Uber and Lyft are ride-hailing companies that allow people to summon rides and pay fares through a smart phone app. On paper, ride-hailing seems incredibly beneficial and convenient, often being touted as a way to keep drunk drivers off the road. However, there are many significant disadvantages to ride-hailing. They treat their drivers abysmally and they actually increase the risk of accidents by putting more drivers on the road and distracting them with apps to pick up fares.
If you are injured in a car accident involving a driver for Uber or Lyft, the claims process is different and more complicated in several significant ways.
You Don’t File a Claim With the Driver’s Insurance
Drivers who work for ride-hailing companies drive their own cars that, in many cases, they also use for non-work purposes. They should have their own insurance on these vehicles for when they are not working, and if you get into an accident with a ride-hailing driver who is not on the clock at the time, the claims process is no different than it would be with any other driver.
However, when ride-hailing drivers are on the clock, their regular insurance no longer applies. Rather, they are covered by insurance paid for by Uber and Lyft, and you have to get information on that insurance provider to file your claim.
Coverage Depends on Whether the Driver Has a Passenger or Not
The insurance provided by Uber and Lyft covers accidents differently depending on whether or not the driver had a passenger in the car at the time or had engaged a fare and was driving to pick up the passenger. If so, the coverage limits increase to $1 million. However, if the driver was on the clock but did not yet have a fare engaged at the time of the accident, coverage limits drop significantly. Uber or Lyft will only pay $50,000 to cover both severe bodily injury and property damage for other drivers.
This may not seem fair since you are hurt just as badly in the accident whether the ride-hailing driver had a passenger or not. Uber and Lyft’s insurance policies are not designed to protect other drivers but their customer base and, more to the point, their own profit margin.
As our car accident lawyer friends from Daniel E. Stuart, P.C. can attest, trying to obtain compensation for damages from a corporation with insurance coverage that follows confusing and seemingly arbitrary rules, can be as much of an ordeal as the accident itself.