Michigan Lyft Car Accident Law Firm
If you need a Lyft, one is not hard to come by. Lyft is the second-largest rideshare company in the U.S., behind Uber, operating in approximately 644 American cities and providing over one million rides every day. With so many cars transporting so many passengers in so many places, it is no surprise that accidents involving Lyft drivers and vehicles are common occurrences.
Cities served by Uber and Lyft see significant increases in traffic fatalities. One study concluded that “The arrival of ride[sharing] is associated with an increase of approximately 3 percent in the number of fatalities and fatal accidents, for both vehicle occupants and pedestrians.”
Those injured or who lose a loved one because of a Lyft driver’s negligence can pursue compensation from the driver and Lyft for their injuries and losses, just as they could if the accident involved a driver in a private vehicle. Unlike crashes involving other cars, however, those involving Lyft cars raise unique issues and challenges for individuals who seek to recover damages for injuries sustained as a passenger in one of their vehicles.
At Sommers Schwartz, P.C., Michigan’s premier personal injury law firm, we combine our commitment to protecting injury victims with the knowledge and experience necessary to pursue claims against ridesharing companies like Lyft successfully. Our Detroit Lyft accident lawyers understand the legal and practical nuances of injury claims against Lyft, including the complicated insurance matters in these cases. If you suffered injuries in a Lyft vehicle, our attorneys stand ready to hold the driver and the company accountable for your losses and get you the resources you need to move forward with your life.
Lyft Drivers: No Experience, No Problem
Lyft’s business model’s very nature requires riders to get into a vehicle with a stranger. While many assume that Lyft drivers must undergo a strict training program or pass a driving skills test, that is not the case. Lyft allows almost anyone to drive for the company. According to its website, those who meet the following minimal qualifications can drive for Lyft:
- Have a valid driver’s license.
- Use an eligible vehicle.
- Pass a background check.
- Pass a driving history check.
The driving history check does not require a clean record, and Lyft will generally only deny an applicant’s request to drive for the company if they have:
- More than three moving violations in the past three years.
- A major moving violation in the past three years (including driving on a suspended license or reckless driving).
- A DUI or other drug-related driving violation in their recent history.
- A serious driving-related conviction in the past seven years (including a hit-and-run accident or any felony involving a vehicle).
These lax policies make Lyft accidents almost inevitable. Crashes involving Lyft vehicles do not always happen when they are carrying passengers, however. A large number of these accidents occur while the driver is “deadheading,” which is the period when a driver is waiting to be matched with a passenger through the app. Lyft cars are also responsible for many non-fatal car accidents, including pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, and collisions with other vehicles.
How Lyft Accident Victims Can Hold the Company Accountable
When Lyft began operating in Michigan, there was no state-wide regulation of rideshare companies. Thus, in part, because Michigan is a no-fault state, there was confusion about the circumstances under which Lyft could be held responsible for injuries caused by one of their drivers. However, Michigan lawmakers passed a law in 2017 that provided some much-needed clarity.
Under the 2017 law, rideshare companies – but not drivers – must register with the state and pay a fee. The law also characterizes Lyft drivers as independent contractors, meaning they are not considered “employees.” This classification limits the situations in which accident victims can hold Lyft responsible for their injuries, as companies generally are not responsible for independent contractors’ actions.
The law also imposed new insurance requirements for Lyft and their drivers and specified when those policies would cover injuries and losses incurred in an accident. Specifically, Lyft drivers must have both:
- $1 million in liability coverage for accidents occurring during a pre-arranged ride (while the driver is transporting a passenger).
- $50,000 in liability coverage for accidents occurring between pre-arranged rides (while a driver is waiting for a passenger).
Therefore, under Michigan law, Lyft’s $1 million insurance coverage only applies when the driver is transporting a passenger. Otherwise, the company’s $50,000 policy limit will apply. If an accident occurs while the driver’s app is off or they are not accepting rides, the company’s insurance policy will not cover any injuries or losses. However, compensation may be available under the driver’s personal liability coverage.
Sorting out these insurance issues and working to ensure that sufficient funds are available to compensate you for your injuries and losses are just some of the ways we can help you recover after a Lyft accident. When you meet with us for your free initial consultation, we will listen to your story, thoroughly analyze the facts and circumstances of your accident, and pursue the maximum amount of compensation available under the law.
Injured in a Michigan Lyft Accident? Contact Sommers Schwartz Today for Your Free Initial Consultation
If you recently suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a Michigan Lyft accident, we understand that it can be a challenging and confusing time. At Sommers Schwartz, our experienced rideshare accident attorneys stand ready to provide the answers you need and the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers have a long record of success recovering substantial compensation in all types of car accident cases, including those involving rideshare vehicles and drivers. To learn more about how we can help you pursue a Lyft accident compensation claim, call us today at 866-753-7774 to schedule a free consultation.