Gone are the days of standing perilously close to a busy city street and hailing a yellow taxi to take you to some other location uptown or downtown. Now, you can “hail” a cab from the comfort of your own home and convenience of your smartphone. The two most popular applications for ride-sharing services are Uber and Lyft, and each app handles millions of transactions each day.
With so much traffic (vehicular and digital) flowing through these apps, auto accidents associated with the apps are bound to happen. In a typical fender-bender, the at-fault driver typically has to pay up through his or her insurance carrier—usually a fairly straightforward process. What happens, though, when a driver for one of these ride-sharing companies (classified as an independent contractor) is involved in a serious car wreck? The fallout is fairly complicated, but we lay out below what you should expect.
What Happens if you are Injured by a Ride-Sharing Driver?
The highest level of liability (on the ride-sharing company’s part) occurs when you are injured due to the negligence of a ride-sharing driver who has accepted a ride; in other words, the driver is on duty during this period.
If the ride-sharing driver is on his or her way to pick up a passenger or in the process of transporting the passenger, the company (Uber or Lyft) provides up to $1 million in third-party auto liability coverage. This covers uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage. This coverage, provided by the ride-sharing company, is the first coverage to activate in the event of a covered accident.
If the ride-sharing driver has the app on but has not yet accepted a ride request and causes an accident, the driver’s personal auto insurance (if applicable) is the first to be activated. Uber and Lyft both require their drivers to carry a minimum amount of personal coverage. Should the driver’s personal coverage not be enough to cover the expenses arising from the wreck, both Uber and Lyft provide supplemental coverage. The amounts are as follows:
- $50,000 for bodily injury per person
- $100,000 total for bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
If you are struck by a ride-sharing driver who is completely off duty (does not have the app open), then the company will not provide any coverage.
After any serious accident involving a ride-sharing company, you need to contact a personal injury attorney as quickly as possible. Claims arising from these types of accidents can be extremely complex. No matter what, though, you need to remember that insurance companies are not on your side. Robin Frazer Clark, Trial Lawyer is. Need to talk it over with our team? We’d love to speak with you over a free consultation. Call us at 404-873-3700 today.