If you were just involved in a serious rideshare accident (i.e., Uber or Lyft), can you recover for your injuries?
Well, the answer is…
It all depends.
Insurance law is complicated. Especially when dealing with rideshare situations in a no-fault state like Florida.
As we will discuss more fully below, recovering compensation for rideshare injuries can be difficult at best.
If you are in an Uber or Lyft accident, the first thing you should do is immediately seek medical attention for your injuries.
The next thing you should do is consult an experienced personal injury attorney.
While there is much to know and understand about insurance law and rideshare accident coverage, the following will briefly highlight some salient information to give you a basic understanding of rideshare accidents and personal injury law.
Uber and Lyft Drivers are Not Company Employees
One of the first things to understand with regard to rideshare accidents is that unlike truck drivers or taxicab drivers, Uber or Lyft drivers are not company employees.
Instead, they are independent contractors.
Among other things, Uber or Lyft drivers drive their own cars, not cars that belong to the company. So they are not classified as employees.
Why does this matter?
It matters because the driver’s status (independent contractor) allows Uber or Lyft to avoid being vicariously liable for the negligence of any driver. Thus, after an accident, a rideshare company can (and will) deny all responsibility—and coverage.
So, does that mean your injuries will go uncompensated?
Uber and Lyft carry insurance coverage and may cover accidents in certain situations (see below) but for the most part, it means that right out of the box, if you are in a rideshare accident, you can expect Uber or Lyft to fight your claim and deny coverage.
Rideshare Companies Carry Insurance, But the Accident’s Circumstances Determine If It Will Cover You
Both Uber and Lyft provide specific rideshare insurance to drivers that provide bodily injury coverage for passengers. Uber also provides Uninsured Motorist (UM) insurance.
However, whether you can access that coverage—and in what amount—depends on where in the ride “cycle” the accident occurs. It also depends on the facts of the accident. In other words, whether the rideshare driver (Uber/Lyft) was at fault, or whether another driver was at fault.
The primary liability coverage varies throughout the ride as follows:
- Driver is not on the app: The driver’s own insurance applies.
- Driver is on the app but is waiting for a rider: The driver’s insurance is primary, but the company provides contingency coverage.
- Driver is on his/her way to pick up a rider: The rideshare company policy is primary and provides at least $1 million in liability coverage.
- Driver has a passenger in the car: Uber or Lyft policy provides at least $1 million in coverage.
- Once the ride ends: The driver’s insurance is primary and rideshare company provides contingency coverage.
Florida requires all rideshare drivers to carry their own personal insurance policies (“PIP”). But that does not mean that the driver’s PIP will necessarily pay for your injuries. Because driver’s policies are typically personal and not commercial, most insurance companies will deny a claim made against the ridesharing driver’s PIP on the ground that the policy excludes coverage if the driver was acting “for profit” when driving.
A further complication governing whose insurance pays may depend on where you live.
For example, Florida is a “no-fault” state. Florida law requires all motorists to carry personal injury and liability insurance (i.e., PIP). “No-fault” means that each driver’s PIP insurance will pay for his/her medical bills in the amount of the policy— the minimum amount of coverage required is $10,000.
Rideshare Accidents and Personal Injury Actions
Understanding insurance coverage issues involved in a rideshare accident may be complicated, but understanding that if you are in an Uber or Lyft accident you should seek assistance from an experienced personal injury lawyer is not.
Car accidents are rarely ever completely the fault of only one driver. Accidents involving rideshares are even more complicated because in some instances, you may be covered by the rideshare company’s insurance policies and in other instances, you may not be. Regardless of coverage, you can expect rideshare companies to resist paying for an Uber/Lyft driver’s accident.
Car Accident Attorneys in Orange Park, Florida
Our team of personal injury attorneys are dedicated to helping those who are injured through the negligence of another. If you have been injured in a car accident or have questions, contact us or call the firm at 777-JOHN. Our main office is in Orange Park, but we serve clients throughout Florida. We have consulting offices in Palatka, Middleburg, Keystone, Starke, Gainesville, and Ocala.