Who Is Liable in an Uber or Lyft Accident?

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Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the way we get around, making it convenient to catch a ride at the touch of a button. But what happens when your Uber or Lyft ride takes an unexpected turn, resulting in an accident? Who bears the responsibility for the aftermath of such incidents?

Liability in these accidents often hinges on the role of the rideshare driver. If the driver is solely at fault, their personal insurance becomes the primary source of coverage. Both Uber and Lyft mandate their drivers to carry personal insurance, which applies when the rideshare app is not in use. However, during active rideshare work, such as when en route to pick up a passenger or with a passenger on board (known as Period 2 or 3), Uber and Lyft provide additional insurance coverage for bodily injury and property damage.

What Steps to Take After an Accident in a Rideshare Vehicle?

If you’ve been in a collision involving an Uber or Lyft driver, taking the right steps to safeguard your well-being and legal rights is crucial. Here’s what to do immediately after a car accident:

Check for Injuries

Your first priority is the safety and well-being of all involved parties, including yourself, the driver, and fellow passengers. If anyone is seriously injured, immediately dial 911 for emergency medical assistance.

Contact the Authorities

Regardless of the accident’s severity, reporting the incident to local law enforcement authorities is recommended. They will come to the scene, evaluate the situation, and generate an official accident report, which can benefit insurance claims and legal proceedings.

Exchange Information

Collect contact details from everyone involved, including the rideshare driver, other drivers, passengers, and witnesses. Note down the license plate number, the make and model of the rideshare vehicle, and the driver’s insurance information.

Document the Scene

Capture photos and videos of the accident location, such as vehicle damage, road conditions, street signs, and any relevant details. These records can serve as crucial evidence when dealing with insurance companies or legal proceedings.

Notify the Rideshare Company

Inform the rideshare company about the accident as soon as possible. They may have specific protocols and insurance coverage for such incidents. Be prepared to provide details about the accident’s time, location, and circumstances.

Seek Medical Attention

Even if you believe your injuries are minor, seeking medical evaluation and treatment is crucial. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately. Medical records will document your injuries and provide evidence of their relation to the accident.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Notify your own car insurance company about the accident. They can provide guidance on the claims process and how to handle any potential coverage gaps.

Consult an Attorney

If the accident was caused by the rideshare driver’s negligence or another party’s actions, seeking advice from a personal injury attorney could prove beneficial. An attorney can help you manage intricate legal matters, engage with insurance companies, and guarantee that you obtain just compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages.

Preserve Evidence

Keep all documents related to the car accident, including medical bills, repair estimates, and correspondence with the rideshare company and insurance providers. These records will be crucial when pursuing any potential legal claims.

Understand Rideshare Insurance

Familiarize yourself with the rideshare company’s insurance policies. Uber and Lyft, for example, provide different levels of coverage depending on the driver’s activity at the time of the accident (e.g., whether they had a passenger or were waiting for a ride request).

Be Cautious with Statements

Avoid discussing the accident scene on social media or with anyone other than your car accident lawyer or insurance representative. Statements made publicly or on social media can be used against you in legal proceedings.

What Steps Should You Take to Report a Rideshare Accident?

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When you’ve had an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, it’s important to follow the right procedure for reporting it. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

For Uber Accidents

  1. Go to Uber’s Safety page.
  2. Look for the “Third Party Incident Notice” or a similar report option.
  3. Fill out the form with essential information about the accident. This includes details like where it happened, the date and time, the accident type, the vehicles involved, and the names of any witnesses.
  4. Be cautious when describing your injuries; keep it brief at this stage.
  5. Submit the report to Uber.

For Lyft Accidents

  1. Visit Lyft’s Help page.
  2. Search for “Report accident” and click on it.
  3. You might need to enter your phone number for them to reach you.
  4. A member of Lyft’s “Accident Reporting Teams” will call you to gather more information.

Keep in mind, when reporting an Uber or Lyft accident, focus on essential details like the accident’s location, date, time, vehicles involved, and witness information. Avoid discussing extensive injury details; save that for later when sending a demand letter.

How Do Car Insurance Policies Work for Uber and Lyft Drivers?

Uber and Lyft drivers’ insurance differs slightly from traditional auto insurance because these drivers operate as independent contractors. The insurance coverage can be divided into several phases, depending on the driver’s activity at the time of an incident. Here’s a detailed breakdown of how insurance works for Uber and Lyft drivers:

Period 0  (App Off)

When you’re offline, your personal auto insurance is in effect. It covers you just like any other driver on the road. Remember to inform your insurance company that you drive for Uber or Lyft. Some insurers might require a rideshare endorsement or a commercial policy to fill potential coverage gaps.

Period 1 (App On, Waiting for Passenger Requests)

Once you turn the app on and wait for a ride request, both Uber and Lyft provide liability coverage. This coverage is limited and kicks in if your personal insurance denies a claim. It typically includes up to $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $100,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident.

Period 2 (Passenger Request Accepted)

When you accept a ride request and are on your way to pick up the passenger, both Uber and Lyft offer more comprehensive insurance. This includes liability coverage, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, contingent collision, and comprehensive coverage for your vehicle.

The liability coverage is typically higher, offering up to $1 million, and it includes uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage if the other auto driver is at fault and doesn’t have insurance or enough insurance. The collision and comprehensive coverage come into play if your personal insurance doesn’t cover your vehicle during ridesharing activities.

Period 3 (Passenger is in the Car)

When the passenger is in your car and the ride is underway, both Uber and Lyft’s $1 million liability coverage remains in effect. This protects both you and the passenger in case of an accident.

As an Uber or Lyft driver, you must understand these phases and the insurance coverage provided. Be aware that there can be some nuances and variations depending on your state, so check with your specific rideshare company and consult your personal auto insurance provider to ensure you have the appropriate coverage for your situation.

Additionally, keep records of your ridesharing activities, such as when you’re online, accepting a ride, and having a passenger in your vehicle. This can be helpful if an accident occurs and you need to file a claim.

What Are the Insurance Requirements for Uber and Lyft Accidents in New York?

To meet the regulatory standards, Uber and Lyft drivers in New York City must maintain a minimum of $100,000 in liability insurance for bodily injuries. This coverage extends to $300,000 per accident if multiple people sustain injuries. 

Moreover, there must be at least $10,000 in property damage coverage per accident, addressing the potential costs associated with damage to vehicles or other property.

Beyond liability coverage, rideshare drivers are also required to carry car accident insurance that aligns with the state’s no-fault laws. This includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits, designed to cover medical bills and other losses resulting from the auto accident, regardless of who was at fault.

What Are the Common Injuries in Uber and Lyft Accidents?

Uber and Lyft accidents can result in various common injuries for passengers, drivers, and even pedestrians. Whiplash is a common injury, often resulting from the abrupt acceleration or deceleration of a vehicle during a collision. Impact-related soft tissue injuries, like strains and sprains, are also prevalent.

More severe accidents may lead to fractures or broken bones. Head injuries, ranging from traumatic brain injuries to concussions, can occur, particularly if there’s a lack of proper restraints. Additionally, back injuries are not uncommon, affecting the spine or causing herniated discs.

Emotional distress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are non-physical injuries that can result from the emotional impact of an accident. It’s crucial to seek medical attention promptly and consider legal advice if you experience any of these Uber and Lyft accident injuries.

What Are Some Common Examples of Driver Negligence in Uber or Lyft Accidents?

Driver negligence in Uber or Lyft accidents encompasses various behaviors, each contributing to potential liability:

  1. Distracted Driving: Engaging in activities like texting, app usage, or other distractions diverts attention from the road, increasing the risk of accidents.
  2. Speeding: Exceeding the speed is another common form of negligence that heightens the likelihood of collisions and reduces reaction time.
  3. Traffic Law Violations: Negligence can arise from the failure to obey traffic laws, including running red lights or stop signs, undermining overall road safety.
  4. Driving Under the Influence (DUI): Operating the auto vehicle under the influence of drugs is a severe form of negligence, posing significant danger to the driver and others on the road.
  5. Fatigue: Driving while excessively tired increases the chances of accidents. Fatigue can impair reaction times and overall driving abilities.
  6. Neglected Vehicle Maintenance: Neglecting crucial aspects of vehicle maintenance, such as brakes or tires, can lead to malfunctions and contribute to accidents.
  7. Non-compliance with Safety Protocols: Not adhering to safety protocols outlined by rideshare companies, like proper passenger screening, may result in negligence claims and compromise overall safety standards.

Identifying and addressing these forms of negligence is essential for promoting a safer rideshare community and minimizing the risk of accidents.

Why Should You Choose Uptown Injury Car Accident Lawyers?

Have you or a loved one suffered injuries in a rideshare accident in the New York City Metro area? If so, you may have the right to seek compensation through a personal injury claim.

Rideshare accidents involve complex laws and responsibilities, and having someone with expertise in these matters is essential. Uptown Injury knowledgeable Uber accident attorneys are here to aggressively pursue the compensation you are entitled to. We are dedicated to holding rideshare companies accountable for their negligence and ensuring you get the compensation you deserve.

If you’ve suffered injuries in a car accident, an assault, or any other ridesharing incident, we have the knowledge and resources required to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

Why Choose Us?

  • Millions Recovered: Our firm has recovered millions in compensation for Uber and Lyft accident victims throughout Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and the New York City Metro Area for over 15 years.
  • Risk-Free Consultation: Start with a free case evaluation for a risk-free consultation. You have nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain.
  • No Upfront Fees: Our promise we only get paid when we win your case. You can trust us to fight for your legal rights without any financial risk.

Are you ready to start the process of getting the compensation you should have? Reach out to us online to schedule your free consultation, or call our toll-free office at 917-540-8728.


What if Uber Driver Gets in an Accident?

As an Uber driver, you could encounter general liability if you find yourself in an accident. While Uber or Lyft might provide extra coverage, you’ll remain responsible for any resulting damages.

Does Uber Take Accident Responsibility?

Yes, Uber assumes responsibility for accidents, but it depends on the circumstances. When you have a passenger or are on your way to pick one up, Uber takes full responsibility with $1 million in liability coverage. However, if you were waiting for a trip request, the coverage limits are $50,000 per person and $100,000 for the entire accident.

Does New York Law Hold Uber Vicariously Liable for Its Drivers’ Actions?

Yes, New York law holds Uber vicariously liable for its drivers’ negligent actions in specific situations. Uber provides liability insurance for its drivers during different periods of activity. This coverage applies whether the driver is logged in and awaiting a ride, actively transporting a passenger, or involved in a rideshare-related accident.

Can I Sue Uber or Lyft If I am Injured in a Rideshare Accident?

Yes, if you believe the rideshare company’s negligence caused the accident and your injuries, you have a legal basis to file a lawsuit. To do so, consult an attorney, gather evidence, and follow the necessary legal procedures. However, your lawsuit’s success will depend on your case’s specific circumstances.

Does Uber Give Your Money When You Are in an Accident?

When you’re in an accident while driving for Uber, they may compensate for your injuries and vehicle damage, but the process can be challenging and require you to meet certain conditions. It’s important to report the accident to Uber promptly and follow their specific procedures to potentially receive financial assistance.

How Do You File a Lawsuit Against Lyft or Uber?

In order to file a lawsuit against Lyft/Uber, you should first consult with an attorney who specializes in rideshare accidents. Your attorney will assess your case’s merits and guide you through the legal process. Moreover, they’ll help you gather evidence, determine the liable party, and navigate the complex legal procedures required for filing a lawsuit against these rideshare companies.

Who Holds Responsibility in an Uber or Lyft Accident?

When you’re in an accident with an Uber or Lyft, the driver is typically the first responsible party since they were operating the vehicle. However, the driver’s personal auto insurance policies might not cover all your expenses. Therefore, victims often hold the rideshare companies accountable, leading to complex liability issues.


Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers
Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers

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