What if an Uber or Lyft driver caused an accident but was not transporting a passenger?
By GNGF on January 19th, 2023 in
If the Uber or Lyft driver does not have the app turned on, then there is no Uber or Lyft insurance available. In that case, the driver’s insurance would cover your injuries and property damage. If the driver has the app turned on but is not transporting a rider, then Uber and Lyft’s insurance generally covers up to $50,000 per person for injuries, $100,000 per accident for injuries, and $25,000 for property damage when the driver negligently causes the accident. Once Uber or Lyft accepts a ride request or is transporting a rider, the limit of insurance is $1,000,000.
If your vehicle was hit by an Uber or Lyft driver, you will likely deal with the driver in the same way as you would with any other driver. You will call 911 so the police and EMTs will arrive, you will exchange insurance and contact information with the driver, and you will seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. Your attorney will file a claim for damages against the Uber or Lyft driver. In many cases, that will be the end of the issue, in that the at-fault driver will pay for your injuries and damages.
If, however, the Uber or Lyft driver had only the minimum required coverage for Texas or New Mexico, your injuries are severe, and the driver had his or her app open or had a passenger, then you may be able to make a claim against Uber or Lyft for any damages the driver’s insurance fails to cover. Uber and Lyft have insurance policy clauses that negate insurance coverage—even when the driver is 100 percent liable—when there is no passenger in the vehicle, or the app is not open and active on the driver’s mobile device. If this is the case, you will have to rely solely on the driver’s insurance and perhaps your own uninsured/underinsured insurance.
Uber and Lyft drivers are required to carry the minimum auto insurance required in their state, so while it is unlikely that the driver would be uninsured, he or she may be underinsured in the event your injuries are severe. Following an Uber or Lyft accident, you will be required to prove fault in the same way you would for any auto accident. If fault is clear, this will be noted in the police report. Otherwise, the insurance company or companies as well as your own attorney will investigate the accident to definitively prove fault.
What happens if another driver was responsible for the Uber/Lyft accident?
If another driver is responsible for causing an accident while you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft, the other driver’s insurance is primarily responsible for your injuries. If the other driver does not have insurance or if your injuries exceed the other driver’s insurance policy limits, then Uber and Lyft provide up to $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist protection.
Uber or Lyft may first require that you file against the other driver’s insurance—the at-fault driver. If his or her insurance fully covers your injuries and damages, you probably won’t file against Uber or Lyft. If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured and your injuries are extensive, then you may be required to file against your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage before filing against Uber or Lyft.
If your injuries are severe and will far exceed the limits of your own coverage, then your attorney will likely file against Uber or Lyft for damages. In the end, the insurer you file against when your Uber or Lyft is hit, and you are injured will depend on proving fault, your own insurance, and the seriousness of your injuries.
You can claim your medical expenses, both current and future, including hospital costs, ambulance expenses, physician expenses, surgical costs, the cost of rehabilitative therapies, and the cost of any assistive devices you may require in the future as a result of your injuries. Your lost wages, both current and future are considered economic damages, along with medical expenses. Pain and suffering damages are considered non-economic damages because they are more difficult to place an exact figure on. Pain and suffering include actual physical pain along with emotional pain and trauma resulting from the accident.
How the Harmonson Law Firm with Offices in El Paso, TX and Las Cruces, NM Can Help
Uber and Lyft accidents are a relatively new issue, therefore, the laws may vary extensively from state to state. It is important that you have an experienced, knowledgeable personal injury attorney from Harmonson Law Firm to ensure you are paid what your claim is worth—enough to fully cover your injuries and other damages. The focus of the Harmonson Law Firm is to help good people injured in bad accidents. We fully understand that a serious personal injury resulting from an Uber or Lyft accident can be a life-changing event.
Dealing with a less-than-helpful insurance company at a time you are struggling to deal with your injuries and loss of income due to an inability to work can simply be too much. At Harmonson Law Firm, attorneys Clark Harmonson and Hadley Huchton will take the legal burden from your shoulders, giving you the time you need to heal and recover from your accident. Our goals are to ensure you receive the best medical care and a full and fair settlement that covers your damages. Contact Harmonson Law Firm today. Please note that nothing herein is meant as legal advice specifically related to your case.