Rideshare firms offer a very convenient way of getting from point A to point B. Most of them have apps that are accessible and allow the user to easily request a ride, determine cost, estimate time of delivery and monitor the estimated time of arrival for the vehicle. The problem is that unlike traditional cab or taxi companies, the rideshare company itself often claims no responsibility for personal injury damages should the driver get into a motor vehicle accident. The reason is that firms like Lyft and Uber hire independent contractors to comprise their fleets.
The question for passengers injured in rideshare accidents is whom to sue to recover personal injury damages. Filing a personal injury claim is an apt way of covering your injuries, lost wages and loss of employability following a rideshare accident. But whom do you sue when injured in a rideshare vehicle? Rideshare companies often push liability off onto the drivers because they are hired as independent contractor. Drivers’ insurers are often reluctant to pay damages if the driver did not disclose their work as a rideshare driver. An experienced personal injury attorney may wish to name all potential defendants named in any resulting lawsuit. These can include the driver, the rideshare company, the driver’s personal insurer and other insurances companies that may be involved.
Liability can be even more complicated should both drivers involved share fault in this claim. In Illinois shared liability could mean reduced damages.
How Does Personal Injury Insurance Apply When in a Rideshare Accident?
One of the most complex aspects of a rideshare accident involves insurance coverage. It varies by state, but personal injury protection requirements in Illinois mandate insurance coverage for rideshare drivers above the standard state minimums, unlike taxi cab companies or car service vehicles, which require commercial insurance.
Generally speaking, rideshare companies like Lyft or Uber follow three levels of coverage: (1) when the rideshare app is turned off; (2) when the rideshare app is on and awaiting a ride request; and (3) when the app is on from the point the driver is picking up a ride to the point at which the ride ends.
When the rideshare app is turned off, the driver’s personal automotive insurance policy is in effect. When the app is on and the driver is waiting to be offered a ride, the driver’s personal insurance policy does not apply and Lyft provides limited third-party liability coverage. When the driver is on their way to pick up a rider or a rider is in the vehicle, Lyft offers $1 million in third-party liability coverage.
What if the Driver Causes the Accident?
If the driver causes the accident and is found negligent, the driver will likely be held responsible for the injuries. If you were a passenger in a rideshare vehicle and the driver of that vehicle was at fault, you may be eligible to receive compensation from the driver’s insurer and the rideshare policy.
Lyft and Uber both have third-party liability insurance that covers passengers injured in rideshare accidents caused by the driver. If a different driver causes the accident, the passenger may seek damages from the at-fault driver or their insurer.
If you have a question about filing a personal injury claim in the wake of a rideshare accident or any kind of automotive collision, for that matter, call the experienced attorneys of Bizzieri Law Offices in Chicago at 773.881.9000. There is no cost for your case review and we collect no fee unless we win damages for you.