WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU GET IN AN ACCIDENT IN A COMMON CARRIER LIKE AN UBER or LYFT

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN AN UBER OR LYFT ACCIDENT

  1. Uber and Lyft coverage is excess to the at fault driver’s insurance;
  2. The Uber or Lyft driver must be at fault for the commercial coverage to take effect;
  3. If you drive for a TNC you must advise your insurance company to be covered;
  4. Coverages are different depending on the stage of the ride-share;
  5. Contact TheOneLawyer.com if you are involved in accident with an Uber or Lyft vehicle.

I often get asked about what happens if someone is in an accident while they are a passenger in an Uber vehicle. Common carriers like a Lyft and Uber are referred to as Transportation Network Companies (TNC’s). These are people who use their personal vehicles to transport passengers for a charge. Such rides are generally arranged through apps installed on the passenger’s phone or mobile device. The app allows the TNC drivers, partners  and passengers to coordinate rides and receive payment for services made electronically directly to the TNC.  The question arises as to what insurance is applicable in an accident when a driver is contracted and driving for Uber or Lyft or another common carrier. In this blog I will answer the most common questions regarding accidents involving Uber and Lyft vehicles.

How Is A TNC Driver Defined Under the Law?

There are several phases of TNC activity. Generally, a TNC driver starts their shift by logging into the app and advising the network that they are available to accept passengers for rides. Once the drivers have logged into the app, they will receive a request from a passenger and start their route to pick up the passenger. From that time, there is the point where the passenger enters the vehicle, and the transportation begins. Finally, the transport ends when the passenger is successfully dropped off at their destination. TNC drivers are not considered to be driving for the network when they are not logged onto the app. During those times they are on their personal time and not covered by Uber or Lyft coverage.  Therefore, just because a driver does drive for Uber or Lyft during certain periods, if that driver is not driving for Uber or Lyft at the time of an accident their personal auto insurance and limits apply to the accident.

Insurance Requirements for TNC Drivers in Nevada

When an Uber or Lyft driver is not driving for the company, they are governed by Nevada law that all drivers are governed by to maintain liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage pursuant to NRS 485.185. That statute requires minimum liability insurance in the amount of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident and $20,000 for property damage. However, once the driver logs into the app and becomes available for rideshare services the insurance requirement changes.  

Once the driver is logged in, coverage must be at least $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident and $25,000 for property damage when they do not have passengers.  This is the coverage that is required once the Uber or Lyft driver becomes available to accept passengers.  However, once the driver is on route to picking up a passenger and until that passenger exits the vehicle, liability coverage is required at $1.5 million per accident. This coverage must be continuously provided by the company’s insurance coverage or the drivers insurance coverage. Uber and Lyft both have this coverage on their drivers in Nevada.

Does Personal Insurance Cover A TNC Driver?

The answer to this question is generally no. Your personal insurance will not cover you if you are driving for Uber or Lyft. In fact, it has become proper common practice for insurance companies to immediately ask when the accident occurred if anyone was driving for a common carrier at the time of the accident. That does not mean you cannot get coverage; it means that you must advise your insurance company specifically that you will be driving as a common carrier and they must issue you a policy as a common carrier driver. It is extremely important that if you are going to drive for Uber or Lyft you understand that you need to notify your insurance company and advise them of this new position. If you do not, it is the same as driving without any insurance at all while you are driving for Uber and Lyft. 

If you take such a job, call your personal insurance immediately and tell them that you will be driving and make sure that you see your new policy in writing that they have added this to the policy. We have seen several cases over the years where clients have advised they notified their insurance company, but the insurance company claims they did not have notice, it was not updated in the policy and there was no coverage. Do not let this happen to you if you decide to drive for Uber or Lyft.   Call your carrier, have them update your policy and make sure they email you an updated version of your policy so that you can see you are now listed as a common carrier driver.

What Coverages Are Available for Injured Victims in A TNC Accident?

If you were involved in an auto accident as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle or as a passenger in another vehicle which is not at fault and involved in a collision with an Uber or Lyft vehicle, the Uber or Lyft policy will be excess to the at fault driver’s personal policy. That means that the driver that is at fault should have coverage for the accident as a common carrier because they notified their insurance company of their common carrier position. The state minimum is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Once the policy limits of the at fault driver are exhausted, the Uber or Lyft policy will become viable and damages up to the limits of the policy will be available.  Just as is the case with any accident involving non-common carrier drivers, it is always important to establish fault on the part of the Uber or Lyft driver in order to recover against the commercial policy of Uber or Lyft. If you or a loved one is involved in an accident, it is important to contact an attorney immediately to determine what policies are available to cover your damages and injuries. At the offices of TheOneLawyer.com we have over 18 years’ experience in helping injured clients. Laura Payne-Hunt worked for a major insurance company for over nine years and has the experience and knowledge to make sure that all policies available can be recovered against on behalf of her clients.

At TheOneLawyer.com, we are here to serve our community and provide legal services in the Henderson and Las Vegas area. We are a boutique law firm providing experienced and personal representation to injured clients.  At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer.com we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and in Nevada insurance law.   If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please do not hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years.  Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers.  She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve.  Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.  

At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury law offices of TheOneLaweyer.com, Laura Marie Payne-Hunt and her staff are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices.  TheOneLawyer.com is a boutique, family-owned law firm that specializes in helping injured people and the community of Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, product liability claims, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.