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Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers > Blog > Personal Injury > Why It Matters When a Lyft or Uber Driver Hits You

Why It Matters When a Lyft or Uber Driver Hits You


The popularity of ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft in the Atlanta area have given rise to a whole host of new legal problems. Among them is how to deal with liability for auto accidents caused by Uber or Lyft drivers while they are “on the clock.” For example, say a Lyft driver is transporting a passenger, runs a red light, and hits your car. Is Lyft liable for your damages?

The short answer is yes. Georgia law requires rideshare companies to provide insurance coverage for their drivers. This is in addition to any insurance coverage the driver maintains. (In Georgia, rideshare drivers usually have to obtain separate coverage from their personal auto insurance.) The catch is that the rideshare company’s obligations only cover accidents that occur while the driver is either able to receive ride requests or in the process of providing a ride.

In other words, if a Lyft driver hits you while transporting a passenger–or they are on their way to pick up a passenger who ordered a ride–then Lyft’s insurance will provide coverage for an accident up to the limits of the policy, which is currently $100,000 per person or $300,000 per accident. But if the accident occurs while the driver is simply logged on to the Lyft app and waiting to accept a ride, Lyft is only required to insure an accident up to $50,000 per person or $100,000 per accident.

Did a Lyft Driver Lie About His Status?

A recent decision from a federal judge here in Atlanta raises an interesting question about whether some rideshare drivers might lie about when they were involved in an accident. The case, State Farm Fire and Casualty Company v. McDougal, arose from a car accident between the two drivers named McDougal and Rawls. McDougal alleged that Rawls caused the accident. At the time, Rawls was a Lyft driver and logged onto the Lyft network to accept rides.

Under Lyft’s rideshare policy with State Farm, Rawls said he was insured up to $50,000 per person when the accident occurred with McDougal. Based on that information, McDougal agreed to a $50,000 settlement with State Farm in exchange for signing a release absolving Rawls of any further liability. But a year later, McDougal filed a personal injury lawsuit against Rawls in Georgia state court. Another year after that, State Farm filed a lawsuit in federal court, seeking a judicial declaration that the $50,000 settlement with McDougal remained enforceable.

The federal judge overseeing the State Farm lawsuit observed that McDougal’s state lawsuit appeared to be based on allegations “that Rawls had lied about material facts that would have triggered a higher liability limit under the policy.” Presumably, McDougal found out that Rawls may have been en route to pick up a passenger when he hit McDougal. If so, that would have triggered the higher liability limit under Lyft’s insurance policy.

In any event, the federal court dismissed the State Farm lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds. McDougal’s state lawsuit remains pending.

Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers

If you are injured in a car accident involving a rideshare vehicle, either as a passenger or another driver, it is imperative that you seek out timely legal advice from a qualified Cobb County personal injury lawyer. Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Georgia including Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Johns Creek and Sandy Springs.



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