Car accidents with Lyft drivers
Elia J. Castranova is a specialist car accident attorney in Encino, Los Angeles. He looks at the recent Lyft and Uber serverces in terms of the liability of Lyft drivers for their passengers involved in auto accidents
With over 30 years of experience in the variety of injuries sustained in auto accidents, he has obtained tens of millions of dollars in settlements and judgments on behalf of injured clients, as well as for the families of loved ones who were injured or lost their lives in a catastrophic auto accident. Over his career Elia has developed long term relationships with top doctors enabling his clients to receive the finest medical care with no out of pocket cost.
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The problem with riding as a passenger in a Lyft car is you don’t know what kind of insurance coverage is available on this car, if there’s any insurance coverage. In the state of California, you’re only required to have a $15,000, $30,000 insurance policy. That’s a minimum policy. Some people have larger ones, but many people have these small policies.
This Lyft driver may have only that type of policy. And if you’re a passenger in a Lyft car and you’re involved in an accident and you receive more serious injuries, then this may not be sufficient to compensate you for your injuries. Driver is at fault for the accident. So in that situation, you would hopefully have your own motorist or underinsured motorist insurance coverage could offer you compensation.
But many people, they use Lyft cars because they don’t have any car whatsoever, so they wouldn’t have any insurance. Another problem with these Lyft cars is that under personal liability insurance coverage, the insured might have an exclusion in their insurance policy, and many do if not all, where if the car is used for hire– that is it’s used to make money to give people rides– they can decline coverage.
So you may be in an accident in which a Lyft driver is at fault and the Lyft driver’s insurance company can completely decline coverage, and then you have no avenue for any sort of compensation for you injuries unless you do have uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage.
Now, Lyft cars and other kinds of transportation network vehicles are so popular now that there has been a movement in Sacramento to pass a law to require these kinds of drivers to have greater insurance coverage, not just minimum coverage. Because the problem was that Lyft drivers could not get commercial coverage because there’s no such thing as a hybrid personal liability commercial policy type of coverage. So insurance companies wouldn’t give them even coverage.
So at this point there was some negotiations, and the legislature in Sacramento has passed a law which Jerry Brown says that he will sign and which will take effect in July of 2015 which will permit these types of hybrid commercial insurance policies so insurance companies can sell policies to Lyft drivers who use their cars not only in their own personal setting but also for commercial means.
Unfortunately, the negotiations didn’t provide for a very high coverage. I think it’s $50,000, $100,000. But it’s better than the situation right now. So it is something for all users of Lyft cars to remember when they ride in a Lyft car that there may not be much coverage for their injuries, if any coverage. And even when this law is passed, it’s not going to be the type of coverage which would afford for serious injuries which may occur in an accident.