As the second-largest rideshare company behind Uber, Lyft is a major player in the transportation sector. As ridesharing services have expanded, there has been a corresponding drop in the use of public transportation combined with increased traffic congestion. This has also resulted in an increase in motor vehicle accidents resulting in injuries and fatalities. As reported by Business Insider, a 2018 study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago and Rice University found that when Lyft and Uber start providing services in a city, traffic accident fatalities increase by 2% to 3%.
If you sustain injuries in a Lyft accident as a passenger, driver, occupant of the other involved vehicle, or as someone outside of the car, you might wonder whether Lyft might compensate you for your injuries and other losses. Here’s some information about possible accident claims from Lyft rider accident attorney in California Steven M. Sweat.
In 2022, Lyft reported total revenues of $4.09 billion and had more than two million drivers. During that year, it operated in 644 U.S. cities and 12 in Canada. An estimated 20.3 million people used Lyft in 2022 and earned an average revenue per rider of $57.72.
Statistics on Lyft accidents are difficult to find as the company doesn’t want to report this type of information. However, Lyft did release its Community Safety Report in 2021, which covered the years from 2017 to 2019. During that period, 105 people were killed in Lyft accidents. The rideshare company did not provide data on the total number of accidents reported involving Lyft vehicles or the number of people who were injured.
However, the study conducted by the University of Chicago and Rice University that was previously mentioned found that total accidents increased by 2% to 3% with the entry of Lyft and Uber into various rideshare markets, which indicates that a large number of accidents involve Lyft vehicles. Finally, a study that looked at accidents in Boston, Massachusetts found that 25% of the collisions that occurred in 2021 involved rideshare vehicles.
Does Lyft Provide Insurance for Auto Accidents?
Lyft does provide insurance for auto accidents. The coverage differs based on the phase the driver is in at the time of the collision as follows:
1. When the App Is Off
When a Lyft driver doesn’t have the Lyft app on, the rideshare company’s insurance will not provide coverage. Instead, the Lyft driver’s regular auto insurance will apply. Under Cal. Veh. Code 16056, all motorists in California must carry insurance with at least the following minimum liability coverage amounts:
- $30,000 in bodily injury or death coverage for one person
- $60,000 in bodily injury or death for two or more people per accident
- $15,000 in property damage coverage
2. Coverage When the App is Turned on and the Driver Is Waiting for a Request
If the Lyft driver has the app turned on and is waiting to receive a request for a ride but has not received one yet, Lyft provides liability insurance to third parties for collisions when the Lyft driver’s insurance doesn’t apply. The amounts of coverage in this situation include the following:
- $50,000 in bodily injury or death coverage for one person
- $100,000 in bodily injury or death for two or more people per accident
- $25,000 in property damage coverage
3. Coverage When the App Is on and the Driver has a Passenger or is En Route to Pick a Passenger Up
When the driver has the app turned on and is responding to a ride request to pick up a passenger or is transporting someone, the following insurance coverage is provided by Lyft:
- $1 million in auto liability for third parties
- First-party coverage for the driver, including uninsured and underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage, MedPay, or occupational accident coverage
If the Lyft driver has comprehensive and collision coverage on their personal auto insurance policy, Lyft will provide contingent coverage for property damage up to the cash value of the driver’s vehicle. However, there is a $2,500 deductible.
At least $1,000,000 for third-party auto liability
Understanding How Lyft Insurance Coverage Might Work
It can be hard to figure out which insurance might apply when you have been injured in an accident involving a Lyft. Here’s some information to help you.
When the Lyft Driver Is at Fault
If the Lyft driver was at fault for your accident, either the driver and/or Lyft will cover your claim. If you were a passenger or were outside of the vehicle or in another car while the Lyft driver was on the way to pick someone up or was transporting someone, Lyft’s coverage will kick in after the rideshare driver’s insurance policy limits are exhausted. If the Lyft driver’s personal insurance carrier denies the claim, Lyft’s insurance should step in to ensure you are covered up to the $1 million Lyft insurance policy limit.
If the driver had the app turned on but had not yet received a ride request, then Lyft provides coverage of up to $50,000 per person or $100,000 for two or more people per accident. It also provides $25,000 in property damage coverage.
Coverage When the Other Driver Was at Fault
If the other driver was at fault for causing your Lyft accident, Lyft’s insurance will not apply. Instead, you will have to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. If the other driver did not have insurance or had insufficient coverage, you could file a claim under your UM/UIM policy if you have it. However, if the Lyft driver is transporting a passenger and is involved in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, resulting in bodily injury to the Lyft driver or the passengers, Lyft’s UM/UIM coverage will apply without a deductible.
Can You File a Lawsuit Against Lyft for an Automobile Accident?
Lyft drivers are classified as independent contractors and are not considered to be employees. While employers are vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees, they are not vicariously liable for the actions of their independent contractors. This means that Lyft is unlikely to be found liable for a Lyft accident. However, if you can show that Lyft was negligent in hiring or retaining an incompetent or unqualified driver, you might have grounds to file a lawsuit against the company. This typically only occurs in extreme situations since the coverage provided by Lyft should be sufficient for most injured victims.
While it is never good to be involved in a motor vehicle collision with a Lyft driver as a passenger or someone outside of the vehicle, it’s important to understand your coverage options if you are injured in this type of accident. Understanding Lyft’s coverage for automobile accidents can make the claims process a little easier to navigate.
What to Do When You Are Injured in a Lyft Accident
If you are involved in a Lyft accident, you should take the following steps to protect your health and your rights:
- If you or the Lyft driver isn’t seriously injured, move the car to the shoulder of the road to prevent additional collisions.
- The hazard lights should be activated to warn other vehicles.
- Someone should call 911 to report the accident.
- Get both the Lyft driver’s and the other driver’s contact information, names, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information.
- Tell the police what you remember before, during, and immediately following the accident.
- Ask for the addresses, names, and other contact information of any witnesses who saw what happened so that they can be contacted later.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, the damage to each involved vehicle, and any details that might be relevant.
- Seek medical care immediately even if you are unsure if you have been injured. Some types of car accident injuries will not show symptoms for several hours or days following a collision. Getting immediate medical care can help you obtain an accurate diagnosis, prevent any injuries from worsening, and preserve your ability to recover compensation when you file an insurance claim.
- Consider hiring a Lyft accident attorney for help with identifying all of the potential insurance policies that might apply and filing claims.
Being involved in an accident while riding in a Lyft can be overwhelming. It can be even more difficult to navigate when you sustain injuries. Fortunately, Lyft does provide insurance coverage for auto accident claims. If you were seriously injured in a Lyft accident, you might recover full compensation for all of your losses by filing claims with the at-fault driver’s policy and a claim with Lyft’s insurance policy. This might help to place you back in the same position you were in before your accident and ensure you’re able to have a fresh start.