If you were in a crash involving a rideshare vehicle, you could potentially receive compensation through a lawsuit. However, suing Lyft after an injury accident is not your only option. Lyft offers some insurance coverage for accidents involving its drivers.
In cases where Lyft avoids responsibility a possibility given the company’s size and protection from liability you can still potentially sue the driver. A car accident lawyer can explain the options available to you.
You Can Sue Lyft After an Injury Accident
You can typically pursue a lawsuit if someone’s carelessness caused your injury. Lyft and its drivers are no exception. A lawsuit depends on connecting the driver’s careless actions to your injuries through evidence.
Although that is how it works in theory, in practice, proving liability can get complicated, especially when large companies are involved. To file a lawsuit against Lyft, the first step is to identify how the driver acted negligently.
What Constitutes a Lyft Driver’s Negligence?
If a Lyft driver hit you, your legal team can investigate if these actions played a role:
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving, such as driving while intoxicated
- Improper lane changes
- Failure to yield
- Aggressive driving
Distracted driving is a particular problem with rideshares. Some Lyft drivers operate the app or monitor the GPS, taking their eyes off the road. Even looking for passengers or scouting drop-off locations count as distracted driving since those behaviors take attention away from traffic.
Any of these behaviors could provide the foundation for a lawsuit. Like other drivers, when a Lyft operator gets behind the wheel, they must prevent crashes to the best of their ability. When exploring the possibility of filing a lawsuit against Lyft, these acts of negligence work as your starting point.
How Lyft Can Act Negligently
uses special legal language to protect itself from liability. Drivers are not employees, but independent contractors, and the rideshare is not a transportation service, but a system for matching drivers with riders. With wording like this, Lyft can distance itself from drivers’ actions and financial fallout.
However, this doesn’t mean that Lyft is never liable, so you should at least consider holding the company liable. For instance, if insurance coverage doesn’t cover your accident-related losses, you can potentially pursue a lawsuit.
Suing Lyft is also possible if you believe it was negligent in hiring a dangerous driver. For instance, if the driver had a history of driving while impaired or caused accidents in the past, you can allege Lyft was negligent in its hiring or training. A lawyer can dig into the driver’s past with Lyft to compile evidence.
Your Insurance Coverage Options Depend on the Rideshare Driver’s Status
You could resolve your case through an insurance claim with the liable party. This is actually one way Lyft can avoid lawsuits. By extending insurance coverage to its drivers, it can settle some cases through a claim rather than a suit.
Nonetheless, your injuries and costs are only covered if the driver used the app in certain circumstances. Lyft insurance depends on whether:
The Rideshare Driver Had the App Off
Unfortunately, in this situation, Lyft offers no insurance coverage. Furthermore, you may have difficulty suing Lyft after an injury accident in this case. After all, the driver wasn’t using Lyft at the time, so they were not acting in connection with the company.
If this happened to you, the automobile accident is like any other collision you and the driver would proceed with a private insurance claim independent of Lyft.
The App Was On, or the Driver Was Waiting for a Ride Request
Perhaps you were hit by a Lyft driver who was waiting for a request. Maybe they just logged on when they collided with you. Although they weren’t transporting someone, they still worked in connection with Lyft.
So, the company offers:
- $50,000 bodily injury protection per person
- $100,000 bodily injury protection per accident
- $25,000 property damage protection per accident
This is sometimes still not enough to cover all injuries. For instance, Healthcare.gov estimates a three-day hospitalization at $30,000 alone. That’s just a few days of care, never mind the cost of physical therapy, prescriptions, and lost earnings.
If you suffered injuries in this kind of crash, you can pursue an insurance claim with Lyft, but still consider suing the rideshare company if your costs were high. Don’t agree to a settlement unless it fully accounts for your losses.
The App Was on, and the Driver Has a Ride Request
This scenario is the most straightforward. If a driver was en route to pick up a passenger or was in the process of driving them to their destination, Lyft offers $1 million in third-party auto liability protection for accidents.
Just because it offers this coverage doesn’t mean you will actually receive it. For high-value cases like this, expect a fight from both Lyft and its insurers. It may still try to shift responsibility onto the driver so it can escape liability.
Suing Lyft Could Yield These Damages
An appropriate settlement from the liable party may offer coverage for:
- Past medical expenses like emergency care, hospital stays, and surgeries
- Future medical costs like physical therapy, medications, or long-term care
- Past lost income while you recovered from your injuries
- Future lost earnings due to reduced earning capacity or disability
- Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and change the quality of life
- Anything out of pocket you spent due to the collision
- Wrongful death-related expenses, including funeral costs
Knowing your case’s worth is an important aspect of a lawsuit against Lyft or another party. Armed with knowledge, you can protect yourself against insufficient settlement offers, underestimation of your injuries, and a lack of compensation for your future.
Recoverable Damages Can Differ by State
Some states cap damages or restrict them only to certain cases. For instance, in some states, you can only pursue a personal injury lawsuit against another party if you suffered serious injuries. Furthermore, each state has different criteria for what constitutes a serious injury.
You can check with a local personal injury lawyer to determine if your state has caps or other restrictions on damages. Never assume your injuries don’t qualify for legal action; you have options.
Options Other Than Suing Lyft After an Injury Accident
If you find you don’t have the grounds to pursue a lawsuit against Lyft, or if Lyft finds a way to avoid providing compensation, you may have other financial recovery options.
These other paths are not always obvious right after a crash. For that reason, attorneys and their staff conduct investigations after Lyft accidents. Their investigation may determine who should pay for your losses.
You may even find you can recover compensation from more than one party. In fact, for more severe crashes with extensive expenses, pursuing more than one party for their part can help mitigate your losses.
You Could Pursue the Rideshare Driver for Damages
Lyft may very well pin liability on the driver. If so, you can handle the collision like any other roadway accident. Depending on the state, you either file with your own insurance or the other driver’s.
One potential hiccup you may encounter is the driver’s insurance company. Some insurance companies don’t extend coverage when a car’s used for rideshare purposes. Yet, many insurers now offer rideshare endorsements, which provide coverage when drivers operate as Lyft operators. Still, if the driver doesn’t have this endorsement and the accident is considered part of operating as a rideshare vehicle, the insurer might not cover them at all.
Lack of insurance coverage is one reason to file a lawsuit. Insufficient coverage is another. You can then potentially recover compensation out of the driver’s own pocket. A personal injury lawsuit is also an option when you and an insurer can’t agree on a settlement, its terms, or who is responsible for paying your expenses.
You Could Seek Damages From Another Driver (a Non-Rideshare Motorist)
Even if a Lyft hit you, an entirely different driver may have caused the crash. For instance, if a driver rear-ended the Lyft, causing it to hit you, you can potentially hold that first driver responsible for the role they played.
Another scenario is if the Lyft driver hit you while trying to avoid an accident involving another car. If the other driver acted negligently texting while driving, drunk, or going the wrong way, for example you can sometimes hold them accountable. However, these are called “phantom driver accidents” for a reason. That’s because the at-fault party doesn’t stick around after the collision happens.
Nonetheless, don’t give up on pursuing another driver. You can put a car accident lawyer on the case. They can then run down leads, analyze evidence, and determine how to hold the correct parties accountable.
Pursuing a Third Party
It’s possible that another party’s role caused your accident even if they weren’t actually at the collision scene.
You could pursue a third-party insurance claim or lawsuit for issues like:
- Equipment failures
- Tire blowouts
- Defective auto parts
- Installation errors
- Mistakes by mechanics
- Poor road maintenance
These types of accidents can point to designers, manufacturers, auto shops, and even local governments as liable parties. A Lyft that ran into you because of faulty brakes can make the mechanic who made a mistake responsible not Lyft or its driver.
How Lawyers Approach Lyft Injury Accidents
You may have second thoughts about retaining legal help, especially if you worry about their lawyer’s fees. It may help to know that many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency-fee-basis. Here, you pay nothing upfront for their help. They take a portion of your settlement as payment for their time, efforts, and resources.
Whether you intend to hold Lyft or another party financially liable, a rideshare accident attorney can:
- Establish Lyft’s level of liability in your accident
- Identify any other possible liable parties
- Negotiate with Lyft’s or the driver’s insurer
- Adhere to your state’s statute of limitations
- File a lawsuit against Lyft and/or the other parties involved
- Collect evidence of negligence by Lyft, the driver, or others
- Determine if any settlement offers are accurate
- Represent you in court
Put simply, an experienced rideshare lawyer can handle going up against a company like Lyft, as well as distinguish if other aspects at play in your case point to other opportunities for compensation.
A large rideshare company like Lyft has its own lawyers ready to defend any attempts at litigation. You can hire your own legal team to fight back.
Check on the Deadline for Your Lyft Lawsuit
As previously suggested, each state has a different statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. The deadline that applies to your case will therefore differ depending on the state it occurred. Who you are suing can also affect your deadline suing a municipal government for inadequate road maintenance, for instance, is often a shorter deadline than suing a company, like Lyft.
Moreover, the timeline of your case can affect if you can sue at all. If you are outside the statute of limitations, you may find it harder to recover compensation. If you wonder whether you can sue Lyft, you should also wonder how long you have. Your lawyer can assist in this area.
Take Advantage of Resources for Your Lyft Accident Injury Case
Ultimately, if you suffered injuries in a rideshare accident and have questions, you can talk to attorneys about a lawsuit or other avenues for recovering damages. Most rideshare accident lawyers will talk to you for free, so you can ask about the timeframe of your case, whether you can sue Lyft after suffering an accident injury, and what experience the firm has with rideshare accident cases. Don’t let taking on a big company intimidate you. Instead, secure your case with a personal injury attorney in Atlanta today.