Who Covers Medical Costs Following Uber and Lyft Accidents in Pennsylvania?
When you are in an Uber or Lyft accident, who will cover the injuries and damage from the accident can be confusing. Depending on whether you were an Uber/Lyft driver, a passenger, a pedestrian, or the driver/passenger of another can, different options may be available to cover your injuries. No matter what, there is likely an insurance policy that will cover your injuries. A Philadelphia car accident lawyer at The Reiff Law Firm can help you get the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.
How Pennsylvania Car Insurance Works
Pennsylvania is a “choice no-fault” car insurance state. That means that each insurance policy can be either a “fault” policy or a “no-fault” policy, and you choose this when you sign up for the policy. (These are usually contained within your “limited tort” and “full tort” insurance options.) The main difference between these two is that a “no-fault” insurance policy covers at least $5,000 worth of injuries to the policyholder, no matter who is at fault for the accident.
In a typical car accident between two cars, each driver collects insurance information and files a “third party claim” against the other driver’s insurance for payment. The insurance companies decide who is at fault, and if their driver was at fault, they pay the injured parties. If you have no-fault PIP in Pennsylvania, you also make a “first party claim” to your own insurance, which will cover your injuries no matter who is at-fault.
Sometimes, another driver has bad auto insurance. Pennsylvania requires every driver to have car insurance, and even requires a certain “state minimum” coverage. These minimums are as follows:
- At least $15,000 coverage per person for injury
- At least $30,000 coverage per accident for injury
- At least $5,000 coverage for property damage
- At least $15,000 coverage per person and $30,000 per accident for uninsured/underinsured motorists
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage kicks in to cover your injuries when the other, at-fault driver’s insurance is too low. For instance, if you face $30,000 in injuries, and the other driver has the state minimum coverage of $15,000 per person, their insurance will only cover $15,000 of your injuries. Your own underinsured motorist coverage will cover the other $15,000 for your injuries. Similar claims may work in hit and run cases or cases where the at-fault driver illegally carries no insurance.
Lyft and Uber’s Insurance
Lyft and Uber each have very good insurance policies for accidents involving their drivers. The problem is that these policies are limited in when they apply. There are three scenarios for Uber and Lyft’s insurance policies, and each one means a different insurance policy will cover:
- If the Uber or Lyft driver is not using the app and is off-duty, their personal insurance policy covers Uber accidents.
- If the Uber or Lyft driver is logged-in to the app, but has not yet accepted a ride, Uber or Lyft’s reduced “contingent” policy covers accidents.
- Between when the Uber or Lyft driver accepts a ride and drops off a passenger, Uber or Lyft’s $1 million insurance policy covers accidents.
In the first situation, where the Uber or Lyft driver is off-duty, their personal insurance covers. This means that the car accident works like any other PA car accident, and the at-fault party’s insurance pays for injuries. If either party has PIP, that will also cover their own injuries, regardless of fault.
In the second situation, Uber or Lyft has a reduced, sometimes called “contingent,” insurance policy. This policy only kicks-in if the Uber or Lyft driver does have their own insurance – so illegally uninsured Lyft or Uber drivers put this coverage out of reach. Regardless of who is at fault, this policy covers up to $50,000 per person in injuries and up to $100,000 per accident in injuries. Since this kicks in regardless of who is at fault, you will likely be protected for moderate injuries.
In the last situation, Uber or Lyft’s $1 million insurance policy kicks in to protect riders when the driver is at fault. This insurance policy is a “third party insurance policy,” meaning that it will protect other drivers and passengers when the Uber/Lyft driver is at fault. Uber and Lyft’s policies each cover up to $1 million per accident for injury. If another driver was at fault, the other driver’s insurance policy will cover your injuries, just like in any other car accident.
Unfortunately, other drivers’ insurance policies may be weak, and will not fully cover severe injuries like traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. This is especially true if they only have the PA state minimum coverage of $15,000 per person. Luckily, Uber and Lyft’s $1 million policies also act as uninsured/underinsured policies – meaning they will cover injuries beyond what the at-fault driver’s insurance covers, if the injuries are too expensive for their policy.
Because Uber and Lyft’s insurance policies are so strong, you can likely find coverage for your injuries whenever you are in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver. The hardest part of seeking coverage may be understanding the insurance and claims process. Our car accident attorneys can put their decades of experience toward getting you the compensation you need. For a free consultation with The Reiff Law Firm’s Philadelphia personal injury attorneys, call (215) 709-6940 today.
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