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Due to the safety concerns, these apps screen drivers for violations like speeding, DUIs, and other accidents. Serious red flags on someone’s record may cause them to rejected from Uber or Lyft, but drivers may be accepted with up to three minor violations within the past three years. This means it’s possible you’ll be getting into a car with someone who has been recently pulled over for speeding, driving without a license, or another dangerous behavior.
Who Is Liable for an Uber or Lyft Accident?
Because Michigan is a no-fault state, you will not need to prove liability to recover compensation after an accident, even when an Uber or Lyft driver is involved. Your claim will go through Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance.
However, if you are seriously injured, permanently disfigured, or the family member of someone who was killed in a car accident, PIP may not cover your needs. In these cases, you have the option to file a suit against the at-fault driver. We can help you find proof of liability so you can sue for further compensation after your PIP coverage has been exhausted.
When a Rideshare Driver Is At Fault
A standard Michigan insurance policy does not cover commercial activities like driving for Uber or Lyft. These apps therefore provide insurance coverage for all active drivers (more on that later) in case of accidents. This means, whether you’re a rider or another driver, you’ll need proof the at-fault party was working for Uber or Lyft at the time. A screenshot or photo of that person’s app typically serves as adequate evidence.
When a Third-Party Driver Is At Fault
After any accident in which another driver is at fault, you will need to get that person’s name, contact information, and insurance details. As long as they’re not a rideshare or other paid driver, commercial activity does not matter here—their insurance is required to cover the claim no matter who they hit.
If that person is not insured or, as happens in many accidents, their policy limits do not cover the full cost of your injuries, you may be able to file an additional claim with Uber or Lyft’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Therefore, you’ll also want to preserve evidence you were a passenger in a rideshare vehicle at the time of the accident. A screenshot of your app at the scene, a copy of your ride history, and/or a trip receipt can be used to support your claim.
Insurance Complications in Rideshare Accident Claims
With at least a million rideshare drivers working in the U.S., Uber and Lyft have taken steps to ensure their insurance is not prohibitively expensive. This means setting limits for when and how it can be used. Unfortunately for accident victims, these restrictions make the claims process more complex.
Drivers Are Only Covered When Working
Uber and Lyft drivers often keep “trade dress,” or decals with the Uber and Lyft logos, on their cars so riders can easily find them. However, just because a car has one of these names on it does not mean its driver is working commercially at the time of an accident. If they are not searching for a ride, on their way to pick up a passenger, or transporting someone to their destination, a driver’s personal insurance is the only policy that will cover an accident.
Tiered Coverage Based on Ride Status
As soon as a driver opens their app and goes online with Uber or Lyft, these companies’ commercial coverage kicks in. Any active rideshare driver has the minimum level of coverage offered by Uber or Lyft:
- PIP insurance (though only in no-fault states like Michigan)
- $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident in bodily injury
- $25,000 per accident in property damage
As soon as a driver has accepted a ride request, their insurance coverage increases drastically to:
- $1,000,000 per accident in third-party liability
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury
These increased policy limits apply for as long as the request is active: A driver who is en route to pick up a rider or transporting someone to their destination qualifies for this coverage.
If you’re a passenger, it’s obvious your driver was fulfilling a ride request at the time of your accident, but for third-party accident victims, it’s important to get proof of the driver’s exact status so you have proof of the insurance limits that apply.
Rideshare Insurance Is Secondary
Both Uber and Lyft’s insurance policies also specify they are secondary to any other coverage that may apply to an accident. Some rideshare drivers choose to carry their own commercial insurance coverage, which means you would first have to file for compensation through that individual’s policy. If you have PIP insurance, you may have to file with your insurance and against the driver’s commercial insurance before you would be eligible to seek additional damages from Uber or Lyft.
The way insurance policies interact is confusing, and if you’ve been seriously injured, you need help—not a tangle of rules and requirements standing between you and a settlement. Our attorneys can provide guidance to make your claim as efficient as possible while exploring all options for compensation.
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Grewal Law has been amazingly empathetic and forward-thinking through this very emotional and trying time.- Anonymous
If you suffered serious and/or lasting injuries in a rideshare accident, recovering compensation may be complex, but it is possible. Our Michigan Uber & Lyft accident attorneys are here to clarify the claims process and take over the time-consuming work of submitting evidence and paperwork and communicating with insurance adjusters. Especially given the extra steps involved in filing with a commercial insurance provider, having an experienced law firm on your side can reduce stress and allow you to focus on healing.
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Scott Weidenfeller Attorney; Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Team Leader
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