What To Know About Ride Share Accidents
In recent years more and more people are choosing to use Lyft and Uber services as alternatives to taxis and public transport. Armed with one of these rideshare apps, you can almost always get a ride when you want to around town and it is normally cheaper than using a cab. This doesn’t mean these sorts of services are always safe and from time to time accidents take place in which both the driver and passengers may be injured and require medical treatment.
If this has happened to you in Massachusetts you should be aware that your Lyft or Uber driver must carry insurance that covers accidents and injuries to passengers. If you have been involved in an accident caused by an Uber or Lyft driver, you may be able to make a claim against the driver’s personal auto liability insurance or you may have a claim against the insurance coverage provided to Uber drivers while they are on the clock. As a rideshare passenger, you might have the right to sue Uber or Lyft itself if you were injured in an accident due to a driver’s negligence. If you suffered injuries as a passenger and another driver was at fault, you might be able to file a claim through the other driver’s insurer.
Who is Responsible for Insuring Uber and Lyft Drivers?
Both Uber and Lyft offer insurance for their drivers and their passengers while they are out driving “on-the-clock”. This covers the following:
- uninsured motorists,
- personal injury protection.
However, when Uber and Lyft drivers aren’t logged onto the rideshare app, technically they are considered to be off-the-clock. According to Massachusetts law, because an Uber or Lyft driver is typically classed as an independent contractor they are then required to finance their own car insurance policy.
Uber’s Insurance Policy
When an Uber driver has logged on with Uber, the driver will be protected by Uber’s own insurance policy if the Uber driver is the cause of an accident that takes place with another motor vehicle. The Uber cover is $50,000 for injury liability for each person and $100,000 of total liability for every accident, as well as $25,000 for property damage for every accident. Note that this is insurance available by Uber before an Uber driver actually picks up a passenger, but is available or waiting for a ride request.
When the driver is transporting a passenger, Uber’s own insurance will cover the following:
- The driver’s liability to other parties, such as a passenger or passengers riding in the car of if the driver crashes with another motor vehicle, a cyclist, a pedestrian or any other property. Uber’s insurance policy offers up to $1,000,000 in cover for each accident;
- Any injuries sustained from an uninsured, underinsured motorist or a hit-and-run driver. Uber’s policy provides up to $1,000,000 in coverage for any bodily injury.
Lyft’s Insurance Policy
This offers Lyft drivers auto commercial liability insurance for up to $1,000,000 for each accident, as well as coverage for injuries to the body caused by an underinsured and uninsured driver while a ride is in progress. The Lyft policy’s coverage is more than that of the Lyft driver’s own auto commercial liability policy. In addition, Lyft provides collision insurance which covers those drivers who take out collision cover through their own auto policies.
Are Passengers Always Insured With Uber & Lyft?
Under Massachusetts ride sharing bill which became law in August 2016, Uber and Lyft drivers need to take out liability cover to protect their passengers if an accident takes place. There has to be no less than $1 million in auto liability insurance for every pre-arranged ride for bodily injury, wrongful death and property damage. Drivers and companies are required to share the cost.
Even though Uber’s and Lyft’s auto liability policies provide cover for their passengers’ injuries caused by the rideshare drivers up to $1 million for each accident, if you are travelling in an Uber or Lyft vehicle and another driver is the cause of an accident and you are injured you might have to file a claim through the insurer of the driver who was at-fault.
Massachusetts Rideshare Laws Are Similar to Other States
The rules are similar in other states. For example, under California’s Vehicle Code Section 5430, rideshare companies are required to carry $1 million worth of insurance for personal injury, death and property damage caused by any Uber and Lyft driver. The law also states that this $1 million of insurance cover applies instantly when the Uber/Lyft driver accepts a request on the app until the driver has completed the transaction on the app or the ride has been completed, whichever is the latest.
What to Do If Your Lyft or Uber Driver Gets In an Accident
Under Massachusetts law you have the right to compensation if you are injured in an Uber or Lyft accident that has been caused by the negligence of an Uber or Lyft driver or another motorist. This includes the cost of medical treatment present and future, lost income while recovering and any other care you may require. However, you need to follow a process to ensure you get the compensation. This includes:
- reporting the accident to the police;
- asking for the police’s written report about the accident;
- asking for license and insurance and information from the Uber/Lyft driver and any others who were involved in the accident;
- taking photographs using your phone’s camera of the accident site which reveal the vehicles damage before any of the vehicles are removed;
- taking photographs of your injuries;
- getting eye witnesses’ contact details;
- getting medical assistance;
- asking your doctor for a medical report which describes your injuries from the accident.
As soon as you have gathered all the evidence proving who or what caused the accident you are ready to file a claim for compensation through the Uber or Lyft driver’s insurer. It is always useful to talk to a Massachusetts lawyer first who will ensure you get the compensation you deserve for an accident that was not your fault. Check out or website or to contact us for a free consultation.