If I'm Injured in a Ride-Sharing Accident, Can I Sue?

A man traveling by ride share service

Every day, people use ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. While most of these rides occur without incident, if you are injured in an accident involving a ride-sharing vehicle, it’s important to understand who’s liable and whether you’ll be able to sue for your damages. Here’s what you need to know.

Can You Sue an Uber or Lyft Driver After an Accident?

In most cases, you can file a lawsuit if you're injured in an accident with a ride-sharing driver. However, who you would sue and the compensation you may receive will depend on several factors. This includes whether you were a passenger in the vehicle or a ride-sharing driver hit you.

You may be able to sue either the driver of the vehicle or the ride-sharing company if you’ve been injured as any of the following:

  • A passenger riding in a ride-sharing vehicle
  • A pedestrian or cyclist who has been hit by a ride-sharing vehicle
  • A motorcyclist who has been involved in a collision with a ride-sharing vehicle
  • A driver who has been involved in a collision with a ride-sharing vehicle

If you own a residence or business property that has been damaged by an accident involving a ride-sharing vehicle, you  may also have grounds to sue.

Proving Liability

To receive a positive outcome when filing a transportation accident lawsuit, the injured party must be able to prove that the other party was at fault (liable) and show the extent of their injuries (damages).

In general, financial responsibility for your injuries will lie with the insurance provider of the at-fault driver. This may be your Uber or Lyft driver or another driver who caused the accident. In some cases, the insurance policy of the ride-sharing company itself will end up paying for your damages.

Lawsuits When the Ride Sharing Driver is at Fault

If you’re a passenger inside a ride-sharing vehicle and you’re injured in an accident, you could sue the driver. However, this may not get you far. Unless the driver happens to have a commercial insurance policy or a special provision added to their personal insurance policy, the accident would most likely fall under a “business use exception.” In this case, since the driver is carrying passengers for a fee, their personal insurance policies won’t pay out.

The good news is, you're not out of luck. Both Uber and Lyft carry third-party liability insurance policies that will pay up to $1 million per accident for property damage and personal injuries. They cover passengers from the moment the driver accepts the ride request on the app until either the ride is complete or the transaction is closed out (whichever comes later)

What Happens if Another Driver is at Fault?

If you’re in an accident that isn’t caused by the ride-sharing driver, you would need to file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit against them.

If the other driver leaves the scene of the accident, does not have vehicle insurance, or has coverage that is insufficient to compensate you for your damages, the ride-sharing company’s uninsured/underinsured  motorist (UM/UIM) insurance coverage would take over. This policy covers passengers from the moment they enter the vehicle until the exit.

If the insurance policies in place aren’t enough to cover your damages or the insurance company refuses to pay you, then you’ll likely need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the ride-sharing company itself.

What if an Uber Driver Causes an Accident While on the Way to Pick Up a Passenger?

When a ride-share driver has a passenger onboard, they’re considered to be actively working for the company. In this case, you can expect companies like Uber to put the full weight of their insurance coverage behind their driver.

However, if the driver causes an accident without a passenger on board, things get a bit more complex. If the driver is “on the clock,” meaning they're actively accepting passengers but have not yet picked one up, their liability falls back to their personal insurance. However, Uber provides contingency insurance, which adds an additional $50,000 per person or $100,000 per accident in liability coverage, as well as $25,000 in coverage for property damage.

If the driver is not currently accepting fares, then only their personal insurance applies. This means that just because a vehicle has an Uber or Lyft sticker on it, you shouldn’t automatically expect the company’s insurance to come into play.

What Damages May You Recover After a Ride-Sharing Accident?

While Uber and Lyft carry $1 million in coverage per accident, it's a mistake to assume that you will receive the maximum compensation. The amount you’re entitled to will depend on the details of the accident and the extent of your damages.

Under the law, damages you can claim in a ride-sharing lawsuit include:

  • Past and future physical impairment, physical pain and suffering, and mental anguish
  • Past and future expenses related to medical treatments, rehabilitation, hospital bills, disability, and other healthcare costs
  • Past economic losses including the loss of income, wages, and salary
  • Loss of future income caused by a long-term disability and permanent diminished earning capacity
  • Past property damages
  • Punitive damages (in the case of outrageous wrongful conduct)
  • Wrongful death (in lawsuits filed by family members)

It’s important to remember that insurance companies often look for ways to deny claims or reduce the amount they pay. This is one reason why you’ll want to consider working with an experienced car accident attorney to help you with your claim. In many cases, having an attorney by your side can significantly increase the amount you’ll be able to recover.

Request a Case Evaluation for Your Uber or Lyft Accident

If you’ve been injured in a ride-sharing accident, it's important to seek out the compensation you have coming to you. To get started, complete our free case evaluation form. We’ll review your information and reach out to you to schedule a consultation.