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Uber and Lyft Accidents: Understanding Rideshare Insurance and Liability

The use of rideshare services such as Lyft and Uber has increased phenomenally in recent years, and many users may be unaware of the liability and insurance issues associated with using these services.

Rideshares have become hugely popular in the United States, and the huge growth experienced in this sector continues unabated. Nevertheless, their popularity shouldn’t mask the downsides. Amongst the negative publicity provided by the media, there is an issue of concern that shouldn’t be overlooked, namely: What happens when a rideshare vehicle with passengers is involved in a crash?

Are there any dangers associated with rideshares?

There are dangers all around us, and on the surface, rideshares shouldn’t be any less safe than conventional cabs and public transport. Nevertheless, there have been numerous concerns voiced about how the service operates and how the drivers are screened. There have been cases where passengers have been assaulted by their driver and even murdered after entering a motor vehicle that they wrongly believed was a rideshare.

Some statistics even show that rideshare services add to the dangers on public roads, with researchers proving that fatal accidents increased by around 2-3% in some areas following the introduction of rideshare services.

Who is liable if a rideshare vehicle is involved in a crash?

Irrespective of whether you were the driver of the rideshare or the passenger, liability centres simply on who was at fault in the case of a crash or collision. To prove that a particular individual was at fault, three points must be determined by the Personal Injury Lawyers:

  1. The individual owed a duty of care
  2. The individual failed (or otherwise) to provide a duty of care
  3. You suffered injury and hardship as a result of the breach by the other person

Determining who was at fault in the case of a rideshare accident is similar in many respects to a common accident involving a motor vehicle. However, there are differences in the insurance’s role when an injured party makes a claim from the party at fault.

Do Uber and Lyft drivers carry insurance?

Most rideshare drivers are fully covered by their motor insurance policy. In such cases, passengers involved in accidents when using the service can make a claim against the insurance policy of the driver at fault, thus receiving reimbursement for any damages and medical expenses. However, it should be remembered that personal insurance policies generally exclude any business use. As soon as a driver picks up a paying rideshare customer, they have no liability or collision insurance on a personal level.

This begs the question, how would you receive reimbursement if a rideshare driver is responsible for any injuries you receive?

Lyft and Uber do provide liability coverage for their drivers to the tune of $1 million. However, this depends on the ‘period’ in which the driver is. There are four distinct periods:

Period 0: Driver not logged into the Uber/Lyft app. In this instance, there is no coverage, although the driver’s auto insurance may be valid.

Period 1: The driver logged in but did not accept a request for a ride. Liability coverage is provided in this instance (for accidents where the driver is at fault) for up to $50,000 and total liability for each accident not exceeding $100,000.

Period 2: The driver accepted the ride and was on their way to collect. Here the liability coverage is up to $1 million.

Period 3: Driver has a passenger in the car: Liability coverage is up to £1 million and limited coverage for the Uber\Lyft driver’s vehicle.

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