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Liability in Car Accidents Involving Uber and Lyft

Getting involved in a car accident can be a traumatizing and potentially catastrophic experience. It can be relatively simple to know what to do when you are behind the wheel: you make sure you and all others involved do not require medical attention, exchange insurance information with the other driver, and let the insurance companies handle it. However, what happens when you are involved in an accident while riding an Uber or Lyft? Here are some of the most common questions.

Are Uber and Lyft Responsible in an Accident?

Uber and Lyft are generally not responsible for injuries involving their drivers. Uber and Lyft drivers are considered independent contractors rather than employees. This is an important distinction as Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies simply work as a marketplace to connect drivers with potential passengers. Who is liable ultimately depends on who was negligent in the accident.

When the Uber or Lyft Driver Is at Fault

If the Uber or Lyft driver is determined to be at fault, then they will be responsible for the damages. Both Uber and Lyft require all drivers to carry auto insurance, which means that this will be the first place from which to seek compensation. 

However, Uber and Lyft offer additional coverage up to $1 million above the driver’s limits for injury victims. If the accident happened while the driver had a passenger in their vehicle or while they were on their way to pick up a passenger, then this additional coverage will kick in if the driver’s insurance does not cover all damages endured by the victims.

When the Other Driver Is at Fault

If you are injured in an accident while riding an Uber or Lyft and the other party is at fault, then the accident will proceed like any other motor vehicle accident. The negligent party’s insurance will cover the costs of the accident’s damages up to the policy’s limits. If the Uber or Lyft driver is found to not be at fault for the accident, then the company’s supplemental insurance will not kick in.

What Are Examples of Uber or Lyft Driver Negligence?

Uber and Lyft drivers, although required to be licensed, can sometimes engage in dangerous behavior that causes an accident. This is referred to as negligent behavior, where the driver fails to provide reasonable care for the safety of their passengers. Some examples of Uber or Lyft driver negligence are:

  • Distracted driving. Drivers are required to pay attention to the road ahead at all times. If the driver was distracted at the time of the accident, as, for example texting while driving, that is a clear sign that the driver was engaging in negligent behavior.
  • Driving under the influence. Drunk driving is one of the most explicit indications of negligent behavior. If your Uber or Lyft driver was driving while over the legal blood /breath alcohol concentration (BAC) limit when the accident occurred, then they will almost always be found negligent. In some cases, the driver may also be found negligent even if driving below the BAC limit as long as the breathalyzer results show any amount of alcohol in the body.
  • Traffic violations. Failure to follow proper traffic guidelines, like running a red light or making an illegal turn, can be seriously negligent behavior.
  • Speeding. Driving above the speed limit will often result in the Uber or Lyft driver being held responsible for the accident.
  • Reckless driving. All drivers are required to exercise a reasonable amount of care while on the road. If the accident resulted from reckless driving, then your Uber or Lyft driver may be liable.

What Are the Most Common Types of Injuries Involving Uber and Lyft?

Uber and Lyft accidents often result in severe and even fatal injuries. These are some of the most common car accident injuries: 

You should seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident, even if you do not think your injuries are too severe. Some injuries may take a few days to become apparent, and the increased levels of adrenaline in your bloodstream as a result of the accident may mask some of the pain. Seeing a physician right away will ensure you get the attention you require and will help you have a record of all injuries should you decide to pursue compensation down the road.

What Type of Compensation Can I Receive From an Uber or Lyft Accident?

You deserve to be compensated for all damages incurred due to the negligence of a third party. If you were injured in an Uber or Lyft accident because of your driver’s negligent behavior, then you may be entitled to compensation for economic and non-economic damages. Some of the most common examples include:

  • Medical bills, including hospitalization costs
  • Physical rehabilitation fees
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Wrongful death
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Physical disfigurement

In some cases, you may also be awarded punitive damages. However, these types of damages are only awarded in cases of egregiously negligent behavior and are not always available for car accident victims.

What Should I Do if I Was Injured in an Uber or Lyft?

Getting in an accident while riding an Uber or Lyft can be disconcerting. Here are the steps you should take if you were injured in an Uber or Lyft accident:

  • Call 911 for help if anyone involved in the crash needs medical attention.
  • Call the local police department if nobody needs medical attention to file an accident report.
  • Gather insurance information from all drivers involved.
  • Reach out to any witnesses of the accident and collect their contact information.
  • Take plenty of photos and videos of the accident scene as well as the surroundings.
  • Confirm that the driver’s Uber or Lyft app was on while the accident happened.
  • Get evaluated by a medical professional, even if you do not think you suffered any injuries.

Once you have settled the accident scene, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Insurance companies, including those providing coverage to Uber and Lyft, will try to limit their responsibility in any accident to minimize the amount for which they can be held liable. An experienced attorney will help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your damages.


Morris & Dewett provides this information to the public for general education and interest. The firm does not represent clients in every topic discussed in legal & injury news. The information is curated and produced based on trends in law, governance, and society to present relevant issues to the general public. Every effort is made to provide accurate information. Do not make any decision solely based on the information provided, please seek relevant counsel for each topic area. Consult an attorney before making any legal decision, consult a doctor before making any medical decision, and consult a financial advisor before making any fiscal decision. If you have any legal needs that we can assist you with, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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