If you’ve ever needed a quick ride, you most likely know you have a few choices. At one time, your alternatives were to call a friend, car service or taxi cab. Times have changed. These days, more and more consumers have decided to use their smartphones to connect with Uber and Lyft. However, what happens if you’re involved in an automobile accident while using either of these ridesharing companies?
First, a quick review of the premises that serve as the basis for Uber and Lyft. Both use phone apps to connect people who need rides with drivers who use their own vehicles to provide them. If you take a look at the website presence of both Uber and Lyft, you’ll find some reassurances. Both sites boast driver background checks – certainly a very big concern in any driving experience.
However, even the best drivers can get in an accident. Take this schoolteacher for example. He still has student loans to pay off and decides to use his own car to transport people around the city. Of course, his favorite run is taking someone to the Philadelphia Airport.
As a mother and daughter enter his midsize sedan, the teacher finds it easy to chat with them. They are ten minutes into the trip when the unthinkable happens. A large passenger van rams into the back of the Uber driver’s car. He can’t believe it.
All three of the vehicle’s occupants are hurt. In fact, the injuries are bad enough that emergency services insist on transporting them to the hospital. So, who will cover the bills and possibly demands for money damages?
Ridesharing Accident Claims
In our scenario, the Uber driver was one of the three injured in the motor vehicle crash. In some states, he might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits as it appears he was hurt in the course of his employment. That said, this issue remains unsettled law in Pennsylvania. However, Uber and Lyft drivers may find that the ride-hailing companies provide insurance benefits as follows:
- Personal automobile insurance coverage applies for drivers when they have not logged into the app or are not on duty when the accident occurs.
- Uber and Lyft have contingent insurance benefits available for drivers who have indicated their availability on the app but have not yet accepted a passenger.
- Both ridesharing services have $1M policies in place that cover drivers from the time they pick up a passenger and drop them off at their location.
Uber and Lyft Passenger Accident Claims
If you’re a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle involved in a car crash, it might not have even dawned on you to worry about the consequences. After all, aren’t all passenger vehicles required to maintain liability coverage?
While it’s absolutely correct that Pennsylvania motor vehicle operators are expected to maintain automobile insurance policies, things could get complicated. Only select insurance carriers – like those listed by Lyft last year – offer ridesharing coverage. Additionally, both Uber and Lyft have policies of their own.
Once again, there is the issue of liability. Was the proximate cause of the accident related to the Uber or Lyft driver’s actions? Or, was it the fault of someone else? If the latter is true, a claim will be made against that motor vehicle operator’s insurance company.
The bottom line is that accident claims involving Uber and Lyft represent complex issues. If you have suffered injuries while an occupant of a vehicle associated with either service, Fellerman & Ciarimboli would like to assist you in pursuing legal action. Give use a call to schedule an appointment.