Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are convenient for California residents who use them for daily transportation. However, anyone who sustains an injury that involves a rideshare vehicle may wonder who is liable for damages.
The driver, rideshare company or a third party could be responsible depending on the driver’s status when an accident occurs.
The driver is using the app without a passenger
The minimum insurance coverage California Uber and Lyft drivers must purchase covers $15,000 for the injury or death of an individual, $30,000 for multiple victims to share and $5,000 for property damage. In addition, when rideshare drivers cause accidents while using the app without passengers, their insurance policy must cover damages. However, when damages exceed the policy’s limits, the rideshare company’s liability insurance provides additional coverage of up to $50,000 for injury or death and $25,000 for property damage.
The driver is using the app while riding with a passenger
Uber and Lyft liability insurance policies pay damages when drivers are at fault for accidents while riding with passengers. Coverage is $1 million for a single passenger and $2 million split among multiple passengers. However, under California law, the policy of another driver who causes an accident covers the damages. Still, the rideshare company pays damages up to $1 million if the other driver’s insurance is insufficient.
The driver is not using the app while operating a vehicle
When off-duty Uber or Lyft drivers cause accidents, their liability insurance pays damages to others, including passengers they find off the app. Unfortunately, rideshare companies do not provide coverage under these circumstances, and payments are minimal because most drivers do not purchase coverage beyond the legal minimum.
As Californians continue to rely on rideshares, legislators are working to increase the safety of drivers and passengers.