You may notice that vehicle accidents involving Lyft or Uber drivers are often in the news. For example, just before Christmas in 2019, a Fort Worth woman was killed when an allegedly drunk driver slammed into the Lyft car in which she was a passenger. No charges were filed against the Lyft driver, but the drunk driver was charged with intoxication manslaughter. It is presumed the driver was covered under his or her commercial insurance policy and that Lyft also provided coverage for such a serious accident.
This is only one example of hundreds of accidents every year in the U.S. involving rideshare drivers. Rideshare has been defined as “a car service with which a person can use a smartphone app to arrange a ride in a usually privately owned vehicle.” Lyft and Uber are the two major ridesharing companies in the U.S.
If you have been involved in any type of accident involving a rideshare driver, whether you were in the car driven by the rideshare driver, in a car hit by the driver, or a pedestrian hit by the rideshare driver, you need an auto accident lawyer to assist you with your claim for damages.
Reasons Why You Need an Auto Accident Attorney to Help You with Your Uber or Lyft Claim for Damages
Both the ridesharing company and the driver are required to have insurance on the ridesharing vehicle. Which insurance provides you coverage if you were in an accident involving a rideshare driver is sometimes difficult to ascertain and whether the company can be held vicariously responsible for the action or inaction of its drivers is often difficult to discover.
Generally, a driver’s personal insurance policy has an exclusion, meaning the insurance company will not pay if the driver is driving as a rideshare driver. The driver must have a commercial policy that will click in when he or she is driving for the rideshare company.
If the driver is driving for the company, then the insurance policy for Uber or Lyft should provide coverage for your injuries as well as the driver’s commercial policy. This is where it gets complicated. What stage of driving for the rideshare company the driver was in at the time of the accident is what controls which insurance policy is expected to be in force.
- Period 0: This is when the driver is not logged into Uber or Lyft and is driving for his own personal business or pleasure.
- Period 1: The driver is logged into his Uber or Lyft account, but has not accepted a request by a rider.
- Period 2: The driver has accepted a trip and is on his or her way to the destination to pick up the rider.
- Period 3: The rider is in the car and the driver is on the way to the customer’s destination.
Sometimes, these times overlap. Whether the rideshare company is responsible at any of these levels may be a subject for litigation. Additionally, you may be required to submit a claim to the driver’s personal driver’s policy before you can make a claim on the Uber or Lyft policy.
If you were injured in an accident with a rideshare driver like an Uber or Lyft driver, you need help navigating the complicated car accident recovery process necessary for collecting damages from a rideshare company. At the AMS Law Group, we will discuss your situation with you and help you decide how to proceed. Call us at 214.227.2777.