Car Accident Lawyer
Car accident claims can be complex when it comes to proving liability. But car accidents involving ridesharing companies can really be difficult because there are different factors that will determine who the liable party is, even if you already know the liable party was the Lyft driver. Instead of one insurance company, you may be finding yourself dealing with two – the driver’s individual insurance company and Lyft’s corporate insurance policy. This is why it is important to have a Lyft accident lawyer advocating for you if you have been injured. You want to make sure you obtain all financial compensation – medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and more – you may be entitled to.
Filing a Claim
In accidents where an employee of a company is at fault, the company they work for would be liable for the victim’s injuries. For example, if a truck driver causes an accident, the trucking company they worked for would be liable for any damages. It is the legal doctrine of “respondent superior” that applies here. Respondent superior translates to “let the master answer.”
But Lyft drivers do not work for Lyft the corporation. They are considered independent contractors so this is why respondent superior does not apply. However, in the early days of ridesharing companies, many states stepped in when the corporations tried to deny any liability for victim losses. Regulations were put in place that require these companies to have liability insurance in place.
Under these regulations, the general rules for liability are:
- If the Lyft driver was signed into the company app and had a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the crash, the corporate insurance policy would cover the victim’s losses.
- If the Lyft driver was signed into the company app but had no passengers in the vehicle, then the victim would file a claim against the driver’s insurance policy. However, if their insurance company does not cover all of the victim’s losses, a second claim can be filed against Lyft’s corporate policy.
- If the Lyft driver was not signed into the company app, then the only claim the victim could file would be against the driver’s own policy.
Although these may seem like clear policies, the fact is that the insurance companies – both the corporate and drivers’ individual policies – often deny claims and try to pass off liability to the other. There have been many cases where the corporation will try to say the company has no liability even if the driver was signed onto the app but waiting for a request to come in. The company may claim that if the driver has not accepted a call, is driving to pick that fare up, or is transporting a fare, then it has no liability, even though the driver was actually on duty.