Uber, Lyft, and other local rideshare services provide a valuable, convenient service, but they aren’t without their flaws. Because average individuals operate these services and don’t have to pass an exam to get hired, accidents are common.
But even with the safest driver at the wheel, the unexpected can happen and leave you with injuries and hefty medical bills. If you’re a passenger, the driver of a rideshare service, or a third party involved in a rideshare accident in Virginia, this post will help you understand your rights to an injury claim.
Passengers Injured in a Rideshare Accident
Before getting into the coverage that applies when a passenger is injured in a rideshare accident, you need to understand the difference between your status as a passenger in an active rideshare trip versus your status as a passenger in an inactive trip.
You should never ask an Uber or Lyft driver to take you to a location that is different from what you agreed upon in the app when you secured the ride (unless the change has been made on the app itself). Your contract with the driver is to take you to the specific location you agreed upon during the process of securing the ride. Any other trips – even if it’s just a block or a few buildings away from the address you input – could lead to a grey area where you don’t have insurance coverage as a passenger.
Uber’s insurance policy covers up to $1 million in third-party liability. You should exercise caution when on the curb waiting for your rideshare to arrive though as you don’t want to suffer a pedestrian accident or you would need to put this through your personal insurance policy or the driver’s personal auto policy.
Rideshare drivers have different coverage based on their status at the time of the accident.
- Offline: if your app is off or you are offline at the time of the accident, your personal auto policy applies.
- Available/waiting for a request: if you are marked as available within the rideshare app, Uber’s insurance policy covers $50,000 in bodily injury per person and $100,000 in bodily injury per accident. You also get $25,000 in property damage coverage.
- During trips or on your way to pick up a passenger: during trips with an active passenger or when you are headed to pick up a passenger, Uber covers $1 million in third-party liability, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for bodily injury, and comprehensive and collision coverage. You’ll just have to cover a $2,500 deductible and then the collision coverage is up to the actual cash value of your vehicle.
Before signing up to be a driver for a rideshare service, you should review the employer’s insurance policies. If they are inadequate, you need to talk to your insurance agent about adding commercial insurance that will cover you during your work. Your personal insurance policy will not apply when you are available within the app or driving a customer.
Third-Parties Involved in Rideshare Accidents
With 3.9 million total Uber drivers worldwide, the likelihood of getting involved in an accident with one of these drivers is rather high. The insurance that applies in a rideshare accident will depend on a couple of factors:
- Who is at fault for the accident? If you are the individual who causes the accident, the Uber or Lyft driver and their passengers will look to your insurance policy for property damage and bodily injury coverage.
- Whether the rideshare driver was available, in route to pick up a passenger, or actively driving a passenger. If the driver was actively driving for the app, their commercial insurance or insurance through their employer will apply. Otherwise, their personal insurance policy applies.
If you’ve been injured as a driver, passenger, or third party in a rideshare accident in Virginia, you should seek counsel from an attorney. Geoff McDonald & Associates offers a free consultation to get to know you and your case.