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Uber & Lyft Car Accidents - Who's Liable?

Most people know that they should follow a number of steps after an accident, such as immediately calling 911 if there are injuries on the scene, and then documenting the crash scene by taking detailed photos.

However, what happens if you’ve been in a car accident while using a ride sharing service like Uber or Lyft? Do you know what insurance policies come into play or who would be at fault in the case of an accident?

Below, we explore these questions and provide helpful tips on what you should do if you find yourself in this situation.

What to do after the crash

If you’ve been involved in an accident while using Uber or Lyft, the first thing you should do is check to see if anyone at the scene is injured, and then immediately call 911 to get medical assistance.

Similar to any accident, you should document everything. Take pictures of all vehicles involved, weather conditions, time of day, and all surroundings. It is crucial to document the complete situation to avoid any chance of confusion at a later date.

It is also very important to document any pain that you’re feeling after the accident. It is often recommended that you contact your attorney after an accident, whether you’ve been injured at the scene or if you have pain that starts as a result of the accident at a later date. Be sure to make a note of your pain, medical treatment visits, and medications.

After the accident, you can expect to receive a call from Uber or Lyft’s customer service team.

You will likely also be contacted by the insurance company for either Uber or Lyft shortly after the accident. If you’ve been injured in the accident, these conversations are crucial to ensuring that you receive the appropriate level of compensation.

Having an experienced attorney on your side for these conversations is definitely recommended, don’t do it alone.

Understanding Insurance Policies

Insurance policies are complicated, and Uber and Lyft’s policies are no exceptions. It can be difficult to navigate the process without an experienced attorney to tell you what you need to know.  It is worth noting that each state has slightly different policies due to differences in local laws so it is important to know what applies in your state.

Here is some general information, terms, and explanations about the policies that your attorney might mention during your claim discussions.

Uber and Lyft Insurance Policies

Uber

  • Uber Liability Coverage: From the moment the Uber driver turns on the app, their liability to riders and third parties is covered, through when the rider completes the ride.
  • Coverage for Physical Damage - If the Uber’s car is physically damaged during a trip, the company’s insurance policy will cover the damage up to the vehicle’s cash value after a deductible payment.
  • Uninsured and Underinsured Injury - If another motorist causes an accident with an Uber vehicle and that motorist does not have adequate insurance, Uber will provide up to $1 million of bodily injury coverage to all occupants of the rideshare vehicle.
  • Coverage between Rides - While a driver is driving around awaiting his or her next trip, Uber’s policy can cover up to $25,000 for property damage, up to $50,000 for bodily injury, and $100,000 for the total accident in the event that the driver doesn’t have adequate coverage.
  • Commercially Licensed Drivers - Drivers for UberBLACK, UberTAXI, and UberSUV are covered by their own commercial insurance policies.

Lyft

  • Primary Automobile Liability (Up to $1 million) – This is designed to act as the primary coverage during the period where a Lyft driver has accepted a ride request until the ride has ended in the app. If the driver has existing commercial insurance in place, Lyft’s policy will be excess to their insurance coverage.
  • Contingent Liability - Coverage only while in driver mode waiting for a ride request. The policy has a $50,000 maximum limit per person, $100,000 maximum limit per accident, and a $25,000 maximum limit for property damage.
  • Contingent Collision & Comprehensive – Lyft’s contingent collision coverage is designed to cover physical damage to the driver’s vehicle after an accident, as long as they have collision coverage on their personal auto insurance policy. The contingent comprehensive coverage is designed to cover damage to the driver’s vehicle resulting from a non-collision event. Similar to the contingent collision coverage, the driver must have obtained comprehensive coverage on their personal auto policy. There is a $2,500 deductible and a $50,000 maximum for physical damage to the driver’s vehicle. 
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) – In the event of an accident where the other driver is at fault and is uninsured or underinsured, Lyft’s coverage will apply up to $1 million (per accident), with no deductible.

*Lyft’s insurance policy is available in all states in the U.S., except New York State.

Author: Morris Lilienthal

Martinson & Beason, P.C.

DISCLAIMER: This article should not be regarded as constituting legal advice in relation to particular circumstances. This article is merely a general comment on the relevant topic. If specific advice is required in connection with any of the matters covered in this article, please speak to Martinson & Beason, P.C. directly.

Published on 25th October 2016
(Last updated 23rd March 2018)

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