Filing a Claim Against Uber or LyftDecember 5, 2022
If you have been in an accident involving a Lyft or Uber driver, suing the rideshare company directly may not always be an option. The main reason for this is that rideshare companies do not consider their drivers to be employees. Instead, they classify them as independent contractors.
Employers can generally be held vicariously liable for their employees’ actions, but they can’t be held liable for the negligent or wrongful actions of independent contractors. Lyft and Uber argue that their drivers are independent contractors because while they provide smartphone apps for locating passengers, the drivers drive their own cars and set their work conditions, schedules, etc.
Since Uber and Lyft drivers are independent contractors, rideshare companies have limited liability with regard to their drivers’ acts, which means that you will have an extremely challenging time suing the company directly after a car crash. But it’s vital to note that this does not automatically mean Uber or Lyft cannot be held financially liable, through their liability insurance coverage, for any injuries and losses resulting from an accident with their drivers.
What to Know About Rideshare Companies and Auto Insurance Coverage
Drivers for rideshare companies must have their personal auto insurance coverage. Lyft and Uber will supplement their drivers’ insurance and provide more extra coverage for accidents when drivers are available through the rideshare app or are actively transporting passengers.
The additional coverage is especially crucial since most personal auto insurance providers may disclaim or deny coverage if the crash happened while the rideshare driver was on the clock for Lyft or Uber. Both Uber and Lyft follow this approach for the insurance coverage they provide drivers:
- The driver’s personal insurance coverage applies when the rideshare app is turned off.
- Lyft and Uber provide some coverage if the driver is logged onto the rideshare app and is available for passenger requests.
- If the driver is logged onto the app and is carrying or picking up a passenger, both Lyft and Uber offer liability insurance coverage of up to 1 million, uninsured motorist coverage for bodily injuries, and collision and comprehensive coverage up to the vehicle’s actual cash value, depending on the specific circumstances.
Discuss Your Case With an Experienced Santa Barbara Rideshare Lawyer Now
If Uber or Lyft denies your claim in part or whole, you can threaten to file a lawsuit against them directly. However, keep in mind that they will raise their driver’s independent contractor status as a defense. They might likewise argue that you forfeited your legal right to sue them and agreed to handle legal disputes with them via arbitration when you agreed to their service’s terms and conditions.
It’s these issues that usually make rideshare accidents more complicated than accidents involving personal motor vehicles. In any case, our Santa Barbara rideshare lawyer at Bamieh & De Smeth can figure out the best legal options for your case. To set up a free consultation with our Santa Barbara rideshare lawyer, please send us an online message or call our office at 805-643-5555.