Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft offer San Antonio residents and visitors a valuable service. However, when a ridesharing crash occurs, competing insurance policies can complicate a victim’s car accident claims. Now, there’s another complication: Lyft is letting its drivers rent a vehicle rather than owning one.
In this article, we’ll discuss how this change will impact victims’ rights and legal options after a Lyft crash.
Lyft and Hertz Partner in San Antonio
In September 2018, Lyft announced a partnership in San Antonio with Hertz. Qualified drivers can now opt to rent a vehicle from Hertz rather than drive their own car. To be eligible, Lyft drivers must be at least 25 years old, and they must pay a refundable deposit and pass a background check.
In exchange for a weekly fee, Lyft drivers who join the Express Driver program can drive unlimited miles in their rental. Routine maintenance and some insurance coverage are also included in the package. However, drivers will face a $2,500 deductible if they damage the vehicle in a crash.
While some San Antonio Lyft drivers will welcome this development, it adds another level of complexity to the insurance claims that follow rideshare crashes. Now, in addition to Lyft’s insurance system, the driver’s private coverage, and your uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, you might also have to deal with Hertz’s insurance carrier.
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“When a crash involves multiple competing policies, it’s easy for all the insurance companies to try and shift responsibility to another party. Too often, the crash victim gets a slew of denied claims instead of fair compensation.”
Who Is Responsible for a Lyft Express Drive Crash?
Lyft has a three-tiered liability structure that is based on the driver’s activities at the time of the crash. When a driver causes a wreck while using Lyft Express Drive, Lyft looks at whether the driver is logged in or has a fare to determine which insurance company is responsible for injuries.
- Not logged into the rideshare app: Hertz’s minimum liability policy applies and will cover $30,000 in liability coverage for a single injury or $60,000 for a multi-injury crash.
- Logged in but waiting for a ride request or fare: Lyft’s contingent liability policy applies. This policy will pay up to $50,000 for a single injury or $100,000 for a multi-injury crash.
- Driving a passenger or en route to a pickup: Lyft’s $1,000,000 liability policy covers the victims’ claims.
In addition, Hertz covers any damage that its vehicles sustain in a crash and also provides Texas’ mandated minimum amounts of UM/UIM coverage.
While this liability structure might seem fair at first glance, it has significant flaws. Insurance companies aren’t in the business of paying claims. Instead, they care more about profitability and shareholder happiness. After a crash, the claims adjuster always looks for reasons to deny victims’ claims or reduce their value.
When a crash involves multiple competing policies, it’s easy for all the insurance companies to try and shift responsibility to another party. Too often, the crash victim gets a slew of denied claims instead of fair compensation.
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Additionally, serious injury claims can quickly exceed Hertz’s minimum policy limits or Lyft’s modest contingent liability policy, especially if the crash involved multiple vehicles.
At Crosley Law, we have extensive experience handling liability claims involving commercial drivers. We understand the complexities of these claims, and we work diligently to identify all the insurance policies involved in our clients’ cases. To learn more about our advanced approach to rideshare and commercial vehicle claims, contact us for more information.
Should I Take a Taxi Instead?
If the liability issues in a rideshare crash seem like something you’d rather not deal with, you might be tempted to hail a cab instead. Unfortunately, under Texas law, taxicabs only need to carry $30,000 in liability coverage for a single injury and $60,000 for multi-injury crashes. In comparison, a Lyft driver who is logged in to the app has between $50,000 and $1,000,000 in liability insurance coverage.
RELATED ARTICLE: What’s an Underinsured Motorist, and How Can I Protect Myself?
While some reputable cab companies carry adequate insurance policies, many others do not. If you’re involved in a serious taxicab crash, you might find yourself underinsured unless you have your own UM/UIM policy.
Injured in a San Antonio Lyft Crash? Contact Crosley Law for Help
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a crash involving a ridesharing service like Lyft or Uber, you should contact Crosley Law right away. We have extensive experience handling car accident claims, including cases that involve commercial vehicles and public transportation.
Express Drive overview. (n.d). Lyft. Retrieved from https://help.lyft.com/hc/en-us/articles/115013080108-Express-Drive-overview
Insurance with Express Drive. (n.d.). Lyft. Retrieved from https://help.lyft.com/hc/en-us/articles/360001562707
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.