What Happens if Your Lyft Gets in an Accident?

What Happens if Your Lyft Gets in an Accident?

If you’re a fan of Lyft, you are not alone!  People across 600 different cities in America now enjoy using Lyft to get rides. Lyft has become increasingly popular, and we’ve seen a boom in the company’s growth. Many people who use Lyft love how easy and convenient it is to get a ride, and the price is more affordable than a taxi. However, even with all of these benefits, occasional accidents do happen.

What happens if your Lyft gets in an accident? If your Lyft gets into an accident, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Get medical treatment for all injured parties.
  • Snap pictures and get some videos of the accident and any injuries.
  • Get contact and insurance information.
  • Talk to witnesses and obtain statements.
  • Take a screenshot.
  • File a report with Lyft
  • File a police report
  • Follow the statute of limitations.

While the popularity of Lyft and other rideshare companies is now part of our culture, rideshare has only been around for roughly ten years. Back when everyone took taxis, many passengers were left wondering who was at fault when their taxi was involved in an accident. However, with Lyft, the system is even more complicated. Since there isn’t a lot of information on the Internet today covering this, we’ve provided you with a detailed overview below.

Injured in a Lyft Accident?

If you wind up in a Lyft accident, you’ll need to follow the steps we are going to outline for you below so you can ensure your safety. You’ll need to gather evidence during the accident so you can file proof of negligence if you need to.

However, you’ll also want to take some time to understand how your Lyft’s insurance coverage works. Depending on the type of insurance coverage your Lyft driver has, you may or may not be well protected as a passenger. We’ll cover that information in more detail later in the article.

#1 Get Medical Treatment for All Injured Parties

After an accident, your health, and the health of the other people around you become the primary focus. Car accidents can result in terrible injuries and damages. You’ll need to seek treatment by calling paramedics or going to the emergency room if you are injured. You will also need to make sure treatment is obtained for any other injured parties.

Unfortunately, people often forgo medical treatment and do not get their injuries adequately evaluated and documented. It’s never a good idea to skip this process.  After an accident, the adrenaline you experience can hide injuries and keep you from feeling any pain. However, once your body returns to normal, you may begin to feel an injury you didn’t realize existed.  For this reason, it’s best to have yourself checked out if you think there is even a remote chance you are injured.  A doctor is trained to screen for injuries from an auto accident and might detect something you fail to notice.    

Also, if you don’t wind up seeking medical treatment fast enough following the accident, you might create problems for yourself later if you wind up needing to pursue legal action. Most insurance companies won’t help you much if you tell them you got into an accident and waited weeks to get medical assistance.

Unfortunately, if you delay treatment and documentation of an injury, the insurance company may deny your claim.  They can make the case that the injury happened after the accident, so the sooner you get medical treatment, the better.

#2: Snap Pictures and Videos

If you are a Lyft passenger when an accident happens, you’ll need to make sure you document the event.  The best documentation is by taking pictures and videos of your injuries and damages to the vehicles involved.  You’ll be able to use these pictures and videos as evidence when you make your insurance claim. This photo evidence makes it harder for an insurance adjuster or other parties to deny your claim.

Document the following if your Lyft driver gets in an accident:

  • Injuries including bruises, cuts, and broken bones
  • Damage to both vehicles involved in the accident
  • Damage to any property both inside and outside the car
  • The overall scene where the accident took place
  • Any objects or landscape that could have blocked someone’s view
  • Defects in the road that may have contributed to the accident

All of this information will help police and insurance companies recreate the scene, determine liability, and give proof of damages and injuries. It may be helpful to record videos to show equipment malfunctions or angles of the damage that pictures can’t easily demonstrate.

If you are badly hurt, you won’t have time to take pictures.  Instead, the documentation will originate at the hospital, so just focus on getting proper medical attention.

#3 Get Contact and Insurance Information

If you are a passenger in a Lyft that is involved in an accident, then you’ll need to get all of the contact information from the parties involved, just as you would if you experienced a typical car accident. That means getting the name, insurance provider, and phone numbers for everybody involved. By getting this information, you’ll be able to contact the correct agent when you file your claim.

Depending on the situation involved with the accident, Lyft’s insurance may cover some aspects of the accident. It’s essential that you also get that information, especially when there is an accident that is created by one of their drivers and not external circumstances. 

#4 If There are Witnesses, Get Statements

Typically, when an accident happens, there are people nearby who see what happened.  If possible, try to get statements and contact information from these people.  If there were other passengers with you, obtain reports from them as well.

Not all of your witnesses will be able to hang around and wait until the police come. If that happens, you’ll need to get the witnesses’ name, phone number, email, and address. If they are willing to write a statement for you before they leave, grab it, but make sure you have their contact information. Then, you can provide the police with that contact information when they show up.

Also, you’ll want to report the witness’s information to the insurance companies involved.  That way, you’ll have the evidence you need to file a claim and get compensation for any injuries you received during the accident.

#5 Snap a Screenshot

When you take a Lyft ride as a passenger, or even as a driver, you should get a screenshot of your ride confirmation. You should also save your receipt, the driver and passenger information, and any other relevant information.

That way, you can provide the information to prove you were in the car when the accident happened, and that you did pay for that particular ride. If you aren’t a paying customer, a lawsuit might be more difficult.

#6 Report the Incident with Lyft

If you order a ride with Lyft, you’ll notice that you can report an accident either by using your Lyft app or on their website. You can report an accident through the app using the “Safety Center” area. That way, you’ll be able to get all the necessary information to Lyft, so they become aware of the accident. It’s essential to report to Lyft because that way, you’ll have an improved chance of being heard when you file an insurance claim.

Also, Lyft allows you to report accidents online. If you need to report a Lyft accident online, please go here. You can report an accident at any time of day or night.

We cannot stress enough how important this step of the process is. You really must report the incident as soon as you can through either the Lyft app or on their website. That’s because it’s much more difficult for a company to deny an insurance claim if you have gathered all the necessary evidence, you gave the information to Lyft along with an incident report, and you have a receipt for the trip.

#7 Call the Police and Get a Police Report

If you are riding in a Lyft when an accident happens and you are injured, a police report is required.  Make sure the police are called.  Have them talk to witnesses, document what happened, and conduct their investigation. The police can also gain access to surveillance cameras that have recorded the accident.

You can also request a copy of the final police report.  You can be quite useful as additional evidence when filing your insurance claim.

#8 Remember the Statute of Limitations

If you wind up getting injured as a passenger in a Lyft accident, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party.  If you have difficulty getting compensation for your damages, you have a limited time to make your case in a court of law.

Most states only provide you with a two-year timeline from the time you received the injury to file a case against the liable party. If you delay too long, you won’t be able to take any action, which means you won’t get any compensation. Many people aren’t aware of or don’t pay attention to the statute of limitations and miss their opportunity for financial assistance.

Can You Sue Lyft for an Accident?

This question has no easy answer because right now, there is much legal debate about whether rideshare drivers are employees or independent contractors. So far, different states and a variety of courts have come to several decisions about the employment status of rideshare workers, and they are not all in agreement.

Lyft asserts that rideshare drivers are independent contractors. If this is correct, Lyft isn’t liable for injuries or damages that happen to their passengers when there is an accident. If some of the courts are right and rideshare drivers are employees of Lyft, then Lyft would most certainly be liable.

Is There A Way to Know if Lyft Driver’s Insurance Covers Passengers in an Accident?

The answer to that question depends on the insurance that your Lyft driver has. If you want to know more about what type of insurance your Lyft driver has, you can always ask. When it comes to figuring out who is liable for a Lyft accident, we also see some confusion when we look into the subject of insurance.

With Lyft, a driver’s auto insurance will not fully cover the cars they use for commercial activity. So, the driver’s insurance does not help the passengers if there is an accident. Lyft argues that since their drivers are independent contractors, they are responsible for their accidents due to their negligence. Unless the driver has commercial insurance, their insurance likely will not cover the accident either. This employment status issue means you’d be suing the Lyft driver personally, which may not be fruitful.

How Does Insurance Work for My Lyft Driver?

Insurance companies base the amount they charge on each driver’s risk. Someone who works as a commercial driver daily has an increased risk of having an accident.   The simple reason is they spend many more hours on the road compared to someone who drives only for personal necessity. When accidents happen with commercial drivers, there is a higher chance of a claim involving more people because they have passengers with them.

Because there is the potential for higher payouts, some insurance companies cancel a driver’s insurance if they learn the person is driving for Lyft.

When Lyft first began, the main attraction for drivers was the opportunity to earn extra income while working part-time. However, many drivers found out commercial insurance rates are priced much higher than personal insurance rates.

However, some things have changed in favor of these rideshare drivers. Today, some insurance companies have specific policies to help cover part of the rideshare risks for them.  The primary issue with the insurance coverage is Lyft drivers are private contractors who only get paid when they are en route to pick up a passenger and during the trip.  They also use their cars for their personal needs.  This scenario means a sort of “Gap” insurance is required to cover the period between when they drive for personal use and when they are “on duty” for Lyft.  Some insurance companies do offer this coverage in the form of endorsements.

Your Lyft Driver’s Endorsements

When a driver opts to add any kind of endorsement to an insurance policy they already own, their insurance rates will usually increase. For many drivers, those additional premiums are well worth it to protect themselves against potential loss an accident would create for them. Any Lyft driver has to consider the potential liability from an injured passenger or the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident.  

If an individual passenger or another driver that collides with the rideshare vehicle only has liability insurance, they lack the coverage to get assistance with their vehicle damage or medical help.

So, most Lyft drivers opt for rideshare endorsements when it comes to their insurance premiums. They have to pay extra for this, but they get additional protection if they wind up in an accident. When your Lyft driver has a rideshare endorsement added to their insurance, and they are at fault, an injured passenger will get some compensation, depending on the endorsement.

If you want to know whether or not your Lyft driver has a rideshare endorsement on his or her insurance all you need to do is ask. Typically, you can call and ask Lyft, or just simply ask the driver face-to-face. Lyft is aware of the types of insurance each of its drivers has. So, if you feel safer riding with a Lyft driver who has a rideshare endorsement, simply let the company know about your preferences. 

How Might Lyft’s Insurance Stages Affect My Lyft Driver and My Coverage?

Earlier, we used the word “phases,” also known as “stages” of the drive, and how that can affect the insurance coverage you’d have if you were a passenger involved in a Lyft accident. Lyft insurance policies cover three stages, or phases, of every trip. 

  • The first stage is when the driver or employee is not working or utilizing the app. During this phase, the personal auto insurance company would have to take care of any accidents.
  • The second stage, or phase, of a drive, starts when a driver logs into the app and is attempting to confirm a ride and start working. While this is happening, the driver has coverage for up to $50,000 liability in bodily injuries, $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 for any property damages that occur. 
  • Once the driver accepts a ride, he or she enters the third stage, or phase, of the drive. Now the policy offers one million dollars for liability. Beyond that, there is also million-dollar insurance for any underinsured or uninsured motorists causing the accidents. This option helps protect Lyft drivers that experience hit-and-run accidents, or when the other driver is at-fault or simply can’t pay the damages.

Beyond that, the extra coverage covers the passengers inside of the Lyft vehicle, and the insurance covers them until they are dropped at their destination. Once the passengers are dropped off, the policy then reverts to stage or phase two described above.

If you are the passenger in a Lyft and an accident happens, the phase or “stage” of the accident becomes essential if your driver has a rideshare endorsement. Depending on the stage of the accident, you will receive different levels of compensation for potential damages. 

How Does Lyft’s Liability Coverage Work for My Driver and Me?

In reality, ridesharing companies like Lyft are still relatively new, and they are experiencing growing pains. With that in mind, we’ve seen some revisions in the way things happen as time has progressed. Lyft eventually figured out that the use of rideshare endorsements for drivers didn’t always work out for them if there was an accident. To help its drivers, the company now offers its insurance protection. 

With Lyft, a driver can now purchase third-party liability coverage and get coverage of up to one million dollars for any personal injuries or property damages that happen during an auto accident. The coverage offered by Lyft’s insurance will depend on the phase of service the driver was in when the accident occurred, and Lyft’s insurance will not help out an at-fault driver really at any stage.

Filing a Claim as a Lyft Passenger

Since Lyft now makes it a rule that all drivers working for them must have personal insurance, any accident claims need to be handled by the driver’s insurance initially. In the world of ride-sharing, the driver’s private insurance will be the first method of coverage. However, if the driver’s insurance company winds up turning down the claim or the driver doesn’t get enough compensation to help with all damages, then the request falls to Lyft’s insurance to handle the rest. 

That’s where Lyft’s $1 million uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can come in handy and fill-in-the-gaps for any driver. With this insurance policy, the driver may be covered for up to one million dollars per accident. However, that only happens when the other driver is unknown, doesn’t have any auto insurance, or they don’t have enough insurance to cover the damages. Any time you are a passenger in a Lyft vehicle, both liability and UIM coverage applies

When the Lyft Driver Is Not At-Fault

In individual at-fault states, California for instance, the driver that created the incident winds up being liable for any damages. Some states are comparative negligence states (interestingly, California is also a relative negligence state); two or more individuals could potentially both incur some liability for the accident. So, when a Lyft driver winds up experiencing an accident, he or she may or may not be liable. Or, the driver may wind up sharing an amount of the liability with the other driver or drivers also involved in a crash.

Are Accidents Common When Using Lyft?

The jury is out on this one. According to the CATO Institute, the use of ridesharing apps has no negative effects on traffic safety. In fact, there may be some positive ones. They state, “The ease of use, quick response time, and point-to-point transportation convenience promotes safety.”

Additionally, ridesharing apps are estimated to decrease the number of DUIs, so you’re less likely to be in an accident with a drunk driver in areas where rideshare drivers are popularly used.

However, according to Forbes, research conducted by professors at Rice University and the University of Chicago Business School, found that ridesharing apps increase fatal accidents 2-4%. A Lyft spokesperson claims that this study is deeply flawed and that many other studies show that the opposite is true.

At this point in time, it is hard to say whether you’re more at risk when using Lyft or just phoning a friend for a ride.

Of course, if your driver is not following traffic safety laws or is clearly inebriated or exhausted, stop the ride and get a different driver because these things could lead to a traffic accident.

Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve discussed what happens if your Lyft gets into an accident, you should be able to apply these steps to ensure you get compensated if an accident does happen.

Remember, if you are concerned about a driver having proper insurance coverage just ask them. Lyft wants its loyal customers to feel safe at all points of their driving experiences and will work with you to make you feel comfortable. 

Since the different “stages” of a rideshare endorsement affect your coverage as a passenger, it’s a good idea to ask the driver should an accident occur. By understanding the appropriate steps to take, you can save yourself a lot of headaches and stress later when seeking appropriate compensation for accident-related injuries. Be safe out there!

Dan Ferrantelli

I'm Dan Ferrantelli. I discovered rideshare through my wife and daughter who used the service a full year before I decided to try it. Now I am a part-time Uber & Lyft driver and love sharing my experiences with others. I'm also an entrepreneur who has developed several businesses and I have a passion to write! I hope you enjoy the articles I post. Kind feedback is always welcome.

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