If you were injured in a collision involving a Lyft or Uber, contact a car accident lawyer in Washington who has experience with crashes involving rideshare vehicles.
Matt Menzer and his team have handled auto accident insurance claims and litigation for decades. They’ve paid close attention to the legal issues surrounding Lyft and Uber accidents since the beginning to ensure they handle these cases efficiently and effectively.
Uber rolled out service in Seattle in summer 2011, and Lyft launched in the city in spring 2013. Both companies have spread across the state and become popular. Together, the companies provided more than 91,000 rides on an average day in Seattle during the second quarter of 2018, the Seattle Times reported.
Given the number of vehicles on the road to carry these passengers from Point A to Point B, collisions are inevitable. At times, Uber or Lyft drivers are responsible for accidents while they’re working. At other times, Lyft and Uber drivers and passengers are the victims of negligent drivers.
Whatever your circumstances, talk with an experienced Washington Uber accident lawyer about the best way to pursue damages. You can reach Menzer Law Firm through our online form or call (206) 903-1818 to schedule a free consultation.
About Rideshare Services
Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft enable individuals to share transportation. Individuals with vehicles can offer their services to riders who may not own vehicles or who choose not to use their vehicles for certain trips.
Uber and Lyft enable customers to hail a ride through a phone app. Once a driver accepts a ride request, the customer receives the driver’s name, photo, vehicle type, license plate, and estimated time of arrival. The driver receives the passenger’s name and location. Payment is made entirely through the app, as well.
Though Uber and Lyft seem similar to taxis, they’re very different business models. Taxi companies hire employees to drive their vehicles. Some taxi companies are one-person operations, where the driver owns the vehicle and is the business’s only employee.
Uber and Lyft, however, hire drivers as independent contractors—not employees. This alters when and how Uber or Lyft are liable for the drivers’ actions. Typically, businesses are responsible for their employees’ conduct while the employees are on duty. But businesses have limited or no liability for the actions of independent contractors.
After you’re injured in a crash caused by an Uber or Lyft driver, you can’t automatically sue the rideshare company. That being said, Uber and Lyft have insurance policies to help when passengers are hurt in motor vehicle accidents.
Who Is At Fault for a Lyft or Uber Accident?
When an Uber or Lyft is involved in an auto accident in the State of Washington, the fault is determined the same way as any other collision. The at-fault driver is the motorist whose negligence directly and proximately led to the accident and other people’s injuries. This negligence may be based on speeding, impaired driving, reckless driving, running a stop sign or stop light, following too closely distracted driving, or any number of issues.
Who is at fault, though, affects how you can recover compensation after a Lyft or Uber crash. We highly recommend retaining an experienced Uber accident lawyer in Washington to determine who caused the crash. If the Uber or Lyft driver was signed into the app at the time and was at fault, then the rideshare company’s insurance policy may kick in.
Common Causes of Uber and Lyft Accidents
Lyft and Uber accidents occur because of many of the same reasons other crashes happen:
- Speeding above the speed limit or what is appropriate for traffic and weather
- Fatigued driving
- Distracted driving, including using a GPS or rideshare app on a cellphone
- Failure to obey traffic signs and signals
- Improper merging and lane changes
- Reckless driving
- Aggressive driving and road rage
- Intoxicated driving
- Work zones and road hazards
When an Uber or Lyft Driver Hits Your Car
If you were in a collision with a vehicle that had an Uber or Lyft logo in the windshield, or both, it’s important to determine whether the other driver was working at the time of the crash.
You need to know:
- Was the driver signed into the Lyft or Uber app at the time of the accident?
- Had the driver accepted a ride request at the time of the accident?
The answers to these questions determine whether you can file a valid claim against Uber or Lyft’s insurance policy and which policy applies to the crash.
If the driver wasn’t working at the time, then you can only recover compensation from their personal auto insurance policy. If they were working, then you may be able to recover from Uber or Lyft’s policy as well as the driver’s personal insurance.
When a Lyft or Uber Driver Causes a Crash While You’re a Passenger
Your Uber or Lyft driver might cause a crash while you’re in the car. When this happens, you should work with a Washington Lyft and Uber accident lawyer to pursue compensation from the driver’s personal auto insurance and/or the ridesharing company’s policy.
Uber and Lyft’s Insurance Coverage
When a driver isn’t signed into the Uber or Lyft app, the companies’ insurance policies don’t apply. You can only recover compensation from that driver’s personal auto insurance.
If the driver has signed into the Uber or Lyft app and waiting on a ride request, then both Uber and Lyft offer third-party liability coverage of:
- $50,000 for bodily injuries per person
- $100,000 for bodily injuries per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
You still have to recover from the at-fault driver’s policy first. Uber and Lyft’s third-party policies kick in when the driver’s insurance doesn’t apply or doesn’t cover all of your damages.
Once the driver accepts a ride request and until the driver drops off the passenger, Uber and Lyft both offer a $1 million liability insurance policy. They also offer uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage and contingent comprehensive and collision coverage.
Get Help From a Washington Lyft and Uber Accident Lawyer
Whether you were a passenger in an Uber or Lyft, or a ridesharing vehicle hit you, give Menzer Law Firm a call. We handle Lyft and Uber accidents in Seattle, King County, and elsewhere in Washington. We will guide you through the insurance claim process against the at-fault driver’s insurance, and when appropriate, against Uber or Lyft’s policy.