More and more people are using rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft because of their convenience and user-friendly apps. When you need a ride, a few taps on a smartphone is all it takes to be on your way. However, if you are injured in a Lyft or Uber car accident, figuring out who is responsible is not so simple. While rideshare companies provide some liability coverage, these claims often include multiple insurers and various coverage levels. This is especially true when more than one vehicle is involved. Here is a guide to determining compensation for those who are injured in a Lyft or Uber accident.
Yes, Uber and Lyft provide up to $1 million of liability insurance to cover damages for passengers who are injured in a crash. This coverage may also be available to occupants of other vehicles that were involved in the accident.
However, determining liability in an Uber or Lyft accident can be challenging. First, Uber and Lyft drivers are considered independent contractors rather than employees. As such, they drive their own vehicles, for which they are required to carry Michigan No-Fault insurance.
Therefore, passengers who do not have their own No-Fault coverage may receive benefits from the No-Fault policy covering the Lyft or Uber vehicle. When the injured passenger incurs medical and related expenses that exceed the coverage limits of that policy, things become more complicated. Then, the passenger may seek additional reimbursement from the liability insurance provided by Lyft or Uber.
In addition, Uber and Lyft have different insurance requirements for drivers who are en route to a customer or transporting passengers than for those who are on duty but have not yet accepted a ride request. The $1 million liability coverage is only available when a third party is injured by a driver who is on the way to a customer or transporting passengers.
Further confusion is caused by the differences in coverage between passengers, drivers, occupants of a non-rideshare vehicle, and pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists who are injured by a Lyft or Uber driver.
This is why it is important to contact an experienced Uber or Lyft accident lawyer as soon as possible if you or a loved one is injured in a crash.
The accident-related medical bills of injured rideshare passengers are typically covered by the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) medical benefits portion of their own No-Fault policy (or that of a spouse or relative living in the same household).
For Uber or Lyft passengers who do not have No-Fault coverage or other health care benefits, medical bills will be paid by the No-Fault policy that covers the rideshare vehicle. This is a departure from the No-Fault laws that apply to most other motor vehicle accidents.
Under basic Michigan No-Fault law, reimbursement for medical bills is limited by the level of PIP medical benefits the policyholder has selected. However, the protocol differs slightly for accidents involving rideshare companies such as Lyft and Uber.
Michigan law requires these businesses to maintain up to $1 million of liability insurance to compensate victims for damages that exceed the limits of the passenger’s or driver’s No-Fault policy.
For example, suppose a passenger has a No-Fault policy with $250,000 in PIP medical benefits. If that passenger is seriously injured while riding in a Lyft or Uber, the medical bills could exceed the amount of available coverage. In that case, the victim could seek reimbursement from Lyft or Uber for excess medical costs, lost wages beyond the No-Fault limits and intangible losses such as pain and suffering.
Recommended reading: What Every Michigan Driver Should Know about No-Fault Insurance Law
If an Uber or Lyft passenger is seriously injured in a crash, the at-fault driver is responsible for compensating the victim for intangible losses such as pain and suffering. This could be the Uber or Lyft driver or the driver of another vehicle that was involved in the accident.
If the Lyft or Uber driver is responsible, the passenger may file a claim against the rideshare company for non-economic damages suffered by the victim and their family.
If another driver caused the accident, the injured Uber or Lyft passenger would seek compensation for pain and suffering from the at-fault driver. In that case, recovery will be limited to the amount of liability coverage provided by the driver’s No-Fault policy. However, it may be possible to recover additional damages from Lyft or Uber if a passenger suffers “serious impairment of body function” or permanent disfigurement.
Furthermore, if the at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured, Uber or Lyft provides up to $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for injured rideshare passengers.
Non-passengers who are injured by an Uber or Lyft vehicle are compensated in much the same way as rideshare passengers. Medical and related expenses are covered under the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits provided by the victim’s No-Fault policy (or that of a spouse or relative living in the same household). Payment of medical bills is limited to the PIP medical benefits coverage level selected by the policyholder.
Victims who do not have No-Fault coverage or other health care benefits may seek benefits through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP). However, these claims have a maximum coverage limit of $250,000.
Nonetheless, victims who suffered serious injuries may file a claim against the rideshare company for damages over and above the coverage limits of their No-Fault policy or the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan. These damages may include excess medical bills and lost wages and non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.
Yes. While it’s always a good idea to hire a lawyer when someone is injured in a car crash, Uber and Lyft accident law is especially complicated. When multiple insurance companies are involved, determining who is responsible for compensating the victim(s) can be challenging.
In addition, because rideshare companies are relatively new – Uber began its Michigan operations in 2013 – the rules and regulations surrounding these services are still evolving. Therefore, it’s important to hire a lawyer who is experienced and up-to-date on this relatively new area of the law.
If you or a loved one is injured in an Uber or Lyft accident, we can help. Our experienced legal team understands the complex laws that affect these cases, and we know what it takes to win the compensation you deserve.
Uber accident law is complicated, but finding the right Michigan Car accident lawyer is simple.
For more information or to get your case started, contact The Sam Bernstein Law Firm or 1-800-CALL-SAM for a free, no-obligation remote consultation from the safety of your home.
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