Ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber have changed the face of the taxi industry, adding convenience at a competitive price and making travel much easier for those who don’t have a car or just don’t want to drive. In most places, a passenger can order a Lyft from her phone and be picked up in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, while ride-sharing services have made it easier for people to get around, a Lyft or Uber accident is not uncommon.
This raises the question: what happens if your Lyft is in an accident? To answer this, it’s important to understand what happens if your Lyft driver crashes, how to hire a lyft accident attorney, and how to file a Lyft accident claim if you’ve been injured.
Lyft usage and rideshare accident statistics
As Lyft’s statistics reveal, ride-sharing 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 1 billion rides
- Lyft operated in more than 300 cities in the United States and Canada
At the same time, this strong growth in rideshare statistics can be tied to an increase in serious crashes and Lyft accidents. Business Insider Notes:
“The advent of ride-sharing is associated with a 2-3% increase in the number of motor vehicle deaths and fatalities,” University of Chicago researchers John Barrios, along with Yael Hochberg and Livia Hanyi, write in an article. Yi from Rice University. Written in draft of his article, which is in the preliminary stages of publication.
Despite this, many are leaving their own cars behind in favor of ride-sharing services like Lyft.
Proper Etiquette: What to do if your Lyft is in an accident
Like any car accident, if you have been involved in a Lyft collision, there are certain safety protocols that all participants must follow. For example:
- If you, another passenger, or the driver are not seriously injured and the vehicle can be moved, the car should be moved to the side of the road. Moving to a safe area away from traffic can help prevent further collisions.
- To warn other cars, the driver must turn on his hazard lights.
- Whether it’s you, the driver, or another vehicle involved, someone should call 911 (and drivers should exchange insurance information if more than one vehicle is involved).
- Even if your symptoms do not appear severe at the time of the accident, you should receive medical attention once paramedics arrive.
- Also dizziness can become a serious problem later, and some people do not notice the pain until the day after the accident. Some injuries may not manifest themselves until much later, so it is important to understand how long after an accident you can sue to obtain adequate compensation for injuries.
- Talk to the necessary parties, such as the driver, the police, and anyone else involved in the Lyft car accident to increase your chances of success in any Lyft insurance claim. Even though you are not the driver, you are involved and it is important to make sure that the statements of other people involved in the accident are accurate. (For more details on what to do after any type of car accident, and to make sure all parties are following the proper protocols, a step-by-step guide is available to read here.)
Does Lyft have insurance and as whose insurance is applied in a Lyft accident?
This is where things tend to get particularly complex. If you’re injured, it can be hard to know which policy applies: yours, the at-fault driver’s policy, or Lyft’s?
If the Lyft driver is at fault:
In most cases, the passenger is not responsible because Lyft’s standard insurance policy includes liability insurance. However, there may be a gray area as the insurance is split between the driver’s personal insurance and Lyft’s insurance policy. If the driver’s insurance provider denies the claim due to a commercial use exception, then Lyft’s insurance must step in to make sure all parties are covered, assuming the Lyft driver is at fault. This will happen as long as the driver app is online (which it should be for insurance purposes, as well as the need to see where to pick up and drop off 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 doesn’t respond. The policy has a maximum limit of $50,000 per person, a maximum limit of $100,000 per accident, and a maximum limit of $25,000 for property damage[…]
“Our primary liability insurance is designed to act as the primary coverage from the time you accept a ride request to the time the ride ends on the app. The policy has a limit of $1,000,000 per accident. Note: If you already have commercial insurance (or personal coverage that provides rideshare-specific coverage), the Lyft policy will still be in excess of your insurance coverage.”
If the other driver is at fault:
Under the terms and conditions above, he is covered up to the maximum limits if he is injured at the fault of the Lyft driver. However, what if the Lyft driver is not at fault?
If the other driver is at fault for the accident, the driver’s policy is enforced through a third-party auto insurance claim against this driver’s auto insurance company. In some scenarios, pursuing a personal injury claim for a Lyft accident may be the best course of action if you are not fully covered.
According to Lyft, “In the event of an accident (once you have accepted a ride or are transporting a passenger) with an uninsured (UM) or underinsured (UIM) driver who ultimately has the fault for bodily injuries caused to you and/or your passengers, our UM/UIM coverage will apply (coverage limits vary by state). There is no deductible in our UM/UIM policy.”
Lyft coverage is provided in all 50 states, “except trips originating in New York City with a TLC (Taxi and Limousine Commission) driver” and “Some regions may have specific requirements that modify coverage described”.
If the at-fault driver’s insurance policy or Lyft is not adequate to fully compensate you, or the policies refuse to pay for your injury, then you may want to consider filing a lawsuit against Lyft.
Can you sue Lyft for an accident?
Lyft drivers are independent contractors, not employees, which is an important distinction. A company is less likely to be held legally responsible for the actions of independent contractors than its own official employees. Therefore, if negligence is identified, Lyft is less likely to be at fault (even if the Lyft driver was found to be the at-fault driver).
It should be noted that filing a lawsuit against Lyft should be viewed as an extreme case, as Lyft’s insurance coverage should be an appropriate option for riders (given the protection options provided in Lyft’s insurance policy).
While no one wants to imagine being in a car accident when riding with Lyft, it’s important to know what your options are if an accident happens and you’re injured, so you can be prepared for the unexpected if it does happen.
Injured and need help seeking a Lyft passenger accident settlement?
If you have been injured in a Lyft collision and need further legal assistance, Abogado Contigo may be able to help. We have helped obtain Lyft accident settlement amounts and other rideshare accident settlements up to $3,250,000 for former clients. With over a billion dollars recovered in over 25,000 cases for different types of personal injuries, our team is here to help. Contact us for a free Lyft accident consultation today!