As Uber and Lyft ridesharing increases in our cities and society in general, the likelihood of accidents involving at least one shared-platform vehicle also increases. Uber and Lyft are called Transportation Network Companies and persons who seek transportation are “Riders.” People who drive the automobiles are called “Drivers.” The matching of Riders and Drivers is referred to as “Services.”
While the war rages on to determine whether Uber and Lyft drivers are employees or independent contractors, there is a more immediate question: What happens if a Lyft or Uber car is in a wreck? Most California automobile insurance policies that the Driver purchases have exclusions for business use. In other words, there is no standard automobile insurance like State Farm, Allstate, or Geico if you are riding in a Lyft or Uber car and it is in a crash. Moreover, as an uninsured vehicle, the owner and driver of that car are precluded from making a claim for pain and suffering unless the other driver is convicted of drunk-driving.
I have asked Uber and Lyft drivers what happens if they are in a crash: “Do you have insurance?” Most of the drivers say they have insurance. Sometimes, when I tell them they probably don’t have insurance because of the commercial use exclusion, they admit they knew they didn’t, they just didn’t.
I have asked drivers, “What happens if you are injured in a crash not your fault? Do you have insurance?”
“Oh, you mean like Workers’ Comp insurance?”
“Yeah, like Workers’ Comp, or any source of funds to pay your medical bills, your lost wages, and your bills you are working and driving to pay.”
“I don’t know.”
The California Public Utilities Code, Section 5432, requires drivers to be told that there is coverage provided by the transportation network company and that their personal automobile insurance coverage will not provide coverage. In fact, there is a one million dollar policy provided by the transportation network companies by law in the Public Utilities Code. If you are a Driver or a Rider involved in a wreck with an Uber or Lyft car, call our offices for expert representation to get the proceeds of that one million dollar policy that you deserve.