Lyft Passenger Accidents in Baltimore
Ridesharing has emerged as a viable alternative to relying on conventional forms of public transportation and driving your vehicle. It offers convenience and comfort to all passengers seeking a way to get around town quickly. Still, you cannot dismiss the possibility of being a passenger involved in Uber or Lyft accidents in Baltimore.
Accidents can happen and even experienced Uber and Lyft drivers cannot avoid them completely. But what occurs in the aftermath of that crash? Can you expect injury coverage if you are involved in an accident as an Uber or Lyft passenger?
Let’s take a closer look at certain accident scenarios to determine what rideshare passengers can expect regarding coverage. We will also dive into other matters related to rideshare accidents, so stick around to pick up knowledge that could help you out of potentially confusing and stressful situations.
Scenario 1: Lyft/Uber Driver Was Clearly at Fault for the Accident
Our first scenario involves an accident where your Uber or Lyft driver was clearly the party responsible for what happened AND the Uber or Lyft rideshare driver accepted a trip or had a rideshare passenger in their car. In that situation, Uber or Lyft’s insurance policy has you covered. Both Lyft and Uber maintain $1,000,000 in third-party auto liability, and you can receive a payout from that policy if your driver is the one who caused the accident.
You can seek a payout from Lyft or Uber’s insurance provider to cover your medical expenses and damaged property. Going after them for additional damages is possible if the accident causes lasting injuries and destroys your property. Hire a Baltimore Lyft accident lawyer to ensure you can recoup the compensation you deserve.
Note that the $1,000,000 third-party liability coverage is effective from the start of the rideshare trip until the rideshare passenger is dropped off at their destination.
If the rideshare driver negotiates a transaction that does not involve keeping the app active, you are taking a huge risk by agreeing to it. It would be best to only abide by the terms of the trip you booked via the Lyft or Uber app.
Scenario 2: Lyft/Uber Driver Was Not at Fault for the Accident
Next, let’s look at what happens if the rideshare driver is not responsible for your accident. In this scenario, the fact that you were in the middle of a rideshare trip has no bearing on your compensation. Your focus should be on obtaining compensation from the negligent driver.
Request insurance and contact information from the party responsible and contact them after consulting your doctor and lawyer. Also, go to those consultations before getting back in touch with the negligent party so you can put forth a more solidified insurance claim. There is always a possibility that the negligent driver will dispute your claims and suggest they should not be liable for what happened. At that point, you and your lawyer should prepare for a more drawn-out legal battle.
Additional factors, such as the erring driver’s insurance, could complicate this matter. We will get into that topic a bit later in this article, so please stick around for that.
Scenario 3: Liability Is Not Clear, and Both Vehicles Have Contributed to the Accident
One more potential scenario we must discuss could be the murkiest of all we have discussed so far. This time, fault does not clearly lie with your rideshare driver or the other motorist involved in the accident. It may even seem like both drivers were responsible for the crash. Because both sides will likely dispute the facts of the incident, you can expect that matter to end up in court.
Uber will offer you up to $30,000 worth of coverage no matter how the case turns out. If the court case produces a verdict indicating your rideshare driver was at fault, you can go after the company for more compensation. If the case turns in the other direction, you should request compensation from the other driver.
You do not need to wait for the case to unfold before seeking compensation. Hire an attorney early to determine the appropriate course of action.
How Liability Becomes Determined in a Baltimore Lyft Accident Claim
Establishing liability is always important in a personal injury case. Liability determines who is at fault for a particular accident. Once you establish liability, the innocent people affected by the accident can start recouping compensation from the at-fault party.
In most car accident cases, liability is often based on which party was negligent before the crash. As a reminder, essential elements of negligence cases include the legal duty of care, the defendant’s breach of that duty, the plaintiff’s injuries, and the defendant’s actions directly causing those injuries. All of those elements must be present in an accident claim based on negligence.
So, how are those elements unearthed in personal injury cases? Lawyers often conduct investigations to come up with those elements. They return to the accident sites to collect evidence, search for video footage, and speak to witnesses to understand what happened. They also coordinate with law enforcement to assemble more comprehensive documentation of the events.
Collecting all that evidence should paint a clear picture of what happened during the accident. The lawyer can present all of those elements and either negotiate a payout from the offending party or take the matter to court and secure compensation that way.
Negligence is often at the heart of personal injury claims, but it still is not the root cause all the time. The accident may still be the result of an intentional act. Road rage incidents are prime examples of that. You can still recoup compensation even if the accident you were involved in was a road rage incident.
How Passengers Can Miss Out on Compensation in Lyft/Uber Accidents
When evaluating a car accident, it is fair to assume that the blame likely falls on one or perhaps both of the drivers involved. They controlled the vehicles, so thinking their actions directly led to the outcome is far from unreasonable. However, you may hear something different after your Lyft or Uber accident. While discussing the accident, you may hear the Lyft or Uber’s lawyers are pointing to you as a partially responsible party.
That development may seem strange, but it makes more sense when you remember the personal injury laws in Maryland. In all likelihood, the rideshare company’s representatives are hoping the rule of contributory negligence can deprive you of compensation.
For those unfamiliar with the rule, contributory negligence dictates that a plaintiff can be barred from recovering compensation if they bear even 1% of the blame for an accident. You may hear the rideshare lawyers claim you were disruptive during the ride. They may say that your actions distracted the driver, leading to the crash.
Prevent Lyft or Uber’s representatives from successfully pushing that narrative by partnering with a Baltimore Lyft accident attorney. Let your attorney dissect Lyft or Uber claims so you can successfully prove that your actions had nothing to do with the crash.
You should also ask your attorney to take the lead on any conversations involving Lyft or Uber’s representatives. Avoid falling for traps they spring on you during those conversations, and let your attorney handle them.
A Deeper Look into Personal Insurance and Lyft Insurance Coverage in Maryland
Earlier in this article, we discussed how you can secure compensation if you are involved in an Uber or Lyft accident as a passenger. Crucially, those scenarios focused on how events would unfold if you were in the middle of a ride when an accident occurred. Of course, not all rideshare accidents are easy to sort out. Certain factors can make securing compensation more complicated.
Let’s go over those factors in this section of the article.
The Other Driver’s Lack of Insurance
You expect all drivers to have the appropriate insurance policies, but that is not always true. Some motorists still take to the road even if they cannot cover any accidents they cause. They will endanger themselves and others as long as they can drive to their destinations.
The driver responsible for your accident may also lack insurance. If that is the case, as a passenger, you can file a claim with Uber or Lyft’s uninsured motorist coverage. The state of Maryland requires uninsured motorist coverage for all drivers, so you should secure compensation from your rideshare provider that way.
In a situation where the other driver’s insurance coverage is lacking, you must approach things differently. You can file a claim with that driver’s policy and get compensation, but you can still seek additional damages. File another claim with Lyft or Uber’s underinsured motorist policy to ensure all your medical expenses and repair bills are covered.
The Presence of the Rideshare Driver’s Commercial Insurance
Some rideshare drivers carry commercial auto insurance, although it’s rare. Commercial auto insurance differs from standard auto insurance because it often has higher coverage limits. It can offer better protection for both the drivers and their passengers.
If your rideshare driver has commercial auto insurance, you can file a claim with that policy first. You should get an adequate payout from the high limits of that policy. Do not worry if their commercial auto insurance policy is lacking. You can still file a claim with Lyft or Uber’s underinsured motorist coverage to make up the rest of your compensation.
The Status of the Ridesharing App
The status of the ridesharing app is another factor that makes a huge difference in how your compensation will work out. We already know how things work if there is an ongoing trip, so let’s discuss the other potential scenarios.
The first scenario we want to discuss involves accidents where the app is active without booked rides. Under this scenario, UBER and Lyft provide insurance coverage, as primary insurance, for up to $50,00 per person for bodily injury coverage and $25,000 per accident for property damage.
The second scenario involves accidents that occur when the ridesharing app is not active and are handled differently. The rideshare driver operates like any other motorist when the app is offline. Their only protection is their personal policy. You can seek compensation from the driver’s insurer if they are deemed responsible for your accident.
The Presence of Personal Injury Protection Coverage
One more element we need to discuss when discussing Lyft or Uber’s auto policy is personal injury protection coverage. That element of auto insurance is also known as PIP coverage.
PIP coverage accounts for the medical bills and lost wages that rideshare drivers and their passengers may sustain following their respective accidents. It offers additional coverage to help drivers and their passengers out of tough spots.
Maryland does not require motorists to carry PIP coverage, but insurers are legally mandated to offer it. You should work with your lawyer to confirm if PIP coverage could also come into play for your accident. That additional payout can help determine if you can cover your medical expenses easily.
You should also take a closer look at PIP coverage if you are involved in an accident with a rideshare driver who was offline during the crash. File a claim with that coverage to ensure all your expenses are accounted for in the payout.
Lyft Accident Attorney in Baltimore, Maryland
Lyft passenger accidents in Baltimore are far from rare. If you are ever involved in one of those crashes, do not forget that attorney John Leppler can help you out. John is never too busy for his clients, so do not hesitate to reach out. Contact us at Leppler Injury Law today if you are interested in his legal services!