Rideshare Apps Explained: Uber & Lyft Accident Details

What Happens When You Get Into an Accident With an Uber/Lyft Driver?

nullRideshare companies are becoming a large part of our mainstream transportation system, especially in highly-populated areas like California. While this is good news in terms of convenience, this means inevitably more accidents will occur.  

In fact, experts estimate that the two most popular ridesharing apps, Uber and Lyft, contributed to a 2-3% increase in traffic accident deaths since 2011. The personal injury lawyers of Accident Lawyers Firm can also explain the impact that rideshare apps have had on city congestion. Even if they aren’t actively transporting passengers for Uber or Lyft, rideshare drivers still take up space on the road, leading to heavier traffic.  

What Exactly is a Rideshare?

A rideshare occurs when a driver uses his personal vehicle to drive a passenger that purchased their services through an app. The most well-known rideshare companies in California are Uber and Lyft. 

Most people use rideshares for convenient rides to and from airports, home from bars, and for general errands where a personal vehicle is not available to them. Rideshares are great for safety such as when someone has been drinking and needs to avoid driving on the road. 

Rideshare companies are not taxis. A taxi is owned, maintained, and inspected by a taxi company that leases vehicles to a driver. They are strictly regulated by the city or county, and taxi drivers are required to have specific types of driver’s licenses. In most places, you can hail a taxi or call them for a scheduled pick up time. You then pay for your taxi based on the destination with either cash or credit at the time of your ride. 

Rideshare vehicles are “called” through an app. You call a rideshare based on the number of passengers or rider’s needs, such as needing a car seat, and a driver matching your needs arrives. With apps such as Uber you can also request special types of vehicles and use what is called Uber pool where multiple passengers are picked up to share the route requested. You pay for a rideshare by having your credit card on file with the app. 

While taxis offer a certain level of convenience and trust, many people like the rideshare experience because it is often more personal and you have the option to rate each other to let the public know about the quality of your ride. 

How are Rideshare Accidents Different From Other Accidents?

Rideshare accidents aren’t much different than other vehicle collisions. However, when dealing with insurance, you are going to navigate a more complicated landscape due to the varying levels of insurance coverage available at a given time.
California law requires every driver to carry the following minimum auto insurance: 

  • $15,000 of bodily injury coverage per person 
  • $30,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident
  • $5,000 of property damage per accident

Period 0
When a rideshare driver’s app is off, they are inactive. During this time the driver is acting as a private person and not in their status as a contractor for Uber or Lyft. 

A driver in Period 0 is like any other driver on the road. This is when they are using their own personal insurance. If an accident occurs in this situation, the rideshare app they are driving for is not relevant to the claim for compensation.

Period 1
During Period 1 the driver has turned on the app and is available to riders. However, the driver has not yet been paired with a rider and is essentially on standby. In Period 1, Uber and Lyft provide additional insurance coverage where the driver’s policy does not cover. 

Uber and Lyft provide the following minimum auto insurance: 

  • $50,000 of bodily injury coverage per person
  • $100,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident
  • $25,000 of property damage per accident 

Period 2 and 3
During this time the driver is paired with a rider and/or has a passenger in their vehicle. This triggers a minimum policy of $1 million in coverage carried by the rideshare company to cover both the driver and the passengers. 

Uber maintains a $1 million third-party liability policy on the driver’s behalf as well as uninsured/underinsured bodily injury coverage and contingent comprehensive and collision coverage up to the actual cash value of the driver’s car with a $1,000 deductible. 

Lyft also maintains a $1 million liability and uninsured/underinsured policy and as well as contingent collision and comprehensive coverage, requiring the driver to make a claim against their own insurance first and Lyft covering the remainder with a $2,500 deductible.

What if You Are in a Rideshare Accident?

If you are injured in an Uber or Lyft as a passenger, you would handle it the same way you handle a typical motor vehicle accident. The same rules apply and you proceed as you would with any other collision claim. 

Call 911 and report your accident, gather the information from all drivers involved, gather the information from any witnesses, and make a claim with the insurance company for the driver at fault. 

No matter how minor your damages may seem, make sure to also contact a personal injury attorney because they will know how to handle getting compensation from the rideshare company’s team of lawyers.

While liability is usually clear for a typical car crash, rideshare companies are notorious for being difficult to reach and doing everything they can to avoid or downplay their liability in collisions. This is where car accident lawyers come into play.

Hiring a talented bodily injury lawyer can be the difference between no compensation and thousands of dollars worth of compensation for your damages. While Uber and Lyft have high-powered executives that can try to minimize their fault in the accident, a skilled personal injury attorney can carefully review the details of your case. 

You can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that an experienced car accident attorney from Accident Lawyers Firm is navigating the choppy legal waters of your rideshare collision case.