If The Lyft Driver Caused An Accident And Injured Me, Can I Sue?
Millions of people use rideshare services every day to get from place to place. For the most part, this is a safe mode of transportation. After all, your driver has a vested interest in getting you safely to your destination. However, there are inherent risks when you get inside any moving vehicle.
Accidents involving rideshare vehicles are slightly more complicated than other types of car crashes. If you are injured in an accident caused by a Lyft driver, you may be able to sue for compensation. However, you must first determine who to file a claim against.
Who Is Responsible for an Accident Caused By a Lyft Driver?
During an accident investigation, police and insurance experts will review the evidence to determine who and what caused it to occur. This helps establish fault, which is who is most responsible for the accident. In some situations, an established fault will determine who pays for damages. However, that is not always the case.
Legal liability is not the same as actual responsibility for causing an accident. Regardless of who is found at fault for causing the accident, Michigan’s no-fault accident laws mean that your own insurance company is the first place you will turn to file a claim.
The following are some factors that may be used to determine fault after a vehicle accident.
What Caused the Accident?
Accidents happen for a number of reasons, and the events leading up to a crash may influence fault. For example, if another car cuts the driver off, causing him to swerve or slam on his brakes, it may move responsibility to the first driver.
Were Other Factors Involved?
Outside factors like road conditions, bad weather, or heavy traffic may also affect accident responsibility. It is important to note any of these that may have been present. They will also be in any police and insurance reports.
Was the Driver Negligent?
If the rideshare driver was engaging in negligent behavior, such as driving under the influence or texting while driving, it would usually shift more fault his way. In fact, you must prove driver negligence when suing a rideshare driver or company.
Do Lyft Drivers Have Minimum Insurance Requirements?
Michigan Public Acts 345, 346, 347, and 348 establish insurance requirements for transportation providers operating in the state. They specifically include rideshare companies. According to these acts, rideshare companies must extend the following coverages on drivers’ personal vehicles used for providing transportation services:
- Liability coverage of at least $1 million for times when they are actively transporting a passenger
- Liability coverage of at least $50,000 for periods between active transportation (i.e., when they are waiting for the next passenger)
The acts also cover registration as a rideshare driver with the state, background checks, identification requirements, and several other regulations designed to make using a rideshare service safer for passengers.
If a Lyft driver does not have appropriate coverage, or if Lyft’s insurance policy is insufficient to pay for your losses, you may be able to sue him for additional compensation. In addition, if driver carelessness or negligence caused the accident, you may also be able to sue the rideshare company for damages.
Proving driver negligence is not an easy task. Experienced accident attorneys like those at Mike Morse Law Firm will parse information from files and seek other evidence to help prove your case. That may include interviewing witnesses, reviewing surveillance footage from nearby cameras, and working with investigators to recreate the accident scene.
What Should I Do After a Rideshare Accident?
The steps to take after a car accident involving a rideshare driver are similar to any other car crash.
Follow State Legal Requirements
According to Michigan laws, you should first check for injuries and ensure a safe scene after a vehicle accident. In many cases, this means moving the vehicles from the travel lanes. You are also required to remain at the scene until police arrive to take a report. There are some exceptions. For example, if staying at the location is unsafe, you can travel to the nearest police station to file a report.
Be sure to exchange personal contact and insurance information with any other drivers. Taking pictures or videos of the scene may also be helpful if you decide to seek financial compensation later on.
Seek Medical Care
The next thing you should do is seek medical care. If you have sustained serious injuries, this may be taken care of for you by emergency responders. However, you should still visit an urgent care center or your primary care doctor, even if you appear only to have scrapes or bruises.
Visiting the doctor documents that you needed medical care in the hours immediately after the accident. This is critical because some accident injuries can take several days to manifest symptoms, and traumatic shock often masks signs of other injuries.
It is important to follow all of your doctor’s instructions. The days and weeks after your accident should be spent focusing on recovery. Hiring a personal injury attorney allows you time and flexibility to do that without postponing your case against the rideshare driver.
File an Insurance Claim
The first step in receiving compensation and paying for damages is to file an insurance claim. This process varies between states, but you will most likely file through your personal vehicle insurance policy in Michigan.
You should start compiling documentation immediately after the crash occurs. This includes accident photos, the police report, insurance claims, and any injuries-related medical records. These may be important if you decide to sue Lyft or your driver.
How Do I File a Lawsuit Against a Lyft Driver?
Filing a lawsuit against any driver involves several complex processes happening. It can get even more confusing when you add the confusion of dealing with a rideshare company and independent contractor drivers.
One detail, in particular, is what stage of a trip the driver was in at the time of the accident. This fact largely determines who you can sue when seeking compensation. For example, if the Lyft driver was actively transporting a passenger and was negligent in his driving, you may be able to sue both the driver and the rideshare company. However, if he was merely waiting for another ride opportunity to come through, you are limited to seeking compensation from him and his personal insurance company.
The key to seeking compensation for injuries and damages after a rideshare accident often hinges on showing that the driver failed to meet his duty of care to provide safe transportation services and that the failure directly contributed to the crash. This is a high bar to meet, which is another reason why it is a good idea to have experienced legal representation.
Experienced Legal Representation After a Car Accident
The personal injury attorneys at Mike Morse Law Firm are experienced at navigating the complex laws around rideshare car accidents. If you are considering suing Lyft or your rideshare driver after a crash, we will work on your behalf to obtain a favorable settlement. Contact our office at 855-MIKE-WINS to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Then, let our attorneys handle your case while you focus on recovering from the trauma of your auto accident.