Using Lyft doesn’t exempt you from an accident. Lift drivers can get in accidents, too, leaving you injured, out of work, and more stressed than if you’d had the accident on your own.
Contact an experienced Lyft accident lawyer as soon as possible. Legal professionals advise you not to speak with insurance adjusters until you consult a lawyer.
You may be able to file a car accident claim and receive compensation for your losses and damages.
If you were a passenger in a Lyft involved in a collision or struck by a Lyft vehicle, a skilled car accident lawyer in Petersburg can get compensated for your injuries.
I Was Hurt in a Lyft Accident – Now What?
The accident probably already injured you, and you are searching for legal support now. Ideally, law enforcement arrived quickly, collected evidence, and filled in the incident report. You’ve reported the incident to Lyft customer service.
Retaining all related documentation is the next most important task if doctors treated you for an injury. Contact an attorney now to get a head start on your case before you lose evidence.
Do not speak to insurance adjusters or anyone else about the accident.
A few other things can help you later.
- Screenshot: Snap a screenshot of your rideshare trip to prove that you were a passenger in the vehicle during the accident.
- Gather evidence: Taking photographs and videos at the accident site. The more evidence you can document, the stronger you make your case.
- Seek post-accident medical attention: Even if you go to the emergency room, have a complete medical examination soon after. See a doctor right after the accident for your well-being and protect your right to financial compensation. Neglecting medical attention could damage your legal rights.
- Consult a rideshare accident attorney: Consult a rideshare accident lawyer to decide the best course of action in your case.
What Causes Lyft Accidents?
Many factors can increase the risk of a Lyft driver having an accident.
Rideshare drivers can experience distractions from various sources, including the Lyft app, GPS navigation for unfamiliar routes, or other diversions when transporting passengers. Some drivers juggle tasks like searching for their next trip while passengers are still in the car.
Lyft drivers often drive in places with many people walking and biking, like busy city centers, airports, bars, restaurants, and college areas. When they’re distracted, they might not see someone on the road, which can lead to nasty accidents.
Stopping in dangerous areas
Reckless rideshare drivers often pull over in bicycle lanes and shoulders, where they are a dangerous nuisance to pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers. If they don’t use hazard lights or signals, it’s even more difficult.
Driving sleepy is nothing new for most Lyft drivers, who are supplementing their income after their full-time jobs. People working full-time for rideshare services might feel even more exhausted as they try to make extra money.
Lyft has a rule that drivers can work for 14 hours before taking a six-hour break, but they can’t control what their drivers do when not using the app. Drivers can get around the time limit by switching to Uber and vice versa.
Rideshare drivers might be on the road during unconventional hours to make the most money and secure higher fares. The most lucrative times typically include morning and evening rush hours, Friday and Saturday evenings, and periods following special events like plays, fireworks, and concerts. Even if you’re driving during the day, a Lyft driver on the road with you could have been working until 3 a.m. the previous night.
The safety standards for privately owned ridesharing vehicles are typically less stringent in Virginia than for taxi cabs, which have added safety features and require regular inspections and maintenance.
Virginia requires Lyft vehicles to pass a state safety inspection within the previous 12 months. In Arlington County, for example, taxis are subject to an annual physical assessment conducted by the Arlington County Police in addition to state inspections. Rideshare companies are not subject to such local regulations.
Drivers must have a valid license and appropriate insurance to drive for Lyft. Only a few states require drivers to have one year of experience behind the wheel. Virginia is not one of those states.
Inexperience is a big factor in car accidents. People who haven’t driven long tend to panic faster and make rash decisions.
How is Lyft Different From a Taxi Service?
In Virginia, the law calls companies like Lyft “Transportation Network Companies.” Any service allowing people to give rides has to follow the rules in the Code of Virginia, including having the correct insurance.
Who Do I Sue if a Virginia Lyft Accident Injures Me?
If you are injured in a rideshare accident, you may sue one or more parties that caused your injuries. If the Lyft driver caused the accident, you might file a claim against their insurance, including the one provided by the company.
Depending on the circumstances, you may pursue a claim for damages against another driver, passenger, or any party that contributed to the accident, such as an auto parts manufacturer.
Which insurance is liable in a Lyft accident?
Rideshare companies must carry liability insurance for their drivers. Lyft provides $1 million policies. It only applies in certain situations.
Not using the app
Lyft’s insurance policy would only apply if the driver who caused an accident was using the app and accepting passengers. Otherwise, the driver’s insurance would pay for damages.
Online and accepting riders
If the driver was using the app but did not have a passenger, Lyft provides third-party liability insurance for $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident in bodily injury, and $25,000 in property damage per accident.
Lyft carries third-party liability coverage for $1 million for drivers who cause an accident while they have passengers in their vehicle or are en route to pick up passengers.
Rideshare companies can claim their drivers are independent contractors to avoid liability, and insurance companies will not pay large sums without a fight. A skilled lawyer ensures insurance companies fulfill their duties and get you the compensation you deserve.
Virginia Rideshare Law
The Virginia Rideshare Law, enacted in 2015, protects passengers who use Lyft, and other ridesharing services.
The law defines a Transportation Network Company (TNC) as a person or company that provides prearranged rides using a digital platform that connects passengers with TNC partners.
It requires TNCs to provide accountability and the ability to report a dangerous TNC driver. It also requires TNCs to publish information about their TNC partner screening criteria, training and testing policies for TNC partners, and standards for TNC partner vehicles.
The Virginia Rideshare Law requires all ride services to go through the licensed corporate platform. A TNC partner can’t transport passengers unless a transportation network company has matched them through the digital platform.
Transportation Network Company (TNC) partners cannot offer services in any other way. They cannot seek, accept, or organize rides except through the digital platform.
If you were injured in an accident with a Lyft driver, you may recover compensation under Virginia law. Contact our office to learn more about your options.
Types of Damages Available in Ride-Sharing Accidents
Victims of a Lyft accident in Virginia may recover damages to compensate for their losses, including:
Medical expenses: You may recover compensation for the medical expenses, including emergency treatment, hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, and other medical costs.
Lost wages: If your injuries stop you from working, you may recover compensation for past and future lost wages.
Pain and suffering: Compensation may be available for the physical and emotional suffering from the accident, including mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-economic damages.
Property damage: If the accident damaged your car or private property, you may recover compensation for the cost of repairs or replacement.
Punitive damages: You may recover punitive damages for a Lyft driver’s particularly unacceptable conduct. These damages punish the at-fault party for their conduct and deter similar behavior.
Damages for your case depend on the facts and circumstances of the accident. Ensure you receive the full compensation you deserve by consulting a personal injury attorney in Virginia who can navigate the legal system and fight for your rights.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help My Case?
Hire a lawyer after an accident with a Lyft driver.
- Legal advice: A lawyer can educate you about your rights and what you should know about relevant laws.
- Investigation: Lawyers gather evidence, including witness statements, photos, and police reports, to establish liability. They know what it takes to win a case in Virginia.
- Insurance claims: They assist in filing claims with Lyft’s insurance. Lawyers recognize the sneaky ways insurance companies work and know how to beat them at their own game.
- Determining liability: They investigate and determine responsibility based on evidence.
- Compensation: A lawyer can help you seek compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost income, pain and suffering, and other expenses.
- Communication: Insurance-speak can sound like a foreign language. Lawyers understand insurance terms and will conduct all interactions with insurance companies and other parties.
- Legal process: Most claims settle, but in the rare case they go to trial, a lawyer can represent you in a lawsuit.
- Mediation and settlement: Lawyers use their skills and experience to negotiate a fair settlement.
- Statute of limitations: They file your case within the legal timeframe.
- Peace of mind: Having a lawyer guarantees that your legal matters are in professional hands, taking a load off your shoulders.
The legal system is full of twists and turns that a layperson could never predict. Insurance companies make the legal process confusing and they use it to their advantage.
Hiring an attorney with experience fighting insurance companies representing big businesses, such as Lyft, is the only way to get the settlement you deserve and get your life back on track.
The Emroch and Kilduff Firm has recovered hundreds of millions for their clients. We’re available 24/7 via the website. Feel free to stop by our Richmond headquarters or give us a call at (804) 358-1568 to discuss your options.