Uber and Lyft have become increasingly popular with people looking to get from place to place easily, quickly, and at a relatively reasonable cost. But with more people utilizing rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, car and pedestrian accidents have increased significantly in recent years.
While studies have been mixed in terms of determining a definitive cause-and-effect relationship between rideshare popularity and an increase in car accidents, a number of statistics point to such a correlation:
- A 2018 American Journal of Epidemiology study found that the introduction of Uber in New York City was associated with a 10% increase in the number of motor vehicle accidents, a 6.1% increase in the number of motor vehicle injuries, and a 2.8% increase in the number of motor vehicle fatalities.
- A 2021 Journal of Transport Geography study found that the introduction of ride-hailing services in California was associated with a small but statistically significant increase in the number of fatal and injury crashes. The study also found that the relationship between ride-hailing services and crashes varied depending on the type of service and the geographic location.
- A 2020 Journal of Transport & Health study found that the growth of ride-hailing services in the United States was associated with an increase in the number of traffic fatalities. The study estimated that the growth of ride-hailing services between 2011 and 2016 was associated with an additional 1,100 motor vehicle fatalities during that period.
Uber and Lyft accidents happen every day. When you’re involved in an accident as a rideshare passenger, are you covered if the other driver is uninsured? What happens if the driver that was liable for your Uber or Lyft accident flees the scene in a hit-and-run?
In the sections below, we’ll provide everything you need to know about what to do after an Uber/Lyft accident, whether you’re covered under insurance, and how to file a civil claim for financial compensation with the dedicated rideshare injury attorneys at Martinian & Associates.
What is uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in California?
You’ve probably heard the term many times, but do you know what uninsured motorist coverage entails (or why it’s recommended by virtually every personal injury lawyer in America)?
Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is a type of auto insurance that is designed to protect drivers in the event that they are involved in an accident with an at-fault uninsured or underinsured driver. In California, uninsured motorist coverage is required by law for all drivers, with the exception of those who have signed a waiver declining the coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage provides benefits to the policyholder and any passengers in the vehicle in the event of an accident leading to injury which involves an uninsured or underinsured driver.
UM coverage typically provides benefits for certain damages, such as:
- Medical or hospital expenses
- Lost wages
- Miscellaneous damages which are not otherwise covered by the at-fault driver's insurance policy
California offers two options for uninsured motorist coverage:
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI): This type of coverage provides benefits for bodily injury sustained by the policyholder and any passengers in their vehicle in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
- Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD): This type of coverage provides benefits for damage to the policyholder's vehicle and other property that is not covered by the at-fault driver's insurance policy in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
What if I’m in an Uber/Lyft Accident With an Uninsured Driver?
Did you know that Uber and Lyft require all drivers to cary insurance policies which cover accidents caused by uninsured or under-insured motorists? That’s an advantage of using rideshare services like Uber or Lyft. However, as it turns out, taxis in California are not required to carry uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage. Accordingly, if you were involved in a taxi accident and suffered an injury, you could have to pay for damages out-of-pocket if the at-fault driver was uninsured.
However, the good news is that if you are hit by an uninsured (or minimally insured motorist) as an Uber or Lyft passenger, your injuries covered under the following policy:
·Company Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: In Uber or Lyft accidents where an at-fault driver (not the rideshare driver) either does not have insurance or the policy he or she carries does not provide adequate coverage for your injuries, the company’s uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage will take over and provide up to $1 million per accident. However, it’s important to note that such UM/UIM coverage only applies in instances where the driver doesn’t have car insurance, doesn’t have enough insurance, or can’t be identified (like after hit-and-runs).
What if I’m in an Uber/Lyft Accident With a Properly Insured Driver?
If you were involved in a different type of Uber/Lyft accident that does not involve an uninsured driver, one of several additional policy options may apply:
·The Uber/Lyft Driver’s Commercial or Personal Insurance Policy: In the event that you are injured as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft crash, the rideshare driver’s car insurance may cover you if the driver has either a commercial or personal policy with a “special” provision providing coverage when acting as a driver. Many rideshare drivers do not carry a personal or commercial car insurance policy to cover you in case of injury. Some personal auto insurance policies include an “exception for business use” that stipulates that damages or injuries sustained while driving for profit are not covered. However, even if the Uber or Lyft driver doesn't have an insurance policy, you still have legal options.
·The Rideshare Company’s Insurance Policy: Both Uber and Lyft carry third-party liability insurance coverage on their drivers which pays up to $1 million for personal injuries and property damage per individual involved in an accident (to a maximum of $2 million for all passengers). Essentially, this is an additional option that may apply depending on the extent of the injuries and the driver’s personal/commercial policy. Each respective company policy – whether Uber of Lyft – will take effect after the rideshare driver’s own insurance has been exhausted. This, of course, assumes that your Uber or Lyft both require every driver to carry an applicable policy (both companies require their drivers to have up-to-date auto insurance coverage). As a rideshare passenger patronizing Uber or Lyft, you’re covered under the company’s liability policy in accidents where the rideshare driver is at fault.
· Third-Party Car Insurance Policy:If your Uber or Lyft driver was not liable (at fault) for the accident that caused your injury, you still have the option to seek financial compensation from the at-fault driver through a third-party insurance policy claim. This is typically done through an experienced personal injury lawyer like Tigran Martinian, or one of the other team members at Martinian & Associates.
If you’re in the type of Uber or Lyft accident which means the insurance policies outlined above are unable to provide full compensation for your losses – e.g. cases where severe or catastrophic injuries occur – you still have the option to file a civil claim seeking financial compensation against Uber or Lyft directly with Martinian & Associates.
What if I’m Involved in an Uber/Lyft Hit-and-Run Accident?
Sadly, hit-and-runs after Uber or Lyft accidents are a common occurrence. For whatever reason – the at-fault driver is unlicensed, the at-fault driver was reckless, the at-fault driver is undocumented – many drivers who commit Uber or Lyft accidents flee the scene. However, if you’re injured in this type of rideshare accident, you have options under the law.
In fact, the same coverage which applies in the event of an uninsured or underinsured driver would apply to your hit-and-run case.
Regardless of what type of Uber/Lyft accident you’re involved in, it’s best to contact the experienced car crash attorneys at Martinian & Associates immediately after the incident occurs.
Who is Liable in a California Uber or Lyft Accident?
In personal injury civil law, car accident claims are based on negligence, meaning someone’s fault or carelessness must have caused your crash. Who is liable for your Uber of Lyft injury claim will depend on three common scenarios:
- Scenario 1: The driver is on their own time as opposed to “company time.” For example, the Uber or Lyft driver was not logged on to the respective company app and was driving on his or her own time
- Scenario 2: The driver is active on the app, but waiting for a ride request (The Uber or Lyft driver was logged-on to the respective company app and was waiting for a passenger)
- Scenario 3: Ride request accepted through the end of the ride and the Uber or Lyft driver transports you as a passenger (or is traveling to pick up an accepted ride)
If your Uber or Lyft driver was logged into the app and was transporting you as a passenger, Uber or Lyft’s company insurance policy will likely cover:
- Any injury resulting from an accident
- Any fatality resulting from an accident (via a wrongful death claim)
By contrast, if the Uber or Lyft driver was not actually logged-on and using his or her respective Uber or Lyft app (or perhaps even off duty during the accident and not technically driving a passenger/customer), damages for injuries or fatalities would likely be covered by the driver’s personal insurance policy.
What are the Insurance Coverage Policies For Uber/Lyft Accidents?
The following coverage policies typically apply according to your rideshare driver’s status:
- Driver has a rideshare passenger in the vehicle or is picking up a passenger:
- Minimum $1 million in commercial liability and $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
- Driver is logged-on to the company app and is waiting for a passenger:
- Up to $50,000 per individual/$100,000 per accident/$30,000 for property damage
- Driver is not logged on to the company app and is not looking for or transporting a passenger:
- *Minimum coverage is up to $15,000 for death or injury to an individual/$30,000 for death or injury to more than one person/$5,000 for property damage (*these are the same minimum requirements for other personal auto insurance policies in California)
What Should I Do After an Uber/Lyft Accident?
- Seek medical treatment: Get a medical exam immediately after the accident at either an emergency room or urgent care center (and regardless of whether or not symptoms have developed). If you don’t, then the insurance company is likely to claim that your injuries didn’t occur until after the accident.
- Report the accident to the rideshare company: You should report an Uber accident to Uber immediately so that Uber’s $1 million insurance policy benefits will apply. You should also contact the police. A police report will not be admissible in court, but you can use a favorable police report to bargain with the insurance company.
- Gather evidence: Take photographs of the accident, and write down your side of the story as if you are making your own police report. Keep any medical treatment records. In an accident claim, the evidence dictates who is liable in an Uber accident.
- Gather pertinent information from witnesses/drivers: Take down the names of the other people involved in the accident: drivers, injured parties, and witnesses, at the very least. You will also need contact details for these people. Make sure to get the other driver’s insurance details.
- Refuse to sign any documentation or accept any cash settlement: After a serious accident, you are likely to be emotionally distraught and mentally foggy. The opposing party will take advantage of these infirmities if they can. Once you accept a settlement, it will be almost impossible to back out later.
- Contact Martinian & Associates top-rated Uber and Lyft accident attorneys: After an Uber accident, one of our experienced personal injury lawyers will fight and negotiate a generous settlement for you. If necessary, they can file an Uber car accident lawsuit against the rideshare corporation. The best call you can make after an Uber or Lyft accident is to the Martinian & Associates team.
Taking as many of the above steps as possible after your Uber/Lyft car accident injury will help ensure you have the best chance at recovering maximum financial compensation you deserve for all damages.
Contact California’s Best Uber and Lyft Rideshare Accident Lawyers Today
If you’ve been injured in an Uber or Lyft accident, you could be entitled to a major cash settlement which includes much-needed funds to help cover various types of damages, including hospital or medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
But recovering maximum financial compensation after your Uber or Lyft accident injury is not automatically guaranteed. That’s why having a Martinian & Associates lawyer fighting on your behalf and protecting your rights is so critical. In most cases, a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer will be needed to prove difficult to quantify damages such as emotional trauma or pain and suffering.
At Martinian & Associates, our team has over 20 years of experience representing injured car accident victims like you and securing maximum financial damages awards for their cases. To date, attorney Tigran Martinian and his associates have secured more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts for injured clients.
If you’ve suffered an injury as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft, don’t settle for anything less than the Martinian & Associates Advantage. We will fight to recover you the largest possible cash settlement based on the circumstances of your unique claim (and in the shortest amount of time).
Contact one of our Uber or Lyft accident attorneys today at 888-987-7243 for a free consultation. Martinian & Associates is a leading California personal injury firm, and our no fee guarantee means we never charge a penny until we’ve successfully secured maximum financial compensation for your claim.