailing companies means increasing numbers of people are being injured in accidents involving Uber and Lyft.

Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing companies use amateur drivers. Although drivers must submit their details including their accident record and undergo a background check before being hired as partners, critics say the checks are not vigorous enough.

Ride-hailing companies may be contributing to an increase in car wrecks. It’s a complicated equation because these services can also help reduce drunk driving. In a recent working paper, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business claimed Uber and Lyft are fueling accidents. The team estimated about 2 to 3 percent of the number of crashes in any given area is attributed to the introduction of ride-hailing services.

If you have been hurt in an accident as a rideshare service passenger, hit in another vehicle by a rideshare driver, or are an injured rideshare driver, you should know your rights. Please contact our experienced Virginia rideshare injury drivers for a free consultation.

Who is responsible for Accidents Involving Uber and Lyft?

When Uber and Lyft first hit the streets, people who were injured in accidents involving these services faced a battle to claim compensation. Drivers could also be left in a precarious position. Their insurance companies refused claims, and Uber and Lyft failed to pay up.  People injured in these accidents now receive more protection.

When a crash involves an Uber or Lyft car, the driver is usually liable.  The driver is the person who was operating the vehicle. However, a driver’s insurance policy may not be enough to adequately compensate passengers for injuries they suffered. More insurance companies are now offering rideshare policies.

However, in some cases, crash victims are holding rideshare companies accountable for the poor driving, and lawsuits against the companies have steadily increased. Uber and Lyft have also been sued over sexual assaults by drivers.

Uber and Lyft in the past claimed their drivers are not employees, but “independent contractors.” The companies sought to distance themselves by claiming they merely supplied the mobile communications for the drivers. The courts have not always agreed with this argument. The rideshare companies now have more generous insurance policies.

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What Insurance Policies do Uber and Lyft Hold?

Uber and Lyft provide a $1 million insurance policy that covers drivers and passengers injured in ride-hailing accidents. These policies provide compensation for injuries, medical costs, and loss of life. The plan includes:

  • Rideshare passengers who are injured while riding in the vehicle;
  • Rideshare drivers who are hurt in an accident that was caused by another driver;
  • Other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists or bystanders injured in accidents caused by a rideshare driver.

As well as this policy, Uber requires its drivers to carry state-mandated minimums for their own insurance policies.

How Do Rideshare Insurance Policies Work?

Lyft’s Rideshare Insurance

Lyft outlines its policy on its website. If a driver has the Lyft app but the driver mode is off, any accident is covered by the driver’s own policy.

If the driver mode is on but no ride has been accepted, Lyft provides contingent liability coverage. The policy has a $50,000 maximum limit per person, a $50,000 maximum limit per person and a $25,000 ceiling for property damage.

From the time a rider has accepted a request until the driver has finished the ride on the app, Lyft’s policy has a $1 million per accident limit. This will be additional to your insurance even if you have a commercial ridesharing policy.

Uber’s Rideshare Insurance

Uber states when its app is on and its partners are waiting for a ride drivers are covered for liability to a third party if you are in an accident when they are at fault. Coverage includes the driver’s liability to pay another’s medical bills or to pay for property damage.

Minimum coverage limits are:

  • $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident for bodily injury;
  • $25,000 per accident for property damage incurred.

When drivers are not at fault, they make a claim against their own insurance. A personal insurance policy may cover drivers in this situation.

En route to picking up a rider after accepting a request and during the Uber trip, drivers are covered for:

  1. Third party liability coverage for damages to another driver, a pedestrian or property when the Uber driver is at fault up to $1 million per accident.
  2. Uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage in case of an accident when another driver was to blame but has no insurance or inadequate insurance. This coverage also includes the situation in which a hit-and-run driver cannot be located.
  3. Contingent collision and comprehensive coverage as long as the driver maintains auto insurance that includes collision coverage for the vehicle when not on an Uber ride. The coverage limit is up to the actual value of the vehicle and there is a $1,000 deductible.

When a Rideshare Company is Negligent
On occasions, the behavior of a rideshare driver goes beyond negligence. Sometimes, victims sue rideshare companies claiming they failed to properly vet drivers. Rideshare companies may be accountable for the actions of drivers when they:

  • Drive drunk
  • Commit robberies
  • Assault riders
  • Commit sexual assault and rapes
  • Kidnap riders

These serious and dangerous incidents have been blamed on the companies’ failure to perform wide-ranging enough background checks on the drivers using their apps. Both companies outsource their background checks and don’t require riders to provide fingerprints.

Contact an Experienced Virginia Injury Lawyer over Accidents Involving Uber and Lyft

Accidents involving Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing companies often involve a confusing network of insurance companies and liability claims. An experienced Virginia injury lawyer can assist you with your claim. Please contact the Smith Law Center via our website or call us at (757) 244-7000.

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