Like Uber, Lyft is a rideshare program that offers passengers a way to arrive at the location of their choice by using a mobile device to book and pay for a private car ride. Lyft drivers are independent contractors who pick up and transport riders, much like taxis. Unlike a taxi company, however, Lyft and Uber are not highly regulated, meaning that their drivers are not as vetted, nor are their vehicles as rigorously inspected. Raleigh car accident attorney Carl Nagle helps victims who have been hurt by a driver working for a ridesharing company, such as Lyft or Uber.
As the founding attorney of Nagle & Associates, Mr. Nagle has broad experience in the automobile insurance industry. Before deciding to focus entirely on the rights of injured individuals and their families, Mr. Nagle worked as an insurance claims adjuster and insurance defense attorney. He understands the particular challenges presented by insurance companies that seek to deny or minimize payments to accident victims. At Nagle & Associates, we are proud to help Lyft accident victims throughout North Carolina, including in Asheville, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem.Victims Hurt in a Lyft Accident May Pursue a Claim for Compensation
Establishing liability is the first step for victims of a Lyft accident who are pursuing a personal injury claim. To show liability, a victim’s attorney gathers evidence surrounding the accident, including the defendant driver’s careless conduct that directly caused the crash. This evidence may take many forms, including police reports, witness testimony, and circumstantial evidence that makes clear that the driver was at fault for the collision.
All drivers must exercise great care, and Lyft drivers who fail to protect the safety of their passengers may be held legally accountable. For example, drivers are expected to abide by all traffic laws, such as stopping at stop signs and proceeding with caution through intersections. A Lyft driver’s conduct affects not only their passengers but also other motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists sharing the road. Once a victim has shown the fault of the driver in causing an accident, they may be entitled to recover damages.
North Carolina has enacted a bill to regulate transportation network companies (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft. TNCs rely on a smartphone app to match customers with drivers. According to state law, service begins when a driver accepts a ride request on the online-enabled application. Service is considered complete when the driver completes the transaction on the platform or when the passengers leave the vehicle.
As a less regulated transportation service provider, automobile insurance coverage issues may present a challenge to victims pursuing legal claims against Lyft drivers and Lyft as a company. The timing of a collision involving a Lyft vehicle is important to assessing insurance coverage. This is because insurance coverage changes depending on whether the driver has accepted a ride or is en route to pick up service.
Lyft provides insurance coverage once Lyft drivers have logged into the app and indicated that they are ready to accept passengers. Bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability begin when “en route” to pick up a fare. It is a lower amount than when there is a fare in the driver’s vehicle. Passengers on board increase the coverage limit to $1.5 million in personal injury liability. It is important to note that if a driver has not signed into the rideshare app at the time of the accident, Lyft will not provide coverage. The driver’s personal auto liability policy will cover accidents during this period.
For accident victims, the higher insurance policy limit provided by Lyft means that the company covers drivers who have caused an accident during a service route. Injured individuals, however, should note that state law presumes that Lyft drivers are independent contractors, rather than employees. When a Lyft driver causes a collision, Lyft will not necessarily be at fault for the resulting harm because as an independent contractor, Lyft does not control the driver.
Victims pursuing a legal claim against a Lyft driver should know that the company may also be insulated from liability because its drivers do not operate company-owned vehicles. However, the company understands that as a business, it must provide a level of insurance to protect against harm suffered by third parties who would otherwise not be able to recover damages from drivers.Discuss Your Lyft Accident Case with a Raleigh Attorney
Victims of an accident caused by a Lyft driver will be more likely to recover compensation for the full value of their claim by engaging the experienced and capable legal representation of Raleigh lawyer Carl Nagle. At Nagle & Associates, unlike many law firms, our legal fees are only 25% rather than 33% of an approved settlement award. We can assist people hurt in Lyft accidents throughout North Carolina, including in Asheville, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Greensboro, Wilmington, Charlotte, Hickory, and other communities in Mecklenburg, Forsyth, Durham, Wake, Guilford, Cumberland, Catawba, and New Hanover Counties. Call us today to set up a free consultation with a motor vehicle collision attorney. We can be reached online or by calling (800) 411-1583.