Uber and Lyft have become some of the most popular ways to people to get around Kansas City and other areas of Missouri. However, because Uber and Lyft drivers are often independent contractors, and function more like private drivers, the laws regarding liability in an Uber or Lyft accident are not so clear.
Unlike taxis, which have insurance requirements and are licensed and regulated through the state or municipality, Lyft and Uber have different insurance coverage regulations that typically function alongside with the driver’s own personal insurance. Furthermore, there have been several issues throughout Missouri (and the nation) regarding insurance and compensation in Uber and Lyft accidents.
If you were hurt in an accident involving Uber or Lyft, it’s essential to get the experts on your side. At Popham Law, our Kansas City car or truck accident attorneys can help you sort the details of your case while providing comprehensive, thorough legal representation. For a free consultation, call our firm today. In the meantime, you can learn more about liability in Uber or Lyft accidents below.
What happens when you are injured in an Uber or Lyft accident?
Uber or Lyft don’t “hire” drivers in the traditional sense; they connect passengers and drivers via independent contractors. As such, a company is liable for the actions of its employees, but since Lyft and Uber drivers aren’t technically employees, these companies aren’t liable for third-party contractors.
Nonetheless, both Uber and Lyft carry $1 million insurance coverage, and in most cases, coverage depends on the driver’s activity at the time of the crash. Following are three potential situations in a Uber or Lyft car accident:
- Situation #1: The Uber or Lyft driver is not available to pick up passengers. In this case, injuries are covered by the driver’s own insurance policy.
- Situation #2: The Uber or Lyft driver is available to pick up passengers, but doesn’t have a passenger at the time of the accident. In this case, the accident and injuries are covered by the driver’s own insurance policy. Uber and Lyft do have contingent liability available to a certain extent.
- Situation #3: If the driver does have a passenger, then Uber’s or Lyft’s insurance can cover injuries and/or property damage. However, getting coverage from Uber or Lyft has proved to be excessively difficult.
Liability in Uber or Lyft cases
Uber and Lyft drivers are required to hold the Missouri minimum insurance coverage, and to ensure better safety for Uber and Lyft passengers, drivers must undergo background checks before they can start driving. As such, when accidents and injuries occur, courts have tried holding Uber and Lyft responsible as they are accountable for passenger safety.
Unfortunately, because drivers are third-party contractors, Uber and Lyft fight claims as much as possible and try to dodge liability.
Like any accident, there may be other drivers involved, and in some cases, the other drivers are negligent or reckless and cause the rideshare driver to crash. If the accident or injury was caused by negligent roadway design or condition, the liability may also fall on the municipality or the state.
Average settlement in an Uber or Lyft accident case
Uber and Lyft accident settlements are, for the most part, not disclosed to protect the privacy of the injured parties. Nonetheless, there are several factors that may influence the extent of a settlement, including:
- The strength of evidence showing fault and/or liability
- The driver’s accident history
- The driver’s actions at the time of the accident (speeding, intoxication, etc)
- The driver’s personal insurance coverage
- Whether appropriate vehicle maintenance or background checks were completed
- Whether the victim played a role that caused the accident
Contact the Popham Law Firm in Kansas City Today
Uber and Lyft car accident cases can be highly complex and difficult, especially when the victim is trying to hold these ridesharing companies liable for negligent action. For these reasons, it’s critical to acquire the legal representation of highly experienced and knowledgeable Kansas City auto accident attorneys.
To speak with the personal injury lawyers at Popham Law, call our Kansas City law office as soon as possible at (816) 221-2288.