- May 18, 2023
- Tucker Law
- Vehicle Accidents
A Lyft Accident Lawyer in New York Will Fight for You
Having A Lawyer in Your Corner Can Help Win Compensation
Ridesharing companies such as Lyft and Uber have grown in popularity, and so have the number of accidents involving ridesharing vehicles. Since most of the drivers work as independent contractors, figuring out who is liable after a crash, what insurance companies are involved, and whether you can sue Lyft can be confusing.
If you or a loved one has been injured or someone has died in a Lyft crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses through insurance or a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. After any accident, getting fair compensation can be difficult, as insurance companies are out for profit and will often attempt to deny claims or get you to accept a settlement for less than your case is worth. However, when ridesharing is involved, it is more complicated to determine what parties are responsible, and there may be multiple insurance companies involved. That’s why it can help to get legal assistance to determine whether you can sue Lyft or if there is another road to getting the best settlement possible.
Can You Sue Lyft for an Accident?
When you’ve been in a Lyft car accident, injuries can be severe. You may be dealing with tremendous trauma, pain, and suffering, and medical and household bills can mount up at a time you may be unable to work. Getting fair compensation can make the difference in rebuilding your life, and Lyft is a big company with deep pockets, so it’s natural to wonder if you can sue Lyft after an accident.
The answer is not always clear and this is a quickly evolving gray area. Lyft’s are independent contractors, so in most cases, Lyft may not have legal liability for injuries that result from a rideshare accident, regardless of who is at fault. Instead, the Lyft driver and their insurance may be responsible for covering the injuries and damages from the accident.
Whether Lyft as a company could be liable for your compensation depends on the kind of accident you were involved in and the status of the driver at the time. For example, Lyft drivers might use their personal car to run errands in the morning, and then switch on the Lyft app and pick up paying customers for a few hours, and then pick up their children from school on their way home. Lyft requires their drivers to carry personal car insurance and also offers commercial coverage when drivers are logged on to the apps, so if the Lyft driver was not logged on to the app at the time of the accident, Lyft is unlikely to be held responsible.
If you are a passenger in a ridesharing vehicle, the insurance protection would be affected by the following:
If The Rideshare Driver’s App Is Off
If the Lyft driver’s app was off at the time of the accident, the company’s insurance would not apply. You should file a claim against the driver’s personal insurance policy.
If The Rideshare Driver’s App Was On, But No Passengers
As of 2022, if you were injured by a rideshare driver who was waiting for a passenger or a ride request with the app on, Lyft will cover up to:
- $100,000 in bodily injury per accident (maximum $50,000 per person)
- $25,000 for property damage.
If the Rideshare Driver’s App Was On, With Passengers
If the Lyft driver was in the process of picking up a passenger or actively driving a passenger, Lyft’s insurance will pay for your injuries and other losses up to $1,000.000. This insurance would also come into play if you were a passenger in a Lyft car at the time of the crash.
Can I Sue Lyft for Injuries in a Car Accident in NYC?
According to the New York State law Section 5102, if your economic losses are over $50,000, or you suffered “serious injuries,” you can bring a lawsuit to sue all individuals or entities (the defendants in the case) that were negligent, at fault, or contributed to the accident. Therefore, anyone injured by the negligent operation of a vehicle by a rideshare driver, whether the injured person is a rider (passenger,) pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist, or the driver or passenger of another vehicle, has the right to bring a lawsuit against the careless, reckless and negligent at-fault rideshare driver, or Lyft under certain circumstances.
To win your lawsuit, your car accident attorneys will have to show that the Lyft driver and/or Lyft was negligent and caused the accident, and that you suffered damages as a result. This means proving legally that:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care not to cause harm
- The defendant breached that duty by actions or failing to act
- This breach caused your injuries
- The injuries resulted in actual damages.
In general, in order for Lyft to be legally responsible, there must be primary or “vicarious liability.” These terms mean that the company itself acted wrongfully and that their actions were then connected to the accident. Vicarious liability can be applied when a company can be held responsible for the actions of its employees.
Applying vicarious liability to companies like Lyft is not a good fit, because their drivers are considered independent contractors rather than employees. However, you might be able to file a lawsuit against Lyft if you think the company acted negligently. For example, you may have a case for negligent hiring, negligent training, or negligent retention of a driver if the driver who caused your accident had a history of drunk driving, and Lyft failed to run a background check or knew about this but hired the driver anyway. Lyft might also be held liable if the driver robbed or sexually assaulted you.
In New York, a driver for Lyft must have for-hire insurance of at least $100,000, and your monetary recovery will generally be limited to the driver’s insurance coverage. If your damages exceed these limits, it may also be possible to sue Lyft for the difference.
How Long Does It Take Lyft to Investigate An Accident?
The time it takes for Lyft to investigate and settle an accident claim varies based on the circumstances of the case. To investigate, Lyft will often obtain copies of the police report, medical records, hospital documents, and receipts. They may interview witnesses and send investigators to the crash scene and examine photos and traffic videos of the accident. Lyft also has a Trust and Safety Team who may reach out to you to get additional information after the accident.
Lyft wants to settle for as little as possible, and will often attempt to drag out the investigation and negotiation process in the hope you will settle for less. If negotiations fail, the case may have to go to trial. Therefore, it can take six months or even years for a Lyft accident case to be investigated and settled.
In general, the time it takes for Lyft to investigate and settle will be greater if the accident resulted in serious injuries and leads to a personal injury lawsuit. In a successful lawsuit, you may be able to receive an award that covers all your damages – the losses and expenses that resulted from the crash.
In New York, damage awards should cover both your economic, or monetary costs for your medical costs, lost work income, and property damages, and your noneconomic damages for losses and expenses that do not have a specific dollar value, such as physical and emotional pain and suffering.
If there are no serious injuries, the investigation and settlement process is likely to go more quickly.
Get Help from A NYC Lyft Accident Lawyer
Personal injury cases, especially those that involve a large company like Lyft, are complex. Insurance adjusters understand the difficult position you’re in, and they know that victims can be pressured to settle quickly. A skilled personal injury attorney at Tucker Lawyers PC who handles car accident cases can help make sure you get the compensation you deserve. In addition to dealing with insurance adjusters on your behalf, your personal injury attorney will thoroughly investigate your claim. This process may include:
- Taking statements from witnesses who observed the accident
- Obtaining the driving record of the at-fault driver
- Reviewing the police report details of your accident
- Visiting the accident site to take more photos and look for more evidence
- Examining your medical records related to your accident and treatment
- Working with expert witnesses who can support your case.
Although most personal injury cases involving Lyft drivers settle agreeably, our personal injury attorney can represent you in court if successful negotiations are not possible.
We offer a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your case and determine the best way to handle it. Our brooklyn car accident attorneys work on a contingency basis, so that we only get paid if we win your case.
Managing Attorney John. J. Tucker, Esq.
John has personally handled thousands of clients who were victims of another’s negligence and fights relentlessly for their rights. John enjoys bringing closure to a client’s matter so that the injured party can move forward with their life. His background enables him to evaluate complex liability related claims and bring resolution to claims in a record time frame. [ Attorney Bio ]