What You Should Know About Accidents Involving Car Apps Like Uber Or Lyft.
Uber and Lyft are governed by the same laws as other motorists operating in Florida. The driver must have the minimum insurance on himself, which is property damage coverage and no fault insurance. Neither of those coverages applies in a situation where the Uber or Lyft driver causes personal injury to someone in their car or in a car they hit. However, as of this writing, both Uber and Lyft do have insurance to cover their drivers who cause personal injury arising from a motor vehicle crash. That’s good news, and it is very responsible for those companies to keep bodily injury insurance in place to cover personal injuries arising from auto crashes.
Cabs. This is actually better than most cab companies have in place that are operating in the State of Florida. Many cab companies treat their drivers as independent contractors, and leave it to the driver to get the right insurance. Good luck on that! In most cab crashes we see that the driver only had the minimum insurance required—which doesn’t cover for personal injuries caused to a passenger nor does it typically cover people in an auto which the cab driver hits. The cab driver is supposed to have coverage of $125,000 x 2 for Bodily Injury, and $50,000 for Property Damage.
Uber–while their driver is waiting for a ride request–on its website says that coverages vary, but are at least
$50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident for bodily injury
$25,000 per accident for property damage
Uber further says while their driver is in route to pick up a rider, and during an Uber trip, the driver is covered for:
1. Third party liability coverage
Insurance for liability for damages to any third party driver, pedestrian, or property in case of an accident when Uber’s driver is at fault. Coverage limits vary by state, but are at least $1,000,000 per accident.
2. Uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage
This insurance covers Uber’s driver and anyone else in the Uber vehicle in case of an accident where another driver is at fault, but that other driver does not have sufficient insurance. This also covers hit and run accidents where the at-fault driver cannot be identified. Coverage limits vary by state, but are at least $1,000,000 per accident.
Lyft states that it provides the following insurance coverage:
There is contingent liability coverage “when the app is in driver mode before you’ve received a ride request” if the driver’s own insurance does not respond. The policy has a $50,000 maximum limit per person, $100,000 maximum limit per accident, and a $25,000 maximum limit for property damage. No deductible.
Lyft says that their liability insurance applies from the time you accept a ride request until the time the ride has ended in the app. The policy has a $1,000,000 per accident limit. Note: If you already carry commercial insurance (or personal coverage providing specific coverage for ridesharing), Lyft’s policy will continue to be excess to your insurance coverage.
As to UM coverage—which applies when an at-fault 3rd-party driver has no insurance or not enough insurance—Lyft’s answer is: “our UM/UIM coverage will apply up to the limit as required by local and state regulations”. One problem with that is the State of Florida does not require a driver to have UM coverage; it simply requires UM coverage to be offered by an insurer.
Therefore as it presently stands if you are hit by an Uber or Lyft driver responding to a call, with a passenger, or you are a passenger in the car, in which the Uber or Lyft driver was at fault, there should be coverage. Keep in mind that the Uber or Lyft can still have defenses:
Claiming another driver or someone else was at fault for the casualty.
All injuries were pre-existing.
There are no injuries.
The injuries were temporary and were not permanent.
The injured person didn’t follow doctor’s orders.
These are just some of the defenses frequently used. It is good and responsible for Uber and Lyft to carry liability insurance for personal injuries caused by their drivers. This is a better starting point than the estimated 25% of drivers in Florida who are driving with no insurance.
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