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September 2, 2022

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Rideshare Accident: Who Is Liable in an Uber Lyft Accident?

rideshare accident

Rideshare services have become a popular form of transportation in recent years, particularly in urban areas. Data from the Pew Research Center shows that over one-third of Americans have used a rideshare service at least once.

Despite the convenience and popularity of ride-sharing services, there’s always a risk of ending up in a car accident. When it happens to you, a rideshare accident attorney can help you recover compensation for damages caused by a rideshare car accident.

What Is a Rideshare Company?

The two rideshare companies that most people have heard of are Uber and Lyft. These companies work with freelance drivers to provide transportation. Drivers who work for a rideshare company work on a contract basis using their vehicles. Drivers work on their own time, accepting ride requests via smartphone apps.

Rideshare services are typically cheaper and more convenient than using a taxi. A passenger simply uses an app to request a ride, giving their start and end locations. A driver accepts the ride request, delivers the rider to their destination, and is paid directly through the app.  

Are Rideshares More Dangerous than Cabs?

yft accident settlement

People are right to wonder, “Does rideshare increase accidents?” Recent data indicates that in many cities, fatal accidents increase with the rise of rideshare services.

Working as a rideshare driver has become a popular way to earn side income. Many drivers don’t have any particular driving experience and give rides on the side for some extra cash.

This means that many rideshare drivers aren't necessarily good drivers. More passengers also mean higher pay for the driver. This financial incentive can increase the risk of unsafe driving practices like speeding up at yellow lights or driving over the speed limit.

There have also been accounts of dangerous rideshare situations. Rideshare passengers and drivers have been the victims of theft, sexual assault, and murder.

Who’s Liable If You’re Involved in a Rideshare Car Accident?

Rideshare accidents are treated much like any other car accident. Responsibility is determined by liability. After a rideshare car accident, evidence including police reports, witness testimony, and traffic camera footage helps determine which driver caused the accident.

Legally, this is referred to as proving “negligence.” Identifying which driver was negligent requires showing four elements:

  1. The driver had a duty of care to drive safely and obey the laws.
  2. The driver breached that duty by breaking laws or failing to show due care.
  3. Another party suffered injury or damages as a result of the driver’s action.
  4. The other party’s damages can be proven.

Proving damages can be done by providing proof of costs related to the accident. Common examples include medical bills or pay stubs showing missed work due to injuries.

Are Uber and Lyft Drivers Required to Carry Insurance?

Rideshare drivers are required to carry personal driver’s insurance. When Uber/Lyft accidents occur, rideshare companies often try to escape financial liability. They may claim that since a driver is an independent contractor, their personal insurance policy should be used first to compensate the injured party.

However, a rideshare claim can be complex. Many personal insurance policies carry a business-use exclusion, which suspends a driver’s coverage when they’re driving for work.

Typically, maximizing compensation after an accident requires the help of an experienced rideshare car accident lawyer to establish Lyft or Uber liability for accidents and the resulting damage.

What Is the Amount of Liability Coverage for Uber and Lyft?

lyft accident lawsuit

Accident liability coverage for both Lyft and Uber extends to one million dollars. However, these companies use tiered systems that determine how much of this compensation value is available. “Periods” identify whether their coverage should apply at all, and if so, how much.

Rideshare liability coverage periods are set as follows:

  • Period 0: If a driver is not logged into their rideshare app, they are not covered by company insurance.
  • Period 1: If a driver is logged in but hasn’t accepted a ride, coverage extends to $50,000 per person and $100,000 total liability for each accident if the driver is at fault.
  • Period 2: If a driver is driving to pick up a passenger, liability coverage is $1 million.
  • Period 3: If a passenger is in the vehicle, liability coverage is $1 million but also includes uninsured motorist coverage and limited damage to the driver’s vehicle.

Depending upon which period a driver is in, coverage can range from generous to nonexistent.

Parties Involved in a Rideshare Crash

You’re likely wondering, “What are the parties involved in a ridesharing accident?”

“Party” is a legal way of distinguishing the potential groups that can be held financially responsible for compensation. Parties in a rideshare accident normally include:

  • Rideshare driver’s insurance company.
  • Rideshare passenger’s personal insurance.
  • Rideshare company insurance provider.
  • Insurance companies of any other drivers or pedestrians involved.

Additional parties may be involved as well. For example, if an accident occurs in a parking lot, the insurance company that provides premises liability for the building owner may be a party in your claim.

It takes an attorney with rideshare accident experience to identify all potential parties and explore how the relevant policies can be applied.

Who Pays If You’re Hit by an Uber or Lyft Driver?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident with uber drivers, there’s a good chance that the rideshare company can be made to pay for the damage. This depends heavily on the capacity in which the driver was operating their vehicle.

If a driver was logged into the rideshare app, a rideshare lawyer can work to get your damages covered through an Uber or Lyft accident settlement.

However, even if the driver wasn’t logged into the app, you still have options. A lawyer will work with all of the relevant insurance providers to get you fair compensation.

Insurance policies are complicated even in regular car accidents. Adding in a rideshare company only makes the legal work more complex. If you were hit by an Uber or Lyft driver, you will always have a higher chance of gaining compensation when you hire an experienced rideshare accident attorney.

Can I Sue Uber or Lyft?

rideshare accident lawyer

After an accident, you may be wondering, “Can a rideshare passenger in a car accident sue?” You can sue, but the good news is that you probably won’t need to. A passenger in a rideshare car accident case doesn’t usually need their rideshare accident lawyer to push a case to court.

A Lyft or Uber accident lawsuit is an expensive legal undertaking for a rideshare company. In most cases, it’s more beneficial financially for a rideshare company to agree to an Uber or Lyft car accident settlement.

Rideshare accident insurance is designed to sufficiently cover passenger injuries, so companies can avoid the expense and inconvenience of an Uber or Lyft accident lawsuit.

However, that doesn’t mean that gaining the compensation you deserve will be easy. Rideshare companies want to keep their profits to themselves. These companies often take advantage of their drivers’ status as independent contractors to try to place responsibility onto drivers and their personal insurance policies.

If you’re asking, “Is Uber liable for accidents?” the answer is yes — but it takes the expertise of experienced Texas rideshare accident attorneys to get injured parties the compensation they deserve.

Contacting an Attorney Regarding a Rideshare Accident

If you don’t know how to handle a rideshare accident, it can be easy to disqualify yourself from potential coverage by speaking to an insurance company or rideshare company before consulting with a lawyer.  

Both insurance companies and rideshare companies have a bottom line — increase profit by reducing payouts. This means that even when money is owed to you, it won’t be just handed out. Rideshare accident lawyers exist to help injured victims gain the compensation they deserve.

If you’ve been involved in a Lyft or Uber accident, the Texas rideshare accident attorneys at Brooks & Radchenko have the experience you need. Contact us today to learn more about how to gain compensation after a rideshare accident in Texas.

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