Ever since the advent of transportation network companies (TNCs) like Lyft, TNC vehicles have been involved in accidents. Many of those accidents have been caused by TNC drivers. What came to issue when these companies emerged was that most drivers had liability insurance in the amount of California’s minimum mandatory liability coverage of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. Some TNC drivers didn’t even carry that and went uninsured. Commissioners in Sacramento took action and implemented regulations requiring substantial minimum liability insurance limits when drivers were on the clock and engaged in providing transportation services.
What Phase Was the Driver In?
The value of a personal injury case of a Lyft accident victim pivots on liability, insurance coverage, and the damages suffered from the accident. The amount of liability coverage that is in effect for a Lyft driver depends on whether he or she was logged into the TNC app that’s used to arrange rides and what he or she was doing at the time of an accident. Here’s how it breaks down:
- Phase One: The driver isn’t logged into the TNC app, so he or she is on their own personal time. The driver’s own personal insurance is in effect. Unfortunately, that might be as low as the minimum $15,000/$30,000 minimum California limit.
- Phase Two: Now, the driver has logged into the TNC’s app and is available to provide transportation services. On that basis, $50,000 of liability coverage per person and $100,000 of per accident applies. This coverage is through the TNC.
- Phase Three: The driver has now accepted a customer and is on the way to take him or her to a destination. $1 million of TNC liability coverage applies along with another $1 million of uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance. When the customer departs the vehicle, coverage reverts to either Phase One or Phase Two, depending on whether the driver remains logged into the app.
If a personal injury case settles, it’s likely to be within the policy limits of the driver’s personal insurance or the insurance provided by Lyft that was effective at the time of the accident. If the victim was partially at fault for the accident, any negligence attributable to him or her would need to be considered. That’s known as the law of comparative negligence. If the parties can’t agree on the issue, a jury must decide it.
The compensability of any injury also depends on what part of the body was injured and whether the injury was mild, moderate, severe, catastrophic, or even fatal. It’s extremely unlikely that an insurance company is going to pay $1 million for a broken finger suffered by an ordinary Joe. The more severe that an injury is, the more compensable it becomes. It is only after all of the facts, medical evidence, and damages have been thoroughly evaluated that a settlement value might be placed on a Lyft case.
After being injured in a Lyft accident as a passenger, another motorist, a motorcyclist, bicyclist, or even as a pedestrian, contact us at the Rideshare Law Office for a free confidential consultation and case review. As your legal representative, our objective will be to obtain the maximum settlement available for your injuries and damages