What Happens If A Lyft Driver Has A Car Crash While Not Using The Rideshare Car?

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When someone contracts with Lyft to work as a driver, they register the vehicle or vehicles they intend to use with the company. In the event of a crash while driving a car not registered, Lyft will not cover any damages, even if the driver was logged into the app at the time of the collision. Instead, the driver would rely on their private insurance. Several situational factors can affect cases like this. It is likely in your best interest to speak with a car accident attorney to ensure you have all the necessary information.

How Does No-Fault Insurance Impact the Outcome?

Michigan is a no-fault auto insurance state, meaning all registered vehicles and licensed drivers must carry personal injury protection insurance. In the event of a car crash, both parties will file individual claims with their own providers to cover any medical expenses or lost wages associated with the accident and their injuries. This eliminates the question of liability, making it easier to access compensation. Lyft requires all their drivers to provide proof of state-mandated insurance minimums during the onboarding process, and this insurance is active any time the driver is on the road, even when they are not active on the app.

However, Michigan does allow drivers to overstep the no-fault system and file a claim against the at-fault party under specific circumstances:

  • The accident occurred outside of the state.
  • The injuries sustained caused severe impairment, permanent disfigurement, or death.
  • The at-fault driver was a non-resident with insurance outside of Michigan.
  • The other driver is at least 50% at-fault, and your own insurance will not cover the vehicle damage of $1,000 or less.

If you suffered an injury in a car accident with a Lyft driver and your circumstances meet at least one of the above requirements, you can bypass the no-fault insurance requirement and file a claim against the at-fault party.

When Is Lyft Liable for Damages?

Lyft is only liable for damages from a car accident if the driver is at-fault and was at least minimally active on the app when the accident occurred. Lyft clearly defines the coverage available in stages of app engagement. For example, when the app is inactive, the Lyft driver’s private insurance would cover any damages. Lyft’s insurance takes effect when the driver logs into the app and waits for someone to make a ride request. During that time, drivers operating a car registered with Lyft have bodily injury coverage of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident. They also have $25,000 per accident for property damage.

When the driver is fully engaged with the app, meaning they are en route to pick up a passenger or have a passenger in transit, Lyft’s coverage increases. Then they provide $1 million in coverage for third-party liability and first-party coverage mandated by the state, including PIP insurance. In addition, if the driver has private comprehensive and collision coverage, Lyft will maintain contingent coverage equaling as much as the vehicle’s cash value with a $2,500 deductible. However, what is important to note is that Lyft’s insurance provider would likely deny any claims made by anyone involved in the accident if the Lyft driver operated a vehicle not registered with the company while using the app.

What Should You Do After a Car Accident?

Immediately after an auto accident occurs, there are steps you can take to protect your right to recover damages and prove liability. Unfortunately, if you suffer severe injuries, there may be little more you can do than to await the arrival of emergency medical services. However, if you are physically able, consider these steps:

  • Report the accident. If the party responsible is a Lyft driver active on the app at the time, report the crash to Lyft. If you are a Lyft driver using the app, you should also report the accident. Anyone involved in the collision should contact the police immediately, regardless of Lyft’s involvement. Officers will investigate the scene and report all their findings in a police report.
  • Seek a complete medical evaluation for an emergency care doctor. Not all accidents require ambulance services. However, you should still see a doctor in the emergency department or at an urgent care facility immediately following the accident. The waits can be frustrating. However, ER doctors are more familiar with auto accident injuries and understand what to include in the medical report.
  • Document everything. At the scene of the crash, you can take photos of the damage to both vehicles and record the area to show how the collision occurred. In the aftermath, keep a journal documenting your recovery, including how your injuries affect your mental state.
  • Gather contact information. Get the other driver’s phone number, insurance, and driver’s license info. If any eyewitnesses are present, get their contacts as well.
  • Avoid talking about the accident. Limit your conversation with the other driver to collecting information and avoid social media until your case concludes. 

Finally, talk to a car accident attorney as soon as possible. Putting as little time as possible between the accident date, when you see a doctor, and when you file your claim only strengthens your claim. In Michigan, you have three years to file a lawsuit, but the insurance company’s deadline for filing a claim could be even more restrictive. Additionally, the longer you wait, the more opportunity you provide the insurance company to poke holes in your claim. For example, if you wait weeks to see a doctor, the insurer will likely claim you sustained your injuries elsewhere. An attorney can help you avoid these mistakes and protect your right to fair compensation.

When Should You Contact an Auto Accident Lawyer?

Auto accident cases can quickly become complex. If you suffer an injury resulting from a negligent driver, you have a substantial amount to lose if you do not adequately value your claim. In the face of potentially crippling financial hardship and painful physical and emotional injuries, you need someone who understands the nuances of tort law and could help you combat aggressive insurance companies. An auto accident attorney performs all the tasks necessary to build your case and help you recover compensation. Some advantages of legal representation include the following:

  • They talk to the insurance company, so you do not have to argue during your recovery.
  • They investigate the accident to look for evidence of negligence, sometimes using experts to strengthen your case.
  • They identify recoverable damages to ensure your settlement or award more accurately reflects your losses.
  • They use their seasoned negotiation skills and the evidence collected to argue for a fast and fair settlement.
  • They prepare your case for trial in the unlikely event that the insurer will not settle.
  • They provide a compassionate understanding of your situation while fighting aggressively to protect your rights.

At Mike Morse Law Firm, our team of over 40 Michigan auto accident attorneys is here to help accident victims get the compensation they need to rebuild their lives. We understand how frustrating these cases can be, especially when you feel like your attorney is too busy for you. That is why we keep our caseloads low and give our clients the diligent representation they deserve. Contact Mike Morse Law Firm at (855) 446-6265 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced auto accident lawyer today.

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