Rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber have been improving the commuting experience for years. They provide almost immediate service and affordable rates that beat out most taxis and car services. They have also stimulated the economy by providing a way for many drivers to earn extra income.
But there are downsides to taking rideshare. For instance, when you step into a rideshare vehicle, you are getting into a car with a stranger. Even though companies are required to do background checks on their drivers, you’re always dealing with the element of the unknown.
And if an accident or incident does occur, who is responsible? The driver of the vehicle you’re riding in? The driver of another vehicle? The company that owns the rideshare business? A third party?
Fortunately for victims, Lyft carries insurance that covers their drivers when they are waiting to match with a rider, picking someone up, or actively giving a ride. Like any other insurance company, however, Lyft’s insurer will try and settle your case for as little as possible. As former insurance defense lawyers ourselves, we know how to get our clients the compensation they deserve and will not hesitate to take a case to trial if the insurance company refuses to play ball. Call our experienced car accident attorneys today to schedule your free case evaluation.
Determining Liability in a Lyft Accident
After a Lyft accident occurs, the first step your lawyer will take is determining who is at fault. At-fault parties may include the Lyft driver, the driver of another car, or a third party.
If the driver of the Lyft vehicle was exhibiting reckless or negligent behavior while on the road, they will be responsible for the accident. If another driver disobeyed traffic rules and caused the collision, they would be at fault.
In some cases, a third party may be to blame. For instance, if the accident was caused by debris on the road that was due to nearby construction, the city or a contractor may be liable for damages. If faulty equipment caused the accident, a mechanic or manufacturer may owe the victim compensation.
Who is Responsible for Compensation in a Lyft Accident?
If your accident was caused by another driver or a third party, they will owe compensation. But what if the driver caused the accident? Who would be responsible then? The driver or the company?
Well, here’s where it gets a bit confusing.
There are three situations that can apply when a driver is driving a Lyft vehicle as follows:
The driver is not logged into the app and is driving around for personal reasons
The driver is logged into the app but is not carrying a passenger
The driver is logged into the app and is carrying a passenger
If the driver is not logged into the app and is driving around for personal reasons when an accident occurs, they are to be treated like any other driver. Lyft will have nothing to do with the accident.
If the accident occurs while the driver is logged into the app, Lyft’s insurance may be used to cover damages.
When a driver is driving around on the app and does not have a passenger in the vehicle, the rideshare company provides liability of up to $50,000 per person or $1,000,000 per event. However, this is considered excess insurance. So, the driver’s insurance will cover damages and Lyft will cover expenses beyond what the driver is covered for up to the $50,000/$1,000,000 limit.
If the driver has a passenger in the vehicle when the accident occurs, the amount Lyft covers increases to up to $1.5 million per incident.
Other Incidents That May Occur in a Rideshare Situation
An accident is only one example of a situation that may threaten a passenger’s safety. Drivers have also been known to be violent and sexually aggressive.
If a driver is violent with a passenger, the victim may report the incident to the company and the driver may be unable to drive for Lyft in the future. However, drivers are considered independent contractors and are ultimately responsible for their behavior. If a violent incident occurs, the victim will likely need to deal with the driver directly.
What Lyft Does to Protect Passenger Safety
While in most cases, Lyft will not be financially responsible for violent incidents that occur when drivers pick up passengers, they do take measures to make the experience safe in terms of minimizing the risk of accidents and other illegal acts. These are as follows:
Driver’s Must Carry Mandatory Liability Insurance: All Lyft drivers must carry North Carolina minimum liability insurance of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident.
Lyft Must Carry Additional Insurance: Lyft must carry at least $1.5 million in liability coverage to make up for discrepancies in the compensation a driver can offer.
Lyft Must Conduct Annual Inspections: All Lyft vehicles are subject to annual inspections to ensure they are up to safety standards.
Drivers Must Submit to Background Checks: Before a driver is approved to drive for Lyft, he or she must pass a background check. Drivers are screened to determine if they have a valid driver’s license and the required insurance. They must also have a clean driving record with no more than three moving violations or one major violation in the past three years. They will also be prohibited from driving if they have any of the following convictions on their records from the past seven years: Driving intoxicated,Sex Crimes, Fraud,Crimes such as property damage, theft, and acts of terror and violence,Use of a motor vehicle in a felony
Additionally, companies must have a registered agent and pay $5000 a year to maintain a permit to operate.
Why Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys Can Assist With Your North Carolina Lyft Accident
Lyft accidents can get complex. It’s essential to have a reliable lawyer on your side.
Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys have years of experience with Lyft accidents in the Wilmington, North Carolina area and throughout Eastern North Carolina. We will determine at-fault parties, and we’re not easily intimidated by big rideshare companies or their insurers. Remember, we used to work for the other side, so we know how they operate and have the experience it takes to get our clients the compensation they deserve.
Don’t let reckless drivers get away with endangering lives on the road. Call Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys to schedule a free consultation. We will see to it that justice is served.