Ridesharing services from Uber and Lyft are popular and convenient. However, as recent news reports have demonstrated over the past decade, using these services is not without its own risks. If you are involved in an automotive accident while riding in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, you may wonder: “Am I protected if involved in an Uber or Lyft accident?”
Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t very straightforward, as ride-sharing app drivers are independent contractors operating in various states under the umbrella of a company that owns a mobile app.
This can make filing personal injury cases involving Uber and Lyft drivers particularly challenging, as there are many different insurance coverages and liable parties included.
Here are some things to know if you are injured in an Uber or Lyft accident.
Understanding Uber and Lyft’s Role in Ridesharing
It is a common misconception that Uber and Lyft are large companies that automatically face responsibility for car accidents or injuries caused by rideshares using their apps. Uber and Lyft are tech companies, not taxi providers. These companies do not operate or own the vehicles that pick up customers. Claims are often filed against the independent contractors (the Uber or Lyft driver) that use Uber and Lyft to provide ridesharing services from their own vehicles using the mobile app.
Generally, companies can be held responsible for the actions of employees, not independent contractors. Since these companies use independent contractors instead of employees to operate vehicles, crashes involving Lyft and Uber rides inherently fall to the independent contractors. While there is some legal precedence in holding the ridesharing giants accountable in certain cases, this is not as common as using the driver’s insurance policy.
Insurance Requirements for Lyft and Uber Ridesharing Drivers
Uber and Lyft have policies in place that require drivers to have their own insurance coverage in order to be drivers. The first claim filed in an accident where the ridesharing driver is at fault should be to the driver’s insurance plan. The amount of coverage depends on the driver’s specific policy.
Insurance Programs Offered By Lyft and Uber
Lyft and Uber both have insurance programs that offer independent subcontractors for “covered accidents.” It is worth noting that what is considered “covered” is intentionally limited. The companies have a vested interest in trying to shift claims away from their own insurance policies. These insurance coverage options are available after you’ve exhausted the driver’s insurance policy.
According to its website, Lyft’s insurance coverage for drivers provides $1,000,000 in third-party auto liability. Uber also offers $1,000,000 in third-party liability. Both companies also offer some form of uninsured motorist coverage, though it is unclear about the specifics of its program.
Determining the At-Fault Driver
The state of Texas is an at-fault state. This means that if another vehicle hits your Uber or Lyft vehicle, it is the policy of the at-fault driver that should be responsible for paying for any losses that result from the accident from injury to you, your rideshare driver, and other passengers. Determining fault can be more complicated if there are more than two vehicles involved in the car accident or if the at-fault party is uninsured or underinsured.
With the help of your Texas ridesharing accident lawyer, you can begin the process of determining who is at fault for the accident and who is responsible for paying for your injuries and accident-related losses. The results of this assessment might be different than the party that law enforcement deemed responsible for the accident. If your driver is NOT at fault, remember that the insurance coverage provided by Lyft and Uber for drivers third-party coverage only applies in situations where the ridesharing driver is at fault for the accident.
App Status and Coverage
Uber and Lyft have differing levels of responsibility for accidents caused, depending on the status of the app at the time. For instance:
● Uber and Lyft do not cover accidents if the app is not on
● Coverage for accidents when the driver is waiting for a request is disputed and difficult to get compensation for
● Coverage for accidents when the driver is going to pick up a passenger is supposed to be in effect
Contact a Texas Ridesharing Accident Lawyer Today
Filing personal injury claims in auto accidents involving Uber or Lyft are notoriously difficult. It can be advantageous to work with a lawyer that has experience navigating the murky insurance coverages involved with such an accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an Uber or a Lyft accident, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact Paxton Law Firm today by calling (281) 978-2244 or filling out our online contact form. During your free consultation, you can learn more about your legal options.