Dealing with the ride share company’s attempts to avoid liability for the accident
Uber or Lyft sometimes contends that the driver was on his or her own time and it cannot be held responsible. The ride share company can use the driver’s contract which states that he or she is an independent contractor and has a personal automobile policy that must be filed on in the event of a car crash so that Uber can avoid payment. This argument is being challenged in courts across the country.
Dealing with the ride share company’s commercial liability insurance
As a passenger, if the Uber or Lyft driver is clearly at fault for causing the collision, both Uber and Lyft have a maximum coverage limit of $1 million. They also have $1 million in underinsured/uninsured driver coverage. Of course, the average claim or lawsuit is not worth anywhere this amount. And of course, both companies fight to avoid paying you for your damages.
If the Uber driver crashes into your car or truck, is 100% at fault, and does not have any passengers, he is on his own time and you have to file on his personal policy. However if the driver is on his way to pick up a passenger, he is covered under the ride share’s insurance policy. This can be a disputed area. It is not clear whether the individual policy excludes coverage and if “the vehicle is being used to carry persons for a fee.”
The driver may have his Uber app on the “available” mode but has not yet responded to a pick up request, another gray area.
Uber also provides an additional $50,000 per injury/$100,000 for all people injured/$25,000 for vehicle damage under certain circumstances.
Dallas may land a major new Uber headquarters and you can be sure that we will have even more Uber drivers and other Uber vehicles – including flying cars? – on our roads and in the air.
We can help you
If you are hurt in an Uber or Lyft accident, you should seek medical attention ASAP. You also need to take prompt action necessary to protect your legal rights and your family’s financial future.
Mr. Berenson has been a board-certified personal injury attorney for over 25 years. He can explain the options you have for obtaining compensation for your damages.
For your free case review, contact us today at 1-888-801-8585 or email us online.
With more and more people taking Uber and Lyft rides, naturally there are more car accidents involving them.
The insurance claim depens on when the Uber accident happenedWhether you are the driver injured by another vehicle, a passenger inside the ride share vehicle, or another driver hit by an Uber driver, you need to know how to proceed.
When the Uber driver has a passenger: you must first file against the at-fault driver’s policy. In addition the Uber driver is covered by a $1 million per collision commercial liability policy if he is at fault and a $1 million uninsured/underinsured policy. I am representing a seriously injured passenger leaving a Dallas Cowboys game when an uninsured drunk crashed into his car and I am fighting to get him the entire amount.
When the driver is available under the app but has not yet picked up a passenger: the driver’s personal policy and Uber’s contingent liability policy of $50,000 per person/$100,000 per collision and $25,000 for vehicle damage is the limit.
When the Uber driver’s app is off: Uber contends that it is not responsible. This policy is currently under review. The driver is only covered by his own liability policy (usually a limit of $30,000 per person/$60,000 for all people injured and $25,000 for all property damage) in addition to possible Uber underinsured coverage of $50,000/$100,000/$25,000.
Uber classifies its drivers as independent contractors to limit its exposure to liability and shift the blame to its drivers. Lyft has similar policies.
Texas just passed a law governing these companies six months ago. The new law finally requires a background check for the driver. Note that he is still qualified as long as he does not have more than three moving violations in the last three years or more than one for reckless driving, fleeing the police, or driving without a valid license.
Capturing 71% of the U.S. market, Uber is the largest ridesharing company in the industry. With millions of Uber trips happening every day in the U.S., drivers and passengers are not immune from car accidents. In 2017-2018, Uber reported 107 total fatalities in relation to Uber trips.
If you find yourself in an Uber driver car accident, you’ll need to take steps to protect yourself and get the compensation you deserve. Navigating the complexities of the accident, insurance, and fault can be tricky. An Uber accident attorney can help you sort out the situation on your behalf.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE INVOLVED IN AN UBER ACCIDENT
Uber driver accidents can be unsettling for all those involved. Whether you are a passenger or a driver, here are some steps to take immediately after an accident.
- Call 911
Check for injuries and notify emergency authorities. If it was a minor accident, it’s still a good idea to call 911, and they can decide whether police will be dispatched.
- Gather Information
Collect information from all the parties involved. This means taking down the name, contact information, insurance policy, and license plate number of all the drivers. If possible, see if you can find out if the Uber driver was logged into the Uber system at the time of the accident.
- Notify Uber
File an accident report with Uber. Uber will start an investigation into the accident after they receive the report. Their insurance company will also likely contact you shortly after.
- Seek Medical Attention
It’s important you seek medical attention right away, even if you think your symptoms are minor. Medical reports can play a key role in the success of your claim. It establishes the link between the accident and the injuries you’ve sustained.
- Contact an Uber Accident Attorney
Before you speak with any insurance companies, contact an Uber attorney. There are different layers of complexity when it comes to an Uber car crash. An experienced Uber accident attorney will help you avoid mistakes so you can get the best outcome possible.
INFORMATION UBER ACCIDENT VICTIMS NEED TO KNOW
Uber accident victims can seek damages depending on the situation they’re in:
- Uber passenger: If you’re a Uber passenger involved in an accident, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages. Uber has commercial insurance up to a limit of $1 million. Depending on the situation, you’ll be covered either by Uber or the at-fault driver’s insurance.
- Another driver hit by an Uber driver: If you are a driver who was struck by an Uber driver, who’s at fault will be a crucial consideration. In this case, the not-at-fault driver must demonstrate negligence on the part of the at-fault driver.
How much compensation you get will depend on a variety of factors. One key factor is whether the Uber driver was logged into the Uber app during the accident. This will be discussed in further detail, but, in general, if the Uber driver was not logged in, less insurance may be available.
Who Do I Sue If I Am Injured?
Who you sue after an Uber accident will again depend on factors such as who’s at fault, what stage the Uber driver was at during the crash, and more. Based on these factors, you can bring a suit against any of the following parties:
- The Uber driver
- The ridesharing company itself (i.e., Uber)
- Another at fault driver
- Car manufacturer (i.e., due to a mechanical defect)
It’s always recommended to consult with an Uber lawyer before you proceed with any legal action. The settlement process for rideshare accidents can be lengthy and involved without expert guidance from a lawyer. Leave the hard work to a trusted professional while you recover from your injuries.
INFORMATION UBER DRIVERS NEED TO KNOW
What happens when you get in an accident while driving for Uber? The first thing to understand is that in Nevada, Uber drivers are generally not considered employees. Instead, they are more akin to independent contractors. Therefore, they are not covered under Nevada workers’ compensation law.
There is still some debate as to whether Uber drivers should be considered independent contractors or employees. But, for the most part, Uber drivers will need to file an insurance claim to receive compensation for damages as opposed to accessing workers’ compensation.
Who should an Uber driver file the claim against in an accident? Depending on the situation, the driver needs to make a claim with the proper insurance company:
- Personal auto insurance company: Uber drivers must rely on their personal auto insurance when they are offline in the app or online and waiting for a ride request.
- Uber: Uber offers third-party liability coverage when drivers are online. Also, when you are enroute to a pickup or transporting a passenger, you can make a claim with Uber’s commercial auto insurance for damages to your vehicle. However, there are certain caveats, which will be discussed later.
- Another driver: If the other driver was at fault in the accident, the Uber driver could make a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Before you make any claims, consult with an Uber driver lawyer. The different terms, conditions, and policies can be difficult to grasp. A lawyer will advise you on the best strategy based on your circumstances.
CHALLENGES OF DEALING WITH THE AFTERMATH OF AN UBER ACCIDENT
Making claims and seeking compensation can be challenging due to the multiple insurance policies involved. And, as mentioned, the time of the accident also matters in determining your compensation.
Uber coverage for their drivers and passengers will depend on what stage they are in during the accident.
Stage 1 – Uber Driver is Offline
If the Uber driver is not logged in to the ridesharing app at the time of the accident, Uber will not offer any coverage for the driver or passengers. This stage would be considered your personal time. Access to coverage would need to come out of your personal auto insurance plan.
Stage 2 – Uber Driver is Online and Waiting for a Ride Request
During this stage, the app is on, but the driver has not accepted an assignment. Uber offers contingent liability coverage for this stage. This means Uber will only cover for damages after your personal auto policy kicks in. The limits to the liability coverage are:
- $50,000 for injury per person
- $100,000 for injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage
Note that Uber offers only liability coverage at this point. This means they will cover any third party individuals involved in the accident, up to the mentioned limits. Uber will not cover any damages sustained by the Uber driver.
Stage 3 – Uber Driver is Online and Enroute for Pickup
Once the driver has accepted a ride request and is enroute for the pickup, Uber’s full liability coverage of $1 million will apply. In addition to the increase in liability coverage, two other key types of coverage will apply during this stage:
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist: Covers damages or personal injuries to the Uber driver and passengers when they get hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
- Contingent collision and comprehensive: Covers damages to the Uber driver’s car up to their car’s cash value. However, there are two caveats. The first is that the Uber driver must have comprehensive and collision coverage on their personal auto insurance. The second is a $1,000 deductible that the driver must pay before coverage kicks in.
Stage 4 – Uber Driver is Online and Transporting Passengers
The Uber driver has picked up the passenger and is driving them to their end destination. The same coverage from stage 3 applies to this stage. Stage 4 concludes when the trip has ended in the app.
One key point: just because an Uber driver has their personal auto policy in place, it does not guarantee insurance companies will pay out the damages (especially in stages 1 & 2, where the Uber driver’s personal auto insurance is the primary coverage). Because personal car insurance is typically for personal purposes, the insurance company may deny coverage on the basis of the driver using their personal car for commercial purposes.
UBER ACCIDENT LAWYER: HOW THEY CAN HELP
Whether you’re a passenger, Uber driver or a third-party driver, an Uber car accident attorney in Las Vegas can help you gain clarity on the best path forward after an accident. Here are some key ways an experienced lawyer can help:
- Maximize compensation: An accident can wreak significant havoc on both your car and your health. Damages can include your repair costs, medical expenses, home care costs, loss of wages, and emotional trauma. A lawyer gives you the best chance to maximize the compensation to cover your losses.
- Expert advice: The growth of ridesharing companies like Uber or Lyft has been a relatively new phenomenon. Laws and regulations governing these services can often be murky. An Uber accident lawyer stays on top of the latest laws, giving you the best counsel for your accident.
- Getting through the insurance process: Knowing which insurance to deal with is not easy in an Uber accident. Sometimes you’ll need to access multiple insurance companies for your claim. Additionally, insurance companies are typically not on your side. They may force you to settle for a much lower amount than what you deserve. Let a lawyer handle the filings and negotiations so you don’t make any costly mistakes.
- Peace of mind: A car accident can be a traumatic and stressful event for anyone. Leave the stress of navigating the complex legal procedures to a lawyer while you focus on recovering from your injuries.
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The short answer is yes. Uber and Lyft have insurance that covers drivers, passengers and third-parties. Both rideshare companies offer different levels of coverage when a driver is waiting for a fare, on the way to pick up a ride or actively transporting a paying passenger. Neither company provides any insurance protection unless a driver has logged on to the app and indicated they are available to accept rides. As a general rule, Uber and Lyft provide far more generous insurance coverage to passengers and third-parties than their own drivers.
What’s covered when a driver is waiting for a fare?
Both Uber and Lyft cover third-parties injured when a driver is waiting for a fare. Drivers are not protected by either companies’ insurance when logged on to the app and waiting to accept a ride.
Here’s an example. Let’s say that Dave, a Lyft driver, is zooming around the city waiting for a fare. He’s logged on to the app, but hasn’t yet accepted a ride. While attempting to make a right-hand turn, Dave bangs into Margaret’s car.
Lyft’s accident coverage would reimburse Margaret for any injuries or property damage caused by the accident. Lyft and Uber offer similar third-party coverage in these situations. Both would pay up to $50,000 to compensate Margaret for any injuries and up to $25,000 for any property damage. Both Uber and Lyft cap their third-party coverage at $100,000.
Dave would be responsible for all repairs to his own vehicle and any medical bills he incurred. And, in most cases, the rideshare companies’ insurance would only kick in as a backstop to the driver’s personal insurance policy.
What about after a driver accepts a ride?
Higher coverage kicks in as soon as a driver accepts a ride request — at this point, both Uber and Lyft have insurance that protects drivers and third-parties. It also extends to passengers after pickup.
Here’s an example. Becca, an Uber driver, is on her way to pick up Martin when she plows into Carmen, who’s driving an old Volvo.
Uber’s accident coverage would provide up to $1 million in third-party liability insurance that would pay for Carmen’s injuries and the cost to repair or replace her Volvo.
If Becca has a valid personal collision and comprehensive plan, Uber’s insurance coverage would kick in and cover any damages to Becca’s vehicle. If she doesn’t have her own personal comprehensive and collision coverage, Becca won’t receive reimbursement from Uber for the cost of repairing or replacing her car. Becca would also have to pay for her own medical bills.
Both companies offer similar coverage levels and will compensate properly personally-insured drivers up to the cash value of their vehicle (or the cost to get things fixed).
What about if the Uber or Lyft driver has a ride in the car?
Both Uber and Lyft offer third-party as well as collision and comprehensive coverage that applies after a driver picks up a paying passenger.
Here’s another example.
Janet, a Lyft driver, picks up Frank. She’s driving him home from work when she runs into Sue, who’s behind the wheel of a brand new McLaren. Both vehicles are totaled.
Lyft’s insurance would cover injuries to both Frank and Sue. It would also pay for damages or the replacement of Sue’s car. All of this would be covered by the $1 million third-party liability insurance the company carries.
Janet has less protection. Lyft’s collision and comprehensive insurance would pay for repairs to Janet’s vehicle. But this will only apply if Janet has her own personal comprehensive and collision policy. If she doesn’t, Lyft won’t reimburse Janet for any costs associated with fixing or replacing her vehicle.
And Janet would be on the hook for any medical costs she incurs as a result of the accident.
But there’s more. Let’s say that Frank’s leg was seriously injured in the accident. He ended up spending four months in intensive care after undergoing a series of surgeries to save his leg. His medical bills reached close to $4 million. Sue also required surgery — the accident severed all the tendons in her shoulder. And she also racked up a nice bill emergency room bill. Her medical bills ended up coming to $1 million. And then there’s the issue of Sue’s car. Her brand new $500,000 vehicle was totaled.
Lyft’s insurance would provide $1 million in third-party liability insurance to cover Frank and Sue’s injuries and property damage. But Janet would still be on the hook for $4.5 million — most of Frank and all of Sue’s costs—because of Lyft’s $1 million per incident coverage limit.
Both rideshare companies offer similar coverage levels after a driver picks up a paying passenger.
What about if someone hits a rideshare driver?
Both Uber and Lyft have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage that protects drivers as soon as they accept a ride. It also covers passengers once they enter the rideshare vehicle. This coverage only applies if a driver is in an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance, and it only provides reimbursement for injuries. It comes into play when the rideshare driver is not at fault. The limit is $1 million per incident.
Here’s an example.
George, an uninsured motorist, plows into Dave, an Uber driver. Dave picked up Karen minutes before the accident. Both Dave and Karen were injured, and Dave’s car was totaled. Uber’s uninsured motorist insurance would pay for Dave and Karen’s injuries. The amount of coverage provided by the rideshare companies’ insurance varies by state.
Neither Uber nor Lyft will pay for Dave’s vehicle to be repaired or replaced unless he has personal comprehensive and collision coverage. If Dave has the required personal insurance policy, both Uber and Lift will reimburse him for the cost of replacing or fixing his vehicle.
Do Uber and Lyft require drivers to have personal insurance coverage?
Yes. Both companies require drivers to have the minimum insurance coverage required in the state where they live. And nothing prevents injured third-parties from attempting to seek restitution through a driver’s personal insurance policy.
What are some of the other issues Uber and Lyft drivers should be aware of when it comes to rideshare insurance?
Uber and Lyft provide less comprehensive coverage for drivers than passengers and third-parties, so it’s critical for rideshare drivers to have solid personal vehicle insurance. Both companies’ comprehensive and collision insurance only applies if the driver has a similar personal policy. Neither Uber nor Lyft will reimburse drivers without a personal collision and comprehensive policy for expenses related to vehicle repair or replacement costs after an accident.
And then there are the deductibles. Uber’s collision and comprehensive plan comes with a $1000 deductible. That increases to $2500 for Lyft.
It’s also important to have a personal insurance policy explicitly designed for rideshare drivers. Many insurance companies specifically exclude rideshare activities from coverage.
Who needs an attorney if they’ve been in an Uber or Lyft accident?
Anyone who’s been involved in a rideshare accident should immediately contact an attorney — this includes drivers, passengers and third-parties. Because of the complex interplay of insurance coverages, navigating the system can be tricky at best. Hiring an experienced Uber and Lyft accident attorney is the best way to ensure your interests are protected.
What can an Uber or Lyft accident attorney do?
An experienced personal injury attorney knows what information insurance companies are looking for and how to obtain it. They have investigators who can take pictures, interview witnesses and collect other types of relevant evidence. They can also provide guidance when it comes to things like the documentation of injuries and lost income.
Because they do this every day, Uber and Lyft accident attorneys are familiar with how insurance companies operate. They know how to get things done quickly and efficiently. They also know when insurance companies are playing games and trying to pass the buck — and they have the knowhow to stop it.
Your Uber and Lyft accident can cause you extensive damages
Just like with other auto accident injuries, the injuries you suffer due to a negligent Uber or Lyft driver have the potential to be very serious and even permanent. They can lead to surgeries that are caused by
- Spinal cord damage,
- Traumatic brain injuries,
- Neck and back injuries, and
- Broken bones
In addition to pain and disability, you may experience a financial crisis as a result of a mountain of medical bills and a lack of vehicle and income.
If you have been injured in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, it is imperative that you contact a good injury lawyer promptly. We understand what you are going through.
Berenson Injury Law has handled many of these ride share collision cases. Your legal options, and your ability to obtain compensation, may be more complicated than if the at-fault driver were a private individual.