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Pursuing Damages After an Uber or Lyft Accident

In 2009, the transportation industry was completely revolutionized by an on-demand transportation company called Uber. While not the first of its kind, Uber quickly grew into a popular rideshare giant by providing efficient and cost-effective transportation services. In 2012, Uber’s greatest rival, Lyft, came onto the scene by releasing its own peer-to-peer ridesharing mobile application. To meet the growing needs of their customers, these companies have been able to provide over 2.15 million jobs to independent contractors across the United States. While this is an incredible achievement, many are concerned that the rapid growth of these companies has led them to cut corners and take unnecessary risks when it comes to their hiring practices. Since 2009, the number of annual car collisions involving rideshare drivers has been steadily increasing. Unfortunately, when passengers are injured in accidents involving an Uber or Lyft vehicle, they often have trouble securing compensation.

The Question of Liability

Usually, a plaintiff injured in a car accident would seek damages from the at-fault driver. The issue of liability is a little blurred, however, when it comes to ridesharing companies. Fortunately, it’s company policy for all Lyft and Uber drivers to carry car insurance coverage. The downside is that the insurance company policies available to rideshare drivers are rarely commercial insurance policies, and the personal car insurance policies they can carry have a “business use exception” clause that may not cover any injuries that are sustained while the insured driver is doing business.

If the rideshare driver wasn’t responsible for the accident, you may be able to file a third-party car insurance claim or a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. However, if this driver doesn’t have car insurance or their insurance provider is unable to cover your financial losses, you may have to rely on the ridesharing company’s uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) insurance coverage.

UM/UIM insurance provides $1 million in coverage per accident so long as:

  • The at-fault third-party driver is unknown
  • The at-fault third-party driver doesn’t have car insurance
  • The at-fault third-party driver’s insurance doesn’t have enough car insurance

If these options don’t award you the compensation your injuries warrant, you may be able to file a claim against the ridesharing company itself. This can be an incredibly difficult legal process, and it’s important to retain the services of an experienced attorney before you take legal action.

Filing a Claim Against Uber or Lyft

Uber and Lyft both openly promote that they carry third-party liability insurance coverage that pays up to $1 million. However, this option is only available after the at-fault driver’s insurance policy is unable to deliver the compensation your injury-related circumstances require.

Theoretically, you’re covered under this policy if the rideshare driver is considered at-fault for the collision that caused your injuries. However, Uber and Lyft enjoy a technical loophole that allows their insurance providers to deny personal injury claims. Because these companies consider their drivers to be “independent contractors,” they are not legally responsible for the negligence of their drivers. This makes it extremely difficult for injured parties to claim damages directly from the company. In fact, it’s usually a plaintiff’s last resort in the struggle for compensation.

Schedule a Consultation & Explore Your Legal Options

Before you take legal action, it’s imperative that you first contact an experienced lawyer who is familiar with the countless policies and legal nuances associated with rideshare accidents. At Bernstein & Poisson, our Las Vegas Uber & Lyft accident attorneys can investigate your case and help you explore the extent of your legal options. We can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and help you secure a settlement or verdict that reflects your financial needs.

We provide 24/7 legal services! Contact Bernstein & Poisson at (702) 602-8869 to schedule a free consultation. If your injuries prevent you from coming to our office for an appointment, we can meet at your home or hospital room.