If you have been involved in a Lyft car accident in Philadelphia, you may have a number of questions swirling in your head regarding how you will pay for medical expenses and lost wages, and who should be held liable for your injuries damages and losses. Lyft car accidents may be a little more complicated than a car accident claim involving regular vehicles. Rideshare companies like Lyft tend to pass the buck when it comes to paying injury claims. You need a knowledgeable lawyer on your side who has experience handling Lyft car accident claims and can help you recover maximum compensation for your losses.
How Does Lyft Work?
Lyft is a San Francisco-based transportation network company, which was launched in 2012 and now operates in more than 200 cities in the United States. Similar to Uber, Lyft started as an on-demand ridesharing network for shorter trips in large metros. In order to connect with Lyft drivers, passengers will need to download the Lyft mobile app, sign up and set up a credit card or some other preferred method to pay fares. When a passenger needs a ride, he or she requests a ride using their smartphone. Once the request has been made, a Lyft driver who is close by picks up the passenger and then to their destination.
There are several different types of ridesharing services Lyft provides. For example, the Lyft Line, which is available in some U.S. cities, matches riders with other riders going in the same direction so you can save even more money on the fare by splitting the cost of the ride. Lyft Plus is a supersized ride that accommodates up to six passengers. Lyft Premier is a high-end option for those who would like to ride in a luxury vehicle. While these are all convenient options if you are looking for an economical ride, it is important to think about your options if you are ever injured while using a Lyft vehicle.
Requirements for Lyft Drivers
Lyft drivers are required to meet certain basic requirements including being 21 years of age or older and owning an iPhone or Android phone. Lyft also says it conducts a DMV check as well as a national and county background check going back seven years or more. Drivers are disqualified if they have violent crimes, felonies, sexual offenses or drug-related convictions on their criminal record. Drivers must also have auto insurance and are required to have in-state vehicle license plates in order to work for Lyft.
Lyft vehicles must pass a 19-point vehicle inspection and that’s in addition to any city or state requirements. Lyft vehicles are required to have four external door handles and at least a total of five seat belts. Drivers get to choose when they want to drive and get a portion of ride feed from passengers. Drivers can also choose to have the money deposited in their bank account weekly or cash out right away.
Insurance Coverage and Liability Issues
Lyft drivers must be a covered party on their vehicle’s auto insurance policy. Lyft has a $1 million policy limit for car accident claims. Lyft’s primary liability insurance acts as coverage from the time a driver accepts a ride until the end of the ride. The gray area here is when the driver is waiting for a ride request while in “driver mode” or when he or she has not yet accepted the ride request. If the Lyft vehicle collides with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, the company’s insurance will still cover up to $1 million per accident. Also, as long as the driver has collision or comprehensive coverage on their personal auto insurance policy, the company’s insurance policy is designed to cover physical damage to the driver’s vehicle.
One crucial point that has been brought up as far as lawsuits involving rideshare companies such as Lyft is the insurance requirement for drivers. Lyft’s website states that the company offers $1 million liability insurance plans for its drivers. However, several states have issued warnings to rideshare passengers stating that these companies may not cover them in the event of a crash. The ambiguity with regard to insurance depends on who is liable for the car accident – the company or the driver.
The question is: If a Lyft driver gets into an accident, who is liable?
Is the driver alone responsible, or, are both the driver and the company liable? In a traditional employer-employee relationship, if an employee is in the course and scope of his or her employment, and the accident is a result of his or her negligence, then the employer is vicariously liable for the employee’s actions.
However, rideshare companies like Lyft, have consistently maintained that their drivers are not employees, but independent contractors. And as independent contractors, the drivers are solely liable for property damage and bodily injury caused while transporting passengers or even while driving in search of riders. Lyft has claimed in lawsuits that it does not have influence over the drivers or the vehicles they operate, but can only control the app that facilitates the connection between passengers and drivers.
Contacting an Experienced Lyft Lawyer
Navigating these complexities and securing the compensation you need to help pay for your medical expenses, care and other losses can be quite a challenge. You need an experienced car accident lawyer on your side who can help preserve and compile the evidence in your case. If you have been injured in a Lyft accident, it is important you take the necessary steps to protect your legal rights including filing a police report, getting prompt medical attention, gathering evidence from the scene including photographs, eyewitness contact information and pertinent information for all parties involved in the collision.
Injured victims of Lyft accidents can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitative treatment, permanent injuries, disabilities and past and future pain and suffering. If you have lost a loved one, you may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Call our experienced Lyft car accident lawyers at (610) 660-7780 to schedule a free and comprehensive consultation.