Protect Your Rights After a Rideshare Accident
Transportation and travel have been forever changed by Uber and Lyft. Though they’re a convenient alternative to taxi services, and a safe alternative to drunk driving, rideshare services are not without their legal complexities – especially when it comes to motor vehicle accidents.
If you’ve been injured in a collision involving an Uber or Lyft, you need to know these accident claims are uniquely different than your standard car accident. As they create challenging issues related to insurance coverage, liability, and victims’ rights, navigating the personal injury process and fighting for full compensation requires experienced legal guidance.
Have questions about your rights after a rideshare accident in Florida? Call Robert Sparks Attorneys to speak with an attorney: (813) 375-0109.
Am I Covered by Rideshare Insurance?
Rideshare services, just like commercial trucks and vehicles, carry commercial insurance policies to protect their customers and cover damages caused by their drivers. In a truck accident case, this means a trucking company’s insurance can cover damages caused by a driver it employs. In Uber and Lyft accidents, it’s not that simple.
Whether you’re covered by Uber and Lyft insurance depends on a few factors:
- Was the driver “on duty” at the time? – Because Uber and Lyft classify drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, they’re able to skirt liability for injuries and damages caused by drivers off the clock. Whether the rideshare driver in your accident was using their vehicle as an Uber or Lyft or as their own personal vehicle at the time of the crash will factor heavily into whether you’re covered under the commercial policy.
- Were you a passenger? – Passengers riding in an Uber or Lyft at the time of an accident are generally covered by commercial insurance policies. These policies typically include $1M in liability coverage, and uninsured/underinsured coverage; meaning, even if a third party caused your crash and your Uber driver was not at fault, you’re still covered.
- Were you another motorist? – If you were another motorist (or any pedestrian, motorcyclist, or bicyclist) struck by an Uber or Lyft driver, available coverage can vary. For example: (1) If the rideshare driver was transporting a passenger at the time, the $1M commercial liability policy will apply; (2) If the rideshare driver was “online” or on their way to pick up a ride request, a lower-limit liability policy will apply (i.e $50K/$100K/$25K in the case of Uber) if the driver’s personal insurance does not; and (3) If the rideshare driver wasn’t using the Uber or Lyft app in any way, their own personal insurance will cover damages.
Other Issues in Uber & Lyft Accidents
Coverage availability is dependent on the unique issues of a crash, and in some cases can be sufficient to cover a victim’s damages. However, there are some situations that can make for even more challenges:
- Serious injuries
- Wrongful death
- Uninsured / underinsured motorists
- Multi-car accidents
- Fault/liability disputes
When victims suffer serious injuries or families lose a loved one, damages can increase exponentially. Even in cases where a rideshare’s full commercial policy applies (and especially when it does not), victims’ damages may exceed policy limits. When that happens, victims and families are at risk of not being able to recover their full losses or their future needs.
In these cases, it’s important to explore other available avenues for coverage, such Personal Injury Protection (PIP), UM / UIM coverage (if you carry this additional coverage), or another third party that may be potentially liable (i.e. another negligent motorist, commercial trucking company, or a product manufacturer).
Uber Optional Insurance (For Rideshare Drivers)
Uber and Lyft both offer drivers optional auto insurance coverage. Uber, for example, introduced its Driver Injury Protection insurance as an optional program for drivers who want more protection in the event of an accident. Charged by on-trip miles, the coverage can pay for:
- Medical bills (up to $1M for covered “at-work” accidents);,
- Disability (income replacement up to $500 per week); and
- Survivor benefits (up to $150K for eligible family members).
While the policy works similarly to other insurance products, it’s still new for rideshare companies, and can create potential problems for injured drivers who need these benefits after getting hurt on the clock. Our legal team can help injured Uber and Lyft drivers explore their options whether they have this coverage or not.
Florida Trial Lawyers Fighting for Accident Victims
Robert Sparks Attorneys is available to speak with victims who have questions about any type of auto accident involving Uber or Lyft. Though insurance hedges against risks of losses that may or may not happen, there’s no guarantee corporations or their insurance carriers will fully and fairly compensate victims when they do. These companies, after all, are businesses that care more about their bottom line.
To level the playing field when facing off against corporations and insurance companies, or working to determine fault, liability, and your available options for covering damages, you can trust our team of Tampa trial lawyers at Robert Sparks Attorneys. We’ve recovered millions in compensation for personal injury clients, and have extensive experience handling a variety of insurance claims matters.