If I’m In an Uber or Lyft Accident, Whose Insurance Will Cover Me?
Posted on May 28, 2019 in Traffic
Let’s start with the basics. Uber, Lyft and every state in the nation, including Louisiana, require drivers to have auto insurance. Drivers must comply with the minimum coverage requirements of the state in which they live to work through both platforms. Because some insurance providers exclude rideshare activities from coverage, both Uber and Lyft step in to fill the gap.
When Does Coverage Kick in If There’s a Rideshare Accident?
Contingent third-party liability coverage provided by Uber and Lyft starts the minute a driver logs on and indicates they’re available to accept rides. At this stage, the rideshare company’s policy only becomes relevant if the driver’s insurance offers less protection than that maintained by Uber or Lyft.
Can You Explain That in Plain English, Please?
Yes. In the event of an Uber accident, Lyft accident, or other rideshare accident that happens while a driver is waiting for a fare, both companies offer contingent third-party liability insurance that protects people other than the rideshare driver. Here’s a quick example. Imagine your Uber driving neighbor, Dave, runs into a car driven by Karen. He’s riding around waiting to pick up a fare when suddenly — bam, there’s a crash. Dave is responsible.
Dave’s personal third-party liability insurance will cover Karen’s medical bills and car repair costs. If Dave’s insurance explicitly excludes coverage during commercial activities, the rideshare company’s third-party liability insurance should pay for Karen’s doctors’ bills and any damage to her car.
If Dave only has the minimum coverage legally mandated by his state, Karen will first collect through Dave’s insurance and then the rideshare company’s contingent insurance should fill in the gap. If he only has a third-party liability policy, Dave will likely end up footing the bill for his own medical bills and car repair costs.
But what if Dave is not at fault? If Karen plows into Dave while texting her friend about dinner, Karen’s insurance will pay for Dave’s medical expenses and car repairs. If Karen doesn’t have insurance, Dave might be in for a nasty surprise. Without his own uninsured motorist coverage, there’ll be no insurance through which he can seek reimbursement for his expenses.
If you’ve been in an Uber or Lyft accident, it’s important to reach out to an attorney as quickly as possible — even if you have insurance or believe the other person’s coverage will take care of your medical bills and car repair costs. An experienced Louisiana personal injury attorney can help you gather the right sorts of evidence from the very beginning, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and work to get you an advantageous settlement. The lawyers of Bloom Legal also have the experience to know when it’s time to take off the gloves, stop playing nice and file a suit.
What Happens If the Rideshare Driver Gets Into an Accident With a Passenger In the Car?
Both Uber and Lyft offer more coverage once a driver accepts a ride. The minute a driver says yes to a fare, both rideshare companies provide third-party liability, uninsured motorist bodily injury, contingent comprehensive and contingent collision policies.
Another example might make this easier to understand. Dave accepts a ride and heads to a nearby street to pick up a waiting passenger — let’s call her Karen again. Karen jumps in the backseat, buckles up and Dave starts the trip. A man on a cellphone, we’ll call him Carl, runs into Dave when Dave stops at a red light.
If Carl doesn’t have insurance, the rideshare company’s uninsured motorist bodily injury policy is intended to pay for both Dave and Karen’s injuries. However, without personal collision coverage, Dave may end up footing the bill for his own car repairs. If Carl has insurance, his third-party liability coverage should handle Dave and Karen’s medical bills, since he was at fault. Carl’s insurance should also take care of fixing Dave’s car.
What Happens If the Rideshare Driver Is at Fault?
Let’s say things happen the other way around. In this scenario, Dave, the Lyft driver, runs into Carl, injuring both Carl and Dave’s passenger, Karen. In situations like this, the rideshare company’s third-party liability insurance is intended to pay for both Carl and Karen’s injuries. It should also be responsible for Carl’s car repairs. If you’re interested, both Lyft and Uber have websites with information about their insurance policies.
If Dave has a personal collision policy, the rideshare company’s contingent collision coverage should help Dave repair or replace his car. If Dave doesn’t have private collision insurance, he may be on the hook for every last cent it takes him to get back on the road.
That’s not it. Since Dave was at fault, law enforcement could ticket him for any related driving infractions. If he was driving without insurance, Dave could be on the hook for a hefty driving without insurance penalty.
Are there any exceptions to these rules?
Yes. Different rules apply to professionally licensed drivers, and those participating in the Lyft Express Ride program. Let’s start by discussing the difference between regular and commercial drivers’ licenses. Individuals who drive commercial passenger vehicles generally need a commercial license. Most states, including Louisiana, have special age, background, testing and insurance requirements for these types of permits. Commercial drivers typically don’t use personal vehicles for work purposes — they usually drive buses, limousines and taxis. Most Uber and Lyft drivers have regular licenses and drive personal vehicles.
Uber works with professional drivers to provide limousine and black car service. Lyft doesn’t offer similar services. Uber doesn’t regularly take out insurance on behalf of these drivers. If there’s an accident, the driver’s commercial policy or the other person’s third-party liability insurance usually applies, depending on who’s at fault.
A rideshare accident involving rental cars obtained through Lyft’s Express Drive program present serious challenges when it comes to insurance questions. These cases often feature competing claims involving the driver’s, Lyft’s and the rental car company’s insurance policies. An experienced Lyft accident attorney can increase your chance of recovery in these challenging situations by preventing insurance companies from avoiding their contractual responsibilities.
Have You Been Involved In A Rideshare Accident?
Uber and Lyft accidents present an extra level of complexity when it comes to deciphering who’ll be responsible for what. It’s more complicated than just determining who’s at fault. At Bloom Legal here in New Orleans, our Lyft and Uber accident attorneys specialize in working through these sorts of situations. If you’ve been in a rideshare accident, give us a call for a free consultation. We’ll take care of the legal details so you can get on with your life.