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Who Is At-Fault in a Rideshare Accident?

Posted on September 29, 2020 in

Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft provide an accessible way for Arizona residents to travel from place to place. However, these platforms rely on cars to operate, and accidents can still occur in these vehicles, leading to serious injuries and financial, emotional, and physical consequences. To seek justice for your damages, you will need to understand who is responsible for the crash.

Arizona’s Car Accident Liability Laws

Arizona is a fault insurance state. This means that whoever is responsible for causing an accident must pay, through their insurance company, for the damages of other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who suffered injuries in the collision.

These laws still apply to rideshare drivers — if they cause or someone else causes a collision with a passenger in the car, the at-fault party’s insurance coverage extends to all people who were not responsible for the accident.

Can Uber or Lyft Be Liable for Your Accident?

If you are in a car accident where the rideshare driver was responsible, you may wonder if you can file a claim against Uber or Lyft directly. The drivers who work for these companies are not technically employees — they are independent contractors, and as a result, Uber and Lyft are not liable for any accidents their drivers cause.

Uber and Lyft do provide liability insurance for their drivers in case they cause an accident. However, you can only file a claim with this policy if you file a claim with the rideshare driver’s private insurance company first and do not receive compensation. Since many personal insurance policies do not cover accidents that occur during business activities, like rideshare driving, the company will likely deny your claim.

Rideshare insurance policies usually provide the following amounts of coverage, depending on the driver’s status at the time of the accident.

  • If the driver was not logged into the rideshare app, you receive no company coverage. The private insurance will apply in this situation.
  • If the driver was logged into the app but had not accepted a ride, the company will provide up to $50,000 in bodily injury liability, $100,000 in total injury liability, and $25,000 in property damage coverage.
  • If the driver had accepted a ride and was driving to pick the passenger up, or the passenger was in the vehicle, you can receive up to $1 million in liability coverage.

Who Is Liable if Someone Else Causes an Accident?

The person responsible for the accident must pay for the damages of the victims, and if someone else other than the rideshare driver caused the crash, you will file a claim with his or her private insurance. The company insurance would not apply.

If you were in an accident with an uninsured motorist while riding in an Uber or Lyft, the company’s insurance policy will include uninsured motorist coverage to help you cover your injuries.

Filing a Lawsuit in a Rideshare Accident Claim

If an insurance company denies your claim, you can escalate your claim to a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Since Uber and Lyft do not hold liability, you usually cannot file a lawsuit against these entities after the accident.

Regardless of lawsuit status, if you are in a rideshare accident, you need a Prescott car accident attorney on your side. Your lawyer can navigate these complex questions of liability and help you understand your best legal options. Contact your attorney as soon as possible after the accident to discuss your next steps.