Rideshare accidents caused by a rideshare driver’s mistakes can and do happen regularly. You should be fairly compensated for damages – medical bills, emotional suffering, and lost wages – if you, as another motorist, were not liable for the accident. But who will be the one to pay up? Depending on the details of the crash, your damages could become the responsibility of the rideshare driver, the rideshare service company like Uber or Lyft, or both of them.
After a Rideshare Driver Crashes into You
When an Uber or Lyft driver accepts a fare, they are not acting as an employee of those rideshare companies. Instead, they are contracted to complete the job, which can muddle liability and how you are paid for your damages. How you can be compensated for your damages will depend on when the rideshare driver hits you.
Currently, Uber and Lyft use three periods to define a rideshare driver’s actions and their own liability for any accidents during those periods:
- Period 1 – Driver is Not Using the App: When a motorist is not logged into a rideshare app and is not actively using it, they cannot claim to be associated with any rideshare company. A crash during this period would unfold like any other car accident, meaning you would most likely file a claim against the driver’s car accident policy. Here in Colorado, such a policy must cover at least $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $15,000 for property damage per accident. You might also need to file against your uninsured or underinsured (UM/UIM) insurance policy if the driver’s insurance will not provide enough to cover your damages.
- Period 2 – Driver is Using the App and Looking for a Fare: Once a rideshare driver is logged into the rideshare service app and actively looking for a passenger to pick up, Uber and Lyft both offer some form of insurance coverage for any accidents that driver causes during this period. Uber will cover up to $50,000 for bodily injury per person, $100,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident. Lyft will only provide damages not already covered by the driver’s or your own insurance policies. Both forms of coverage offered by these companies are noteworthy, though, since most auto insurance companies have lapses in coverage when a motorist is driving for “business,” such as picking up a fare. Without this coverage from Uber or Lyft, most rideshare drivers would be technically uninsured during this period and those after.
- Period 3 – Driver has a Fare: Once a rideshare driver accepts a fare – meaning they are coming to pick up a passenger or already have a passenger in their vehicle – the insurance coverage provided by Uber or Lyft escalates. Both Uber and Lyft have reported that they can provide $1 million in coverage per accident during period 3. Although, Lyft has said $1 million is the policy max while Uber has suggested it could provide more in special circumstances. If your damages exceed this high damage limit, then you will still have the chance to use underinsured motorist coverage you have pre-purchased through your auto insurance provider.
Hurt as an Uber or Lyft Passenger?
Using the information above about Uber and Lyft’s insurance coverage, you now know that you are in “period 3” when you are a rideshare passenger for these companies. As such, any accident that your rideshare driver causes while you are in their vehicle should have at least or up to $1 million in liability coverage, depending on what rideshare service company arranged the fare. Keep in mind, however, that the $1 million policy is an umbrella meant to cover everyone involved in the crash. If several people were hurt and many vehicles were totaled, then your claim could be reduced to a small percentage of that total amount available. You will want to team up with an attorney to fight for your fair share.
What happens if you are an Uber or Lyft passenger and another motorist crashes into your driver, which is to say your driver was not at-fault? In this situation, you would have to file a car accident claim against that third-party driver like you would as a passenger in any other vehicle. One notable caveat is that you could still be able to use the UM/UIM coverage provided by Uber or Lyft if that driver’s coverage is inadequate and won’t cover all your damages.
Do you have more questions about Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing accidents in Colorado? Call (720) 809-8310 to connect with Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C. Our team of rideshare accident lawyers is standing by to assist you with every step of your claim process.