I was in a Lyft Car Accident, What’s Next?
Lyft and Uber have been called “disruptive” technologies. One of the main reasons why they are disruptive is due to the fact that they occupied a legal gray area for quite some time. Have you been injured in an Uber-involved accident? Contact an expert Uber accident attorney today.
Lyft drivers are not considered employees of the Lyft company. They are independent contractors. A typical independent contractor, however, carries their own commercial auto insurance. Most Lyft drivers only have their commercial auto policy.
Because the law often takes its time catching up with technology, it wasn’t until relatively recently that major rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft began providing their contractors with insurance coverage. This was in response to public pressure and lawsuits that forced rideshare companies to take responsibility for their drivers.
Today, drivers for Lyft are covered by both their own insurance policies and Lyft’s commercial insurance policy. Still, there is a great deal of confusion over which policy should pay out and when and insurance companies exploit that confusion to deny valid claims against the policy.
The Three Lyft Driver Car Accident Periods of Lyft’s Accident Insurance
A Lyft driver’s time is divided into three periods:
- The Lyft driver is available and waiting for a ride;
- The Lyft driver is on their way to pick up a passenger; and
- The Lyft driver is transporting their passenger to his or her desired location.
Lyft drivers use an app on which potential passengers can request a ride. The Lyft driver then drives to their fare, picks them up, and transports them to their desired location. In between fares, Lyft drivers can do whatever they want. They can go to the grocery store, fuel up, or say ‘hi’ to their loved one at work. Lyft, of course, doesn’t want to cover the driver while they’re running their own personal errands and that makes a certain kind of sense.
For that reason, Lyft’s accident insurance policy only kicks in after the driver has accepted a fair. Now, the driver can get into an accident on their way to accept the fair or while they’re transporting their fair to his or her desired location. Lyft’s auto accident policy won’t cover anything else, however. If the Lyft driver is not either on their way to pick up a fare or transporting a fare, then claims must be made against their auto accident insurance policy.
Lyft’s Contingent Auto Insurance Policy
Not every personal auto insurance carrier will cover a driver who uses their personal vehicle for commercial purposes. For that reason, Lyft provides its drivers with a contingent insurance policy that covers them while they are “available” but have yet to receive a fare. This policy covers $50,000 in damages per person or $100,000 per incident with a $25,000 limit for property damage.
Lyft’s Primary Auto Insurance Policy
Lyft’s primary policy kicks in the moment the driver has accepted a ride to the point at which they drop their fare off. It covers other drivers on the road, pedestrians, and passengers inside the vehicle. Lyft settlement payouts cover $1 million in damages.
Filing a Claim against Lyft’s Insurance Policy
When filing a claim in an auto accident, there are a number of issues that need to be sorted out. This is much more complicated in an accident involving a rideshare company than it is when dealing with two private individuals who have been in a car accident.
Firstly, there is the question of liability. In order to file a claim against a Lyft driver, you must be able to show that the Lyft driver was at least 50% responsible for the accident. If so, you can file a claim against their insurance company. There is still a question as to which insurance company will pick up the tab. This relates to the information above. Different policies may kick in at different times depending on whether or not the Lyft driver is available or if the driver had a Lyft passenger or if they were on their way to pick up a passenger. In some cases, the driver’s own personal insurance policy will cover up to the policy limit and Lyft’s insurance policy will then cover the difference.
It can get quite confusing. For this reason, we recommend that you contact police when you are injured in a Lyft accident. The police will get a record of everyone who witnessed the accident. If you are able, you should take pictures of the scene as well.
Insurance Companies Exploit Complexities
Lyft’s insurance company’s job is to protect it from liability. Nonetheless, it is bound by laws that require it to pay out under certain circumstances. Collecting a fair settlement from Lyft’s own insurance policy can, therefore, be tricky. Most individuals will rely on the expertise of legal counsel to secure them the highest possible settlement that they are entitled to under the law.
Firstly, determining who is liable in a car accident is always a matter of some disagreement. If the Lyft driver is responsible, then it’s Lyft’s policy that should ostensibly pay out. But what if the driver is driving under the influence or is distracted while driving? Lyft can turn around and claim that their policy does not cover certain kinds of claims. Meanwhile, the driver’s own insurance policy can claim that they don’t cover rideshare drivers under any circumstances. In other words, the two insurance companies can give you the runaround.
In an Accident with a Lyft Driver? You Need a Lawyer…
Throughout this article, we’ve tried to detail some of the complexities that occur when dealing with Lyft drivers in a car accident. The insurance company that represents Lyft is going to exploit these complexities and their ambiguities in order to deny or devalue your claim. Their job is to represent their client, Lyft. Your personal injury attorney’s job is to maximize the value of your claim against their policy.