What happens if your Uber or Lyft Driver gets in a car accident while logged out of the app? Will Uber or Lyft cover your injuries, or will the drivers personal insurance coverage kick in?
You are traveling in downtown Sacramento and standing at the corner of Capitol Mall and 10th Street. You open up your Uber or Lyft app, and follow as your driver makes his/her way to your location. The driver shows up, and you are relieved to find that you have a ride so that you can tour the streets of Sacramento. You then ask the driver if he would be so kind to drive you to the Capitol building, Sutter’s Fort and Old Sacramento. The driver explains that he can only drive you to one of these locations and that you will then have to request another ride. You are concerned that you will have difficulty getting another ride, and you don’t know how long you will need to tour all the sites.
The driver then offers to turn off the app, and says you can pay him directly. He will then take you to all the sites that Sacramento has to offer and wait for you at each site. You agree to his proposal. After all, the driver has provided you a great convenience, and you believe that the driver’s conduct doesn’t affect you. His actions may trigger employment issues with Uber or Lyft, but these issues don’t concern you. Well, the driver’s actions actually do affect you and the public.
Under California law, Uber and Lyft are required to provide $1,000,000.00 of liability coverage per accident and $1,000,000.00 of uninsured motorist coverage per accident. Coverage limits of $1,000,000.00 covers the Uber or Lyft driver if he is at fault for causing injuries to others. $1,000,000.00 of uninsured motorist coverage covers the Uber driver and his or her passengers if any one of them, or all of them, are injured due to the fault of an uninsured motorist.
However, if the driver closes the app while driving you around the historical sites of Sacramento, then the driver has only his personal auto insurance’s liability and uninsured motorist coverage available to you should a motor vehicle accident occur. Yet, the driver may not have insurance coverage at all. Uber and Lyft are not required to provide liability coverage and uninsured motorist coverage when a driver is logged off its program, and personal auto insurance rarely covers an at-fault driver if the driver is operating a motor vehicle for a fee while causing an accident.
An Uber or Lyft driver can get a public passenger endorsement to his personal auto policy in order to have coverage for driving passengers outside the program they are driving for. However, these endorsements can be expensive. As a result, there is a good chance that you are riding in an uninsured motor vehicle. Is it worth the risk that you may have limited recourse for injuries suffered in an auto accident?
It is best for all concerned that you don’t ride with an Uber or Lyft driver that is logged off of the app. We, here, at Curtis Legal Group want to keep you safe, not only as a driver but as a passenger as well.