Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are popular and convenient ways for people to get around. These services hire contractors who drive their personal vehicles to transport paying passengers. This raises some legal issues if a contracted driver gets into an accident while the app is in use.
The Commonwealth has addressed these issues with a law requiring rideshare services to carry insurance to supplement the contracted driver’s insurance. However, sorting out insurance details for an Uber or Lyft car accident in Charlottesville is much more complex than a typical vehicle collision.
If you were in an accident while using a rideshare service, reach out to an experienced legal professional right away. With a lawyer on your side, you may have a better chance of receiving the compensation you need.
The Code of Virginia § 46.2-2099.48 et seq established some basic principles for app-based rideshare services, or transportation network companies (TNCs), operating in the Commonwealth. This law requires TNCs to contract with drivers and their specific personal vehicles. Substitute drivers and substitute vehicles are not permitted.
Each driver must have insurance on his or her personal vehicle, but when it is being used for Uber or Lyft purposes, the rideshare company’s insurance is primary. The insurance policy must provide a minimum of $1,000,000 in liability coverage for death, injury, and property damage. Coverage begins when a driver accepts a ride request on the app and remains in effect until the ride is complete or the passenger exits the vehicle, whichever is later.
Rideshare companies must also provide uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage when a passenger is in the vehicle. This insurance should also cover at least $1,000,000 for death, injury, or property damage if the at-fault driver has no insurance or the coverage is insufficient to cover the injured parties’ losses. A lawyer familiar with these regulations could help you build a strong legal claim after a ridesharing accident.
When an accident occurs while an Uber or Lyft driver is transporting a passenger, it is clear that the rideshare company’s insurance policy will cover the injured parties’ damages up to the policy limits. However, if a driver has not yet accepted an assignment, liability can get more complicated.
Both Lyft and Uber have internal policies that govern how much coverage a driver will have in a given circumstance. If a driver is logged onto the app but has not accepted a ride request, the company will cover injuries caused by a negligent third-party driver. This coverage is limited to $50,000 per person, $100,000 total injury liability, and $25,000 in property damage.
To avoid providing coverage, large rideshare companies might try to assert that their driver was not logged into the app when a crash occurred. This would limit the rideshare company’s obligation to pay damages for your injuries. An experienced car accident lawyer could promptly subpoena Uber or Lyft’s records to establish precisely when the driver logged on.
A statute of limitations sets the time an injured party has to file a lawsuit. Once that time has passed, the accident victim can no longer bring a civil suit. Additionally, missing the filing deadline will leave the plaintiff with no leverage against the insurance company in settlement negotiations.
The Virginia statute of limitations gives car accident victims two years to file a lawsuit for personal injuries. The clock begins running on the date of the accident. It would be wise to secure a lawyer’s services as soon as possible after the Uber or Lyft accident.
Car accidents involving rideshare companies often involve multiple insurance companies. The insurers of the Uber or Lyft driver, the rideshare company, and the other drivers involved are all likely trying to minimize their liability.
For someone unfamiliar with the legal system, this can be overwhelming. An experienced advocate could hold the responsible parties accountable and help you get the compensation you are entitled to receive. Call us today to speak with a lawyer about Uber and Lyft accidents in Charlottesville.