Young man uses a cellphone to summon a rideshare vehicleUber and Lyft continue to grow in popularity as transportation options for Georgia residents who don't have a valid license, need a safe way to get home after a night on the town, or simply wish to avoid the expense of vehicle ownership. Unfortunately, ridesharing can complicate the process of filing a personal injury claim when an accident occurs.

Potential Accidents Involving Ridesharing Services

There are four main types of ridesharing accidents:

  • Injured passenger: You've suffered injuries while riding in a car driven by a contractor.
  • Injured driver: You've suffered injuries while working as a contractor for a ridesharing service carrying, picking up, or dropping off passengers.
  • Injured third party with active driver: You weren't using a ridesharing service yourself, but were struck by a driver who was acting a contractor for Uber or Lyft picking up or transporting passengers.
  • Injured third party with inactive driver: You weren't using a ridesharing service yourself, but were struck by an Uber or Lyft driver who wasn't currently matched with a ride request.

Determining Liability for Damages

In any personal injury claim involving an auto accident with two drivers, you can have three options for fault.

  • One driver is solely at fault.
  • Both drivers are partially at fault.
  • No one is at fault because the accident was the result of weather or other unforeseeable consequences.

Determining fault is the first step in deciding who is liable for damages. Types of compensation that you are entitled to on a personal injury claim can include:

  • Accident-related medical expenses, such as the cost of emergency care, follow-up visits, and medications.
  • Future medical expenses necessary to treat an accident-related disability.
  • Loss of wages for the time that you were unable to work during your recovery.
  • Loss of earning potential if your injuries have left you permanently disabled.
  • Pain and suffering, including both the physical pain and the emotional trauma associated with the accident.

If an accident involves a fatality, the deceased person's surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim. This is a type of personal injury suit that offers coverage for funeral and burial costs, as well as medical expenses up to the time of death, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.

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Company Liability for Ridesharing Accidents

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft use drivers who are classified as independent contractors. An independent contractor is someone who has the freedom to set their own working hours, provides their own equipment, and doesn't have access to traditional employment benefits such as health insurance or a retirement plan.

In most cases, an independent contractor is not required to be covered by a company insurance policy. However, to provide peace of mind to their customers, both Uber and Lyft voluntarily carry insurance policies that cover their drivers.

Uber offers coverage for drivers when they are waiting for a request, on their way to pick up a rider, or while a rider is in their car. When the app is on, drivers have least $50,000 in injury liability per person with $100,000 in total liability per accident and $25,000 in property damage liability per accident. If they are picking up or carrying a passenger, the coverage jumps to at least $1 million in total liability, as well as $1 million for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

Lyft drivers have similar coverage, with a $1 million liability policy that applies as primary coverage when a driver is using the app and has been matched with a passenger. Contingent liability coverage policy is in effect when the driver is using the app, but has not yet received a ride request. As with Uber accidents that occur pending a ride request, this coverage provides $50,000 maximum limit per person, $100,000 maximum limit per accident, and a $25,000 maximum limit for property damage.

Driver Liability for Ridesharing Accidents

Company policies only apply when the driver is correctly logged into the Uber or Lyft app. If the driver isn't logged in and shown as working, the only coverage available is his or her own insurance policy.

Unfortunately, it's very common for personal auto insurance policies to specifically prohibit commercial use of a vehicle. This means that picking up fares to earn money voids the policy.

Protecting Your Right to Compensation

If you've been injured in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, it's important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help gather evidence and negotiate with the insurer to maximize your financial recovery.

Rechtman & Spevak's car accident attorneys can help injured Georgia residents receive prompt and fair personal injury settlements for ridesharing accidents. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review.

Jaret A. Spevak
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Atlanta Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Attorney With 20+ Years Experience