Rideshare apps such as Uber and Lyft have become widely popular across the nation as a convenient and low-cost transportation alternative to traditional taxicabs. Many states have updated their legislation in recent years to account for this new modality of transportation in which a company relies on a mobile app to connect drivers with passengers looking for a ride. In Utah, SB0294 addresses several aspects related to ‘transportation network services’ and outlines requirements for rideshare drivers and companies to operate in the state, requiring rideshare companies to register with the Division of Consumer Protection. In 2017 and 2018, Uber reports 107 total Uber-related motor vehicle fatalities, with 90% of them taking place in urban areas. Learn what you should do if you have been injured in a rideshare accident.
How Does Car Insurance Work for Uber/Lyft Drivers?
Rideshare drivers are required to carry their own vehicle insurance for personal use. While some drivers choose to carry additional insurance specific for commercial uses of their vehicle, the vast majority does not, meaning their personal insurance may deny an accident claim for an incident that took place while they were driving for Uber or Lyft because the insurance contract only covers accidents in connection to using the vehicle for personal purposes.
In order to address that issue, Uber and Lyft began to offer coverage for drivers using the app. The coverage levels vary depending on whether the driver is waiting to be matched up with a passenger, commuting to or from the pick-up address, or actively transporting a passenger.
Who Is Financially Responsible for My Rideshare Accident?
Figuring out who is financially liable for your rideshare accident is not always an easy task. First, you will need to check the laws of your state regarding negligence to see if you live in an at-fault or no-fault state. In Utah, the no-fault rule applies – this means each driver’s insurance pays for their own medical bills regardless of who may be at fault for causing the accident.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a rideshare driver, it is important to understand exactly what the rideshare driver was doing right before the accident, because if that driver’s personal auto insurance denies your claim, you can then seek compensation through the liability coverage offered by Uber or Lyft. The amount of coverage varies depending on when the accident occurs:
- There is no coverage if the driver is offline or logged out of the rideshare app.
- If the driver is logged in and waiting to be matched up with a passenger, Uber offers up to $50,000.00 per person injured and up to $100,000.00 total injury liability per accident as well as $25,000.00 coverage for property damage.
- Coverage increases to $1 million once the driver accepts a trip request and starts commuting to the pick-up location.
- The $1 million coverage limit continues while the passenger is in the car until the time the passenger is dropped off, and limited coverage for damages to the rideshare driver’s car as well as uninsured motorist coverage also applies.
It may be in your best interest to consult with a rideshare accident attorney if you are unsure about who is financially responsible for your accident, or if you believe a third party may also share liability (such as another driver at fault).
What Are the Steps I Need to Take Following a Rideshare Accident?
The three most important steps you need to take following an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver are to get medical help, report the accident to the police and request a police report, and report the accident to the rideshare company. It is not uncommon for accident-related injuries to present delayed symptoms, so it is in your best interest to get examined by a medical professional even if you don’t feel like you are hurt. Injuries such as whiplash can take days, even weeks before showing any symptoms, and any delay in seeking medical care may make it harder for you to convince the insurance company that your injuries are a direct result of the accident and not something that happened later.
By having the police show up at the scene of the accident and write a report, you will be able to have a written record of important details of the accident that can help you down the road as you get ready to file your claim, as you may need to present a formal record of the accident to the insurance carrier. Whenever possible, try to gather as much information as possible – take pictures and video, write down the contact information of all parties involved as well as any witnesses. As soon as you are able to, report the accident to the rideshare company. Finally, you may want to contact a personal injury to help you handle your claim and maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation.
Can I Sue Uber/Lyft for a Rideshare Accident?
While there are still many legal gray areas regarding rideshare accidents, filing a civil suit against Uber or Lyft may be hard to do as the companies’ main defense is to claim that their drivers are independent contractors and not employees, and thus Uber and Lyft are not responsible for their actions.
Rideshare accident cases can quickly become complex, and it is often best to seek the assistance of a rideshare accident attorney to learn your best options for recovering compensation for your accident. At 801-Injured, we are ready to assist you with a free case evaluation – contact us today.