Erie Lyft Accident Lawyer
We work with you to make sense of the insurance maze and ensure you get fair and equitable compensation.
Being involved in a Lyft accident in Erie, Pennsylvania can be complex and confusing, even more so when it comes to sorting out who has what insurance coverage. Nonetheless, whether you are a Lyft driver, pedestrian, the driver of another vehicle or passenger, there is usually an insurance policy to handle injuries sustained in such an accident.
Determining insurance coverage is confusing due to the fact that Pennsylvania is a “choice no-fault” auto insurance state, meaning every insurance policy is either a “no-fault” or a “fault” policy. Drivers decide what coverage they want when they buy auto insurance. A no-fault insurance policy offers coverage of at least $5,000 for injuries no matter who caused the collision.
Why auto insurance is complex in cases of Lyft accidents
In a regular non-Lyft vehicle-to-vehicle collision, each driver gets insurance information from those involved and files a claim against the other driver’s insurance. Once fault is determined, injured parties receive compensation. If a driver has no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) in Pennsylvania, a first party claim is made to your own insurance that covers medical expenses despite who was at fault.
Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage in Pennsylvania is optional even though the law states all licensed drivers must carry liability insurance to legally drive a car. Many drivers do not comply with the law. In cases where a driver has no insurance (uninsured/UM) or does not have enough coverage (underinsured/UIM) UIM/UM coverage kicks in. At Melaragno, Placidi, & Parini we understand how confusing this is and we go the extra mile to ensure you understand your options.
What is Lyft?
Lyft is a ride-sharing company that matches you with a driver near your location who takes you where you want to go. Lyft is the application used to hail a ride by tapping request. Once the request is received, a pre-screened driver heads to your pickup location. You are shown a photo of the driver and the car and told when they are arriving. Once the driver arrives, you confirm your destination and name and get in for the ride.
Pricing for Lyft is calculated on where and when (what time) you are going. There is a base charge and a cost per mile and per minute. There are extra charges when the pickup point is during a higher than normal demand period. Ride estimates are found on the Lyft city page and you pay for the ride through the Lyft application.
If you are involved in an accident caused by a Lyft driver, sorting out who is responsible and what insurance is available to settle the claim could get very complicated. Lyft drivers are referred to as independent contractors who do not work for the company. This complicates the as accident claim process.
Lyft insurance for drivers
Even though a collision between a Lyft driver and another vehicle is similar to two private vehicles colliding, there are differences. The major difference is the possibility of being able to file a claim against a Lyft driver’s personal insurance policy, the drivers work insurance policy or another at-fault driver’s insurance coverage. In other words, there are usually, but not always, more insurance options available when it comes to ride-share accidents. There may, however, be some confusion in determining which driving period the Lyft driver was in during the accident. Each driving period will have different insurance policy apply.
Period 1: Insurance in this period is applicable when the driver is not using the application and is off-duty. A driver’s personal insurance may cover accidents.
Period 2: A Lyft driver is logged into the application, but has not yet accepted a ride. Lyft’s reduced contingent insurance policy may cover accidents. It kicks in when the driver has their own insurance.
Period 3: A Lyft driver accepts a ride and drops the passenger at their destination. Lyft’s $1 million insurance policy covers accidents. It kicks in when the driver is at fault. It is a third party insurance policy that protects other drivers/passengers when the Lyft driver is at fault. If the other driver was at fault, that driver’s insurance covers injuries.
If the other driver has a low/minimum auto insurance policy and it does not fully cover serious injuries, the Lyft $1 million policy may act like an uninsured/underinsured policy and covers injuries beyond what the at-fault driver’s insurance handles.
Mr. Parini has been a consummate professional.
He represented us in an unusual case, but provided clear and effective advice. His strategy worked out very well and we were offered a fair settlement very quickly.
How Lyft may try and avoid settling insurance claims
Lyft provides the Lyft application and does not provide vehicles or drivers. This means they are not a transportation company and they attempt to limit responsibility/liability for Lyft accidents. Furthermore, Lyft drivers are not employees of the company. They are independent contractors and are therefore responsible to provide safe transport.
Things can get even more complex when an accident calls into question whose insurance is going to cover for injuries and property damage. Lyft’s driver insurance may not take effect if a driver does not have a passenger in their vehicle, even if they are on the way to pick someone up. That may mean the driver’s personal insurance kicks in. It has been further noted that in some instances, insurance companies are denying payments and cancelling policies because personal insurance is not designed to cover commercial use of the vehicle the driver insured.
When Lyft shifts the responsibility for your safety to a driver it is harder to obtain compensation from the company. Additionally, many Lyft drivers have limited insurance coverage because they are ride-share drivers, posing a higher risk for the insurance company and increasing driver insurance rates, which explains why they may have limited insurance coverage.
Each car accident involving a Lyft vehicle is evaluated by our Lyft accident attorneys at Melaragno, Placidi, & Parini. We can advise you on whether or not there is an opportunity to recover more than the Lyft driver’s insurance. Melaragno, Placidi, & Parini – Maximizing your personal injury recovery.