​Can I Sue Lyft After an Accident?

Rideshare companies like Uber or Lyft offer people a convenient way to get around town. However, using Lyft is not without risks, and many people suffer injuries in Lyft accidents caused by the Lyft driver or another motorist.

If you were hurt in a Lyft accident as a passenger–or if a Lyft driver collided with your vehicle or struck you while you were riding your bicycle or walking–you may wonder, “Can I sue Lyft after an accident?” This is a challenging question, and you should always consult with a Lyft accident lawyer about your situation to learn of your options for seeking compensation for your injuries and losses.

Lyft Safety Programs Do Not Prevent Accidents And Injuries

Lyft incorporates safety procedures for its drivers to ensure a rider’s safety. These include safe driving practices that drivers should follow to avoid accidents and background checks on drivers to ensure they do not have an unsafe driving history.

One of the company’s mandatory programs is a safety course sponsored by the anti-sexual violence organization RAINN. The company also conducts constant criminal monitoring to thoroughly search a driver’s records throughout the year. These programs help monitor a driver’s behavior and allow the company to deactivate a driver’s profile if they have criminal convictions.

The RAINN-sponsored safety course also helps drivers create a safe environment for all riders and inform them of the appropriate types of conversation topics to discuss with riders.

Despite safety efforts, Lyft passengers continue to suffer injuries in accidents or due to driver misconduct. Discuss your legal rights and options with a Lyft accident attorney if this happens to you.

Determining Liability For A Crash

Like any car accident, different parties can cause crashes involving Lyft vehicles.

Some scenarios might include:

  • The Lyft driver is negligent and crashes into another car while you are a Lyft passenger.
  • The Lyft driver is negligent and crashes into the vehicle you are driving.
  • Another driver is negligent and crashes into the Lyft vehicle where you are a passenger.
  • The Lyft driver is negligent and collides with you while walking or riding a bicycle.

You must determine which driver was negligent at the start of the liability analysis. Your attorney can investigate the circumstances of your accident and help identify the liable parties.

If a third-party driver was negligent, you can file a claim with their auto insurance. If the Lyft driver was the negligent party, you must continue your analysis to determine which insurance claims you must file. Your attorney can handle all of this for you while you receive medical care.

Was the Accident a Result of Lyft’s Negligence?

While safety programs are a step in the right direction, these programs are inefficient if Lyft fails to inspect a driver’s background check properly. Lyft drivers must pass background checks before driving with the company. Unfortunately, Lyft often fails to investigate each driver’s background check properly.

This failure means drivers with prior criminal convictions are capable of driving for the company, which could place Lyft riders in danger. When drivers with a bad driving record or prior criminal convictions receive permission to drive with Lyft, and they cause an accident, the company should be liable for negligent hiring.

Are Lyft Drivers Independent Contractors?

Many people assume that Lyft drivers are employees of the company. Many people do not know that Lyft drivers are independent contractors. Independent contractors are technically self-employed workers and even partner with different companies. While employers have complete control over how and when employees work, independent contractors completely control how they work. That means employers cannot question independent contractors about when and how they perform their duties.

Is Lyft Liable for Their Drivers’ Negligence?

Because Lyft classifies its drivers as independent contractors, there are several expenses the company does not have to pay its drivers. Lyft drivers are exempt from unemployment benefits, sick leave, and Social Security taxes. Lyft is also exempt from the regular liability of an employer-and-employee relationship.

When an employer hires an employee, the employer is liable for the employee’s actions through a legal principle known as vicarious liability. Vicarious liability holds employers liable for any negligent actions that their employees commit. Lyft, however, is not automatically liable for the actions of its drivers in every situation. Instead, you need to conduct a legal analysis of the circumstances to determine whether Lyft should share liability for an accident the rideshare driver caused.

Lyft Insurance Policies

When Lyft drivers get started with the company, they have the option of purchasing third-party liability insurance from the company. Lyft offers several types of insurance policies that drivers can take advantage of in addition to their personal insurance plans. Instead of relying on their personal auto insurance policies to cover a rider’s injuries, drivers can have their damages covered through their third-party insurance plans. Some types of coverage that Lyft offers include collision, comprehensive, and liability coverage.

Lyft also provides its own corporate coverage of up to $1 million for certain accidents, though this coverage does not always apply if you suffered injuries when you were not a Lyft passenger. Knowing which policies will cover your injuries and losses can be confusing, but you must file claims with the appropriate insurers to recover the compensation you need.

Lyft Operating Periods

Lyft Accident AttorneyThe period in which the Lyft accident happened will help determine what insurance coverage will cover the damages.

A Lyft accident can happen during:

  • Period 0. This is when a Lyft driver’s app is off, and the driver is not anticipating a ride request. The driver’s personal insurance will apply during this period.
  • Period 1. This is when the driver’s app is on, but they have not received a ride request. During this period, the driver’s coverage and limited Lyft coverage might apply.
  • Period 2. The driver has accepted a ride request and is on the way to pick up the rider. Any accident that happens during this period is subject to full Lyft coverage.
  • Period 3. This is when the driver has picked up the rider and is on the way to the destination. Any accident during this period will fall under Lyft’s full coverage.

When you are a Lyft passenger, it is clear that Lyft’s policy will apply, as the driver had an active ride. However, if you were in another vehicle, you must determine the operating period before filing your claim.

Personal Insurance Policy

When a Lyft accident has not happened in the designated periods or results from a driver’s negligent actions, the driver’s insurance company will have to provide compensation. Instead of filing multiple insurance claims, you will only have access to the types of coverage the Lyft driver carries. For example, some drivers do not possess bodily injury liability; however, most must carry collision and comprehensive damage.

Limits To Coverage

Even though most drivers carry auto insurance, there are limits to every type of coverage. If your catastrophic injuries from your accident exceed the full coverage that the driver’s policy provides, it may be challenging to obtain all your compensation from the driver. That is why filing a claim against Lyft for the damages in your accident is beneficial. Lyft’s insurance policy is much greater than the coverage from just the driver’s auto insurance policy.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage

There may be some instances where the Lyft driver or a third-party driver is uninsured or underinsured. When corporate coverage applies, Lyft provides uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to cover the costs of any bodily injury passengers suffer from an accident.

The availability of this coverage and whether there is a deductible to pay varies from state to state. If your Lyft driver carries insufficient coverage, this type of insurance can cover the scope of your damages. Even if your Lyft driver is involved in a hit-and-run accident, this will be the best insurance coverage to cover the costs of your medical injuries.

Filing a Claim After a Lyft Accident With Injuries

When you suffer injuries in a Lyft accident, you have the right to file a claim against the driver and/or Lyft to seek compensation.

You can seek compensation for:

  • Medical bills, including future medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering and other non-economic damages

There are two ways you can seek financial recovery for your losses – filing insurance claims or filing a personal injury lawsuit in court. A car accident lawyer can review your claim for free and advise you on the best way to obtain fair compensation.

Insurance Claims

Most Lyft accident cases begin with the proper insurance claims. You will need to file a claim and demand letter to Lyft’s insurance company or the other drivers’ insurance company to begin the settlement process. In the demand letter, you will include information such as the compensation you are requesting and why you feel you deserve compensation from Lyft. You always want to have a lawyer handling the claim-filing process.

Using A Lawsuit To Recover Compensation

Sometimes, Lyft accident claims require filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. To file a lawsuit, you will need to prepare and file a complaint with the appropriate court and pay a filing fee. This process then follows the complex rules of civil procedure.

Consulting A Lyft Accident Lawyer

After a Lyft accident, you want to ensure you give yourself a fighting chance at receiving the compensation you deserve. Lyft is one of the largest rideshare companies in the United States. They will likely have the best lawyers and insurers in their corner to protect their best interests. However, that does not mean you cannot achieve a successful outcome of your claim. You can have a top-notch lawyer on your side who can counteract the tactics that Lyft’s insurance company will use against you.

Handling Insurance Claims

One way that a lawyer can help you is by properly filing your claim and handling the entire process. This ensures that you never accidentally say something that Lyft can use against you. Having a lawyer handle all communications with insurers from start to finish will relieve stress and allow you to focus on medical treatment – knowing someone is protecting your rights.

Evaluating Damages

Another way a lawyer can help is by accurately evaluating the damages in your claim. Many Lyft accident victims are unaware of what their claim should be worth and often shortchange themselves on the compensation they can obtain. A lawyer can accurately calculate your past, future, and intangible damages from your accident and provide evidence to support your claim.

Establishing Lyft’s Liability

Lawyers can also help establish Lyft’s liability in your accident. They can determine whether Lyft’s insurance coverage should apply. If the driver’s background check indicates that Lyft should not have hired the driver to drive for the company, the company can be liable for negligent hiring. Your lawyer can review the specifics of the situation to determine how liable Lyft is for your accident.

Negotiate Settlements

If you decide that you want to settle your claim, your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance companies for an appropriate settlement amount. What may seem like a large settlement offer to you may be lower than you deserve for your injuries. A skilled lawyer can assess the insurance company’s settlement offer and inform you of whether it is a fair settlement amount. If not, your lawyer can negotiate more significant settlement amounts on your behalf or file a lawsuit if necessary.

How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit Against Lyft?

Each state has its own statute of limitations on how long injured parties have to file a lawsuit in civil court to recover damages. For example, Florida allows you two years from the date of the accident to file suit. However, other states will have different statutes of limitations, so you must discuss your claim with an experienced Lyft accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Call A Lyft Accident Lawyer Today

Car Accident Attorney
Bill Bowles, Lyft Accident Attorney

One of the most frustrating aspects of a Lyft accident is not knowing how to proceed afterward. Allow an experienced Lyft accident lawyer to take the stress away from you when fighting for your compensation. With a lawyer on your side, you have a greater chance of receiving the best outcome for your Lyft accident claim.

You should get the medical attention you need immediately following the crash. Then, do not delay in seeking a free case evaluation from a trusted car accident attorney. You have nothing to lose by having a legal advocate on your side. Contact us for the help you need today.

January 9, 2024
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