Uber or Lyft Driver At-Fault in a Car Accident? Here is What You Need to Know.

Uber or Lyft driver looking at GPS appUber and Lyft have become staples of modern society. As the number of people riding in Ubers and Lyfts increases, the number of accidents involving ride share drivers increases as well. It is important for people to know their rights and to speak to an experienced car accident lawyer if they are involved in an accident involving ride share drivers or are injured while riding as a passenger.

No PIP for Ridesharing Passengers

If you own a vehicle registered in the state of Florida, you are entitled to Personal Injury Protection (PIP)/No-Fault benefits through your own auto insurance policy, even if you were not in your own vehicle at the time of the collision. If you don’t have your own PIP coverage, you may qualify for PIP benefits through a family member’s insurance policy as long as you live in the same household. These PIP benefits will be used to pay for 80% of your initial medical care as you seek treatment, but they are limited to $10,000. Good news, they are not your only option after a car crash.

Ridesharing companies, Uber and Lyft, do not carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage for their occupants or people who are injured by their drivers, so if you do not have PIP through another insurance policy, you will be responsible for 100% of your medical bills while you seek treatment.

Uber and Lyft Insurance Coverage Varies Within the App

Bodily Injury (BI) coverage protects people who are responsible for causing injuries to others by compensating those injured people up to the agreed upon limit of insurance. It also provides a legal defense team in the event of a lawsuit.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) coverage protects people injured by someone else who does not have any (or does not have enough) Bodily Injury coverage to compensate them for the harm caused.

Whether you are a passenger, cyclist, pedestrian, or victim in another vehicle, this does not mean you are out of luck. Uber and Lyft each carry Bodily Injury coverage but this coverage is generally only in effect while the driver is engaged in a ride (on his or her way to pick up a fare, or delivering that fare to their destination).

What if the Driver is Off Duty?

If the application is off, meaning there are no fares currently in the vehicle and the driver is not searching for a new fare, the driver’s personal insurance policy is likely in effect. Florida law only requires drivers of personal automobiles to carry $10,000 in PIP and $10,000 in property damage coverage. That means there may not necessarily be any bodily injury coverage at all.

Guy hailing for his Uber or Lyft rideExample of a Car Crash Caused By an Uber Driver

Abe is an Uber driver. He has a passenger named Ben. Abe runs a red light and crashes into a vehicle driven by Cary. Abe is solely responsible for the collision. Abe, Ben, and Cary are all injured in the collision despite having been wearing seatbelts.

  • Abe (Uber driver)
    • Abe is likely not entitled to PIP because he was engaged in a ride. He may also not be entitled to PIP benefits through his own personal insurance because he was driving for employment purposes.
    • He is ineligible to receive BI coverage because he was solely at fault in causing the collision. The bodily injury coverage exists to compensate people he has harmed, not him.
    • He is not entitled to UM coverage because he is solely responsible for causing the collision.
       
  • Ben (passenger)
    • Ben is entitled to PIP through his own auto insurance policy, or that of a resident relative if he does not have a vehicle registered in the state of Florida.
    • He is eligible to receive compensation from Uber’s BI coverage because the Uber driver, Abe, was responsible for causing his injuries. He may also be entitled to any commercial BI coverage purchased by Abe. He is not entitled to receive money from anyone else’s BI coverage because no one else was at fault.
    • If Ben is not fully compensated for his injuries by the BI coverage, he is entitled to receive UM benefits from his own auto insurance policy.
       
  • Cary (other driver)
    • Cary is entitled to her own PIP, whether it is through her own auto insurance policy, or if she does not own a vehicle, through the policy which insures the vehicle she was driving.
    • She is entitled to receive compensation from Uber’s BI coverage because the Uber driver, Abe, was responsible for causing her injuries. She may also be entitled to any excess commercial BI coverage, if purchased by Abe. She is not entitled to receive money from anyone else’s BI coverage, nor her own, because no one else was at fault.
    • If she is not fully compensated by the available bodily injury liability coverage, Cary is entitled to UM through her own auto insurance policy, or that of a family member who lives in her household.

The law regarding Uber and Lyft collisions is dense and nuanced. If you were involved in a collision with a rideshare driver, or injured as a passenger, it may be in your best interest to contact an attorney to discuss your rights. 

Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

If you've been hurt in Florida car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.