In recent years, NYC’s iconic yellow taxis have faced serious competition from rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft. As more and more people depend on rideshares for transportation throughout the city, the risk of being involved in an accident with a rideshare vehicle has also increased. Although data on Uber and Lyft accidents are relatively scarce, with approximately 65,000+ Uber-affiliated vehicles in New York City alone, it is safe to say that many people will be involved in a rideshare accident at some point.
Since 1985, we have been fighting for the rights of victims of negligence throughout New York City, including in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
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With a typical car accident claim in New York, those involved can turn to their own insurance providers and seek compensation through the state’s no-fault system. However, if an injured victim wishes to recover compensation for pain and suffering or other non-economic damages, they must step outside the no-fault system and file a claim against the at-fault driver.
In accident cases involving commercial vehicle drivers, the drivers’ employers are often legally liable. Victims can file claims against a trucking company, taxicab company, bus company, etc. to seek compensation for their damages.
However, with Uber and Lyft accidents, the issue of liability is much more complicated. Uber and Lyft classify their drivers as independent contractors—not employees. This limits both Uber and Lyft’s liability when it comes to the conduct of their drivers. Additionally, most private auto insurance companies do not offer coverage when a driver is operating their vehicle in a commercial capacity, meaning they will likely not cover a rideshare accident.
These factors make pursuing an Uber or Lyft accident claim in Queens or anywhere in NYC very complicated. If you wish to step outside the no-fault system and file a claim against the rideshare driver’s insurance carrier, your claim will likely be denied. And, to make matters worse, filing a lawsuit directly against Uber or Lyft can be extremely challenging. The good news is that both rideshare companies offer some coverage for their drivers and others who may be injured in accidents.
After an Uber or Lyft accident, you do have options for recovery. You may be able to turn to your own no-fault insurance to recover compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages/income caused by the accident. If you can prove that your injuries are “serious,” as defined by New York State law, you may also be able to go outside the no-fault system and file a claim with the rideshare driver’s insurance provider or with Uber or Lyft directly.
Despite statements from both companies stating that they are not responsible for injuries, Uber and Lyft offer some insurance coverage for those injured in accidents caused by their drivers. The amount of compensation available will depend on the specifics of the situation.
Uber and Lyft both recognize four driving periods:
- Period 0: The app is turned off
- Period 1: The app is turned on, but the driver has not accepted a ride
- Period 2: The driver has accepted a ride is on their way to pick up the passenger
- Period 3: The driver has a passenger in the vehicle
Both Uber and Lyft offer the following coverage:
- No Coverage: During period 0; accidents in period 0 can be treated as typical car accidents
- $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident in bodily injury: For accidents occurring in period 1
- $25,000 per accident in property damage: During period 1
- Up to $1 million: For accidents occurring in period 2 or 3 (any time a ride has been accepted)
If you were injured as a passenger of an Uber or Lyft, the $1 million coverage applies. If you were hit by an Uber or Lyft driver who was distracted looking for a passenger after accepting a ride, the $1 million coverage also applies. However, if you were struck by an Uber or Lyft driver who had the app turned on but was in between rides, the lower coverage amounts apply.
Uber and Lyft accidents, as well as collisions with other rideshare vehicles, are incredibly complex. You need someone who understands the law and who has the skills to effectively advocate for you and your recovery.
At The Cassisi Law Firm, we have successfully handled numerous rideshare accident claims. We are fully prepared to take on major rideshare companies, including Uber and Lyft, in our effort to pursue the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. We have a proven track record of success and are ready to represent you throughout the legal process, from the initial investigation and discovery to settlement negotiations to litigation and beyond.
There are no fees unless we win your case. Call 718-441-5050 or contact us online today for a free consultation with one of our rideshare accident lawyers in Queens.