Getting into an accident is a stressful experience for anyone. However, it can be incredibly overwhelming for rideshare drivers. As an Uber or Lyft driver, your vehicle is more than just a mode of transportation. It is your source of income. If involved in an Uber or Lyft accident, one of the first questions that may come to mind is whether you can still drive for the company.

Below, our Los Angeles car accident lawyers focus specifically on Lyft accidents. We discuss what to know about getting into a Lyft accident as a driver and how it may affect your driving status.

What Are Common Causes of Lyft Accidents?

Most car accidents are the result of driver negligence. Driver negligence can encompass a wide range of driving behavior, including, but not limited to:

  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Drunk driving
  • Violating traffic laws

Firefighters checking an overturned car

However, driver negligence is not always the cause of accidents. Other potential causes of accidents may include:

  • Poor road conditions
  • Adverse weather
  • Defective vehicle parts

What Steps Do I Take After an Accident as a Lyft Driver?

If you get into an accident while driving for Lyft, there are certain steps you should take before you leave the accident scene and immediately afterward. How you react can affect your health, accident claim, and your status as a rideshare driver.

Steps to Take Before Leaving the Accident Scene

Our Los Angeles rideshare accident lawyers recommend taking the following steps before leaving the accident scene:

  • Check for injuries and call 9-1-1 to report the accident. Check yourself and others for injuries. If anyone is hurt, call 9-1-1 to request immediate medical assistance. Even if everyone seems fine, you should call and report the accident to law enforcement. A police report can provide information about the parties involved in the accident, whether law enforcement issued citations, and accident liability.
  • Exchange insurance information with the other driver. Exchange name, contact, and insurance information with the other driver. We also recommend getting their driver’s license number and license plate number.
  • Document the scene. Take photos of the accident, including the vehicles involved, vehicle damage, visible injuries, and relevant road or weather conditions. You should also note the time and location of the accident.
  • Take screenshots of your rideshare app. Take screenshots of your rideshare app if the accident occurred while driving for Lyft. Your screenshots can help prove that you were driving for the rideshare company when the accident happened.
  • Ask for witness information. If there are witnesses to the accident, including Lyft passengers, request their names and contact information. Their statements may be invaluable to your potential accident claim or protect you from accident liability.

Steps to Take After Leaving the Accident Scene

After leaving the accident scene, we recommend taking the following steps as soon as possible:

  • Notify Lyft. Report the accident to Lyft through the app. If you receive any correspondence from Lyft, including an account deactivation notice, keep a record of it.
  • Seek medical attention. Even if you feel fine, you should seek a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Some injuries, like whiplash, may not be immediately apparent. Additionally, medical records are critical evidence if you need to seek compensation for medical bills.
  • Contact your insurer. Report the accident to the correct insurance company. You should contact your personal insurance company if you were offline in the Lyft app. Contact Lyft’s insurance if you were online in the app during the accident.
  • Consult a rideshare accident lawyer. If you suffered injuries or significant damages in the accident, consider seeking legal assistance. An attorney can help you understand the next steps to take to best protect your legal rights and potential accident claim and minimize your liability.

If you need legal assistance after an accident, do not wait to contact us. We can help you understand how to best protect yourself and your potential accident claim. Our experienced lawyers are available 24/7 to take your call.

Person holding a phone displaying the Lyft app

What Happens if I Get in an Accident While Driving for Lyft?

Lyft requires that its rideshare drivers report the accident through the Lyft app. Additionally, you must send pictures if you were given any citations during the accident. Lyft will then investigate the accident.

We understand that Lyft accidents happen to even the most careful Lyft drivers. Beyond Lyft’s investigation, you may have questions about what happens to your driver account, Lyft’s role in the accident, and what insurance applies. We answer some of these questions below:

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Will Lyft Deactivate My Driver Account After an Accident?

Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys understand you count on your rideshare status for income and financial stability. However, Lyft will likely deactivate your driver account soon after you report the accident.

This deactivation does not indicate that you are at fault for the accident or that the deactivation will be permanent. Rather, it is part of Lyft’s accident investigation procedure.

Lyft wants to ensure that it does not allow a reckless driver to continue driving for it, putting passengers at risk and opening it up to liability. Therefore, Lyft will keep your account deactivated while it investigates the accident.

Your rideshare driving status may be impacted until Lyft finishes investigating the accident. The outcome of Lyft’s investigation may significantly affect whether it will reactivate your account.

If Lyft finds you were not responsible for the accident, it may reactivate your account. However, if you were at fault for the accident and there was significant bodily injury or damage, it could permanently deactivate your account. It may also permanently deactivate your account if it finds serious violations of its terms of service. It is up to Lyft’s discretion.

Are Rideshare Companies Responsible for Rideshare Accidents?

In most cases, rideshare companies are not directly liable for accidents involving their drivers. A critical aspect to understand about Uber and Lyft is the classification of their drivers. Uber and Lyft drivers are not employees. They are independent contractors.

Independent contractors are considered self-employed. Because Uber and Lyft drivers are independent contractors, they do not receive the benefits or protections of traditional employees.

For example, generally, employers are responsible for accidents involving their employees. However, as independent contractors, the drivers are typically responsible for accidents. As a result, Uber and Lyft often avoid liability in accidents involving their drivers.

Even so, rideshare companies are responsible for ensuring their drivers are safe. They open themselves to potential lawsuits if they allow a reckless driver to drive for them. Therefore, you can assume that they take accidents involving their drivers seriously and thoroughly investigate them.

Additionally, California law requires these companies to provide a certain level of insurance coverage for drivers while they are logged into the app and engaged in rides. However, this coverage has specific conditions and limits.

Woman driving a car with her phone placed on the dashboard

What Insurance Policies May Apply to a Lyft Accident?

The insurance that covers your accident depends on your driver status at the time of the accident. Lyft provides its drivers with a tiered insurance policy that activates based on their driving status. In some cases, multiple insurance policies may apply:

App Off

If the Lyft rideshare app is off, your personal insurance is the primary coverage in the event of an accident.

As a Lyft driver, at the least, you must carry the minimum liability insurance policy limits required by your state. For example, California’s minimum insurance requirements include the following:

  • $15,000 for injury or death to one person
  • $30,000 for injury or death per accident
  • $5,000 for property damage per accident

However, it is important to understand that your insurance company will likely not cover your rideshare driving unless you also have rideshare insurance or commercial coverage.

App On, But Waiting for a Ride Request

Lyft provides limited third-party liability coverage if you are online in the app waiting for a ride request. In the event of an accident, this coverage will not cover your injuries or damage to your vehicle. However, if the accident is your fault, it will help cover bodily injury and property damages to the other driver and any other third parties.

Lyft’s insurance coverage during this period includes the following:

  • $50,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $100,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $30,000 per accident for property damage

Lyft drivers may also be able to file a claim with Lyft’s occupational accident insurance. According to Lyft, it is active when drivers are online waiting for a ride request and during rides. This coverage includes:

  • Up to $1 million in accident medical expenses
  • Temporary Total Disability payments equal to 66% of a driver’s average weekly earnings subject to policy limits
  • Accidental death benefits and burial expenses

Keep in mind that if the other driver is responsible for the accident, they may be liable for your losses.

Couple listening to a lawyer during a meeting

During a Ride

From the time you accept a ride request until you drop your passenger off, Lyft’s commercial insurance is the primary coverage. During this period, Lyft’s insurance is most comprehensive, including:

  • $1 million in third-party liability. If you are responsible for the accident, third-party liability covers bodily injury and property damages to others.
  • $1 million in uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage helps pay for any damages you or your passengers sustained in the accident. If the other driver is at fault and does not have insurance or has insufficient insurance, you can file a claim with Lyft’s insurance.
  • Occupational accident insurance. This coverage provides medical and disability benefits to injured drivers in covered accidents.
  • Contingent comprehensive and collision coverage. This coverage can cover damage to your car up to its actual cash value. However, it is contingent on whether you have comprehensive and collision coverage on your personal insurance. It also requires a $2,500 deductible.

Do I Have Grounds to Pursue a Personal Injury Claim?

If you suffered injuries and damages in an accident, you have the legal right to pursue compensatory damages. Generally, you would file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance.

If the other driver was responsible for the accident, they may be liable for your injuries and damages. If the accident occurred during an active Lyft ride, you may also be able to file a claim with Lyft’s insurance policy.

We recommend consulting with an experienced car accident lawyer after an accident. An attorney can help you understand your potential legal options based on your unique situation.

Could I Receive Any Compensation in an Uber or Lyft Accident Claim?

You may be able to recover compensation for damages you sustained in the accident. The compensation you may be able to recover depends on the unique circumstances of the Uber or Lyft accident. However, common damages in an accident generally include the following:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning potential
  • Property damages
  • Physical pain
  • Emotional suffering

Contact Our Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation

If you have suffered injuries in an Uber or Lyft accident, navigating the aftermath can be overwhelming. From dealing with injuries, multiple insurance companies, and uncertainty about your driver account, you do not have to face it alone. At the Law Offices of Steers & Associates, we represent individuals injured in rideshare accidents across the greater Los Angeles and Southern California areas. We may be able to offer you legal assistance, too.

We understand how complex these cases can be, especially when you are the rideshare driver. During a free consultation, we can discuss your situation and help you understand your potential legal options for moving forward. Call us at (800) 824-5416 or contact us online today.