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Lyft and similar rideshare services have changed the transportation landscape in the U.S. and around the world. People can choose to download the Lyft app to receive quick and affordable rides to their destinations instead of taking taxis, rental cars, or limousines. While Lyft is a convenient way to reach your destination, using Lyft also comes with some risks. Just like when you are riding in any other type of vehicle, there is a risk that you will be involved in an accident when taking a Lyft vehicle. Since Lyft drivers spend hours on the road, they have a higher risk of accident involvement due to the amount of time they spend behind the wheel. Other motorists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and others also might be involved in accidents caused by Lyft drivers or might be at fault in causing these types of accidents.
Unlike other types of motor vehicle accidents, Lyft collisions have some unique insurance and liability issues. You might be unsure who is liable in a Lyft accident and which insurance company with which you should file your claim. If you have been injured in a Lyft accident, you should speak to the Lyft accident attorneys at Lamber Goodnow for help with understanding your rights and legal options.
Lyft, Inc. was founded in 2012 and now employs 4,453 people in 119 offices located in the U.S. and Canada. In the fiscal year that ended in Dec. 2021, Lyft reported total revenues of $3.2 billion. The company is one of the largest rideshare services in the world and offers an app and platform through which passengers can connect with Lyft drivers for rides.
Drivers who want to drive for Lyft must have vehicles that meet the company’s minimum qualifications and must undergo background checks through third-party providers. If they are hired, the company treats them as independent contractors instead of employees. Lyft drivers can drive as much or as little as they want by choosing when to turn on the app. People who want to use Lyft for transportation can download the Lyft app to their smartphones. To order a ride, a prospective passenger must enter his or her credit or debit card information and input data about their location and where they would like to go. The app will show nearby drivers and when a driver accepts the ride. Passengers can then see when the driver arrives and take the Lyft to the desired destination.
Since the passengers have already entered their credit or debit card information into the app before taking the rides, they don’t have to give money to the drivers when they reach their destinations. Once the passengers have been dropped off, they can rate their drivers and choose whether to tip them.
Liability Issues in Lyft Accidents
Multiple parties can be liable in a Lyft accident, which makes them more complicated than other types of motor vehicle collisions. In addition to the Lyft driver, the other involved motorist might also be liable. If the wreck was partially caused by a defective part on either vehicle, the manufacturer of the defective component might also share liability. In some accidents, only the Lyft driver or the other involved motorist will be liable. Because of the multiple potential parties that could be liable in a Lyft accident, determining liability is a critical first step following a Lyft accident to identify all of the potential defendants and the responsible insurance companies.
At the Lyft accident law firm of Lamber Goodnow, our Lyft accident lawyers thoroughly investigate these types of collisions and work with accident reconstruction experts to identify all of the parties that contributed to the cause of the collision so that we can help our clients maximize their recovery amounts.
Potentially Liable Parties if You are Injured as Lyft Passenger
If you were injured in a Lyft accident while riding as a passenger, both your Lyft driver and the other involved driver might be liable. In some cases, other parties might also share liability. For example, if a defective part contributed to your accident, the part manufacturer might also be liable to pay damages to you. In most cases, you will not share liability as a Lyft passenger.
Potentially Liable Parties if You Are Injured as a Third Party
If you were injured when a Lyft collided with your vehicle, with you as a pedestrian, or while you were riding a bicycle or motorcycle, both you and the Lyft driver might share fault. Under Arizona’s comparative fault statute at ARS §12-2505, the state follows a pure comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, if you are partially at fault for causing your accident, you will not be barred from recovering damages. However, your total award will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if a jury finds that you were 20% at fault, and the Lyft driver was 80% at fault, your award will be reduced by 20%.
Potentially Liable Parties if You Are Injured as a Lyft Driver
If you are a Lyft driver and are injured in an accident with another vehicle, you can pursue compensation for your injuries by filing a claim against the at-fault driver who caused your accident. If you were en route to pick up a passenger or had a passenger in your vehicle at the time of the crash, you might also recover compensation for your injuries through Lyft’s uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage if the other driver’s policy limits are inadequate or when the other motorist was not insured.
Available Insurance in a Lyft Accident
Lyft provides liability coverage, but its availability depends on the period during which the Lyft driver was in at the time of your accident with the app as follows:
- Period 0 – When the app is off, the Lyft driver’s personal insurance and/or the other motorist’s applies
- Period 1 – When the driver’s app is on while the driver is waiting for a ride, Lyft provides coverage of $50,000 bodily injury for one person, $100,000 bodily injury per accident with more than one victim, and $25,000 in property damage coverage
- Periods 2 & 3 – When the driver is in route to pick up a passenger or is actively transporting a passenger, Lyft provides up to $1 million in third-party liability coverage, UM/UIM first-party coverage, and limited property damage coverage if the Lyft driver has comprehensive and collision insurance to repair the driver’s vehicle with a $2,500 deductible
If you are injured by an at-fault Lyft driver when the driver did not have the app turned on, you will have to pursue a claim against the driver and recover compensation through the driver’s auto insurance policy. Lyft’s insurance will not be available to cover your claim in this situation.
Under A.R.S. §28-4009, all motorists in Arizona must carry auto liability insurance in at least the following amounts:
- $25,000 in bodily injury coverage for one injured victim
- $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident for two or more injured victims
- $15,000 in property damage coverage
If you were seriously injured, these amounts might not be enough to cover your losses. Under ARS §20-259.01, insurance companies must explain that you have an option to purchase uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage at the time you purchase your automobile insurance policy. Purchasing UM/UIM coverage is a good idea because it allows you to file a claim with your insurance company if an at-fault driver causes your injuries and accident but does not have enough coverage to pay for your injuries. All drivers, including Lyft drivers, can also choose to purchase more than the state’s required minimum liability coverage.
If the driver had the app turned on at the time of your accident but was not transporting a passenger or traveling to pick one up, Lyft’s contingent liability insurance is available in the amounts of $50,000/$100,000/$25,000 as previously mentioned. Lyft drivers must carry coverage that allows them to drive their vehicles for a transportation network company under ARS §28-4038 of at least $25,000/$50,000/$20,000. However, some Lyft drivers fail to purchase an endorsement or separate rideshare policy or notify their insurance companies that they drive for Lyft. In that type of situation, the driver’s personal auto liability insurer might deny coverage when the Lyft driver causes an accident.
If you were a passenger or another third party who was injured in an accident caused by a Lyft driver while the driver was transporting you or another passenger, Lyft’s liability insurance of up to $1 million will be available.
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FAQs: Lyft Accident Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions the attorneys at the Lyft accident law firm of Lamber Goodnow receive from Lyft accident victims.
Q: What Should I Do If I Am Injured in a Lyft Accident?
A: If you are injured in a Lyft accident as a Lyft driver, passenger, or another motorist, you should take the same steps you would if you were injured in any other type of accident. Some of the steps you should take include the following:
- Call 911 to report the collision.
- Remain at the accident scene until help arrives.
- Check for injuries and provide first aid if necessary.
- If you are a driver, exchange information with the other driver, including names, contact information, driver’s license information, insurance information, and registration information.
- If you are a passenger, get the names, contact details, license plate numbers, insurance, and registration information of both involved drivers.
- Ask for the names and contact details of any witnesses who saw your crash.
- Take photographs of the damage to both cars, their positions, the weather and road conditions, and other important details.
- Seek medical attention immediately even if you are unsure whether you are injured.
- Consult our experienced Lyft accident attorneys.
Q: What Type of Insurance Must Lyft Drivers Carry?
A: Like other motorists in Arizona, Lyft drivers must carry personal liability insurance that meets the state’s minimum liability requirements. They must also carry rideshare insurance to provide coverage when they have their apps turned on. In addition, Lyft provides additional coverage of up to $1 million when the Lyft driver causes an accident while transporting a passenger or driving to pick a passenger up after accepting a ride.
Q: What if the Other Driver Was Solely at Fault for My Accident and Injuries as a Lyft Passenger?
A: If the other driver was at fault for your Lyft accident while you were a passenger, you can file a claim against the at-fault motorist’s insurance coverage. However, Lyft also provides UM/UIM coverage if the other driver does not have insurance or has insufficient insurance to cover your losses.
Q: What if a Lyft Driver Caused an Accident Without a Passenger in the Car?
A: If a Lyft driver caused your accident when he or she did not have a passenger in the vehicle, the coverage that might apply will depend on the phase in which the driver was in with the app. If the app was turned off, the Lyft driver’s auto insurance coverage will apply. If the app was turned on, but the driver had not accepted a ride at the time of your collision, Lyft provides additional liability coverage of $50,000/$100,000/$25,000. If the Lyft driver had accepted a ride and was either on the way to pick the passenger up or was actively transporting a passenger at the time he or she caused your collision, Lyft provides coverage of up to $1 million per accident.
Q: What if Both my Lyft Driver and the Other Driver Shared Fault?
A: If both your Lyft driver and the driver of the other vehicle were at fault for causing your accident and injuries, they will be jointly and severally liable for your losses under ARS §12-2501. In that situation, you would file a claim against both drivers.
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"My wife and I had occasion to use Mr. Lamber and his staff for a legal matter. The entire staff was wonderful. They kept us informed of every step and communicated quickly and effectively as things changed or progressed. We would highly recommend Mr. Lamber and his staff to anyone needing legal advice or assistance. They had a very high level of integrity and professionalism. It's too bad there are only 5 stars for their rating. They are excellent."
"I just got rear-ended today, but I'm thankful I found this firm. They take care of you in general, and if you don't make enough to cover your costs, they back you up 100%. Stephanie Ramos gave excellent and kind customer service by getting me in motion with the whole process. Attorney Donn Coolidge gave me the rundown of the situation very clearly, and I'm looking forward to working with him. I fully recommend this firm!"
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"This law firm is amazing, Marc and Jenny handled my auto accident for me. Excellent communication, they did a thorough job of handling all the details, and helped me with everything. I really appreciated their care and dedication, and I am happy all has been settled and resolved. I would definitely recommend them, and use if needed again in the future. Thanks again Jenny and Marc I appreciate y'all!"
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