Grabbing an Uber or Lyft when you need to get somewhere can be a cost-effective solution for transportation. Some people rely on these apps when they travel for business instead of renting a vehicle in every city they visit. There are even people in major metropolitan areas who rely on ride-hailing apps as part of their daily commute. The cost of using the ride-hailing app is lower than the cost to purchase, insure, maintain and register a vehicle.
When you ride with another driver, it is natural to assume that they will be safe, particularly if driving is part of their job. Unfortunately, even professional drivers can get into crashes that leave their passengers injured or dealing with property damage. Making a claim for compensation after a crash in an Uber or Lyft vehicle can be a bit more complex than a claim stemming from a collision between two people in their own vehicles.
Fault will play a role in what insurance applies
As in any collision, insurance companies will look at the circumstances of the collision and the contents of the police report to determine responsibility for paying out on any claims made. Generally, the driver who causes the crash will be the one liable for the costs associated with it.
However, comparative liability can impact how much an insurance policy pays or how much you take home in a personal injury lawsuit. If law enforcement officers or the insurance adjuster finds that your driver was either responsible or had partial comparative liability for the crash, that will impact how you make a claim.
Your driver’s insurance might not cover you
Serving as an Uber or Lyft driver constitutes commercial activity in the eyes of most insurance companies. That means that a standard liability insurance policy may not protect an Uber or Lyft driver who causes a crash. The corporation itself may not have insurance protecting that driver, especially if a crash happens when there isn’t a passenger in their vehicle.
The gray area of insurance coverage for a ride-hailing trip can leave you in a difficult financial situation where there is no straightforward way to connect with the compensation you need to offset your medical costs, lost wages and property damage. Depending on the circumstances at the time of your crash, you may have to file a civil lawsuit instead of just a simple insurance claim.
It may become necessary to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who caused the crash or against the person driving your Lyft or Uber. The exact details will determine the best approach to take, but it is important to remain proactive about your rights from the moment of the crash. Avoid giving statements that waive your right to compensation and try to secure professional advice sooner rather than later about the best way to move forward.