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How to file an Accident claim against Uber or Lyft?
The State of New Jersey treats accidents involving Uber and Lyft vehicles differently than more traditional services like taxis and limousines. Winning a claim against Uber or Lyft for pain and suffering, and indirectly for outstanding medical bills, requires a thorough understanding of the law.
In 2017, the State of New Jersey enacted N.J.S.A. 39:5H-10 that imposed mandatory insurance coverages for Uber and Lyft vehicles/drivers. Before that, these drivers were riding around with their regular car insurance, and those insurance policies would regularly deny coverage.
The coverage required under New Jersey law is complicated and depends on different factors. The two main factors in what Lyft or Uber Insurance coverage applies to an automobile accident is whether the driver is logged on to the Lyft or Uber application and whether or not the driver is providing a prearranged ride to a customer.
Coverage for Uber/Lyft Drivers
A driver who is on the application going to pick up a customer has a different level of insurance coverage than a driver who has a customer in the car. If you are an Uber/Lyft driver involved in an accident while transporting a passenger, the amount of insurance coverage available is considerably higher than what would be available if you had an accident on the way to pick up that same person. These facts need to be explored, identified, and pointed-out out when filing an insurance claim with Uber or Lyft.
Coverage for Uber/Lyft Passengers
Uber and Lyft drivers are NOT REQUIRED to and DO NOT maintain medical insurance coverage for passengers. What makes this significant is that folks injured during an Uber or Lyft ride will not receive medical coverage from the vehicle and must rely on their own private insurance. If you do not have your own private health insurance, you could wind up being responsible for all of your medical bills—which can quickly run up to tens of thousands of dollars.
As a practical matter passengers must submit their medical bills to their own health insurance. Depending on the plan, the health insurance may have to be repaid (a “lien”) out of any money you recover from a personal injury case. Unpaid medical expenses (and expenses that you have to repay to your health insurance) may be recovered in a liability claim against the person who causes the accident. If the wrongdoer does not have adequate liability insurance coverage, then the injured party may seek recovery through Uber or Lyft through an Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) claim. Unlike the terrible levels of medical coverage for passengers, Uber or Lyft’s policies are required to maintain at least $1.5 million in UM/UIM coverage.
If you have been involved in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft ride, please give Dan T. Matrafajlo of Beninato and Matrafajlo a call to discuss your rights. All consultations are free, and the advice you may obtain is priceless so it never will hurt for you to call.