What You Should Know About Uber and Lyft Accidents

Uber and Lyft accidents can and do happen on the streets of New York each year. With ridership constantly increasing on both apps, the prevalence of rideshare accidents is growing. Should you find yourself the victim of an Uber or Lyft accident, as a driver or passenger, speak with a qualified New York City car accident attorney. Additionally, here are a few things you should know:

Both Companies Have $1 Million Insurance Plans

Both rideshare conglomerates have taken out $1,000,000 policy limits to provide coverage for drivers and passengers. Uber’s insurance policy provides at least $1 million in total liability coverage to third parties injured or killed by at-fault Uber drivers. The $1 million policy will also cover Uber passengers when another party causes the crash but does not have insurance or hits the Uber vehicle and runs. Lyft’s $1 million insurance will kick in from the time a driver accepts a ride request to the time the ride has ended in the app. Lyft’s policy will also cover damages in uninsured/underinsured/hit-and-run driver accidents.

Insurance Will Only Cover Drivers at Certain Times

Company insurance plans always cover Uber and Lyft passengers, as long as the ride takes place using the app. Drivers, on the other hand, will only be eligible under the company’s insurance policy in certain situations. Both companies work the same way when it comes to when and if drivers are eligible for insurance coverage:

  • While waiting for a ride request. If a driver has signed into the Uber or Lyft app but has not accepted a request, both companies’ policies cover the driver’s liability to a third party in an at-fault accident. Coverages in this scenario go up to $100,000 in total liability and $25,000 in property damage liability per accident. Both companies will only provide contingent coverage if the driver’s personal insurance does not.
  • When on the way to pick up a rider. Once the driver accepts a ride request and departs to pick up the rider, Lyft’s primary liability insurance kicks in until the ride ends. Uber’s insurance will cover liability to a third party, injuries from uninsured/underinsured motorists, and collision/comprehensive coverage if the driver’s insurance already has this coverage.
  • When a rider is in the car. With Lyft and Uber, there is up to $1 million in auto liability and UM/UIM driver insurance, as well as contingent collision and comprehensive insurance when a passenger is in the vehicle.

Since rideshare drivers are independent contractors and not employees, they cannot seek recovery through workers’ compensation. They only have the right to request damages through the rideshare company’s insurer or their own car insurance policy. As a passenger, you could recover through Uber/Lyft’s insurance, the driver’s insurance, another driver’s insurance, or your own insurance policy. You could also sue Uber or Lyft in limited situations.

Your Actions After the Accident Matter

One of the most important things to remember is that you can and should help your Uber or Lyft accident case by taking action to protect your rights. Do not assume the rideshare driver will report the crash to the company. Do so yourself, either through the app or with the company’s website. Both Uber and Lyft have comprehensive accident reporting processes that make this task simple. Your driver should report the crash, but so should you. Failure to report your accident right away can make it more difficult to prove your case. Other actions to take include:

  • Remaining on the scene and making sure everyone is okay.
  • Getting the names of other parties involved.
  • Taking photographs of the scene of the accident.
  • Calling 911 to report the crash if it caused injury, more than $1,000 in damage, or death.
  • Writing down the name and vehicle description of your driver.
  • Taking a screenshot of your exact location in the Uber/Lyft app.

The more information you can gather at the scene of the accident, the stronger your claim. You can never have too much evidence. Collecting important information can safeguard your rights to compensation and insurance benefits even if the Uber or Lyft driver doesn’t perform his/her duties after a collision. A New York City accident lawyer can help you with all aspects of a rideshare accident claim in New York.