Uber and Lyft revolutionized the way we get around. In 2014, Lyft and Uber were niche operations, available in only a few dozen large cities. By early 2018, they had a 72.5 percent share of all reimbursed ground travel expenses. These apps have made transportation on demand accessible where few, if any, taxis had previously filled the need, and made the roads safer by reducing drunk driving and providing drivers of advanced age or reduced abilities with a cost-effective transportation.
Uber and Lyft have not, however, eliminated all car wrecks and if you are injured while riding in one, you likely have a lot of questions. The issues in Morgantown rideshare accidents are often the same as with any other accident. This post will focus what is different: the potential insurance available. As a passenger in an Uber or Lyft, it is unlikely that you will bear any fault or “comparative negligence” in causing the wreck. The initial inquiry then is typically whether your rideshare driver, or another driver, was at fault in causing the wreck. If you need a Morgantown Rideshare Accident Lawyer in Morgantown, contact Wagoner Desai today.
Morgantown Uber/Lyft Wrecks Caused by Other Drivers.
If you were in a Morgantown rideshare accident that was caused by another driver (not your Uber/Lyft driver) you would first look to the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. The amount of insurance coverage will vary. All states have mandatory minimum coverage which ranges from $15,000 in Pennsylvania to $25,000 in Ohio, West Virginia and D.C. to $30,000 in Maryland. Of course, a prudent driver would purchase much more liability insurance coverage than the minimum required.
As with any other accident, if the amount of liability coverage is insufficient (as it often is with mandatory minimum policies), look first at your own policy to determine if you have underinsured motorist’s (“UIM”) coverage. Though it will not benefit you for past accidents, if you do not already have UIM coverage, we highly recommend you purchase this relatively inexpensive optional coverage. Regardless of whether you have your own UIM policy, Uber and Lyft both provide UIM coverage to passengers, though the amount varies by state.
It is important to look closely at both policies to determine whether one of the policies is “secondary” and is only applicable if the other “primary” UIM policy is exhausted. It is also important to understand the way UIM/first party claims are treated under the law of the state issuing the insurance policy. In Pennsylvania for instance, UIM claims can be filed immediately against the UIM carrier, whereas in West Virginia, you must first exhaust, or “constructively exhaust” the third-party (at fault person) policy. These sort of coverage issues can be complex, and a knowledgeable lawyer can provide a great deal assistance.
If the at-fault driver did not carry any third-party liability insurance, you will need to look to uninsured motorist’s (“UM”) coverage. If you have your own auto policy, you may have UM coverage. It is mandatory in WV, MD, DC and 19 other jurisdictions. Additionally, Uber and Lyft also provide uninsured UM coverage. Again, it is important to determine if the applicable policies provide that they are “primary” or “secondary.”
Morgantown Uber/Lyft Wrecks Caused by Your Rideshare Driver.
Both Uber and Lyft carry at least $1,000,000 in third-party liability coverage. Third-party coverage is the coverage available to cover injuries and damages caused by its drivers. More coverage may be available under the driver’s personal auto policy and you, or your lawyer, should carefully review the terms of both policies. Additionally, if you have your own auto policy, additional coverage may be available under your UIM policy for catastrophic injuries. As with the UIM and UM claims discussed above, the devil is in the details in dealing with multiple insurance policies.
Wagoner Desai, PLLC
265 High Street, 3rd Floor
Citizens Bank Building
Morgantown, WV 26505
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