What is Rideshare?
Ridesharing is any transportation service – such as Uber or Lyft – in which customers use an online app to request rides from nearby registered drivers. The driver then picks up its clients and drives them to their destination for a fee. No cash is exchanged because payments are processed through the app electronically.
Rideshare companies start coverage as soon as a driver logs into the app; however, the coverage might be limited until a ride request has been accepted. A driver’s personal auto insurance policy will usually have coverage exclusions during this period, as well. Rideshare insurance is necessary to fill in these gaps in coverage, and typically greatly increases the size of the insurance policy available over what the driver’s base policy is on their automobile.
What Makes an Accident with a Rideshare Company Different Than a Normal Car Wreck?
Auto accidents are complicated, but lawsuits against rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft present unique issues and complex challenges in personal injury cases. Rideshare lawsuits can involve various insurance policies that may provide coverage for your damages. There are a couple of insurance and liability issues that passengers and drivers should be aware of.
According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, 36% of adults say they have used a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft. By comparison, just 15% of Americans said that Uber and Lyft compete with (and typically outnumber) taxis and other ride-sharing car services across the United States. Uber and Lyft are similar to taxis services, but they do not own, operate, or control the cars, nor do they hire the drivers as employees. Rather, drivers contract with these companies to pick up passengers.
Rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft are becoming increasingly popular in Texas and across the world, and estimates are they have provided some 2 billion rides to passengers since their inception in 2010. These companies eliminate the hassle of driving and parking, and the need for a designated driver. With rideshare companies, the roads are becoming safer with less drinking and driving accidents; however, some studies show rideshares may increase the incidences of injury accidents due to drivers being distracted by the rideshare devices. When a victim is involved in an accident with an Uber or Lyft, it may blur the lines in relation to how to proceed with an accident claim.
Rideshare (Uber/Lyft) Driver Requirements
The standard driver requirements are the same for both:
- At least 21 years of age
- Valid drivers license for at least a year
- Vehicles must be 2005 or newer.
- Some states allow 2000 or 2003 standards, but it’s a good idea to keep the 2005 benchmark in mind.
- Valid registration papers at the time of application are needed. Check for any impending renewals before applying.
- Must pass background checks, including federal, county, and multi-state criminal background checks by third party agencies.
To maintain an active account, drivers must accept at least one trip in any given month.
Uber vs Lyft
Around 14 million Uber trips are completed every day. The rideshare market has seen significant growth in recent years. Rideshare service offers convenience and often costs less than the traditional taxi or driving and operating your own vehicle. In terms of ridership, Uber has a larger share in the United States than Lyft, with 119.2 million users in the first 3 months of 2018, compared to 76.5 million for Lyft.
Uber Insurance Coverage
With Uber drivers, insurance coverage is up to $1 million in liability coverage per incident for the duration of the ride, including contingent and collision damage coverage. Uber insurance covers the entire cost of the damaged vehicle with up to a $1,000 deductible. There is also contingent coverage between trips for Uber drivers if the auto insurance coverage refuses to pay. Thus, rideshare insurance policies tend to look much like commercial vehicle insurance policies, with much larger policies and broader coverages.
What to do if Involved in an Accident with an Uber Driver
If you’re involved in any rideshare accident, follow these steps:
- Check that all parties involved are safe.
- Notify the police and paramedics, if necessary.
- Contact Uber in the Help section of the Driver app.
- Select Trip Issues and Adjustments, and then select “I was in an accident”.
- You can also speak directly with a trained agent by going to the Help section of your Driver app and tapping Call Support.
Lyft Insurance Coverage
Lyft’s insurance coverage is also $1 million in liability coverage and has additional 24/7 customer service and insurance agents to speak with through their critical response line. Lyft is also vigilant with any past felony, sexual offense, arson, shoplifting, etc. on record older than 7 years, despite several states having waived this requirement. Their contingent comprehensive coverage is a $2,500 deductible, as opposed to $1,000 for Uber.
Lyft has an emergency hotline at (855) 865-9553 available 24/7, in addition to online customer support email [email protected], with response times of typically 48 hours or less. By comparison, Uber just has the form for customer support and response time can vary between 2 to 5 working days.
Lyft Legal Implications
Anyone considering Lyft as their method of transportation should keep in mind the legal issues that may be involved and affect the ability of the injured passenger to recover damages. The additional Lyft policy provides $1 million of excess liability insurance which provides coverage beyond the scope of the driver’s existing insurance policy coverage. There is no charge to the driver for this additional coverage, nor does it affect any personal coverage carried by the driver. What this means to a seriously injured parties in an accident is that there is significantly more insurance available to cover their injuries than the State minimum policy limits in Texas of:
- $30,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $60,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $25,000 property damage liability per accident
Car Insurance Policies for Rideshare Drivers
While Uber and Lyft highlight the extensive coverage they have in place for their passengers in the event their drivers get in an auto accident, it is important to make sure the coverage applies to your situation. The average personal car insurance policy will not cover “commercial use”. While the typical auto-insurance policy covers carpooling – defined as several passengers in the same car going to a common destination and splitting the cost – Uber and Lyft do not qualify as “carpooling”. The rationale is that as soon as a driver begins to make a profit out of driving people, the law requires them to obtain commercial insurance similar to taxis, 18-wheelers, and other commercial vehicles. In the event that you are injured in a car accident while riding in an Uber or Lyft, users must be prepared for insurance companies to deny their claim for a variety of reasons, which is why it is important to consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Personal auto insurance policies typically contain a business-use exclusion, which means coverage doesn’t apply when the driver is using their personal vehicle for business purposes, such as working for Uber, Lyft or other rideshare companies. This is where an accident with a rideshare vehicle can get complicated. The moment a rideshare driver picks up a customer, the rideshare driver has no liability and collision insurance under their personal auto insurance policy.
So, How Do I Get Reimbursed if an Uber or Lyft Driver is Responsible for My Injuries?
Although it may sound impressive that Uber and Lyft both provide $1 million in liability coverage for their drivers, the coverage varies depending on which “period” the driver is in. In the ridesharing and insurance world, a driver’s time is divided into 3 different phases:
- Period 0 – When the driver is not logged in on the Uber or Lyft app, no coverage is provided, although the driver’s personal auto insurance might apply.
- Period 1 – When the driver is logged into the Uber or Lyft app but has not accepted a ride request. Uber and Lyft provide liability coverage for any accident that’s the fault of the driver up to $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $100,000 in total bodily injury coverage per accident, and $25,000 property damage (excluding the driver’s car). Claims first go to their auto insurance carriers, with rideshare policies kicking in only if the damage exceeds the policy limits on the driver’s personal auto insurance policy.
- Period 2 – When the driver has accepted a trip and is in-route to its destination (pick-up location), liability coverage increases to $1,000,000 in bodily injury per accident. This insurance covers the injuries and vehicle damage sustained by anyone who is hit by a Lyft or Uber driver when the rideshare driver is determined to be at-fault. Liability coverage does not cover injuries sustained by the rideshare driver. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage (UM and UIM) kicks in for any incident in which the driver is liable. Comprehensive and Collision coverage also kicks in a this point in a rideshare policy, meaning the driver is covered for physical damage to the vehicle, regardless of who is determined to be at–fault.
- Period 3 – When the customer is in the car, liability coverage up to $1,000,000 is applied, plus limited coverage for damage to the driver’s car AND uninsured motorists coverage (UM/UIM).
Uber and Lyft’s insurance policies are “contingent” meaning that they will only apply if you have made a claim on the driver’s policy first.
Progressive Rideshare Insurance
Progressive provides rideshare insurance for Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies. Many auto insurance carriers, including Progressive, offer rideshare coverage that can be added to a driver’s personal auto insurance policy. Uber and Lyft drivers are REQUIRED to have rideshare insurance added to their personal auto insurance policy as a precondition for working on behalf of either rideshare company. The driver’s personal auto insurance policy will cover the driver’s car for physical damage during the periods when the rideshare policy will not. While a driver’s personal or commercial policy may cover the gaps on an Uber or Lyft policy, it is important to make sure that as a driver, you are fully protected in the event of an accident. Uber and Lyft do not offer gap coverage or medical payments for the driver.
Progressive offers 2 ways to get rideshare insurance in Texas:
Livery Insurance for Taxi, Limousine, and Rideshare Drivers Through Progressive
Drivers of taxis, limousines or any other vehicle used by a business to transport people for a fee, typically need a commercial auto insurance policy or “livery insurance”. Progressive offers for-hire insurance – also known as livery insurance – in 38 states, including Texas. Livery insurance is a type of commercial auto coverage for vehicles that are used by businesses to generate revenue from transporting customers. People who use their private vehicles for livery will need special protection that extends beyond basic auto insurance coverage. The cost for rideshare insurance is generally higher under a for-hire livery policy because it isn’t exclusively intended for rideshare drivers.
I Was Involved in An Accident with A Rideshare Vehicle, Now What?
There are multiple ways in which you may be involved in an accident with an Uber or Lyft, such as:
- You’re the passenger in a rideshare vehicle
- You’re the driver of a vehicle that collides with the rideshare vehicle
- You’re a pedestrian or bicyclist hit by a rideshare driver
The first step in your case will be to determine liability, meaning who is at-fault in the injury accident. In order to have a personal injury case, you must be able to prove that the other driver was at-fault (i.e., negligent) for the car wreck. To do so, you must prove 3 elements:
- The person owed a duty of reasonable care, as all drivers share a duty to drive carefully and obey all traffic laws
- The driver breached that duty, meaning he or she did not drive carefully or obey traffic laws
- You were injured or suffered damages as a result of the other driver’s breach of the duties above
Fault in a personal injury case may be attributed to multiple parties, which can increase the odds of compensation, but also the complexity of the case. What makes Uber and Lyft wrecks different is the role that the insurance company plays when the injured party seeks reimbursement from the at-fault party.
Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident Involving a Rideshare Company? Call Attorney Ryan “The Lion” Thompson with Thompson Law 24/7/365 at 817-803-4610
If you have been in an accident involving a rideshare company in Texas, you need the help of Dallas-Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyers at Thompson Law. Thompson Law can help clients across Texas regardless of where you live or where the accident occured. Our advanced technology allows us to sign cases electronically, and we can have a team of investigators meet you wherever you are. Attorney Ryan Thompson is licensed to practice in 7 states including: Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kentucky, Arizona, California, and Pennsylvania. The other injury attorneys at Thompson Law are also licensed in multiple states.
The Uber and Lyft car accident lawyers at Thompson Law have experience handling these types of complex injury cases, and are familiar with the issues related to rideshare accident lawsuits. The experienced rideshare wreck lawyers at Thompson Law are prepared to use their knowledge, experience, and resources to help you recover maximum compensation for any personal injury damages you have suffered.
After you’ve been hurt in a rideshare accident, you need someone on your side to fight the insurance companies for you. Contact the Thompson Law firm today and tell us what happened to you. Our case reviews are 100% free and always confidential. Contact us today 24/7/365 so we can get started on your case right now at 817-803-4610, or via our free consultation form.