This also means that attorneys are seeing an uptick in cases that involve rideshare accidents because, as a newer trend, there are still more questions than answers about insurance coverage and liability.
When you get into a car driven by a rideshare driver, you’re literally putting your life in their hands. Do you really know that person? How trustworthy are they?
I'm in a rideshare accident. What should I do?
Talk to our MVP accident attorneys
MVP Accident Attorneys law firm serves clients throughout California, with offices in Los Angeles and Irvine.
MVP Accident Attorneys will advocate for you if your rideshare experience results in a car accident.
Our Uber and Lyft accident lawyers offer aggressive personal injury representation on a contingency fee basis. This means that we don't get paid unless you win.
If you’re in an accident with a Lyft or Uber driver, the first step is to determine fault. Lyft and Uber provide some insurance to their drivers, but some people work for both companies and that can lead to confusion over which is liable for the accident
Your driver should call emergency services immediately and pull to the side of the road. While you wait for emergency services and law enforcement, gather as much information from the driver as possible.
Be Sure That You Take Note Of The Following:
- Driver’s full name and contact information (address, phone number)
- Name of the driver’s employer (Uber, Lyft, etc.)
- All relevant insurance information
- License plate number and registration
If there are witnesses present, ask for their name and contact information, also. They might have valuable information that would be helpful, and once they leave the scene it’s hard to locate them. The other way to obtain evidence that could help your case is to ask whether there were any surveillance cameras nearby that could have video of the accident. If there are nearby homes or businesses, it’s worth asking if they have any footage. Some businesses only maintain their video for a short time, so it’s important to ask shortly after the crash so that they will save it if it exists.
Laws regarding rideshare insurance coverage and liability are constantly changing. The California rideshare accident lawyers at MVP Accident Attorneys know that your accident recovery can be physically and financially stressful. We can give you peace of mind while handling the complicated legal issues surrounding your case.t.
Determining Fault in an Uber or Lyft Accident
In general, the answer to "Who is at fault?" is simple. The person who hit you is at fault, whether they're driving a car, riding a motorcycle or even walking down the street. However, establishing fault in an accident with a rideshare vehicle can be more complicated than simply determining who caused the crash.
Was The Rideshare Driver Working At The Time Of The Accident?
One of the first things you need to know after an accident involving a rideshare vehicle is whether the driver was “on the app” or working at the time of the accident. Remember that when they are not actively engaged in the app, they are just a person driving their personal vehicle. If they were not on the app (transporting a passenger, or en route to pick up a passenger), then the accident would be handled the same as any other driver on the road—you’d make a claim against their personal insurance policy. The insurance should cover damages up to their policy limits.
However, if the driver was working for the rideshare company at the time of your accident — either transporting a passenger or on their way to pick someone up — then it’s more complicated. Uber and Lyft currently offer $1 million policies that cover accidents involving drivers when they are working.
Here's how it works:
If the driver is not logged into the rideshare app at the time of an accident, then his or her personal auto policy would apply first.
The rideshare policy would only apply if there was a coverage gap. If the driver had no auto insurance whatsoever, then the company’s contingent liability policy would apply. It would cover up to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident in bodily injury liability, and $25,000 per accident in property damage liability.
I was injured as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle. Who pays for my injuries?
Traditional taxicab drivers operate under commercial auto liability insurance. Newer ridesharing companies each structure their insurance coverage differently. A rideshare accident victim could discover some gray areas or a lack of clarity in coverage for some companies that don’t have solid policies in place.
If you are injured in a car accident while ridesharing, you might be protected by:
a) the rideshare company insurance policy,
b) your own insurance, or
c) personal auto insurance owned by the rideshare driver.
If you do not have auto insurance, or if your insurance specifically excludes ridesharing accidents, this will create complications.
If a driver is at fault, the passenger can file a claim against them and/or their company. In this case, the driver is liable for the passenger's injuries, just as a regular driver would be.
Suppose the passenger was a third party (not using the ridesharing service) and got hit by an Uber or Lyft driver. In that case, they have the same rights as anyone else who has been struck by a negligent motorist.
Uber and Lyft drivers must carry higher insurance coverage limits than the state minimums. They are required to have $1 million in general liability coverage for Uber drivers and $1.5 million for Lyft drivers. They also must have a minimum of $1 million uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If you are a driver who is involved in a crash with an Uber or Lyft driver, this would cover your injuries and those of any passengers in your car.
In California, the state minimum liability limits are $15,000 per person for bodily injury, $30,000 per occurrence for bodily injury and $5,000 for property damage. In addition, all Uber and Lyft drivers must carry at least $50,000 per person for coverage of medical expenses.
It’s always a good idea to add uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your own policy, but there could be situations when you don’t. If that’s the case, this provides an additional $50,000 of medical coverage.
You need an experienced and knowledgeable injury lawyer. Our California and Texas rideshare accident attorneys are pioneering modern methods to handle legal matters. Our electronic system is entirely private and allows us to streamline paperwork for a more efficient process.
What to do if a rideshare driver has insufficient insurance coverage
It's no secret that riding in an Uber or Lyft comes with certain risks. After all, drivers are just regular people, and some are bad drivers. And then there are other uncertainties: You don't know which driver will pick you up or what kind of car they'll be driving.
But there's one risk that you can address before you ever get in a ridesharing vehicle: insurance coverage. Both Uber and Lyft say their drivers carry insurance, but reports have surfaced that some drivers are underinsured — and some might have no insurance at all.
What the “regular” driver might not realize is that auto insurance policies often exclude commercial use of a personal vehicle. In other words, if you’re going to use your personal vehicle for rideshare purposes, you need to get a rider on your insurance policy. If a driver fails to do this, the policy might not cover an accident that happens when the vehicle is being used for a rideshare.
The companies' insurers also have been accused of evading responsibility after accidents. Meanwhile, other insurers have begun offering special policies to protect ridesharing drivers and passengers.
A rideshare company's insurance only covers the driver when they have a fare in the car. When they're just cruising around waiting for their next passenger, their own personal auto insurance has to cover them.
Lyft and Uber are transportation network companies (TNCs) that use a mobile app to connect passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire. Lyft operates in more than 300 cities throughout the U.S. and Uber is available in more than 600 cities worldwide.
The rideshare companies might refuse to pay for your injuries
If you are injured as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, you may be able to recover damages from the rideshare company. However, proving liability against a rideshare company is complicated and tricky.
Rideshare companies might argue that the driver was not working for them at the time of the crash. You could be forced to recover compensation from the driver's own insurance policy.
Our California ridesharing accident attorneys can help you recover the maximum compensation
It's important to note that even though most accidents involve two vehicles, you can receive compensation regardless of whether the accident was your fault or not.
If you were injured in an accident involving a rideshare driver, you need to understand that insurance companies will try to minimize their payouts however they can. They will look for ways to prove that you are partly at fault or that your injuries are not as severe as you claim them to be.
With the help of our experienced team of rideshare accident attorneys in Los Angeles County, California, you can get the compensation you legally deserve.
Do you have a case?
At MVP Accident Attorneys, we can help you determine whether or not your case has merit.
After many years in the legal profession, we know which cases are worth pursuing. Once we take on a case, we work closely with our clients from start to finish. You will be able to speak directly with your attorney any time, day or night.
You're at a point in your life when you need help, and this is the place where the best attorney can come in.
Contact us for questions about identifying a liable party through insurance claims or lawsuits, how to hire an injury attorney, or how to file a claim.
Areas We Serve
Brett S. Sachs graduated from Michigan State University College of Law with Cum Laude Honors. While attending Michigan State, Brett was awarded for his service in the Michigan State University College of Law Civil Rights Clinic, where he represented prisoners of the Michigan Department of Corrections from injustices brought upon them. Learn more.
When You’ve Been Injured
Personal Injury Law