Companies providing ridesharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, have quickly become the mainstream, and are being used by more and more New Yorkers for transportation. With so many people using these ridesharing services, and as the number of Lyft and Uber drivers increase, accidents are unfortunately inevitable. Knowing your rights and what to do when you’re dealing with Uber or Lyft accidents is very crucial to receiving the best Lyft or Uber accident settlement.
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In this article, we address the following:
- What is a ridesharing accident?
- Who can be the victim and recover damages after an Uber or Lyft Accident?
- What are the Uber Policies regarding accidents?
- What are the Lyft Policies regarding accidents?
- What type of recovery is available for victims of Uber or Lyft accidents?
- What to do in case of a Lyft or Uber accident?
- What can a Lyft or Uber accident lawyer do to help?
What Is a Ridesharing Accident?
A rideshare accident is where a company hires an independent contractor, who uses their own personal vehicle, to transport its customers. Oftentimes, this involves companies like Uber or Lyft, in which the liable party will be the actual Uber or Lyft driver and the registered owner of the vehicle. Like any type of personal injury or car accident, the liable party or the person who caused the accident, is the negligent party, and the injured party, whether it is bodily injury, property damage, or both, has the right to claim negligence against them.
However, unlike a normal or regular motor vehicle accident, Lyft and Uber accident claims have a greater amount of insurance coverage. Accordingly, whereas a normal insurance policy may range between $25,000.00 and higher in coverage for bodily injury or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, Lyft and Uber drivers must have a minimum of a policy of $25,000.00, which is in addition to the coverage that Lyft and Uber carry in the amount of $1.25m. This means that an injured party who is involved in a Uber or Lyft accident will not have to worry as much about not being compensated for their injury or accident.
That does not mean, however, that the injured party is guaranteed the amount of money they are claiming as compensation or that any payment is automatic. Negligence and liability still needs to be proven with proper evidence, and therefore seeking the advice of an experienced Lyft and Uber accident attorney is not only reasonable, but is entirely necessary. However, knowing that a Lyft or Uber accident involves over $1,000,000.00 worth of insurance coverage definitely helps alleviate some of the stress and work involved in claiming compensation for the injured party’s injuries.
Otherwise, without such a large insurance policy, in New York, normally what happens is that the injured party either is out of luck and would not be able to receive any additional compensation beyond the insurance policy limit, or they would have to submit a claim to their own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy, assuming they have one, to be able to try to recover additional compensation.
What Are the Types of Ridesharing Accidents?
The following are the three most common types of ridesharing accidents.
You were a Passenger and Your Driver Gets In an Accident.
Whether the Lyft or Uber driver was at-fault for the accident, you, the passenger in the Lyft or Uber ridesharing vehicle, were injured and sustained bodily injury.
A Rideshare Car Hits You While You’re In Your Vehicle.
In this type of accident, the Lyft or Uber driver of the ridesharing vehicle hits you while you’re driving your vehicle. In these cases, the Lyft or Uber driver is the liable party who caused the accident.
A Rideshare Car Hits You As a Pedestrian or Cyclist.
Similarly, as with above, the Lyft or Uber driver of the ridesharing vehicle hits you, but this time, you’re either a pedestrian walking or jogging on foot or a cyclist riding your bicycle. In these cases, the Lyft or Uber driver again is the liable party who caused the accident. But unlike the accidents where the injury occurs when you are in your vehicle, in these types of accidents, your bodily injuries generally are more severe because you are not given the protection of a car to help minimize the impact of the ridesharing vehicle. Accordingly, you are exposed to more harm and greater damages.
Who Can be the Victim and Recover Damages in an Uber or Lyft Accident?
Whether it’s a Lyft or Uber car accident, as long as you are not the one that caused the accident and are not the liable party, then you, as the victim of such an injury, are entitled to be compensated for damages. You may be the passenger, another driver, or the Uber or Lyft driver. This generally is in the form of a bodily injury claim, in which you are seeking damages for the pain and suffering and any lost wages that you may have endured, or you may be claiming damage to your vehicle, which would be a property claim. However, if you are an Uber or Lyft driver injured in an accident, your claims may be limited worker’s compensation claims.
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However, even if you are partially liable or the cause of the accident, you can still recover damages under the doctrine of comparative negligence, which means that a party can be compensated in proportion to the degree to which they were partially negligent to the accident. New York recognizes comparative negligence, which means that even if you were partially responsible for the Lyft or Uber accident, you may still recover damages. Accordingly, if liability is an issue and there is a chance that you may be partially to blame for the accident, even though you sustained injuries, you should definitely consult an experienced Lyft or Uber accident attorney.
What Are Uber Policies Regarding Accidents?
No Coverage. Uber drivers are considered independent contractors and not employees of Uber. Accordingly, under Uber insurance NYC, Uber drivers in New York must have their own car commercial insurance in addition to Uber’s insurance policy, which provides both liability and uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). If the Uber driver is not logged into the ridesharing application and is offline, and an accident occurs, that victim’s injury is considered as occurring on that Uber driver’s personal time and therefore is not covered under Uber’s insurance policy. Therefore, that Uber driver’s personal motor vehicle driver insurance would apply.
Partial Coverage. If an accident occurs while the Uber driver is logged into the ridesharing application and is available and looking for passengers, but has not picked any up yet or has not accepted the fare from the passenger, then that Uber driver’s personal motor vehicle driver insurance would again apply. However, Uber’s insurance may provide additional contingency liability coverage of up to:
- $50,000 per injury
- Up to $25,000 for property damage
It important to note that when the driver’s insurance fails to provide adequate coverage, the additional coverage is only available upon request. Again, you should consult a Lyft or Uber lawyer immediately to formally request such coverage.
Full Coverage. If an accident occurs while the Uber driver is logged into the ridesharing application, and has picked up a passenger and has accepted their fare, and is therefore en route or on the trip, then Uber’s insurance coverage would apply. This would be applicable to either liability coverage or uninsured/underinsured insurance policy.
If you are injured in an Uber accident, talk to an Uber attorney immediately. A Uber car accident attorney will know how to navigate through an Uber insurance policy and how to best argue your individual set of facts.
What Are Lyft Policies Regarding Accidents?
No Coverage. Like Uber, if the Lyft driver does not have their Lyft application turned on and they are not logged in, then any accident that occurs during this time is considered the driver’s off-time and that driver’s personal motor vehicle insurance would then apply.
Partial Coverage. When the app is on but before there’s a ride match, the accident coverage is $50,000 per person for bodily injury, $100,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 for property damage.
Full Coverage. When the app is on and there is a ride match, meaning that a passenger accepts a ride, another stage of coverage applies to the point where they arrive at their destination. The underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage isn’t set because the limits vary from state to state. Lyft also has a contingent collision and comprehensive coverage that is equal to the cash value or repair cost of the vehicle and has a $2,500 deductible.
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Again, it is best to consult a Lyft accident attorney immediately to determine how best to apply your particular facts to the coverage sought. An experienced Lyft accident lawyer will help advocate your position and help prevent your case from being denied or restricted.
Knowing and Asserting Which Coverage Is Applicable
Although it may seem straightforward based upon their policies, Lyft and Uber may try to dispute the appropriate coverage to the injured party by disputing the facts and saying that their policy coverage does not apply. The ridesharing company may demand that the driver provide proof that they were in the middle of picking up a passenger when the accident occurred. If proof is not available, the insurance companies may try to claim the driver was in period one even though they were in period two.
This is why consulting with an experienced Lyft or Uber accident attorney maximizes that victim’s chances of being compensated for their injuries and loss. A Lyft and Uber accident lawyer understands this area of the law, a Lyft and Uber insurance policy, but more importantly, how to fight against the insurance companies. They will best be able to investigate any disputed matters and gather evidence most favorable to help you in your case. They also know that should the Uber or Lyft policy not apply, how to go about suing the individual Uber or Lyft driver directly. They can seek payment from the driver’s personal insurance company.
What Type of Recovery Is Available for Victims of the Accident?
If you are involved in a Uber or Lyft car accident, you are entitled to either property damage (damage to your vehicle or personal belongings), or bodily injury compensation. This generally includes not only the pain and suffering you’ve sustained, but also takes into consideration loss of wages, if you had to take time off work, and any permanent disability, if you are not somehow either totally or partially disabled. A Lyft or Uber attorney best know how to calculate and claim your recovery, so it is best to consult an Uber injury lawyer or rideshare lawyer as soon as possible to understand your rights.
What to Do in Case of a Lyft or Uber Accident?
What should you do when you get in a Lyft or Uber car accident? After you secure your safety, if you were the passenger in a rideshare vehicle, you’ll want to snap a screenshot of the Uber or Lyft app on your phone. This will prove that you were riding a rideshare car as a passenger at the time of the accident. In the court of law, doing this can mean the difference between getting full compensation or losing your claim altogether.
Next, you’ll want to consider reporting the accident right away. In doing so, you should contact the police immediately, no matter how small or minor the property damage or your bodily injuries. Again, this will establish official documentation as to the details of the accident. Next, you should take pictures of any property damage of the involved vehicles as well as the scene of accident. You should make note of any skid marks on the ground, the conditions of the road, and the weather conditions. You should also make note of any witnesses who may have seen the accident. You should document their names, addresses, and phone numbers. Finally, you should seek medical attention immediately. Oftentimes, a victim may wait until they go see the doctor. Doing so may deter the validity and legitimacy of any pain and suffering you’re claiming. If you suspect any injury, even if just to get examined as a precaution, then you should seek medical attention immediately.
Q: What is a rideshare company?
A: A rideshare company is any company that hires independent contractors to use their individual personal vehicles to transport that company’s customers. Generally, this involves the customer using an online application.
Q: What Is Uber and Lyft’s Rideshare Policies?
A: If the application is not on and the accident occurs, then Uber and Lyft’s insurance coverage doesn’t apply.
If the app is on, but the Uber and Lyft driver have not picked up the passenger yet, and the accident occurs, then Uber and Lyft may offer partial coverage.
If the app is on, and the Uber and Lyft driver have picked up a passenger and therefore are en route, and the accident occurs, then the $1,250,000.00 Uber and the $1,000,000.00 Lyft insurance coverage will apply.
Q: How much money am I entitled to if I was a victim of a Lyft or Uber accident?
A: You, as the victim, are entitled to bodily injury and property damage compensation. This is based on number of factors, but the most common factors include the injuries incurred.
Q: Who pays for pain and suffering damages after a Lyft or Uber accident?
A: The at-fault party’s insurance policy of the responsible party for the accident. Depending upon the facts, either that driver’s individual insurance will cover the accident, the ridesharing company’s policy will kick in, or a combination of both.
Q: Can a Lyft or Uber driver recover from Uber or Lyft?
A: Yes, if you are the ridesharing driver, was not at-fault, and become injured, as long as you were logged into the ridesharing application, you can recover from Uber or Lyft’s insurance coverage if your policy isn’t even to cover the loss. First, your insurance coverage would cover your damages until the policy amount and then the Uber or Lyft coverage would take over.
If you were on your way to pick up passengers, or if you were driving passengers at the time of the accident, you are covered by Uber or Lyft. However, you must file a claim with the other motorist’s insurance policy first prior to the ridesharing company’s insurance kicking in. It all depends on liability.
Q: Can I lose my Uber or Lyft access if I make a claim?
A: No. Both Uber and Lyft pay a portion of each fare directly to their insurance companies for this exact purpose.
Q: Can An Injured Pedestrian File a Claim Against the Ridesharing Company’s Insurance Policy?
A: Yes. If an Uber or Lyft driver was on duty and struck you while you were crossing the street on foot, the third-party liability coverage provided by the company should apply after the driver’s policy limits are exhausted. When Lyft or Uber drivers are on their way to pick up a rider or are actively transporting a paying passenger, they are covered by the company’s insurance policy.
Q: What Should I Do If I’m Hurt While Riding as an Uber or Lyft Passenger?
A: Make sure you take a picture of the ridesharing application and that it was on at the time of the accident. Then contact the police and investigate the accident as best you can by taking pictures and gathering statements.
What Can a Lyft or Uber Accident Lawyer Do to Help?
A Lyft or Uber accident lawyer or law firm is crucial in evaluating what the the coverage amounts may be, who is at fault, even if you are found partially liable, gathering evidence to make your case stronger, and in providing you the best car insurance settlement possible.
At Law Office of Yuriy Moshes, we know how to fight and win Uber and Lyft car accidents and it is always a free consultation. Whether you are the Lyft or Uber driver, passenger, pedestrian, or were driving your own vehicle, we represent victims in injury claims in the greater New York City area including all its boroughs, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island) as well as Northern New Jersey, Long Island, and Upstate New York. If you were injured in an accident and wish to discuss your case, we provide a free consultation.