What if I Get Into an Accident Riding Uber or Lyft?

Ride-sharing has become more and more popular since its inception. Perhaps the most well-known ride-share companies are Uber and Lyft. These companies pair private vehicle owners with riders who want to be driven somewhere. Once an Uber or Lyft driver logs into and activates the ride-sharing app on a mobile device, the platform finds a nearby rider who needs a ride. The platform then provides the pick and drop off location to the driver so that the rider can be picked up. The driver has the option of whether or not to accept the ride. If the rider chooses to ride alone, the driver takes the rider straight to the drop off location. If the rider chooses to share the ride, the driver picks up more riders along the way to the original rider’s drop off location.

Independent Contractors

These ride-sharing companies are often referred to as transportation network companies (TNC). Uber and Lyft drivers are considered independent contractors, not company employees. For this reasons, these drivers must maintain minimum insurance coverage on their personal vehicles. This insurance covers the driver for accidents when he or she is using the car. Once drivers turn on the TNC app and activate driver mode, they become active contract workers for Uber or Lyft because they are seeking a rider to be assigned to them. Before a driver is waiting for a rider to be assigned, they are still covered under their personal auto insurance. If the driver did not disclose that he or she is doing contract work for a TNC, the insurance company may not cover accidents that happen while the driver is performing ride-sharing work.

Seeking Damages in Nevada

If you get into a Nevada accident with an Uber or Lyft driver while he or she is waiting to be assigned a ride, you will likely be able to seek monetary compensation for harm suffered from the driver’s personal car insurance. You may also be able to sue the driver personally. Once the TNC app is activated in driver mode -- whether or not Uber or Lyft has sent a ride request to the driver -- the personal car insurance may refuse to pay the claim. This is because it may reason the driver was engaged in commercial activity, not personal use, with the vehicle. If the driver failed to disclose his or her contract work with a TNC, the insurance company may even go so far as to cancel the policy.

On the other hand, if the driver already received a ride request from Uber or Lyft or has riders in the vehicle and gets into an accident, the vehicle is covered with a $1 million policy by the TNC in addition to the driver’s personal auto insurance coverage. This larger policy covers any damage above and beyond the driver’s personal car insurance policy’s limits. Should the driver’s personal insurance company refuse to cover the accident at all, the TNC policy may cover the whole claim.

Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have been hurt in a Nevada car accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, know that you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Parry & Pfau can help fight for your rights under the law. Contact us today to schedule an initial case evaluation.    

(image courtesy of Redouane el Hamidi)