In the US, there are between 1.5 and 2.0 million active drivers with Uber and Lyft. An average, full-time driver might put in around 1,000 miles a week. They must, of course, have insurance. But the policies they have, and how accident claims are handled, differ from most drivers. It is vital to know these differences if you are in an accident with a rideshare driver.
There are four distinct phases to which these policies apply. In Phase 0, when the rideshare company App is off, a driver’s personal policy applies. In Phase 1, when the App is on and a driver is waiting for a request, companies typically offer only liability coverage. Rideshare driver’s insurance is offered to fill the gap between personal and company policies.
Rideshare drivers are on the road far more than others. They are responsible for their passengers’ wellbeing, and they are working commercially. Many carriers have special add-ons for sale so they are covered in Phase 1, between personal and company time. If this insurance is purchased, they (and you) have access to full comprehensive, collision, and medical coverage.
It is only in Phase 2, when the driver accepts a request, and Phase 3, when the passenger is in the vehicle, that rideshare company policies enter full effect. Companies like Uber and Lyft are required to provide coverage at that point. In case of an accident, their carrier usually will subcontract out the handling of your claim, as is common with commercial policies.
As a rideshare passenger, you have access to any personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payment coverage on the company policy. However, unless required by state law, companies like Uber and Lyft don’t have to provide this. Washington offers, but does not require, PIP. You may also have coverage through your own insurance.
Any benefits you have personally can be used in two situations. First, if the benefits provided by the company or the driver are exhausted. Then you would be able to use your own Excess Coverage. Second, if neither of those policies offer PIP coverage. Your Bellevue Injury Lawyer will work with you throughout this process, especially if it comes time to pursue a liability claim.
If you are a passenger when a rideshare driver hits someone or you are a pedestrian or driver they hit, the process for filing a personal injury claim at this point is broadly the same as with any accident policy. There is always the possibility, as a good Bellevue Injury Lawyer will tell you, that neither company nor rideshare insurance will be available. If the rideshare driver is not correctly logged in to their company App, the carriers for companies like Uber or Lyft could deny coverage outright. If your driver does not have extra rideshare insurance, their personal carrier can refuse coverage. What are your options then?
If you have auto insurance, you can file an uninsured motorist claim. However, many who use rideshares do not have a car and do not have their own insurance. This is the unfortunate point where you would have to pursue a case directly against the at-fault driver. A Bellevue Injury Lawyer can help advise on what to do at this point and provide your trial lawyer if needed.
Whether you’re a rideshare passenger, a pedestrian, or in another vehicle, make sure the police are called and get the other person’s insurance information. If you are going to file a personal injury claim, especially against a rideshare company, be ready to put in energy and time. Rideshare accidents are relatively new, but we at R Martin Law Group are ready to provide the help you need in this expanding field of law.