Rideshare Accidents: If a Lyft Driver Hits Me, Who Can I Sue?
Lyft is a major player in the current rideshare industry. It’s an up-and-coming rideshare choice, second only to Uber, that provides yet another option for catching a ride. With an estimated 1.4 million Lyft drivers on America’s highways and city streets, you face a real chance of being involved in an accident with a Lyft driver at some point. If that happens, figuring out who you can sue requires the services of a highly-skilled Florida personal injury lawyer. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Who Can Drive for Lyft?
The process for becoming a Lyft driver is actually fairly simple. Requirements for Lyft drivers include:
- The potential driver must be at least 21-years-old.
- The potential driver must have had a valid driver’s license for at least 3 years.
- The potential driver must have a clean driving record, including no DUIs, incidents of driving without a license, or other major driving/traffic violations.
- The potential driver must have a personal auto insurance policy.
- The potential driver’s vehicle must be a 2004 model or newer, with some states requiring 2006 or even 2009 models.
- Potential drivers must have their cars inspected prior to entering into service.
Lyft uses a third party company to administer background checks. Anyone applying to drive for Lyft must consent to a background check and provide his or her social security number. A typical background check includes both a criminal and DMV check, for a minimum period of seven years.
The criminal background check includes a lifetime screen against individuals on the National Sex Offender Registry and the U.S. Department of Justice’s 50-State Sex Offender Registry. Drug offenses, theft, and crimes involving property damage are also a part of the criminal background check.
DMV Driving Record Check
Unsurprisingly given the nature of the job, Lyft drivers undergo a DMV record check in addition to the criminal background check. To successfully pass this portion of the background check, a driver must:
- Have no more than three moving violations within the past three years.
- Have no major traffic violations within the past three years.
- Have no DUIs or drug-related violations within the past seven years.
- Have no extreme infractions within the past seven years.
Lyft considers such violations as driving with a suspended license, reckless driving, hit-and-run charges, and felonies. This process helps Lyft identify potential drivers who may pose a threat to the safety of its riders and provides Lyft with justification to deny those individuals’ applications.
With 1.4 million drivers, there is a risk of incomplete or inaccurate DMV record checks, which may allow an incompetent driver to slip through the cracks and onto the road. If you’ve suffered serious injuries due to a crash caused by a Lyft driver, contact Meldon Law as soon as possible. Lyft may provide a convenient service for Florida residents and visitors; however, no one should suffer physically, financially, or emotionally due to a negligent Lyft driver.
How Lyft Insurance Works
Lyft requires that drivers carry the minimum amount of insurance required by their respective states. The company provides insurance that covers liability in the event of a crash, but what exactly does this mean for accident victims? Coverage often depends on the Lyft driver’s status at the time of the accident. The following scenarios provide a closer look at how Lyft insurance works:
- Scenario one – The Lyft app is off. If a Lyft driver causes an accident while the app is shut off, his or her personal insurance policy is responsible for coverage.
- Scenario two – The Lyft app is on. When a Lyft driver is actively using the Lyft app when an accident occurs, determining who is responsible can prove quite complex. Imagine that the app is on, but the driver isn’t actively picking up or transporting a passenger. Lyft drivers’ personal insurance companies may not provide coverage during this time, because they are using their car as a commercial vehicle.
Lyft recognizes that drivers are technically on the job when the app is on, regardless of whether they actually have a passenger with them. Accordingly, in this scenario, Lyft provides contingent liability coverage, which includes:
- $50,000 maximum limit per person. This is the maximum amount that Lyft will pay for one person’s injuries. The driver is responsible for any medical expenses above this amount.
- $100,000 maximum limit per accident. This is the maximum amount that Lyft will pay for any liability expenses from an accident during this period. The driver is responsible for any additional damages.
- $25,000 maximum limit for property damage. Lyft will pay up to $25,000 for damages to another vehicle during this period. This amount is included in the $100,000 maximum limit for property damage.
Scenario three – Once a Lyft driver accepts a ride and is actively retrieving or transporting a passenger, the liability coverage jumps to $1 million for any injuries and/or vehicle damage in the event of an accident.
Common Types of Crash Injuries
The dollar amounts listed above may seem like a lot of money, but they may barely cover today’s expensive medical care in the event of a serious accident. Common types of crash injuries include traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, neck trauma, back trauma, and broken bones.
Depending upon the severity of these injuries, future medical expenses may include medication, personal care, medical devices, and admission to a nursing home or rehabilitative facility.
The lifetime of expenses one faces after sustaining a serious injury in a car crash reach far beyond the Lfyt insurance coverage. That’s why it is in your best interest to obtain the services of an experienced Florida personal injury law firm if you’ve been involved in a Lyft accident.
How Meldon Law Can Help You
According to a recent Gallup Poll, 35 percent of Americans use ride-sharing services, with 45 percent of those riders between the ages of 18 and 29. These numbers are expected to only increase as ride-sharing grows as a popular service.
Lyft is an easy way for drivers to make money. The more rides they provide, the more money they receive. However, the increasing need for drivers and driver competition places all drivers at risk.
The legal team at Meldon Law is highly experienced in all types of car crash cases, including those that involve rideshare services. If you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries due to the negligent and reckless behavior of a Lyft driver in south Florida, call Meldon Law’s office in Fort Lauderdale at (954) 334-1276, or contact us online, to schedule your free consultation. [We also serve the Gainesville and Ocala areas; the phone numbers to those offices are (352) 373-8000 and (800) 373-8000.]
A car crash is a sudden and traumatic event that can change your life forever. No one should pay out-of-pocket for damages caused by another driver. Let our team review your case by scheduling your free consultation today.