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Up Up And Away: Getting Lyft-Ed as A Passenger

Bovo Law Aug. 29, 2013

You need a ride an appointment this afternoon, and you have an aversion to smelly cabs. So you hop onto your phone, open the Lyft app and hail a Lyft ride. Soon enough, your Lyft ride pulls up, and the driver doesn’t look like a serial killer, seems pretty nice and put together so you hop in and off you go to your appointment. Your sweet, nice driver takes a left at the next light and BOOM you get T-boned on your side of the vehicle. Not the happy ending you were looking for like Lyft likes to portray, but this is real world stuff that can happen, and if it does, who takes care of you and your damages as the passenger? The driver of the car you were in? The driver of the other car? What about Lyft?

If you remember from my previous post, there are major problems with using Lyft. First, most driver’s auto insurance policies are not commercial policies, and therefore will not cover accidents or injuries arising out of the driver’s car being used in a commercial enterprise, which is what using a car for Lyft is. Second, Lyft’s Terms of Service are pretty clear about who is responsible: “Such Driver will be solely responsible for any and all liability which results from or is alleged as a result of the operation of the vehicle such Driver uses to transport Riders, including, but not limited to personal injuries, death and property damages.” Additionally the Terms state: “WE DO NOT SCREEN THE PARTICIPANTS USING THE SERVICES IN ANY WAY. AS A RESULT, WE WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL AND/OR CONSEQUENTIAL, ARISING OUT OF THE USE OF LYFT OR THE SERVICES, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, TO DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF COMMUNICATING AND/OR MEETING WITH OTHER PARTICIPANTS OF LYFT OR THE SERVICES, OR INTRODUCED TO YOU VIA LYFT OR THE SERVICES. SUCH DAMAGES INCLUDE, WITHOUT LIMITATION, PHYSICAL DAMAGES, BODILY INJURY, DEATH AND OR EMOTIONAL DISTRESS AND DISCOMFORT. NOTWITHSTANDING ANYTHING TO THE CONTRARY CONTAINED HEREIN, OUR LIABILITY, AND THE LIABILITY OF OUR SUBSIDIARIES, OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, EMPLOYEES, AND SUPPLIERS, TO YOU OR ANY THIRD PARTIES IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCE IS LIMITED TO $100. [capitalization is Lyft’s not mine.]” So Lyft will pay you $100 if something happens to you, according to their Terms (maybe not ours as personal injury attorneys). Lyft advertises that it has $1 million in umbrella coverage that may cover bodily injury (I have not read their policy, it is not available online.) I discussed in the last post that the umbrella policy may not kick in if the original claim to the driver’s insurance policy was denied for a commercial duty outside of what the driver’s policy covers or something the policy strictly prohibits.

So what are you supposed to do now? You might have a mountain of medical bills and other expenses related to the accident. You’ll end up having to get yourself a good lawyer and sue everyone: the driver of the car you were in, the driver of the other car that hit you, and Lyft. It’s going to be a looooong litigation ride, way longer than the ride you originally hailed when you hailed that Lyft ride. What should you do instead to avoid this whole problem: take that smelly cab, or bus, or hitch a ride with a friend, walk, ride your bike, anything other than Lyft.

Remember, this is just my blog post. I am not your attorney, and I am not in any way shape or form offering you real legal advice. If you want some real legal advice, call me, I’d be happy to talk to you anytime.