The rise in popularity of rideshare services like Lyft has brought up complicated liability questions in cases where a rideshare driver causes a car accident. The injured party is typically entitled to seek compensation from the at-fault party for their damages, such as medical expenses, lost income, and emotional distress, but who pays for these damages can vary significantly based on the circumstances of the Lyft accident.
The degree to which Lyft is liable for damages in a car accident involving one of its drivers is highly dependent upon what capacity the driver was acting in. This can be difficult to prove and is best handled by an experienced rideshare accident attorney. At Cellino Law, our team has the proven track record and thorough understanding of New York rideshare laws needed to maximize compensation.
If you were injured in a Lyft rideshare accident, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your financial and emotional losses in a personal injury lawsuit. Contact our team at (800) 555-5555 or use our online form to schedule a free case evaluation for more information about the personal injury claims process and an honest review of the merits of your claim.
Defining Rideshare Services and Drivers Under the Law
Rideshare companies like Lyft are legally designated as TNCs, or Transportation Network Companies. Essentially, this means they are recognized as technology companies that serve as intermediaries between drivers and passengers. This is an important distinction when it comes to determining liability after a car accident involving a Lyft driver.
Lyft drivers are not employees of Lyft. Under the law, they are considered independent contractors (ICs). That gives rideshare companies like Lyft less responsibility for the actions of their drivers. As a result, someone who is injured in a New York Lyft accident would need to ascertain whether or not the driver was actively engaged in their role as an IC in order to be able to recover compensation.
Understanding New York Insurance Requirements for Rideshare Services
The state of New York stipulates certain insurance requirements for TNCs and their drivers. Drivers must maintain their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, as well as UM coverage. Additionally, the rideshare driver, usually in combination with the TNC, must have insurance that covers the driver when they are logged in to the app to accept rides or in the process of completing a ride.
For a driver who is actively accepting rides, at minimum, the insurance needs to include:
- Up to $75,000 per person in bodily injury insurance
- $150,000 per accident in bodily injury insurance
- $25,000 per accident in property damage
In case a Lyft driver is involved in a car accident, the combined insurance must also cover:
- $1.25 million for bodily injury or death of any person and damage to or destruction of property
- $1.25 million of supplemental uninsured/underinsured (“SUM”) insurance
These requirements are all in addition to a $50,000 no-fault or Personal Injury Protection policy.
What Compensation Can an Injured Driver Recover in a Lyft Accident
If a driver operating their personal vehicle is seriously injured in an accident caused by a Lyft driver, they still need to exhaust their $50,000 no-fault Personal Injury Protection insurance first, which is mandated for New York drivers.
Then the injured party may then have the option to file a claim against the insurance coverage provided by the TNC and Lyft driver. To put it simply, the more engaged a Lyft driver is in providing a ride, the more access an injured plaintiff has to the insurance coverage provided by the TNC and the TNC driver.
When the Lyft Driver is Not Logged On to the App
Effectively, the Lyft driver is operating their personal vehicle for private purposes, so the fact that they are an Independent Contractor for a TNC isn’t relevant. This scenario would be handled the same way that a typical car accident would, which is to say that the other driver would use their PIP insurance and then file a claim against the Lyft driver’s personal insurance if necessary.
When the Lyft Driver is Logged into the App and Accepting Rides
In this situation, Lyft accepts a greater responsibility as compared to a circumstance where the Lyft driver is not actively logged in or accepting rides because the Lyft driver is now functioning as an IC.
If the Lyft driver caused a car accident while accepting passengers, the other driver could make a personal injury claim for the $75,000 for bodily injury per person for themselves and any injured passengers, the $150,000 available for the accident, as well as the $25,000 for property damage to their car.
When the Lyft Driver is In Route to a Passenger or Has a Passenger in Their Car
This is where Lyft offers the highest level of coverage to people who have been injured as a result of the actions of a Lyft driver. If it is determined that a Lyft driver is at fault for an accident when they were on their way to pick up a passenger or had a passenger in their car at the time of the crash, the other injured driver can make a claim for the $1.25 million dollars available for bodily injury, death, or property damage.
The SUM insurance protects a Lyft driver who is involved in an auto accident caused by another driver with inadequate or nonexistent insurance.
Third-Party Liability in a New York Lyft Car Accident
Although more unusual, it is possible that a third party, such as a negligent manufacturer, is at least partially responsible for the plaintiff’s damages in a Lyft accident claim. For example, say a Lyft driver rear-ended another vehicle because their brake booster was unexpectedly malfunctioning, meaning that the force they applied to the brake pedal was inadequate to avoid a collision.
In this example, the Lyft driver who rear-ended the other driver may still be considered partially liable if they knew that the part was defective and failed to have it replaced, but they would still likely share that liability with the manufacturer who produced the faulty part that resulted in the Lyft accident.
Another example where a third party may be held liable in a Lyft rideshare accident is a situation where a poorly constructed road or intersection created the conditions for an otherwise avoidable accident. Third-party liability would also exist if the road had been allowed to fall into disrepair. In that case, the state or local agency tasked with road maintenance could be exposed to a personal injury claim from the injured party.
Choose Cellino Law to Negotiate Your Lyft Accident Lawsuit
With over 60 years of service to our credit, it can safely be said that the Cellino family is committed to protecting the rights of injured New Yorkers. Our team has recovered billions of dollars in compensation for our injured clients by leveraging our expertise and resources to hold negligent parties accountable for our client’s damages.
While we are certainly proud of our results, they are not the only criteria by which we measure our success as car accident attorneys. Our priority has always been client satisfaction, and we have intentionally cultivated a culture of trust and respect with our clients. Cellino Law clients know that they can expect outstanding legal service from one of New York’s leading personal injury law firms.
Contact Cellino Law About Your New York Lyft Accident Lawsuit Today
In the field of personal injury law, it is well known that rideshare accident lawsuits can be complicated due to the variability in insurance coverage that depends on the Lyft driver’s role at the time of the crash. Trying to represent yourself in a Lyft accident claim is setting yourself up to walk away with a smaller settlement than an experienced rideshare accident lawyer would have negotiated for you.
At Cellino Law, we will adeptly navigate the personal injury claims process with you. You can expect to be kept up to date about case developments, have your questions answered in a timely manner, and receive the attention you deserve regardless of how large or small your case is. Our Lyft accident attorneys set high standards for themselves and work tirelessly to achieve them.
Contact our team of personal injury lawyers at (800) 555-5555 or use our online form to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our Lyft rideshare accident attorneys. We will guide you through the personal injury claims process and engage in a dedicated pursuit of maximum compensation on your behalf.
Content checked by the personal injury attorney Ross Cellino. As a family man and a trial attorney, I pride myself on winning cases and serving the community. With over 35 years of experience, I understand the function of a jury, how juries arrive at conclusions, and the role that the jury plays in administering justice. I know how to win cases. You can find us in Manhattan, Buffalo, Melville, Rochester, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and other locations throughout New York.
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