Michigan Uber And Lyft Accident Attorney
Whether you are the passenger, the driver, or the other motor vehicle involved in an accident involving a ridesharing company like Uber or Lyft, there are essential steps to take to solidify the insurance claims process. As the transportation network industry is relatively new, the insurance companies are rapidly taking measures to ensure that their automobile policies involve some kind of ridesharing agreement for coverage and liability options. Thus, it is essential to retain an attorney or law firm experienced in handling claims and cases against Uber or Lyft. At Haque Legal, we have successfully handled numerous car accident cases with impressive results, including those with rideshare companies. Our Michigan rideshare lawyers have a reputation for aggressively handling Uber car crashes and Lyft injury claims.
What Is A Rideshare Company?
Rideshare companies (also known as Transportation Network Companies or Peer-to-peer ridesharing) provide driver-for-hire ridesharing services to consumers by contracting with freelance drivers who use their personal vehicles to transport passengers. This service is provided through a smartphone app that is convenient and inexpensive. It is as simple as ordering a ride through your phone and within minutes you’re on your way. Once you arrive at your destination, simply get out and move on with your day. The app handles the payment automatically. Transportation has become less of a hassle and is more convenient and user-friendly. But there are some serious concerns about how these services operate, how they screen their drivers, and how they protect their customers if there’s an accident. All of which can result in you needing a rideshare accident attorney.
What Qualifies A Rideshare Company?
The emerging norm for these carpool companies involves three elements:
- A smartphone to request a ride set a pickup and drop-off location, etc.
- The use of GPS for the driver to navigate and for the app to track the route and calculate a cost
- Some social media-like-platform for riders to rate their drivers so that others can know what to expect
How Does Uber Or Lyft Screen Their Drivers?
Before a person can drive for Uber or Lyft, they are screened for things like a safe driving record and serious criminal charges. The potential driver must provide the rideshare company with their name, date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license number, a copy of their driver’s license, vehicle registration, insurance, and proof of a completed vehicle inspection. The carpooling companies then use a third party to run a background check; for example, Uber uses a company called Checkr, which is nationally accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners. The third party then runs the name against the national sex offender database, against public records databases, and of course against driver records.
As thorough as the process is, it’s still not 100% accurate and many people slip through the cracks, either through missed records or fraudulent identity. Some states, like California, even have laws that prevent companies like Checkr from going back more than seven years for public records. Uber and Lyft have also been criticized for not using a screening process the requires fingerprints, which are then run through databases like the FBI’s.
Taxi drivers are required to go through all these background checks, in addition to fingerprint scanning.
Can I Lose My Uber Access If I Make A Claim?
It is not uncommon for an Uber driver or Uber Passenger to express worry about bringing a claim against the rideshare company. However, if you bring a valid injury claim under the insurance policy from Uber or Lyft, you will not be penalized. Both Uber and Lyft pay a portion of each fare directly to their insurance companies for this exact purpose. Thus, pursuing a claim and retaining an Uber and Lyft lawyer such as Fahd Haque of Haque Legal will not cause you to be penalized.
In Michigan, Uber is covered by Allstate Insurance Company, while Lyft utilizes Empire Fire and Marine Insurance. These insurance companies are large enough so that any single claim does not impact their bottom line. As such, if your insurance claim is valid, and documented properly by the authorities such as police, ambulance, fire rescue, and your medical doctors, your claim will be given the respect that it should be. Of course, in order to get the full respect of the insurance companies, it makes a big difference when you hire a law firm that has considerable experience handling injury claims against a ridesharing company. The claim adjusters of Allstate Insurance Company and Empire Fire and Marine Insurance know the team at Haque Legal and respect our ability to bring a strong claim directly to a jury if necessary. Your privileges on the Uber or Lyft applications or platforms will not be in jeopardy because you use a rideshare accident lawyer.
Are Uber or Lyft Cars Registered As Commercial Vehicles?
No, drivers participating in commuter apps do not have to register or insure their car as commercial vehicles. These services provide commercial and taxi-like services that enable passengers to arrange rides on short notice using a smartphone app. However, they are exempt from following the same guidelines. Rideshare companies often argue that rideshare vehicles do not operate like traditional taxis; a single taxi is on the road upwards of 70,000 miles annually, whereas commuter cars are used considerably less. However, some rideshare drivers drive full-time, placing them on the road equally as much as taxi drivers.
Continually, these apps claim that their businesses are just that, “just an app”. They claim to be just a technological start-up that is the middle man between a person willing to give someone a ride and a person willing to take that ride. Because of this loophole, Uber or Lyft are not required to operate as a commercialized vehicle for-hire entity. Something to keep in mind when hiring your rideshare accident lawyer.
What Happens After An Accident Using Uber Or Lyft?
In the recent past, a few bills have been signed into law that have regulated the way app-based companies like Uber and Lyft operate and are insured. While commercial vehicles must be covered through strict policies governed by their state, Uber and Lyft were not subjected to the same kind of requirement. Again, this was circumvented due to their modern business model in which they claimed they were just an app the helped people find other people willing to give them a ride.
With pressure mounting due to numerous accidents across the US, Uber and Lyft adopted insurance coverage for drivers that kicks-in once they have accepted and picked up a passenger.
Problem solved? Not even close.
Are Uber Or Lyft Required To Carry Insurance?
Adopted with the Michigan No-Fault Act, vehicles operating in a transportation network system must provide primary insurance coverage for the entire time a driver’s app is on. Therefore, automobile insurers may rightfully deny personal-line policyholder claims arising out of incidents involving rideshare-affiliated vehicles. In effect, rideshare companies must provide primary liability coverage of at least $50,000 per injured person, $100,000 for all injuries in an accident, and $30,000 for property damage.
What are Michigan’s Laws Regarding Uber And Lyft?
The new law requires Uber and Lyft to use their insurance coverage from the time the driver is logged on to the app until the driver has dropped off their passengers.
A rideshare driver, or the company itself on the driver’s behalf, needs primary automobile insurance that recognizes the driver as a TNC driver and uses the automobile for commercial purposes.
The required coverage amounts when a driver is transporting a customer is at least $250,000.00 for death and primary automobile liability insurance, which meets the minimum requirements of a limousine user.
These minimum requirements are up to date with the coverage rideshare companies have already begun providing their drivers. The one difference between Uber’s current policy is the contingency of coverage when a driver is logged onto Uber’s platform but is not driving a passenger. Essentially this makes Uber’s policy the primary one if the driver is logged into the application.
Without this piece of legislation, the driver’s personal policy may take effect if the driver says he was logged onto the app but not using it and Uber’s policy would cover losses for what the driver’s personal policy did not.
What If I’m A Passenger In A Uber Or Lyft?
It’s important to note that if you’re an injured person in the car with the driver, your personal auto policy probably would not provide coverage for an injury in a TNC. This is because private-passenger auto insurance policies were never intended to provide coverage for injuries incurred while the vehicle was engaged in a commercial. However, the rideshare insurance will, more than likely, cover your injuries. And make sure that they do with the help of one of our Michigan rideshare accident attorneys!
What Should I Do If I’m In A Collision Involving Uber Or Lyft?
Auto accidents involving rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft can be confusing and unique because of the changing landscape of the laws that regulate such businesses. Under current company policies, drivers should be covered as long as they are logged into the app. Likewise, passengers should be covered too. The legal grey area is when someone is on their way to pick up a client and is driving by themselves. In these cases, the victim of a crash will have to go through the driver’s personal insurance before reaching the rideshare company. In some other cases, injured passengers have to fight against the driver, the driver’s insurance or even the driver’s contractor to receive fair compensation. Because Uber and Lyft are considered independent contractors, the question of liability is difficult to understand, and a rideshare accident lawyer will help you through it all.
Contact Haque Legal
The experienced Michigan rideshare accident lawyers of Haque Legal help clear the air. Support should be available for all of your current and future medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other related damages. Contact Haque Legal to figure it all out today at (248) 996-9954.
*The above information was written and reviewed by either Attorney Fahd Haque or another injury lawyer at the Haque Legal with several years of experience practicing Michigan personal injury law. The information provided comes from extensive research and years of experience arguing legal cases in courtrooms throughout Michigan.