If you use apps like Uber or Lyft very often, you may wonder how they deal with auto accident injuries. Who, exactly, pays for each injured rider’s medical bills? Is it the driver… or maybe the ride-hailing platform itself? Always talk to a personal injury attorney if you’re hurt in an accident that involves a ridesharing app driver.
Ridesharing apps changed the vehicle-for-hire market in many major U.S. cities — and they’re getting more popular every day. Nationwide, 15% of adults say they’ve used a ridesharing app; among those, 17% hail rides either daily or weekly. Unlike traditional taxis, passengers and drivers broadcast their locations using GPS systems on their smartphones. Although Uber and Lyft provide a convenient service, the law hasn’t quite caught up in terms of traffic accident liability. That’s why your first step should be having a personal injury attorney review your case after any ridesharing accident.
Ridesharing Drivers Cause Fewer Fatal Crashes, But More Accidents Overall
According to recent CATO Institute data, ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft actually make fatal crashes less likely to occur. That’s mainly because they reduce DUI arrests in a particular region at any given time. This doesn’t mean, however, that Uber or Lyft drivers have fewer traffic accidents than other motorists. In fact, for-hire auto crashes in the U.S. more than tripled between 2014 and 2016. Distracted driving is a huge problem for Uber and Lyft contractors, yet only 23% purchased supplemental insurance to cover it.
When it comes to drivers that contract work through these ridesharing apps, the laws are constantly changing. Even more confusing is that laws in some cities differ from others. In other words, what’s true in San Francisco might not apply in Milwaukee… or even Los Angeles. Likewise, states have their own laws regarding insurance on vehicles for hire.
Many people don’t believe ridesharing apps shouldn’t enforce the same rules taxi drivers must follow. Taxi drivers often pay for extra liability insurance costing upwards of $5,000. However, this may change as more people get burned under the murky rules surrounding Uber and Lyft auto insurance coverage.
A Driver’s Personal Car Insurance Won’t Cover Ridesharing Crashes
If you’re an Uber or Lyft driver that’s liable for an accident, your personal car insurance policy won’t cover damages. The moment you open an app to start accepting paid riders, your personal auto insurance policy coverage becomes null. The reason your insurer won’t cover you in this situation involves a very old exclusion for charging a hauling fee. Insurance companies always exclude liability coverage while using your personal car to give paid rides; that’s nothing new. It’s just more relevant now, since so many people earn extra cash these days working as Uber and Lyft drivers.
Again, from the moment you start the app until you shut it off again, your vehicle has no liability coverage. This means:
- You don’t have insurance coverage if you drive and have an accident that injures anyone riding in your car.
- If your negligence as a driver causes injury to anyone else, your personal insurance policy won’t cover it.
- You have no defense coverage whatsoever.
- Even if the accident isn’t your fault, you won’t have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage for your own injuries.
- You also won’t have collision coverage to repair any damage to your vehicle.
Uber and Lyft advertise that their drivers have $1 million liability policies. Unfortunately, there are gaps in this coverage. It’s important to read the fine print before seeking work as an Uber or Lyft driver. If you do become a driver contracting work through any ridesharing app, look into purchasing your own supplemental auto insurance.
Consulting a Personal Injury Attorney Is Always Free
Whether you’re a passenger, pedestrian or driving when the crash happens, a personal injury attorney always gives you better results. This is especially true for ridesharing accidents, because the responsible driver’s insurance policy won’t cover anyone’s injury costs.
Regardless of how the crash happened or who’s responsible, a personal injury attorney can recover 100% of your injury costs. On average, insurers pay just 54% of auto accident costs, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Having a personal injury attorney file your claim is the only way recover 100% of your costs. Since every personal injury attorney offers free, no-obligation consultations to review auto accident cases, what have you got to lose?
Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at lauraschaeferwriter.com and linkedin.com.