Uber & Lyft Accident Lawyers Richmond VA

Richmond Uber and Lyft Accident Attorneys

Accident lawyers helping clients injured while using a rideshare service in Virginia

Passengers of Uber and Lyft vehicles can sustain serious, life-changing injuries when a crash occurs. Accidents involving ridesharing vehicles have an extra level of complexity to them than standard crashes between passenger vehicles or even trucks and cars. Phelan Petty has secured millions of dollars on behalf of car crash victims, and offers competent, comprehensive counsel to clients throughout Virginia. Contact our Richmond Uber & Lyft accident lawyers today to learn more.

How Uber and Lyft Liability and Insurance Works

When a rideshare driver is involved in a car accident, a variety of insurance policies may apply to your injury claim. For example, Uber and Lyft use a three-stage system.

  1. If a driver has not logged into the rideshare app, their personal auto insurance policy applies during a crash.
  2. If a driver is logged in, but has not accepted a fare, Uber or Lyft provide supplemental insurance coverage; victims typically must file a claim with both the driver and the TNC’s insurance policies.
  3. Once a driver accepts a fare on the rideshare app, they are typically covered by the TNC’s $1 million liability policy.

While this system sounds complex, it is even more complicated in the real world.

Many personal car insurance policies have a “business exemption,” and will not cover accidents that occur while someone is driving for profit. Unless your rideshare driver was responsible and purchased additional rideshare insurance, coverage gaps can occur—especially at Stage Two.

Depending on your personal insurance policies, you may also need to file insurance claims with your uninsured/underinsured motorist or personal injury protection (PIP) policy.

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What happens if you are not in the Uber or Lyft?

If you are driving another vehicle or are a pedestrian, and you are struck by an Uber or Lyft driver, the recoverable damage amounts will depend on whether or not the driver had a passenger:

  • Driver is on-the-clock and has accepted a ride: the $1 million liability insurance should cover the costs.
  • Driver has not accepted a ride, but is on-the-clock: you may be covered by the ridesharing driver’s personal insurance policy and/or Uber’s or Lyft’s contingent liability policy. Uber and Lyft offer contingent liability coverage in the amount of $50,000 per person or $100,000 maximum per accident. This liability coverage applies when the Uber/Lyft driver’s policy does not carry enough coverage.
  • Driver is off-the-clock: any claim will need to be filed to the driver’s private insurance policy.

What to Do After a Rideshare Accident

If you are involved in a rideshare accident, you should first make sure you and the others involved in the crash are safe, and then call 911. Reporting your crash to the authorities and the rideshare company is essential, so make sure you and your driver alert Uber or Lyft of the accident. If the company is unaware of the accident, you will not be eligible to receive compensation through their third-party insurance policy.

If you can, make sure to get the contact information of your driver and the other drivers involved in the crash, as well as any witnesses at the scene. You should also take photos of the accident, damaged property, and any injuries you have sustained.

Lastly, even if you do not feel hurt, you should always visit a doctor or hospital after a car accident. Injuries often present days, weeks, or even months after the crash, but a medical professional might be able to identify them before you begin experiencing symptoms. Medical records, lab work, and diagnostic imaging are extremely valuable assets for car accident victims as they leverage the legal system to get fair and just compensation.

RELATED ARTICLE: What You Need to Know After a Taxi or Rideshare Accident

How Common are Uber & Lyft Accidents?

Unfortunately, Uber and Lyft accidents are not uncommon. In a 2018 paper, researchers from the University of Chicago estimated that when TNC companies enter a community, there is a 2-4% increase in fatal car crashes. This increase impacts multiple populations, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and other road users.

Can you sue Uber or Lyft directly immediately after an accident?

The drivers for these ridesharing companies are usually classified as independent contractors and not employees. As a result, ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft often claim they are not responsible for the negligent behavior and actions of their drivers.

Ridesharing companies have fought hard in the courts to maintain the legal designation of their drivers as independent contractors, because they know it protects them from liability in accident-related lawsuits and the requirements of other labor-related laws as well.

However, if you are an injury victim in a crash involving an Uber or Lyft vehicle, you are not restricted to the personal insurance policy of the ridesharing service driver due to the insurance policies those companies carry for each vehicle. In other words, you have options to secure compensation if the Uber/Lyft driver’s personal policy is insufficient. Contact Phelan Petty in Virginia to discuss those options.

Injured while using Lyft or Uber? Contact Phelan Petty

Phelan Petty represents injured clients in Richmond and throughout Virginia. To setup a free case review, call us today at 804.980.7100 or use our contact form to leave us a message.