Lyft is a major provider of rideshare services throughout the Washington, D.C. metro region. Most people who use Lyft give little thought to whether their trip will be safe. Unfortunately, unsafe drivers and other problems can spell havoc for passengers, pedestrians, and others. Lyft injuries that resulted from someone else’s negligence potentially qualify for monetary compensation. But if you or a loved one are a victim of a Washington DC Lyft accident, where do you start?
Turn to the ridesharing attorneys of Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP. We understand what it takes to build a personal injury case and fight for the victims of Lyft accidents.
How Does Lyft Work?
Lyft users first download an app to their smartphones and create a personal profile. They also upload banking information so they can pay for their rides. Once they’ve finished that process, they’re ready to hail a vehicle. To do so, they open the app and request a nearby driver to come pick them up.
Using Lyft is a lot like using a cab. However, there are some important differences between ridesharing and traditional forms of public transportation, such as:
- Lyft drivers use their own personal vehicles, which may not be regularly maintained and inspected
- Lyft drivers are simply private motorists, with no special training in how to operate a vehicle
- Lyft drivers’ automobile insurance policies are not intended to cover commercial usage, which makes filing a claim more difficult after an accident
For these reasons and more, Lyft accidents are unlike those involving other automobiles. But there are some similarities, including the most common causes of these accidents.
What Causes a Lyft Accident in DC?
If you or a loved one were hurt in an automobile accident involving a Lyft vehicle, it will be important to understand why the accident happened. Automobile accident claims are a type of personal injury lawsuit, and they require proof of a defendant’s negligence. The burden of proof in establishing that negligence rests with the victim.
With that in mind, these are a few of the most common reasons Lyft accidents occur:
- Operating the vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Speeding, running red lights, and violating other traffic laws
- Distracted driving, which may be caused by cell phone use, disruptive passengers, and more
- Poor weather and environmental conditions, such as driving at night in poorly lit areas
- Potholes, unmarked lanes, construction zones, and other dangerous road conditions
- Aggressive driving, reckless driving, and road rage
- Problems with the vehicle such as maintenance or mechanical issues
Lyft drivers may be the ones at fault for these and other hazardous conditions. But other motorists could be to blame as well. Mechanics, repair shops, and even governmental agencies might bear some liability, depending on the circumstances. One or several parties could be brought into the lawsuit as defendants.
Insurance Coverage Is More Complicated With a DC Lyft Accident
In a typical automobile accident, the at-fault driver’s liability insurance will pay for the victim’s damages. Conversely, although Lyft drivers use their own vehicles, their insurance policies will usually not cover an accident. These policies contain exclusions for commercial use of the vehicle, which includes ridesharing. However, if another motorist was at fault for the accident, that person’s insurance may cover it.
As for Lyft, the company offers insurance to cover the damages associated with accidents involving their drivers. The coverage is up to $1 million of liability insurance and it covers the passenger from the time the ride is requested until the passenger is dropped off. If the driver’s personal automobile insurance is available, it may need to be used first.
If the Lyft driver was not on duty at the time of the accident (for instance, the Lyft app was turned off), the victim will need to claim through the driver’s personal insurance.
Other motorists who are injured by a negligent Lyft driver may be able to access the Lyft insurance. Meanwhile, if the Lyft driver is hurt by an at-fault motorist, he or she may be able to claim that driver’s insurance.
As you can readily tell, the accident victim could end up with competing insurance policies all trying to pin responsibility on the other. In addition, whichever insurance policy actually does cover the accident will likely attempt to deny payment or pay less than what the accident is worth. All of this can be a nightmare to sort through without the assistance of an attorney.
Other Issues With Lyft Drivers
There are two additional matters worth discussion when it comes to Lyft accidents:
- The Lyft driver has no special training
- The Lyft driver’s vehicle may not be properly maintained or repaired
These can further complicate efforts to recover. For example, the driver’s vehicle may have been defective due to a manufacturing error. Still, other third parties could be brought in as defendants, such as the government in the case of poor road conditions. With so many issues involving insurance, and so many potential defendants, how do you know who will pay for your injuries? This is where you need to have a skilled legal advocate in your corner.
Contact Our DC Lyft Accident Attorney
If you were injured in an accident involving Lyft, taking quick action is the best way to protect your legal rights. The attorneys of Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP are ready to serve you. We will investigate the causes of your accident and then demand the compensation you need to recover. Don’t delay, as time deadlines may be approaching in your case. Call us today to learn more.
Koonz McKenney Johnson & Depaolis serve residents of Washington DC including those living in Capitol Hill, Columbia Heights, Downtown District of Columbia, Foggy Bottom, Georgetown, and Mount Vernon.