Uber and Lyft Accidents
In the earliest days of the ridesharing services Uber and Lyft, neither company was quick to take responsibility for accidents, and it took a lawsuit for Uber to cover the first lawsuit associated with the company.
In 2014, shortly after the birth of Uber, a young girl was struck and killed by an Uber driver, although Uber initially refused to pay the claim, saying the driver was an independent contractor and off the clock, so his own insurance would have to be held liable.
Eventually, the case went to court and in the wake of the fallout, Uber – and other ridesharing companies such as Lyft – were forced to rewrite their insurance policies to cover such liability.
Insurance for ridesharing drivers is structured. Drivers use their own coverage when they are not at work, they merge their own coverage the ridesharing company’s contingency liability coverage – as much as $50,000 per injury and $25,000 for property damage – when apps are open but there are no fares accepted. While working, drivers are covered under the ridesharing services insurance. Both Uber and Lyft use James River Insurance Company, which offers $1 million in excess liability coverage on top of the insurance drivers are required to carry in order to work for the ridesharing services.
Who will pay for my injuries if I am hurt while using a ridesharing service?
There is still a chance your driver might be underinsured, however, with coverage that will not adequately compensate you if you are severely injured in the event of a car accident. What’s important to note is that many drivers’ insurance policies are void if they use their vehicles while driving as independent contractors, which is why ridesharing companies were forced to spend money on insurance for drivers.
The insurance provided by James River goes into effect from the time a driver accepts a request until after the ride has ended.
But accidents happen, and knowing what to do can be the best way to ensure that you are paid the compensation you deserve in the aftermath of the accident.
- Call medical personnel and authorities. It’s important to call 911 if you need medical attention, and the police so there is a police report documenting the accident. In some cases, the other driver – not your ridesharing chauffeur – may be at fault, and in that case, their insurance company would be responsible.
- Take down information. As with any accident, take photographs, take down information from witnesses who are available as well as information from the drivers involved so you or your attorney can contact them later for more information. Take special note of the weather and road conditions and any other factors that might be related to your accident.
- Notify Uber or Lyft. The company will need to know that their driver was involved in an accident. Ridesharing services have special safety teams on hand to respond to claims, and they will likely call the company’s insurance. To be safe, you might want to call yours as well and provide them with any pertinent information.
- Contact an attorney. A car accident lawyer in West Palm Beach, Florida will help you be prepared if the ridesharing company’s attorney contacts you. It’s important not to accept a settlement until you talk with an attorney so that you don’t accept an offer that won’t adequately cover your expenses, especially if your life was drastically altered in the accident. Providing your attorney with photos, accident reports, medical records, and other information will make the entire process easier.
Thanks to Eric H. Luckman, P.A. for their insight into personal injury claims and Uber or Lyft accidents.