Tips for Your Lyft Accident Claim
Lyft is successfully competing with Uber in the ridesharing market in many cities. Some people prefer to take Lyfts for a variety of reasons, and thousands of people use the Lyft app every day. The system works like Uber’s, but while Uber tends to focus more on a professional appearance, Lyft tends to emphasize and encourage friendliness and community when it comes to driver interactions. Uber also makes a point to offer more upscale vehicles that cater to business people and others who expect high-class rides. Lyft has more economical vehicles, and its services often come at lower price tags, which attract many people who simply want a ride.
Underpaid Drivers Make for Dangerous Trips
One similarity between Uber and Lyft is the potential that a driver will get into an accident while you’re riding in the car. In fact, Lyft accidents happen more often than you think! The low reimbursement rates and drive to get more and more income often results in Lyft drivers working even when they are tired or driving too fast to a destination.
According to Gridwise, Uber drivers in Houston make just under $15 per hour. Lyft drivers make a similar amount. It is a difficult way to earn a living, and rideshare drivers have to hustle. Unfortunately, their hustle equals danger for both their passengers and other drivers.
Millions of people have spent time as Uber and Lyft drivers. It does not take long to become a rideshare driver, and they need minimal training. Drivers come and go, and the companies invest little in each driver if they spend anything at all. Beyond a background check and quick check of driving records (if the companies do them at all), there is no other attention paid to each potential driver’s safety.
Houston actually tries hard to closely regulate the rideshare industry, but companies like Uber and Lyft fight them tooth and nail. The rideshare companies want drivers to come in off the street and start driving practically the next day.
Right now, Uber and Lyft are facing massive driver shortages. Rideshare drivers are fighting for higher pay and better conditions, and many are choosing another way of earning income. As a result, the companies may be even more willing to sacrifice driver safety.
The Lyft App Takes Away Drivers’ Focus
In addition, the entire Lyft system seems to promote distracted driving. When behind the wheel, drivers continuously have their eye on the app because that is how they receive requests for rides. They are constantly handling and looking at their mobile device instead of keeping their full attention on the road. This is exactly what they should be avoiding.
Further, Uber and Lyft drivers add to traffic dangers because of a practice called “deadheading,” which has nothing to do with 1960s music. Instead, it means that they are aimlessly driving around in high traffic areas to be in position for ride requests. It creates even more traffic in areas that are already dangerous. These drivers can weave in and out of traffic and make sudden movements when they get a ride request. This practice has raised accident rates in congested major cities like Houston.
Our attorneys have been fighting Lyft car accident injury claims for years. We know all Lyft’s tricks—and they know who WE are, too. If you are in an accident with a Lyft driver or while a Lyft passenger, you need a law firm that knows how to win those cases. If you are dealing with a Lyft car accident claim, call us right now for a free consultation at 800-898-4877 or contact us to discuss your case for free.
Here are some insider tips that come from attorneys who have been dealing with rideshare claims since the early days of Uber and Lyft.
INSIDER TIP—You May Have a Hard Time Getting Lyft to Take Responsibility
Because you summoned a car using the Lyft app and Lyft approved the driver of the car, you would expect that Lyft would take responsibility for the crash and all of your injuries, right?
Well, no, not necessarily. Lyft drivers work as independent contractors, so Lyft won’t always immediately take responsibility for anything the drivers do—even when you end up hurt in a Lyft car.
Lyft often will get involved in some capacity, however, as the company carries insurance policies to cover drivers just in case the drivers don’t buy enough coverage themselves. Each state sets different requirements, including Texas, but ultimately, you need an attorney who knows the “ins and outs” of the law to make sure you can put Lyft and its insurance companies on the hook for your injuries whenever possible.
INSIDER TIP—Lyft WILL Make the Claims Process Harder Than Necessary
Many people think car accident claims should follow a standard process:
- A driver hurts you
- You file a claim with the driver’s insurance company
- You tell the company the losses you incurred
- The company issues payment for those losses
Oh, if it were actually this easy! Instead, Lyft and their insurance companies make the claims process as difficult as possible at every turn.
Lyft and its insurance company BOTH want to limit your payout because that means more money in their already deep pockets. Insurance adjusters will make promises and act like they care when really their ONLY goal is to pay you as LITTLE as possible.
In fact, the insurance adjuster on your Lyft claim may even receive rewards or earn a bonus based on how little they pay you! While you may feel tempted to trust adjusters who act as if they care about your well-being, DON’T. These people care about Lyft’s bottom line and NOT about your injuries and damages.
Lyft works with many of the major insurance companies to protect itself. Lyft’s insurance partners include:
- Allstate Insurance Company (North Light Specialty Insurance Company)
- Liberty Mutual Insurance
- Mobilitas Insurance Company
- Progressive (United Financial Casualty Company)
- Travelers (Constitution State Services)
None of these companies have a reputation that is anything other than friendly to their own best interests. They are all notoriously difficult in the claims process.
INSIDER TIP – Don’t Take the Insurance Company’s First Offer
The insurance company’s initial offer is their attempt to settle the case on the cheap. They know exactly how much your claim is worth because they have an army of adjusters and statisticians on their side who do nothing but value claims. They view the claims process as a negotiation. You are their adversary, and they are trying to cut your recovery. They also know that you may need the money quickly to deal with your financial losses.
It is not uncommon for the insurance company to make a low initial offer. They are guessing that you do not know how low it really is. That is precisely why you should have a lawyer on your side. Your attorney has the same knowledge as the insurance company, and they will advise you that the offer is too low. While the ultimate decision of whether to accept an offer is yours, the lawyer will give their opinion.
INSIDER TIP – You Have the Power to Negotiate with the Insurance Company
If a rideshare settlement offer is too low, you can reject it. While rejecting the insurance company’s settlement offer takes it off the table for now, they expect that you will submit your own counteroffer in the form of a demand letter. The insurance company builds this into their initial offer, giving them room to negotiate in the future.
You can count on there being offers, counteroffers, rejections, and ongoing communications. This is part of a time-honored process, and rideshare claims are no different. The important thing to remember is that you have no obligation to accept an offer that pays you too little just because the insurance company made it. You have the freedom to negotiate. In the end, if the insurance company will not be reasonable, you have the legal right to file a lawsuit.
INSIDER TIP—You Do NOT Need to Give a Recorded Statement!
The Lyft claims adjusters almost always try to get you to give them recorded statements about the accident and your injuries. They may tell you the recorded statement is necessary, or that they are only doing it so that they can “expedite” your claim. DO NOT BELIEVE them. They want that recorded statement for one reason only—to hold what you say against you!
These recorded statements may seem like a casual, open conversation when really they will use anything you say to limit or deny your claim. If you casually mention that you’re feeling better that day, they can use that to claim you don’t need as much treatment in the future or that you should’ve gone back to work since you’re feeling fine! The tactics that these companies will employ to use your words against you will shock you, so it’s NEVER a good idea to agree to a recorded statement.
INSIDER TIP – You Cannot Sue Uber and Lyft Directly
Lyft has created a system where they seem to get the best of both worlds. They act as a middleman, taking a large cut of what the driver makes from each ride. Every time you get in a rideshare vehicle, the companies are receiving payment for providing the app that connects passengers and drivers. However, Lyft has tricks that they use to protect themselves legally at all costs.
Their primary trick is that they classify drivers as independent contractors. The rideshare companies are trying to pad their own bottom line, avoiding paying their drivers a decent wage in the name of boosting their own profits. Not only does it make for stressed drivers scrambling to get passengers to their destinations at unsafe speeds, but it also affects your legal rights after an accident.
When a driver is an independent contractor, it means that they do not actually work for the company. Usually, a company is legally responsible for the acts of its drivers. However, when they get to claim that its drivers are acting on their own, the company avoids liability when their drivers are in a crash. This keeps Lyft from having the same legal issues that taxi companies have. Of relevance to you, it means that you cannot sue Uber or Lyft directly.
INSIDER TIP – An Attorney Can Only HELP Your Claim
Insurance companies don’t want you to call a lawyer because they know lawyers will call them out for low offers and dirty tricks, and ultimately FIGHT for every penny you deserve.
Our attorneys can:
- Accurately calculate all of your losses
- Review every offer and tell you when it’s inadequate
- Negotiate for the settlement you deserve
- File a lawsuit when needed
No matter what Lyft’s insurance company tells you, hiring the right attorney to have your back can only help your situation. Your attorney will investigate the circumstances behind your crash and help figure out the right party to sue. They will also advise you about the amount of insurance coverage available because that is not always easy to deduce. Again, the rideshare company makes it very hard for you to file a claim by setting up a very confusing system.
INSIDER TIP – The Rideshare Driver May Not Always Be the Responsible Party
If you are an injured passenger, you need to know who was responsible for the accident. It is not always the rideshare driver. If the Lyft car collided with another driver, that motorist could be responsible. In that event, your claim would be against the other motorist’s insurance. The rideshare companies also have underinsured motorist coverage, so you could file a second claim if the responsible driver does not have enough insurance.
The traditional rules of negligence will decide who was responsible for the accident. As an injured passenger, someone else’s insurance will need to pay for your injuries. You are not left in the cold to shoulder your own burden.
When you are filing an insurance claim after a rideshare accident, it is important to know the rules of insurance coverage. Again, this is where the rideshare companies try to make it as hard as possible.
There are many scenarios for whose insurance company applies and how much coverage there is.
- In the best-case scenario, there is a $1 million policy in place. This is when the driver has accepted a ride request or has a passenger in the car. This continues when the passenger leaves the car after the ride terminates.
- When the driver has the app turned on, but there is no passenger in the car, there is $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $100,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident.
- If the driver’s app is off, then the driver’s personal insurance coverage applies.
This is not the end of the story. If you are an injured driver involved in a Lyft collision, you would have to prove that the rideshare driver was at fault. If you are an injured passenger, you need to determine which one of the two drivers caused the crash.
What You Can Claim in Rideshare Accident Damages
The next key is to know exactly how much compensation you should receive for your Lyft claim. This will help your rideshare attorney value your claim.
Here are the elements of your rideshare claim damages:
- Lost wages for the time that you miss from work or any reduction in your earnings capability
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills
- Emotional distress
- Rehabilitation costs
We Take the Fight to Lyft’s Insurance Company
There are many ways that an insurance company can undervalue your claim. One of their favorite tricks is to understate how difficult your experience has been and far underpay your pain and suffering damages. This is where your rideshare accident attorney fights to keep the insurance company honest. At Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, insurance companies do not like us, and for good reason. We do not let them push our clients around. We call them on their tricks and make sure that clients are wise to what the insurance company is trying to do to them.
We will make every effort to reach a favorable settlement on your behalf that fairly pays you for all of your damages. In some cases, it is not possible, either because the insurance company denies the claim, or they will not be reasonable in settlement negotiations. Some cases will end up in civil court, although it is rare.
You Can File a Lawsuit if You Cannot Reach a Fair Settlement
When that happens, you have the right to file a lawsuit in court seeking fair compensation. This will add time to the timeframe for possibly getting a check, but it is a necessity sometimes.
You may be surprised to learn that most cases filed in court do not end up going to trial. This is because the insurance company does not want to have a trial. It costs them money, and they do not like to take the risk of going in front of a jury. Therefore, they will continue to negotiate a settlement until the case reaches a jury. This may improve your negotiating position if the insurance company continues to be difficult.
All of this becomes possible when you hire an aggressive lawyer who knows how to battle insurance companies on their own turf. This is what we do at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers. What is even better for you is that hiring us will not cost you anything out of pocket. Of course, we may receive payment for our work, but it only happens if we help you recover financially from your injuries. If not, you do not owe us anything for our legal services. We take the time to learn about your particular case and concerns before we begin to represent you. This is our approach to practicing law, and it is why we get out of bed every morning.
Aggressive Houston Rideshare Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a rideshare accident, call us to learn more about your legal rights and how you could receive financial compensation. You can contact us online or call us at (800) 898-4877 to schedule your initial consultation. Talking to us to learn about your case costs you nothing. We will learn the facts of your case and explain your legal options. Contact us today to get started!
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.