Who's Liable for an Uber or Lyft Accident?
If you are one of the millions of Americans who utilize rideshare applications like Uber or Lyft, you understand how their convenience and affordability have driven their popularity. Although these services are used by numerous consumers across the country, they are not immune from being involved in preventable car accidents – especially when a driver or another party is negligent. They also create unique issues and challenged when it comes to liability and insurance coverage, especially when victims seek financial compensation for their injuries and damages.
Our legal team at DiPasquale Moore has a proven track record representing car accident victims throughout Kansas City, the state of Missouri, and Kansas – including victims harmed in Uber and Lyft Accidents. With our experience in personal injury law, we’re prepared to address the new and unique legal issues inherent to these cases, including those related to proving fault and liability, and recovering the compensation victims need. To help you understand how liability works in Uber and Lyft accidents, we’ve put together the following information.
- If You Were a Passenger – If you were riding as a passenger in Lyft or Uber involved in an auto accident, you are covered by a commercial liability policy (which provides $1 million in coverage) that both rideshare services have. If the Uber or Lyft driver was at fault, you may file a personal injury claim against that driver and / or the rideshare company itself. Some drivers may not have enough insurance to cover all of your damages (including your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering), which is why rideshare companies have large insurance policies. If a driver of another vehicle caused your wreck, they can also potentially be held liable for your damages, and you will likely seek compensation through their auto insurance. You can also recover under the rideshare’s insurance policy, which is especially beneficial if the other motorist was underinsured or uninsured.
- If You Were Not a Passenger – Issues of liability and insurance coverage can be a little more difficult if you were injured in an Uber or Lyft accident and were not a passenger (such as if you were an occupant of another vehicle, were riding a bicycle, or were harmed in a pedestrian accident). This is due to the fact that rideshare companies classify their drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, and can skirt liability under certain circumstances. In these cases, you may be able to hold the rideshare service liable for your damages if the Uber or Lyft driver was actively transporting a customer for a fee. If they were not carrying a customer at the time of the crash (because they were either in between fares or not using the app at all), you will typically seek compensation from the at-fault party, but may also be covered by a contingent insurance policy held by the rideshare service if the driver was using the app. In some notable cases and jurisdictions, courts have ruled that the commercial insurance policies of Uber and Lyft still apply whenever a driver is using the app, even if they don’t have a fare at the time of a collision.
- If Uber or Lyft Were Negligent – There have been a number of noteworthy cases involving victims who filed lawsuits directly against Uber and Lyft for their negligence. Typically, these cases allege that rideshare companies failed in some way to ensure the safety of their customers, such as when they allow drivers with criminal records to use the app (and who later assault or sexually assault passengers), or in cases where they hire drivers with substance abuse issues or poor driving records, and those drivers later cause wrecks due to driving error or drugged or drunk driving.
- If a Defective Product is to Blame – In some cases, auto accidents may be caused by unsafe and defective products, including auto parts like faulty tires, defective airbags, or brakes. In these cases, victims may need to pursue product liability claims in order to hold the product manufacturer accountable for defectively designed or manufactured products that failed, malfunctioned, or otherwise led to preventable accidents and injuries
Determining who can be held liable for an accident involving Uber or Lyft is a critical part of any personal injury or wrongful death claim, and an essential focus for our team at DiPasquale Moore when pursuing the compensation our clients deserve. If you have questions about a potential case, we invite you to call us at (888) 743-1030 for a FREE consultation.