Can You Sue Lyft For an Accident?

Lyft Accident Lawsuit

With more than 1.4 million people driving for Lyft, this ride-hailing company may be your transportation provider of choice depending on the area of the country in which you live. Lyft operates in over 600 U.S. cities today. There’s no question that a Lyft ride will probably cost you less than a traditional taxi ride. However, you need to know that you may encounter problems getting the compensation you deserve from a lawsuit in the event you sustain and injury after a Lyft accident.

Lyft does offer its drivers insurance. However, coverage comes with numerous conditions and contingencies that quickly become quite confusing as to what coverage is available under which circumstances. This stems from the fact that Lyft insists on classifying its drivers as independent contractors rather than as employees. Consequently, in all Lyft accidents, the driver’s own insurance company and policy serve as the primary source of your compensation. Lyft’s insurance, at best, represents a supplemental source of compensation funds.

As the innocent injured passenger, all this puts you in the difficult position of needing to determine who to sue under what circumstances. You undoubtedly will need the advice, counsel and representation of a local personal injury attorney experienced in undertaking Lyft accident lawsuits and aggressively pursuing Lyft injury claims.

Three Lyft Coverage Periods

To begin with, Lyft divides each driver’s status into three categories with applicable Lyft insurance coverage as follows:

  1. The driver’s Lyft app is turned off: no Lyft insurance coverage
  2. The app is turned on, but the driver is simply waiting for a ride request, not actively engaged in providing a ride to a passenger: Lyft insurance coverage of $50,000 maximum for each person’s bodily injury, $100,000 maximum for all bodily injuries resulting from each accident and $25,000 maximum for all property damage resulting from each accident
  3. The app is turned on and the driver is either picking up a passenger or giving a passenger a ride: Lyft insurance coverage of up to $1 million for liability, i.e., bodily injury; uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage in an amount that varies from state to state

Keep in mind that in situations 2 and 3, Lyft’s insurance only kicks in once your driver’s own insurance has compensated you for your injuries up to its maximum policy limit.

Also, keep in mind that the above coverages apply only if your Lyft driver caused the accident. If the other driver is the at-fault person, Lyft’s uninsured/underinsured coverage may kick in if the other driver has no auto insurance or if his or her policy limits are too low to adequately compensate you. Lyft’s insurance may also kick in if the at-fault driver flees the scene and no one can establish their identity. Again, however, the amount of Lyft’s uninsured/underinsured insurance coverage varies state-to-state. This is another reason why you’ll need to hire a local personal injury attorney. They’ll determine what coverage amounts may be available to you if you decide to pursue a lawsuit against Lyft after you accident.

Lyft Driver Personal Insurance

Lyft requires each of its drivers to have and maintain his or her own personal auto insurance. Be advised, however, that your driver’s personal auto insurance policy does not provide coverage during times when he or she is giving you or anyone else a ride. Virtually all personal auto insurance policies exclude such commercial activity.

Your driver, therefore, has the following four choices:

  1. Buy a commercial auto insurance policy in addition to his or her personal policy
  2. Buy a rideshare auto insurance policy in addition to his or her personal policy
  3. Get a rideshare endorsement on his or her personal auto insurance policy from the company that issued the policy
  4. Do nothing and hope that he or she does not become involved in an accident while transporting a passenger

What To Do After a Lyft Accident

You likely won’t know what insurance coverage your Lyft driver has. Therefore, you should treat a Lyft accident just like any other car accident after it immediately occurs. This includes the following:

  • Call 911 if you require immediate medical assistance and request an ambulance.
  • Call 911 even if you don’t need immediate medical intervention and request law enforcement assistance.
  • While waiting for officers to arrive, take photos of vehicles involved in the accident, accident scene and anything else relevant.
  • Talk with your driver, the other driver, his or her passengers and any witnesses nearby who saw what occurred; write down their names, contact information and a synopsis of what they say.
  • Gather all insurance information from each driver, including insurance company name and contact information, plus the policy number.
  • When law enforcement officers arrive at the scene, jot down their names and badge numbers. Request that they make a police report of the accident and ask them its number and how and when you can obtain a copy.
  • Call Lyft either through your app or via the phone number provided by your driver and report the accident. Let them know you were a passenger at the time of the accident.

Why You Need a Local Lawyer for a Lyft Accident Lawsuit

If you are injured in a Lyft accident, you should contact a local personal injury attorney. You should do so as soon as possible after the accident. Lyft’s various insurance coverages and when they apply are incredibly complex. You should choose a lawyer with past experience in pursuing Lyft injury claims and obtaining favorable settlements or jury awards. Furthermore, your local lawyer knows whether your state is a comparative fault jurisdiction. They’ll know how this may affect the amount of compensation you can expect to receive if both your Lyft driver and the other driver shared responsibility for causing the accident.

In addition, your local lawyer can advise you of how long you have to file a Lyft accident lawsuit. Don’t fail to file your lawsuit within your state’s applicable statute of limitations. This likely will prevent you from obtaining compensation from either your Lyft driver or the company itself.

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