What Happens When you are in an Accident while Riding in an Uber or Lyft?
Are you one of the many modern commuters who prefer to dial up a ride-share than to hail a taxi? If so, the following thought may have crossed your mind: If you should suffer an injury while traveling in an Uber or Lyft, who will pay your medical expenses?
Taxi companies employ their drivers, and their cabs are heavily insured from the moment they leave the company lot until the time they return. This insurance is expensive, and the well-regulated taxi industry subjects its drivers to rigorous background tests before placing them behind the wheels of company-owned cars.
The Lyft and Uber alternative, on the other hand, works under an entirely different business model. Ride-sharing drivers are independent contractors, not employees. They work their own hours, drive their own cars and shuttle their choice of passengers. Thanks to this concept, Uber and Lyft can and often do deny liability to anyone injured in an accident caused by the negligence of one of their drivers.
This does not, however, leave injured passengers high and dry after a crash. In addition to requiring their drivers to carry their own insurance coverage, Uber, Lyft and other reputable ride-sharing companies do maintain policies of their own to protect their drivers as well as their passengers. Unfortunately, this insurance will not necessarily rise to the level of that carried by a traditional taxi company.
Uber, Lyft and Three Layers of Protection
Both Uber and Lyft maintain layered injury coverage that may apply if one of their vehicles crashes. This works in various ways depending on the phase of the ride during which the accident occurred. For example:
- If the crash occurred when the driver had his app turned off, the assumption is that he or she was not actually working at the time. Therefore, the driver’s own insurance must provide the coverage.
- If the driver’s app was on but he was not actually carrying a passenger, that driver will be covered by Uber or Lyft’s liability insurance.
- If the driver’s app was on and there was a paying passenger aboard, the Uber or Lyft coverage can go as high a $1 million for injuries along with collision and comprehensive coverage for property damage.
For this reason, anyone hurt as an Uber or Lyft passenger may be eligible to receive damages in accordance with the extent of his injuries. The compensation can include coverage for:
- Lost wages.
- Medical bills.
- Physical therapy.
- Pain and suffering.
- Permanent impairment
- Other related damages.
As in any other accident, however, there will be a question as to whose insurance pays. The at-fault party might be:
- The Uber or Lyft driver himself.
- The vehicle in which you are riding.
- Another driver that hit the vehicle you are in.
If you are lucky, your Lyft or Uber driver will carry either commercial car insurance or a personal insurance policy with a provision providing coverage when he is carrying passengers commercially. However, most ride-share drivers will carry neither, and any personal car insurance they do have is likely to have an exception for business use that excludes injury and damage coverage for accidents that occur while the driver is working for profit.
While both Uber and Lyft do carry third-party insurance for liability, it usually comes into play only after the driver’s own insurance, if he carries the right kind, has given out.
It will always be possible for an injured Uber or Lyft passenger to file a claim, but doing so will take a lot of dedication. You will need to compile a careful record of your medical bills and other expenses. You may also find yourself tied-up in a dispute with an insurance company that will do its best to see that it pays you the smallest amount of damages it can get away with.
That’s where The Powerhouse Injury Attorneys come in. We know how hard it can be to fight this sort of claim. We also know that with our help, your chances of receiving favorable compensation for the injuries you received as an Uber or Lyft passenger will increase dramatically. The Powerhouse Injury Attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona will use their experience to see that anyone injured in a ride-sharing accident receives the compensation that he or she deserves. Don’t try to fight this alone. Call us today for a free consultation– we are happy to help! 602-265-5555