Helping Victims of NYC-area Uber and Lyft Accidents
In many ways, an Uber or Lyft accident is just like any other car accident. The same types of injuries occur, and similar damages are sustained. Common motor vehicle accident causes, such as distracted driving, are common to rideshare accidents as well. In short, the accident victim’s experience in a traffic crash involving a rideshare vehicle will likely be no different from any other motor vehicle accident—at least, until it’s time to pursue damages.
Liability in rideshare accident cases is often more complicated than in standard motor vehicle accident cases. In part, the complication arises because there are additional possible responsible parties. In part, these cases are complex because different insurance coverage may apply, depending on when the accident occurs.
How Uber and Lyft are Different
When an individual driving his or her own car is responsible for an accident, that individual is typically liable for damages and his or her insurance company will ultimately be responsible for payment. When a traditional taxi cab driver is responsible for an accident while on duty, the cab company is typically liable for damages, and the company’s insurance carrier will step in.
Rideshare drivers fall into a hazy middle ground where the lines aren’t always immediately clear. Rideshare drivers operate their own vehicles, which makes them more like individual drivers. They’re required to carry insurance, and they are not employees of the rideshare company. Their vehicles are transformed from personal vehicles to commercial vehicles and back again by clicking on an app.
Although both Uber and Lyft do provide insurance coverage in New York, the applicable insurance shifts depending on what the driver is doing at the time of the accident. Motor vehicle accidents are inevitable at some point and it is best to be protected,.
- If the driver is “off duty” and making personal use of the vehicle, the rideshare companies provide no coverage—the driver is required to carry his or her own liability insurance as any other driver under New York law.
- If the driver is “on duty” with the app engaged and waiting for a request, Uber and Lyft provide insurance coverage, but with relatively low limits.
- If the driver is on the way to pick up a rider or has a passenger in the car, the rideshare company’s $1 million+ coverage kicks in.
Additional Rideshare Company Liability
While the insurance coverage based on driver negligence varies depending on where in the process the driver is at the time of the accident, rideshare may have additional liability based on their own negligence. Although the drivers are not employees and operate with a great deal of autonomy, most rideshare companies conduct screening, such as background checks.
Having undertaken this screening process, the rideshare company may be liable if negligence in the screening process or failure to follow the company’s own stated procedures contributed to the accident. One example would be a driver who would have been screened out based on his driving record, had the company not unreasonably delayed conducting the check and allowed the driver to start accepting trip requests before the investigation was complete.
The Bottom Line on Rideshare Accidents
If you’ve been injured while riding in an Uber or Lyft, or were the driver of or a passenger in another vehicle that was struck by a rideshare vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, the responsible party may not be immediately clear, and proving liability can be complicated.
Don’t put your recovery at risk. Schedule a free consultation with an attorney who understands the intricacies of rideshare accident law. Just (844) 469-5291 or fill out the contact form in the upper right-hand corner of this page to get started.
Featured Image credit: By Dllu [CC BY-SA 4.0]