Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have become a popular way to get around. These platforms have also raised complicated liability and compensation questions when one of their drivers causes an accident. Who pays your damages and how much is really available? Where do you begin to make a claim? The experienced rideshare accident lawyers at Sam & Ash can help make your recovery easier. After an accident, you deserve clear and reliable answers. Call us for a free consultation 24/7 at 1 (800) 304-2000.
”"You deserve more than a check for your injuries.Sam MirejovskyPartner
You deserve justice."
The Driver’s Complicated Relationship to the Rideshare Company
Driving for Uber or Lyft is one of the original ways people have been making money in the “gig economy.” The gig economy enables people to use their own skills and property to make money using exclusive applications developed by technology companies. The gig economy also allows people to work on their own time.
All this makes Uber and Lyft drivers very different from taxi cab drivers. Taxi cab companies own their fleet and schedule their drivers. Consequently, taxi cab companies are considered “employers” and have a legal obligation to pay damages when their drivers cause accidents. Because Uber and Lyft don’t similarly control their drivers, they initially denied any legal liability for accidents.
Both Uber and Lyft require their drivers to sign acknowledgments stating they are “independent contractors.” Unlike employees, independent contractors are personally liable for damages they cause. Unfortunately, many accident victims did not receive sufficient compensation because the rideshare driver was underinsured. In fact, many claims were denied because rideshare driving is a commercial use of the vehicle, and most drivers only carry a personal use policy.
This resulted in a public relations disaster for Uber and Lyft. Now both rideshare companies offer their own commercial policies in case you are injured in a rideshare accident.
The service and results you get are what matter most.
“After speaking to Sam about my concerns I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders. He is an attorney I can actually trust to place my well-being as a priority.”JessicaFormer Client
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“Sam and his team quickly demonstrated their professionalism and competence. Within 2 days, the insurance company stopped questioning me and instead said I was not at fault, and they would be settling with the other insurance company.”SophiaFormer Client
“I did not have to deal with any of the headaches associated with insurance companies, hospitals, doctors and claim adjusters. All I had to do was focus on getting better physically.”AnonymousFormer Client
“I was in a car accident over the weekend. I was referred to Ashley by a friend who told me to give her a call. I didn't have to wait to speak with her on Monday--Ashley answered my call immediately over the holiday weekend. No attorneys do that!!”AlexFormer Client
“This firm is awesome , I had some questions for vehicle damage from an accident and Ian took time to answer my questions and even gave me information and advice , I am definitely recommending this firm!”NicholasConsulted Attorney
“This firm delivered phenomenal customer service, follow up and professionalism! If you need personal injury representation, this is a firm you must consult with when doing your due diligence.”AnonymousFormer Client
An Increase in Uber and Lyft Accidents
Uber and Lyft are both profitable businesses. Together they generate billions of dollars per year. They offer convenience and help reduce drunk driving. However, they also contribute to accidents on the road.
A recent academic study found ridesharing increased the number of fatal accidents by 3% each year. Drivers motivated to accept as many passengers as possible can cause accidents by engaging in reckless driving:
- Driving long hours despite experiencing fatigue
- Speeding to destinations to please passengers
- Distracting themselves on their cell phone
- Engaging with passengers at the expense of focusing on the road
- Failing to properly maintain their vehicle after overusing it
Uber and Lyft will not pay for losses in every accident. As a general rule, they compensate for accidents caused by the rideshare driver. Your claim can be covered by Uber or Lyft if you are any of the following:
- A driver in an accident caused by an Uber or Lyft driver
- A passenger inside the Uber or Lyft in an accident caused by an Uber or Lyft driver
- A passenger in the other car in an accident caused by an Uber or Lyft driver
- A pedestrian or bicyclist injured by an Uber or Lyft driver
- An Uber or Lyft driver in an accident caused by another driver
- A passenger inside the Uber or Lyft in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver
Whether Uber or Lyft will pay to your accident—and how much they pay—depends on which phase of the trip the driver is engaged. Both Uber and Lyft maintain the same structure for covering an accident as follows:
- The driver app is off – Uber and Lyft will fight payment for your accident. The driver’s personal insurance coverage applies when the driver is at fault. But if the driver did not opt in to rideshare coverage, the insurer may deny your claim.
- The driver is available or waiting for a ride request – First, the driver’s personal insurance coverage applies. If the driver’s insurer denies your claim, or if it exceeds the limits of the driver’s policy, the rideshare company has a policy that compensates to the following amounts:
- $50,000 in bodily injury per person
- $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 in property damage per accident
- The driver is en route to pick up passengers or is transporting a passenger – Uber and Lyft maintain a more substantial insurance policy that covers an accident in this phase:
- $1 million third-party liability for bodily injury and property damage for passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage when the other driver is at fault and does not have sufficient insurance. It will also cover hit-and-run accidents.
Discovering a rideshare driver caused your car accident can deny you peace of mind. Uber and Lyft won’t easily accept liability. They want to preserve their image of providing safe transportation. Furthermore, their insurance companies will guard their substantial liability policies.
- Seek immediate medical attention – Even if you believe your injuries are minor, get a professional opinion. Many car accident injuries develop over time. Any treatment gap will be used by the insurance company against you to deny your injury claim.
- Document the scene of the accident – Take photos of your injuries, multiple angles of your property damage, and the surrounding environment. This will help recreate how the accident happened and account for the losses you sustained from it.
- Collect information – Get names and contact information for the at-fault driver and any witnesses to the accident. Because the driver was working for Uber or Lyft at the time, be sure to collect both their personal insurance policy as well as the rideshare company’s policy.
Call Sam & Ash, the personal injury lawyers who do what’s right – Not every case requires hiring a lawyer, but every car accident victim deserves peace of mind. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so that you can talk to an experienced attorney immediately after your accident. If your right to fair compensation is at risk, we will work to protect it.
It’s good to know your options after a car accident with an Uber or Lyft driver. But the process can be complicated. If multiple policies potentially cover your claim, each insurer will deflect paying your needed compensation to the other. The rideshare company’s higher policy limits means you can be fully compensated. But that also means their insurance providers will fight harder to keep as much money as possible. The attorneys at Sam & Ash hold them accountable. We don’t settle for less than What’s Right. Call us at 1 (800) 304-2000 to get your free consultation now.