Lyft Accident Lawyer: What Should You Do if You Were in an Accident?

Lyft Accident Lawyer: What Should You Do if You Were in an Accident?

Steven Schwartzapfel -Founding Partner Mar 29, 2022

For more than 35 years, Steven Schwartzapfel, the founding member of Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C., has been one of New York’s most prominent personal injury attorneys. Steve represents clients in all types of personal injury cases. His experience, skill, and dedication have enabled Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. to recover hundreds of millions of dollars for their clients.

When you’re involved in an accident with your personal vehicle, your next steps are straightforward: get the insurance information of any other involved drivers, contact your lawyer, and move on. But what if you’re involved in an accident with a Lyft vehicle, either as a passenger or another driver?

Things can quickly become more complicated. Let’s break down what you should do if you’re involved in a Lyft accident.

Why Do Lyft Accidents Happen?

Lyft accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, many of which are shared with standard auto accidents. Some of the most common causes of New York Lyft accidents include but are not limited to:

  • Distracted driving (either on the part of a Lyft driver or another driver)
  • Driving under the influence
  • Environmental hazards (e.g. incomplete roadwork, inaccurate roadwork signs, inclement weather, etc.)

Additionally, some Lyft or rideshare accidents occur because of passenger distractions. For example, if you share a Lyft with a passenger and that passenger distracts the driver, thereby causing an accident, that passenger may be liable for compensation awarded to any others involved.

Do You Have a Claim After a Lyft/Uber/Rideshare Accident?

Sometimes. In New York, auto accidents fall under no-fault insurance laws. This means that after an auto accident, no one is immediately identified as “at fault” for the accident, even if one person apparently caused the incident.

That said, there are times when you may have a claim after an accident involving either Lyft, Uber, or a different rideshare service. Possible situations include:

  • If you are severely injured because of a Lyft accident, you may be liable for compensation from the at-fault party.
  • If your property is severely damaged beyond what’s covered by your insurance policy, you may also be liable for compensation.
  • If your car insurance doesn’t cover all damages, you may be eligible to recover additional damages through a lawsuit in certain cases.

Lyft accident lawsuits are far from easy, however, and are often complicated due to liability being shared between multiple parties.

That’s why you should contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-800-966-4999 to get the compensation you deserve.

Determining Liability for a Lyft Accident

Because of the potential involvement of multiple parties in any Lyft accident, liability may be split between multiple persons or organizations. In the event of a Lyft accident, the following parties may be held liable:

  • You or other passengers in a Lyft vehicle
  • The Lyft driver involved in the accident
  • Lyft, Inc. (the company)
  • Other driver(s) on the road

The factors that led up to the accident will also impact the court’s assessment of liability. For example, if a Lyft driver is found responsible for an accident that resulted in injury to his or her passenger(s), the driver and/or Lyft may be held liable for damages.

Alternatively, if you are injured in a Lyft ride because of the actions of another driver, that third-party driver may ultimately be held liable for the accident and resulting injuries.

What To Do After a Lyft Accident

Regardless of liability, you should follow certain steps after a Lyft accident.

Seek Medical Attention and Get to Safety

First, seek out the medical attention you require. Lawsuits and legal liability can wait until you and any other involved parties are medically stabilized and no longer in danger of further injuries.

Even if you don’t immediately appear to be injured, you should still get checked by a medical professional. Some injuries do not become apparent until later on, and having a medical record from the accident might help you in the future if you do decide to pursue legal action.

After determining whether anyone is injured, make sure that you move out of the way of oncoming traffic to prevent further injuries.

Next, contact the emergency authorities if you can safely do so. You should also call 911 at this point to ensure that the incident is documented.

Document the Scene

While at the scene of the accident, make sure to document as much as you can. This can include taking photos of the accident itself, any injuries you may have incurred, as well as the other driver’s name and insurance information. You should also take down information offered by witnesses and any first responders on the scene.

Contact Legal Assistance

Lastly, consider contacting rideshare accident attorneys. Lyft accident attorneys can provide invaluable legal assistance and offer unbiased, useful counsel. They may advise you about:

  • Whether it’s worthwhile to sue one party or another
  • How quickly you should sue
  • What kind of compensation you may recover for the accident

Call Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-800-966-4999 to see what a rideshare accident lawyer can do for you.

When Might You Receive Damages From a Lyft Accident?

If a Lyft accident lawsuit is successful, you may receive damages to compensate you for your medical bills, damaged property, and more. However, the source of those damages can vary depending on the specifics of your accident.

Lyft Pays for Driver-Caused Accidents

In many cases, Lyft will pay for the accidents caused by its drivers. However, it doesn’t always cover the actions of its drivers. Remember, all Lyft drivers are independent contractors, so they are still required to carry their own personal car insurance.

Instead, Lyft typically pays for driver-caused accident damages:

  • When a driver is logged into the Lyft app
  • When a driver is in the middle of a rideshare service

Note that the circumstances of the accident will determine how much Lyft will be willing to pay to cover medical bills and other expenses.

You Sue the Lyft Driver Personally

Alternatively, you might receive damages from a Lyft driver personally (especially if the accident occurred while the Lyft drive was not “on the clock” or logged into the Lyft app). In some cases, you may be able to successfully sue both Lyft and the driver in order to maximize your compensation recovery.

How Does Insurance Come Into Play?

As touched on above, the circumstances of a Lyft accident can impact which insurance policy is on the hook for specific damages. Lyft drivers are classified as independent contractors in New York, meaning: auto accident victims cannot always hold Lyft, the company, personally responsible for the injuries caused by their drivers.

That said, Lyft maintains a robust insurance policy that protects its own drivers and any injured third parties under certain circumstances. Because of this, insurance will determine whether you get money from Lyft, the driver of the Lyft vehicle, or the driver’s insurance.

For example:

  • If a Lyft driver is off-duty (i.e. not logged into the Lyft app at the time of the accident), any injuries they cause will not be covered by Lyft insurance. Therefore, accident victims will instead have to see compensation from the Lyft driver or an insurance provider. Note: All Lyft drivers are required to purchase car insurance under New York no-fault insurance laws. The driver’s insurer will pay up to their policy maximum if this occurs.
  • If the Lyft driver is logged into the app and waiting for a new ride request, you’ll receive damages from Lyft’s limited insurance policy. This covers up to $50,000 per person for bodily injury or death and $100,000 per accident. It also covers up to $25,000 per accident. This is classified as secondary coverage.
  • If a Lyft driver is logged into the Lyft app and has accepted a ride request (either for you or another person), then Lyft’s $1 million insurance policy kicks in. This coverage is kept from the moment a driver takes a new ride request until the passenger is dropped off. If your Lyft driver gets into an accident with you already in the vehicle, you’ll be covered by this $1 million insurance policy.

As you can see, compensation for a rideshare accident through Lyft can come from several sources. This is just one more reason why contacting rideshare lawyers in New York is a wise decision when dealing with rideshare-related auto accidents.

How To Know When To Contact Lawyers

Regardless of the circumstances of your accident, it is almost always a good idea to contact a well-qualified rideshare accident attorney. Why? Because rideshare accident attorneys can:

  • Help you strategize your lawsuit steps
  • Inform you as to whether it’s worthwhile to sue Lyft, a Lyft driver, or a third-party entirely
  • Help you gather the evidence you need to solidify a successful rideshare accident case
  • Ensure that you file lawsuit paperwork on time
  • Present a persuasive case to the judge or jury

In short, an expert rideshare accident attorney can maximize the compensation you receive for your injuries, thereby allowing you to more easily pay for medical bills, rehabilitation costs, loss of income (if you had to take time off work to recover), and more.

Summary

As time goes on and more people use rideshare services, Lyft and Uber-related accidents will only become more common. This is why it is important to know your rights and options so that you can be prepared if you or a loved one is ever involved in an accident with Lyft, Uber, or any other rideshare service. Here, Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. can help.

Not only will we help you gather the evidence needed to secure maximum payout for your case, but we will also stand by you throughout the lawsuit process. So, please, don’t wait. Act now by contacting us today at 1-800-966-4999 for your free consultation.

Sources:

Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. | Fighting For You

More Risk, Less Coverage: How Rideshare Insurance Rules Shortchange NYC Crash Victims | Streetsblog New York City

Industry FAQS – Property Insurers: Transportation Network Company (Ride Sharing) FAQs | Department of Financial Services

Distracted Driving | Motor Vehicle Safety | CDC Injury Center

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