Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies have become a staple in American transportation over the last few years. The ease and accessibility of these platforms have paved the way for an easier form of traveling from point A to point B, but these services don’t make the open road any safer for drivers and passengers alike.
Considering the various levels of insurance and liabilities, what exactly happens if you’re involved in an accident while riding with a rideshare company?
What Is a Rideshare Company, and What Do They Do?
Rideshare companies offer an easily accessible form of transportation. Riders download an app on their phone and “request” a ride through the service. A driver who works for the rideshare company receives the rider’s request, then picks them up and takes them to their destination.
Compared to taxi cabs, it’s a much easier, more personalized service where drivers and riders can benefit from the use of technology.
How Does Insurance Affect Rideshare Accidents?
Any motorist outside of New Hampshire and Virginia is required to hold some level of private car insurance. If they’re a rideshare driver, they may also qualify for company insurance, but the coverage depends on what the driver was doing at the time of the accident.
Here’s a quick breakdown of Uber and Lyft’s most recent insurance coverages.
- If the driver doesn’t have their rideshare app on, they’re only covered by their personal car insurance.
- If the driver has their rideshare app turned on and they’re waiting for a request, they’re eligible for $50,000 per person in bodily injury, $100,000 per accident in bodily injury, and $25,000 per incident in property damage coverage.
- If the driver has their rideshare app on and is traveling to a passenger or with a passenger at the time of the accident, they’re eligible for $1,000,000 worth of third-party liability coverage and contingent collision and comprehensive insurance, with a $2,500 deductible.
A rideshare driver’s company insurance only makes the situation more complicated for the injured party. Each insurance provider will need to assess the situation independently and determine which policy pays out in which order, which can take more time than the injured party has. If you’re involved in an accident while using a rideshare service, your best bet is to speak with an experienced attorney.
Examples of Rideshare Accident Insurance Coverage
Here are a few examples of how insurance coverage works in different scenarios.
- A rideshare driver rear-ends Jake’s car at a traffic light. The rideshare driver didn’t have their app running, so the rideshare driver’s personal car insurance should cover Jake’s damage.
- Emily’s Uber home from work hits another car, making a left turn in front of them. The rideshare driver’s insurance ($1,000,000 worth of third-party liability coverage) would cover Emily’s medical bills.
- Kevin is hit by a rideshare driver, who’s waiting for a request, in a parking lot. Kevin’s medical bills are covered up to the $50,000 limit.
What Should I Do After an Uber/Lyft Accident?
Like any car accident, the most important thing is your health and well-being. Once you’ve removed yourself from the scene and found a safe location, follow these steps:
- Call 911 if there are injuries
- Exchange contact and insurance information with your rideshare driver, any other passengers, and the other driver(s).
- Contact the proper authorities and offer your eyewitness testimony for the police report
Can You Sue a Rideshare Company After an Accident?
You can, but the company may try to distance itself from the driver and the situation.
Since rideshare drivers are technically independent contractors, companies like Uber and Lyft have limited liability over what their drivers do while on the road. However, the laws are changing, and there’s a possibility that rideshare companies will face legal consequences for accidents in the future.
It’s always best to speak with an attorney about your specific circumstances, so they can help you explore your options and set you on the right path.
What Should Victims Do Once They’ve Left the Scene of a Rideshare Accident?
Rideshare accidents are often more complicated than standard ones because of the various layers of insurance and liability. Most people won’t be able to approach the situation without prior experience, so it’s recommended to speak with an experienced attorney.
At Morgan and Morgan, we understand the stress, frustration, and pain extending from an accident you didn’t cause. Our specialized car accident attorneys are here to help you recover compensation for your injuries, regardless of the complexity of your case.
Complete our free, no-risk case evaluation to get started.