Aside from taxi companies, most people agree that the advent of affordable car services like Uber and Lyft has been a positive phenomenon: it is cost-effective, appears to reduce drunk driving, and provides people with widespread instant access to more convenient alternatives to traditional taxicabs. Gone are the days of calling a taxi and sitting around waiting and wondering if they will show up within the hour—if they show up at all. From a personal injury perspective, the increase in the number of people hired to drive passengers around town raises new questions in the context of car crashes. Here are some key points to consider when you are injured in a crash involving an Uber or Lyft, or even a traditional taxi.

Uber and Lyft maintain their own insurance, which protects both drivers and passengers.

Georgia law requires all vehicle owners to maintain a minimum of $25,000 in insurance coverage to compensate someone injured in a crash caused by the negligence of someone driving the vehicle, as long as the driver had permission to drive the vehicle. Both Uber and Lyft carry far more than $25,000 in both liability insurance (which pays for injuries when the driver of the Uber/Lyft causes the crash) as well as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, known as “U/M” coverage (which pays for injuries when another driver causes a crash and that driver does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for the full extent of the injuries caused to the Uber/Lyft driver or passenger).

Consider these scenarios:

Scenario 1: You are driving for Uber/Lyft, and another driver hits you and causes a crash.

Q: Are you covered by Uber/Lyft’s insurance?

A: Yes—if your injuries are serious enough. You are covered under Uber/Lyft’s uninsured motorist coverage, but you must first collect the full amount of insurance from the automobile policy covering the driver who hit you.

If you are injured in a crash while driving for Uber/Lyft and the crash was the other driver’s fault, you would have access to that driver’s insurance (remember, a minimum of $25,000). You would also have access to Uber/Lyft’s U/M limits—generally, $1,000,000, but under Georgia law you first have to obtain the entire amount of coverage from the driver who hit you in order to gain access to Uber/Lyft’s U/M coverage. So, when one of our clients is injured in a crash while driving for Uber or Lyft, we first go after the at-fault driver’s insurance, and once we collect it, we proceed to seek coverage under the Uber/Lyft policy.

Scenario 2: You are riding as an Uber/Lyft passenger and are injured in a crash, and the other driver (not your Uber/Left driver) is at fault.

Q: Are you covered by Uber/Lyft’s insurance?

A: Yes—as in Scenario 1, you can reach Uber/Lyft’s insurance if your injuries are serious enough, but you must first collect the full amount of insurance from the policy covering the driver who hit you.

If you are riding as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft and another driver causes a crash, you—just like your Uber/Lyft driver—are covered up to the Uber/Lyft U/M limits (usually $1,000,000). As explained above, the driver who caused the crash should also have his/her own liability coverage, which under Georgia law would be a minimum of $25,000. Depending on the seriousness of your injuries, you could be entitled to pursue both coverages.

Scenario 3: You are injured in a crash while riding as an Uber/Lyft passenger, and your Uber/Lyft driver is at fault.

Q: Are you covered by Uber/Lyft’s insurance?

A: Yes. In fact, as a passenger, you are covered regardless of whether your driver caused the crash.

In this scenario, your Uber/Lyft driver causes the crash. You would be covered by Uber/Lyft’s liability coverage, which (like the U/M coverage) is usually up to $1,000,000. As far as any personal automobile liability insurance your driver may have in addition to the Uber/Lyft insurance, most automobile policies exclude coverage for injuries that occur when the policyholder is driving “for hire,” which is what an Uber/Left driver is doing when they drive you around. Therefore, you would have access to Uber/Lyft’s $1,000,000 coverage, but you would probably not have access to whatever personal automobile coverage your Uber/Lyft driver has.

Scenario 4: You are driving or riding in a non-Uber/Lyft car, and you are in a crash caused by someone who is driving for Uber/Lyft.

Q: Are you covered by Uber/Lyft’s insurance?

A: Yes. You are covered by Uber/Lyft’s liability insurance.

As noted above, both Uber and Lyft carry far more than the $25,000 minimum liability insurance limits—generally, up to $1,000,000. This is a good thing! It means you have access to a much higher amount of insurance to compensate you for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages than you normally would if the person was just driving their car for personal use when they hit you. If an Uber/Left driver hits you, you have access to Uber/Lyft’s $1,000,000 liability limits.

At Rafi Law Firm we routinely handle cases for clients who have been seriously injured while driving or riding as a passenger in an Uber/Lyft, as well as clients who were injured due to the negligence of an Uber/Lyft driver. Contact us today for a free no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced car crash attorneys.

If you have been injured by another party and need representation by a legal team that will fight hard for you, call Rafi Law Firm today for a free consultation at 404-800-9933.