Do you rideshare? Ridesharing is a growing phenomenon in which a smartphone app is used to match drivers with passengers on short notice. Lyft is currently the second largest rideshare company in North America, operating in more than 300 cities across the United States.
About 2.6 billion rideshare rides took place in the United States in 2017, and that number was expected to increase to over 4 billion in 2018. As rides increase through these rideshare apps, unfortunately accidents will as well. If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a Lyft driver, whether as a passenger or another driver on the road, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you to obtain the compensation you need for your recovery.
Lyft’s Requirements for Drivers
Lyft drivers use their own personal vehicles in order to provide rides for passengers. In order for a person to work as a Lyft driver in Nebraska, they must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 21 years old.
- Be able to pass DMV and background checks.
- Use an Android or iPhone smartphone.
- Possess a driver’s license and personal vehicle insurance. Nebraska drivers must meet the state’s minimum insurance requirements of bodily injury liability of $25,000 per injury and $50,000 per accident; property damage liability of $25,000; and uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage of $25,000 per injury or $50,000 per accident.
- Vehicle must be 2005 or newer in western Nebraska, and 2003 or newer in all other cities.
- Vehicle must have four doors, and five to eight seats, including the driver’s seat.
Lyft’s Insurance Policies
Rideshare companies make their money through matching riders with drivers and are quick to point out that drivers are not Lyft employees, but rather independent contractors. As such, Lyft avoids a lot of the liability faced by drivers in the unfortunate event that the driver causes an accident. When there is an accident, however, many injured victims have made the unpleasant discovery that the driver has not let their personal insurance carrier know that they’re providing rideshare services. Often, the personal insurance carrier then refuses to cover damages.
That said, Lyft provides tiered insurance coverage, depending on whether the driver is working and carrying passengers. The coverage is contingent upon the driver’s personal coverage, meaning that claims must first be filed with the driver’s insurance carrier and then filed with Lyft’s carrier if the personal insurance company denies the claim or if damages exceed the personal policy limits. Here is an overview of the insurance provided by Lyft:
- The driver is not signed on to his or her app and is not carrying a rider. This period is covered by the driver’s personal insurance policy and Lyft’s policy is not available for accidents that occur during this time.
- Period 1: The driver has his or her app open and is available to accept rides but has not been assigned a rider. The coverage provided by Lyft during this period is $50,000 per injury, up to $100,000 per incident, and $25,000 property damage liability.
- Periods 2 and 3: These periods begins when the driver has been assigned a rider and is en route to his or her pickup location and ends when the rider has been delivered to his or her destination. During periods 2 and 3, Lyft’s insurance policy has a $1,000,000 limit per occurrence. Contingent collision coverage is also provided to drivers, as long as they carry collision coverage on their personal policy. The deductible for Lyft insurance policies is $2,500.
Lyft Accidents in the News
A Lyft passenger died after his driver ran a red light. The accident happened at about 9:30 p.m. on a Thursday night. When the 24-year-old driver ran the red light, his vehicle was hit on the passenger side by a semi truck that was traveling through the intersection. The 42-year-old passenger died as a result of his injuries, and the force of the collision damaged a traffic signal box. Lyft expressed sympathy for the passenger’s family and stated that it would assist law enforcement with its investigation. Charges were pending against the driver at the time of the report.
According to a MarketWatch article, a recent study from Rice University and the University of Chicago revealed that major cities see an average increase of three percent in the number of traffic fatalities when rideshare programs are introduced. These traffic fatalities carry a societal cost of about $10 billion. The researchers arrived at their conclusions based on traffic accident statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who does not divide out the number of accidents that involve rideshares. Rideshare companies Uber and Lyft stated that the results of the study are flawed. Researchers, however, stated that the study was not a condemnation of ridesharing, but simply a look at the benefits and costs associated with it.
Filing a Claim in Nebraska After a Lyft Accident
If you’ve been injured in a car accident involving Lyft in Nebraska, depending on the circumstances of your case, your options to recover damages may include:
- Seeking compensation from your own insurance policy.
- Filing a claim with the Lyft driver’s personal insurance carrier.
- Filing a claim with Lyft’s insurance.
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.
Accident victims have up to four years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Damages to property, such as your car
- The cost of domestic services that the victim used to do but now must pay someone else to do as a result of injuries from the accident
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Call The Robert Pahlke Law Group if a Lyft Accident Injured You
Based in Scottsbluff and with over 80 years of combined experience, the skilled attorneys at The Robert Pahlke Law Group are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. Schedule your free consultation and case review today by contacting us online or by calling (308) 633-4444.