Rideshare services such as Lyft and Uber have changed the face of the the taxi industry, adding convenience at a competitive price, and making travel that much easier for those who don’t have a car, or who simply don’t wish to drive. In most locales, a rider can order a Lyft off of their phone and be picked up in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, while rideshare services have made it easier for people to get around, an accident in Lyft or Uber is not uncommon.
This begs the question: what happens if your Lyft gets in an accident? To answer this, it’s important to understand what happens if your Lyft driver crashes, and how to file a Lyft accident lawsuit if you’ve been injured.
Lyft Usage and Rideshare Accident Statistics
As Lyft statistics reveal, rideshare services have seen explosive growth in recent years. In 2017:
- 23 million people used Lyft
- 1.4 million people drove with Lyft
- Lyft drivers gave one billion rides
- Lyft operated in over 300 cities across the United States and Canada
At the same time, this sharp growth in rideshare statistics can be tied an increase in serious crashes and Lyft accidents. Business Insider notes:
“The arrival of ridesharing is associated with an increase of 2-3% in the number of motor vehicle fatalities and fatal accidents,” researchers John Barrios of the University of Chicago along with Yael Hochberg and Livia Hanyi Yi of Rice University, write in a draft of their paper, which is in the preliminary stages of publication.
Despite this, many are leaving behind their own automobiles in favor of rideshare services like Lyft.
Proper Protocol: What to Do if Your Lyft Gets in an Accident
Like any motor vehicle accident, if you’ve been involved in a Lyft collision, there are certain safety protocols that should followed by all participants when example. For example:
- If you, another passenger, or the driver isn’t seriously injured, and the vehicle is movable, the car should be moved to the shoulder of the road. Moving to a safe area away from traffic can help prevent further collisions.
- To warn other cars, the driver should turn on their hazard lights.
- Whether it’s you, the driver, or another vehicle involved, someone should call 911 (and the drivers should exchange insurance information if more than one vehicle is involved).
- Even if your symptoms don’t seem severe at the time of the accident, you should receive medical attention once paramedics arrive. Even dizziness can become a severe problem later, and some people don’t notice pain until the day after an accident. Some injuries may not become apparent till much later, which is why understanding how long after an accident can you sue is important for obtaining proper injury compensation.
- Talk to necessary parties such as the driver, the police, and any others involved in the Lyft car accident to increase your odds of success for any Lyft insurance claims. Despite the fact that you’re not the driver, you are involved, and it’s important to make sure statements made by other people involved in the accident are accurate. (For more details on what to do after any type of car accident, and to ensure that all parties are following the proper protocols, a step-by-step guide is available to read here).
Does Lyft Have Insurance and Whose Insurance Applies in a Lyft Accident?
This is where things tend to get particularly complex. If you’re injured, it can be difficult to know whose policy applies: yours, the policy of the driver at fault, or Lyft’s?
If the Lyft driver is at fault:
In most cases, the passenger is not liable because the standard Lyft insurance policy includes liability insurance. However, there can be a gray area since the insurance is split between the driver’s personal insurance and Lyft’s insurance policy. If the driver’s insurance provider denies the claim because of a business use exception, then Lyft’s insurance should step in to make sure all parties are covered, assuming the Lyft driver is at fault. This will occur so long as the driver’s app is online (which it should be for insurance purposes, as well as the need to see where to pick up and take passengers).
According to Lyft, “Our contingent liability coverage is designed to provide coverage when the app is in driver mode before you’ve received a ride request in the event your personal insurance does not respond. The policy has a $50,000 maximum limit per person, $100,000 maximum limit per accident, and a $25,000 maximum limit for property damage[…]
“Our primary liability insurance is designed to act as the primary coverage from the time you accept a ride request until the time the ride has ended in the app. The policy has a $1,000,000 per accident limit. Note: If you already carry commercial insurance (or personal coverage providing specific coverage for ridesharing), Lyft’s policy will continue to be excess to your insurance coverage.”
If the other driver is at fault:
Under the terms and conditions above, you’re covered up to the maximum limits set out if you’re injured at the fault of the Lyft driver. What happens if the Lyft driver isn’t at fault, though?
If the other driver is at fault for the accident, then the driver’s policy applies via a third-party car insurance claim against this driver’s car insurance carrier. In some scenarios, seeking a personal injury lawsuit for a Lyft accident may be the best course action if you aren’t fully covered.
According to Lyft, “In the event of an accident (once you have accepted a ride or are transporting a passenger) with a driver who is uninsured (UM) or underinsured (UIM) and is ultimately at fault for bodily injury caused to you and/or your passengers, our UM/UIM coverage will apply (coverage limits vary by state). There is no deductible on our UM/UIM policy.”
Lyft’s coverage is provided in all 50 states, “except for those rides originating in New York City with a TLC (Taxi and Limousine Commission) driver,” and “Some regions may have specific requirements that modify the described coverage.”
If the insurance policy of the at-fault driver or Lyft are inadequate to fully compensate you, or the policies refuse to pay out for your injury, then you may consider filing a lawsuit against Lyft.
Can You Sue Lyft for an Accident?
Lyft’s drivers are independent contractors, not employees, which is an important distinction. A company is less likely to be legally responsible for the actions of independent contractors as compared to its own official employees. Therefore, if negligence is identified, Lyft is less likely to be found at fault (even if the Lyft driver was deemed the at-fault driver).
It should be noted that filing a lawsuit against Lyft should be looked at as an extreme case, since Lyft’s insurance coverage should be an adequate option for passengers (given the protection options mapped out under Lyft’s insurance policy).
While no one ever wants to imagine getting in a car accident when riding with Lyft, it’s important to know what your options are if an accident does occur and you are injured, so that you can be prepared for the unexpected if it does happen.
Injured and Need Help Seeking a Lyft Passenger Accident Settlement?
If you’ve been injured in a Lyft collision and need further legal assistance, Avrek Law maybe to help. We’ve helped obtain Lyft accident settlement amounts and other rideshare accident settlements of up to $3,250,000 for past clients. With more than $1 billion recovered in over 10,000 cases for different types of personal injuries, our team is here to help. Contact us for a free Lyft accident consultation today!