Uber/Lyft Accident

Using a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft has been increasingly popular in recent years. Since both services came to Iowa in 2016, riders and drivers have steadily increased. Many people utilize Uber and Lyft services on a regular basis. Most of the time, you go from your home or start location to work or another destination without incident. However, situations beyond our control do occur from time to time. You may choose to file a lawsuit if you have been injured in an accident while using a rideshare service, either as a passenger or as another driver.

“Who is accountable for my injuries?” This is something that you may wonder if you are injured while traveling in an Uber or Lyft. Typically, the driver’s company will have insurance coverage that will reimburse you in the event of an accident if you experience any injuries. However, in certain circumstances, their insurance coverage cannot cover your damages. This may lead you to wonder then “who is liable?”

It is imperative that you contact a skilled des moines car accident lawyer after suffering serious injuries in a car accident, especially when it involves a rideshare service. The Iowa Uber/Lyft accident attorneys at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling, PLLC can provide you with the legal advice you need in order to get the fair compensation you deserve. Our Des Moines personal injury lawyers are ready to take on your case.

Why You Need a Rideshare Accident Attorney?

In a ridesharing motor vehicle accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, determining culpability is the top priority after your safety is assured. A lawyer can assist you in locating the responsible party (or parties) and hold them accountable for your injuries and any other damages sustained. This can be challenging at times, and it often requires negotiations with many parties and insurance adjusters. Experienced personal injury lawyers will know what to do in the event of a ridesharing accident, as well as how to deal with the insurance companies.

If the rideshare driver is at fault, the passenger or other driver may be able to recover compensation from the driver’s personal insurance and/or the rideshare company’s liability policy.

If another driver is determined to be at fault, the injured party may be able to recover compensation from that driver’s personal insurance carrier.

In a rideshare accident, another important issue to evaluate is whether the driver had the ridesharing app open and running at the time of the crash. This can have a big impact on figuring out which insurance company is responsible for paying out. In order to aid the client in collecting fair compensation from all parties involved, an attorney will acquire all the necessary evidence to prepare a strong case.

Who is Liable in an Uber or Lyft Accident?

In a rideshare accident, liability is established by who caused the collision. Liability establishes the “at-fault” person. Iowa is regarded to be a “fault” state. This means that if a motorist causes a car crash, their insurance will cover the costs of the other driver’s medical bills and all associated medical expenses from the car accident. As a result, victims who are found “not at fault” after a collision have the legal right to sue the other driver’s insurance company for personal injuries.

You are generally not at fault if you are injured as a passenger in a rideshare accident, and you have the right to hold liable parties accountable for your injuries and losses. Lawsuits could be filed against a variety of parties, including:

  • The Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare driver
  • Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare company
  • Any other driver who was at fault for the accident

When passengers are inside a rideshare vehicle, Uber and Lyft providers must keep a minimum of $1 million in total liability coverage. If the driver is logged into the app but not transporting a passenger, they must have a minimum coverage of $50,000 per person and total liability coverage of $100,000 per accident. These policies also provide $25,000 in property damage coverage at a minimum.

In most cases, liability insurance policies forbid the use of automobiles for commercial purposes. As a result, innocent victims have significant difficulties in their recovery. Your attorney can help you receive compensation for the injuries you sustained by investigating alternative avenues of compensation.

Active vs. Inactive Rideshare Driver

There are many ways you can handle insurance claims after an Uber or Lyft accident. This is why personal injury claims in a rideshare accident can become complicated. When an Uber or Lyft driver is working, there are three categories they are placed into, and these categories will become critical when you seek to receive compensation from your injuries:

  1. The app is turned on but has not accepted a ride.
  2. The app is on, the driver accepted a ride, and is on the way to pick up the person or group.
  3. The app is on, the rider is in the car, and the driver is taking the person to their destination.

A driver may also have their app turned off and be deemed inactive. In this situation, Uber and Lyft may not be liable for any damages the driver causes. Additionally, the driver is considered inactive when they have the app on but are not providing any service. In this situation, you will not be able to make a claim under Uber or Lyft’s insurance. Often, the driver’s personal insurance will not cover this either, unless the driver has added a policy for ridesharing to their coverage.

Under the second and third categories above, a driver is deemed “active,” and their collision and liability coverage will be in play. This is the best scenario for recovery, and you will be able to file a claim against either service’s insurance policies. However, you will still have to deal with the insurance adjusters and discuss a settlement.

The best way to receive fair compensation is to keep a log of the incident and all associated injuries. You should always seek medical attention after an accident to determine if there are any head or brain injuries, broken bones, dislocations, back and neck issues, or any other serious injury.

Your Rights as an Uber or Lyft Passenger

If you are a passenger in a ridesharing vehicle, the Uber or Lyft driver must be logged into their app to be covered by the company’s liability policy. Outside of this period, the only possible coverage is the liability insurance held by the vehicle’s driver.

It can be difficult to seek compensation as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft accident. It is critical that you understand your rights and have adequate insurance coverage.

In a ridesharing accident, there are four possible insurance companies against whom you can submit a claim:

  1. Uber or Lyft’s commercial car insurance policy
  2. The Uber or Lyft driver’s personal insurance
  3. A driver of a different car
  4. The injured passenger’s personal insurance

It may be difficult to choose which insurance provider to make a claim against. There are several factors that go into making a proper claim for compensation. In both Uber and Lyft’s app, there’s an option to file a claim if you got in an accident during an active trip, or if it occurs while you’re on the app, but not on an active request, you can go under the help tab to file a claim within the app.


Iowa is a fault state when it comes to accident claims, which means the person determined to be at fault is responsible for all damages and injuries sustained in the accident.

If you have been in a car accident with an Uber driver, there are many factors involved to decide which insurance company and policy should cover the cost:

    • Did you cause the accident? Did another driver cause the accident? Did the Uber or Lyft driver cause the accident?
      • Rideshare service driver – the passenger or other driver can collect from the driver’s personal insurance or rideshares liability policy. Typically, the rideshare policy will have better coverage and provide you with more compensation for your injuries.
      • Another driver – the personal insurance of that driver. This will be like any other car accident claim.
      • Was the rideshare application turned on? Was the rideshare application turned on but not in active use?
        • The insurance policy will only be active if the driver has the application turned on at the time of the accident.
        • If the application was not turned on, then the rideshare insurance will not cover the accident.

There are instances where a third party is involved in the accident and may bear some fault, or have no fault in the incident. Either way, it is necessary to get their information as well because you may be able to file a third-party claim and negotiate a settlement with their insurance company.

Contact the Uber/Lyft Accident Attorneys at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling, PLLC

The personal injury attorneys at MSMC can help you figure out who is responsible for your injuries and what steps you can take to help you financially and physically recover. One of the most important aspects of our task will be determining and identifying the cause of the rideshare accident. We will gather evidence to figure out who or what caused your accident so we get you the best outcome.

Contact our Iowa Uber/Lyft accident attorneys today to obtain proper legal advice through a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. You can reach us online or by phone at (515) 444-4000 Our law firm is located in Des Moines, IA.


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