Lyft drivers spend more time on the road than the average motorist who isn’t driving for a living. Unfortunately, this means they’re more likely to encounter negligent drivers during the time they spend waiting for paying riders and ferrying passengers to their intended destinations.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident while driving for Lyft, you might not know what to do or where to turn. Your work as a rideshare driver may complicate matters of insurance coverage, especially under New Jersey’s no-fault laws. If you’re not an employee, you may not have access to workers’ compensation benefits as you would under a different employment arrangement. The whole situation can get confusing—especially at a time when what you really need to focus on is your health.
Our NJ Lyft driver accident attorneys are here to make sense of everything and help you get your life back on track. We understand the complexities of cases like yours and handle every aspect of the legal process for our clients. For a free, confidential consultation, call 866-778-5500 today or complete our online form.
In the aftermath of a Lyft accident, your first priority should be getting help and getting to safety.
Make sure you are in a safe place to avoid any further harm. If necessary, ask for help. If you’re able to do so safely, you may assist any other injured individuals—but be aware of the risk of exacerbating your own injuries.
Call 911 for emergency help. Report the accident to police officers when they arrive at the scene. When emergency medical personnel arrive, allow them to help you. If your injuries are serious, let emergency medical personnel take you straight to the hospital. Even if you don’t need to rush to the emergency room by ambulance, seeing a doctor as soon as possible is necessary. Injuries—even serious injuries—may not present with their full severity right away. Waiting too long to get help can allow these injuries to progress and get worse.
It’s important to notify both Lyft and your own auto insurance company of the accident promptly. However, you should keep these conversations short and to the point of providing notice of the accident. Don’t say that you’re “okay” or try to explain what happened at this time. Ideally, you would have an attorney handle questions about the cause of the accident and any harm you have suffered for you.
Collisions involving rideshare vehicles happen all too often. While there aren’t as many Lyft drivers on the road as there are drivers for competitor Uber—29% of the U.S. rideshare market compared to 71% as of 2022, respectively, Zippia reported—there are still millions of people who drive for Lyft.
The number of Lyft drivers who suffer injuries while behind the wheel is significant. Notably, Lyft’s Community Safety Report published in 2021 showed an increase in motor vehicle accident fatalities involving Lyft vehicles over the three-year period covered in the report. Although just 22 people lost their lives in Lyft vehicle accidents in 2017, 34 did in 2018. The number of fatalities in Lyft accidents climbed to 49 in 2019.
Significantly more Lyft drivers and passengers suffer non-fatal—but, in many cases, still very serious—injuries. These injuries may take months or even years to heal, and some injuries are permanent and life-changing.
Often, injured Lyft drivers require emergency room treatment, hospitalization, surgery or other procedures, inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation, prescription medications, and other medical interventions. The cost of these interventions can pose a financial burden on top of the struggles injured Lyft drivers are already facing.
Know your legal options.
The majority of motor vehicle crashes result from human error. Most often, a negligent driver is to blame.
Just because you take safety behind the wheel seriously—it is, after all, your job—doesn’t mean the other motorists you have to share the road with are as cautious. You could be doing everything right: following the speed limit, maintaining your lane and a safe traveling distance, and keeping your eyes on the road. All it takes for an accident to happen is to cross paths with another driver who isn’t following traffic safety laws.
Some of the ways negligent motorists have caused collisions that left Lyft drivers injured include:
A motorist operating a defective or negligently maintained vehicle may also pose a risk to others on the road—including Lyft drivers who are just going about their work—if they lose control of their vehicle.
Less commonly, negligent behavior on the part of other parties may bring about accidents that seriously injure Lyft drivers and others. For example, dangerous road conditions may cause or contribute to an accident in spite of your best efforts to drive safely. Instances of outrageously dangerous behavior on the part of passengers causing or contributing to rideshare accidents have even been reported.
Whenever a Lyft driver is injured in an accident that isn’t their fault, they have legal avenues to explore for seeking financial compensation. What isn’t always clear is how they can go about getting the money they deserve.
Every motor vehicle accident is unique. In general, though, the following are the types of auto insurance coverage that may come into play in a Lyft driver’s personal injury claim.
Under New Jersey’s no-fault law, a motorist’s own auto insurance policy typically pays for their medical costs regardless of who is at fault for the crash. When you’re a rideshare driver, though, things get complicated.
If you were actively driving for Lyft at the time of the crash, your own auto insurance policy may not apply—which means you may have to look elsewhere for coverage for your medical bills.
Ridesharing companies are covered by auto insurance policies, too—but whether or how these policies apply is very fact-specific. Lyft maintains at least $1,000,000 in third-party auto liability coverage. However, this coverage doesn’t apply to every Lyft accident.
Generally, Lyft provides no auto insurance coverage for its drivers during times when the app is off. Because the app is off, Lyft considers drivers not to be actively working.
At this time, the Lyft driver is just a private motorist. As such, their personal auto insurance coverage kicks in to pay medical expenses through the personal injury protection (PIP) portion of their coverage.
For other losses, like lost wages and pain and suffering, the Lyft driver would have to sue the at-fault motorist and recover compensation through that driver’s auto insurance coverage.
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Not every minute of working for Lyft necessarily involves having a passenger in your vehicle. Rideshare drivers may spend some of their working time waiting for ride requests. During this time that the app is on and you are waiting for a ride request but not en route to pick up a passenger, Lyft maintains some third-party liability insurance.
However, this coverage is not as extensive as an injured rideshare driver might hope. As of 2023, Lyft coverage limits in this circumstance typically amount to $50,000 per person or $100,000 per accident of bodily injury coverage and $25,000 per accident of property damage coverage. This coverage only applies if your personal auto insurance coverage is not applicable.
Some sort of insurance coverage for this circumstance is required under New Jersey state law. N.J. Stat. § 39:5H-10 states that “Whenever a transportation network company driver is logged on to the transportation network company’s digital network and is available to receive a prearranged ride request, but is not providing a prearranged ride, the transportation network company driver, transportation network company, or any combination of the two shall maintain” insurance coverage that includes the following:
The situation in which Lyft offers the most insurance coverage occurs after a driver has accepted a ride request. Once you are en route to pick up your passenger and after the passenger is in the vehicle, Lyft maintains a minimum of $1,000,000 of third-party liability coverage, plus first-party coverages that may include PIP, MedPay and other types of coverage.
“Our third-party auto liability insurance is designed to act as the primary coverage from the time you accept a ride request until the time the ride has ended,” Lyft explained.
The person or party who is at fault for the crash should be the one to pay for its consequences. An injured Lyft driver may have grounds for a lawsuit against a negligent driver, the manufacturer of a defective vehicle, an organization that allowed dangerous road conditions to develop, or another party that caused the accident.
This type of insurance coverage may also extend to other parties. For example, if the other motorist who caused the crash was on the clock at the time of the collision, you may have grounds to seek compensation from their employer’s commercial auto insurance coverage.
Fault for an accident can be complex. In some instances, a Lyft driver accident injury claim may include more than one defendant. It’s even possible for a Lyft driver who was partially to blame for the accident to sue another motorist who holds a greater share of fault for the collision.
Puzzling out which insurance coverages apply and who pays what percentage of the claim is challenging. It’s not uncommon for the different insurers to try to pass accountability for providing financial compensation for your injuries onto each other to get out of footing the bill for the accident. That’s why having experienced legal representation on your side usually offers injured rideshare drivers the best chance of recovering the full amount of compensation they deserve.
You can move forward with a car accident claim without professional legal help, but it’s not recommended—especially for injured rideshare drivers. Insurance coverage in a rideshare accident claim is complicated. Without a thorough understanding of the legal process, it can be difficult to tell if an insurance company’s denial of your claim is legitimate or if the company is taking advantage of you. Besides, you have enough to worry about with your physical recovery and, likely, being out of work for some time.
You don’t have to look far to find attorneys experienced in handling NJ Lyft driver accidents like yours. At Console & Associates, P.C., our rideshare driver injury lawyers have been representing the interests of injured Uber and Lyft drivers and passengers for years. We understand the complex factors that come into play in cases like yours.
To ease your mind and make legal representation affordable, we offer no-win, no-fee legal assistance. During a free consultation and case review, you’ll have the chance to get your questions answered and get help understanding the legal process. If you choose us to represent you, we’ll handle every aspect of your claim throughout the entire legal process. Under our No Fee Promise, you’ll pay nothing for our legal services unless and until we succeed in securing you monetary compensation.
We’re here to help injured Lyft drivers all over New Jersey get the compensation they need to recover and get their lives back on track. Let us evaluate your case at no charge. Just call 866-778-5500 or contact us online today.