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Rideshare Accidents: Who’s at Fault?

Rideshare Accidents: Who’s at Fault?

Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare vehicles are ubiquitous throughout Florida, including in the Daytona Beach area. Unfortunately, as more and more people opt for this form of transportation, the risk of being involved in a rideshare accident has increased significantly.

In fact, a study published by the University of Chicago and Rice University in 2018 revealed that ridesharing services as a whole increased traffic fatality rates across the United States by about 2 – 3% since 2011. While this statistic is certainly disturbing, it’s important to note that the study did not measure how non-fatal accidents have been affected by the rise in Uber, Lyft, and their counterparts.

The rate of injury-causing rideshare accidents in the U.S. is unknown, but most major rideshare companies do have policies in place to protect passengers, other drivers, and anyone else who may be injured in an accident caused by one of their drivers. If you were involved in an Uber/Lyft accident, you may be able to recover compensation through one of these policies.

Establishing Liability in an Uber/Lyft Collision

Rideshare accident claims are similar to normal car accident cases in that you must prove liability for your damages. Unlike other types of motor vehicle accident claims, however, establishing liability in these types of cases is often complicated. That’s because Uber and Lyft’s insurance only covers certain situations and, even within those situations, the amount you may be able to recover will depend on the circumstances involved.

In order to determine who is liable for a rideshare accident, you’ll need to uncover the following:

  • Was the rideshare driver logged into the app when the accident occurred?
  • Was the Uber/Lyft driver at fault for the accident?
  • Did another motorist hit the rideshare vehicle you were in?
  • Was the rideshare driver on his/her way to pick up a passenger?
  • Does the Uber/Lyft driver’s own auto insurance cover your injuries/damages?

Both Uber and Lyft have similar insurance policies that go into effect as soon as a driver turns the app on. If a driver has not turned on the Uber/Lyft app and he/she then causes an accident, you cannot recover compensation from the rideshare company.

How Much Can I Recover After an Uber/Lyft Accident?

Say you were a passenger in an Uber and the driver ran a red light, hitting another vehicle. As a result, you suffered severe whiplash, which resulted in extensive neck and shoulder pain. You went to the doctor for treatment, where you were x-rayed and given a prescription medication to help with the pain. Your medical bills and the cost of ongoing treatment soon exceeded thousands of dollars. In this instance, can you secure compensation from Uber for your medical bills?

In short, yes. Because the Uber driver had accepted a ride, Uber will cover up to $1 million in damages. However, this compensation only kicks in once the actual driver’s private auto insurance denies coverage. In other words, you will need to file a claim with the driver’s insurance provider first. That claim will most likely be denied because the driver was operating a vehicle for commercial purposes. Only then will you be able to pursue compensation directly from Uber.

Both Uber and Lyft have insurance coverage for the following situations:

  • When the app is turned on but the driver has not yet accepted a ride: up to $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per person and up to $100,000 in total bodily injury coverage per accident, as well as $25,000 in property damage coverage
  • When the app is turned on and the driver has accepted a ride but has not yet picked up the passenger: up to $1 million in liability coverage
  • When the app is turned on, the driver has accepted a ride, and the passenger is in the vehicle: up to $1 million in liability coverage, as well as some limited coverage for property damage and possibly uninsured motorist coverage

When to Hire an Attorney

If you were involved in an accident with a rideshare vehicle—whether as a passenger, while in another vehicle, as a pedestrian, or in any other respect—it’s a good idea to discuss your various legal options with an experienced personal injury attorney. These are complex claims, and an attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected.

Politis & Matovina, P.A. can assist you if you were injured in an Uber or Lyft accident. Contact us today to learn more.