South Carolina Lyft Accident Lawyer
Stewart Law Offices represents people who have been hurt in Lyft or Uber rideshare accidents in South Carolina. We are committed to being there for our clients when they need us most, and we’ll be there to stand up for you. When someone else’s actions have caused you harm, we’re ready to stand up for your rights.
When people are involved in car crashes involving Lyft or other ridesharing vehicles, it can be extremely complicated to determine who a claim should be filed with. Lyft and other rideshare companies may be responsible for damages in certain cases, but the insurance policies that are applicable vary depending on whether a Lyft driver was engaged in a prearranged ride.
In July 2015, South Carolina enacted the Transportation Network Company Act, which defined a transportation network company (TNC) as a person or company that uses the Internet to connect passengers to a transportation provider. TNCs do not include taxis, charter buses, or limousines, but instead largely apply to entities such as Lyft that provide ridesharing services.
Ridesharing holds itself out as paid carpooling, as people usually pay drivers through third-party mobile apps like Lyft. The technological aspect to ridesharing companies and on-demand services have made them more popular than relying on the fixed schedules of public transportation or the difficulty of hailing a taxi.
If you or someone close to you was hurt in an accident involving a Lyft driver, contact us for help. Stewart Law Offices has car accident lawyers in Columbia, Spartanburg, Beaufort**, and Rock Hill in South Carolina, as well a North Carolina office in Charlotte. Call us or complete an online contact form to schedule a free evaluation of your case.
Can I Sue Lyft for an Accident?
Liability in ridesharing accidents can be very complex. Lyft itself can be liable in certain circumstances, but a driver usually needs to have been logged into Lyft’s digital network for the company to be liable.
Lyft drivers do not undergo any kind of training, but they must satisfy certain requirements, such as being at least 21 years of age, passing Department of Motor Vehicle and criminal background checks, and having an iPhone or Android smartphone. Lyft also requires a driver’s vehicle to satisfy a city’s age requirements, have four doors, and offer five to eight seats with valid proof of insurance, a valid driver’s license, and a photo of the driver.
Many people who are injured in Lyft crashes were passengers in Lyft vehicles. Other injury victims include the occupants of other vehicles involved in a collision with a Lyft driver. In some cases, a Lyft driver may even have a claim with the company as the result of injuries suffered in an accident on the clock caused by another motorist’s negligence.
Lyft’s manner of dealing with most injury claims is often handled through an insurance company, and the insurer will generally be looking for any way possible to minimize or completely deny liability. Lyft and other rideshare companies often use a variety of excuses not to pay claims, with one of the most common being that a driver who acted negligently was an “independent contractor” operating in violation of company standards.
Lyft could be potentially liable for any accident that one of its drivers is involved in, but Lyft and other ridesharing companies rarely make the claims process easy for victims. A person will want to be sure to retain legal counsel for help holding Lyft or another rideshare company accountable.
People can suffer any of a number of serious injuries in these types of accidents, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
- Neck injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Muscle strains
South Carolina Code § 15-3-530 establishes that a person has three years to commence an action for a personal injury. While the same statute of limitations applies to wrongful death actions, the limitations period begins to run on the date of an accident in a personal injury case but begins on the date of a person’s death in a wrongful death action.
Lyft’s Insurance Policy
The Transportation Network Company Act requires primary auto liability insurance of at least $50,000 for bodily injury per person, $150,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 for property damage when a driver is logged onto the TNC’s digital network and is available to receive requests but is not engaged in a prearranged ride. If a driver is engaged in a prearranged ride, the requirement is at least $1 million.
Most rideshare services have agreements in which insurance coverage is dictated as follows:
- Driver Not Logged into the Digital Network — A driver’s personal automobile insurance policy covers all costs relating to an accident.
- Driver Logged into Digital Network, But No Passenger Requests — The TNC could provide excess coverage for any damages exceeding the driver’s personal limits. Lyft offers $50,000 per person for bodily injury, $100,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 per accident for property damage.
- Driver Picking Up or Transporting Passenger — Lyft has a $1 million liability and $1 million uninsured policy when drivers are actively involved in transportation services.
Lyft and other rideshare insurance policies are intended to apply to all types of victims, whether they were passengers in ridesharing vehicles, occupants of other vehicles involved in the crashes, or possibly even pedestrians, bicyclists, or other people hurt in accidents. All of these victims may have the right to seek compensation for their injuries.
Lyft insurance becomes complicated when a driver is at fault for a ridesharing crash, as the ridesharing company will often try to find reasons why the driver alone is liable. If Lyft or another ridesharing company refuses to compensate you because it claims a driver was not logged into the company’s digital network, quickly contact an attorney to conduct a full investigation.
Accidents can often be complicated by the type of crash a person was involved in. Drivers may be responsible for accidents caused by drunk or drugged driving, reckless driving, distracted driving, or other violations of traffic laws. While the driver is responsible, Lyft could still be liable when that driver was performing work for the company.
It is important to keep in mind that motor vehicle accidents are not necessarily the only claims that people might have against Lyft. In May 2018, Lyft announced that it would no longer require individuals with sexual assault claims against drivers to settle the matters through arbitration, and there are currently plaintiffs seeking class-action status for sexual assault claims against rideshare services.
Steps to Take After a Lyft Accident
When you are involved in any kind of motor vehicle crash involving a Lyft driver, you should immediately seek medical care, even when you do not initially recognize any serious injury. It is important to make sure you did not suffer an injury with delayed symptoms.
Make sure to get all of a Lyft driver’s relevant information, especially their driver’s license and insurance information. Also, be sure that police are contacted since a police report may be extremely valuable in a personal injury case.
When it is possible, you should try to take pictures of your crash scene. Get photographs of the vehicles involved as well as all of the circumstances that could have contributed to the accident and try to take the pictures from multiple angles and distances. If you are unable to do this yourself due to a need for immediate medical attention, have a friend or family member do so for you.
If anyone saw your accident, try to get their contact information. Many of these witnesses will also speak to police, but you should try to ask them for their names and phone numbers in case their testimony is needed in any dispute over the cause.
Finally, make sure that you contact the personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices before you speak to any insurance company representatives about your case. Victims often unknowingly make statements that damage their cases during conversations with insurers. You should avoid this outcome by refusing to make any recorded statement until you have legal representation.
How Our Law Firm Can Help After a Lyft Accident
Stewart Law Offices understands the many challenges involved in Lyft accident claims, and we work to help people find solutions to the problems that arise.
Did you sustain severe injuries or was your loved one killed in a Lyft accident in South Carolina? You could be entitled to compensation for all of your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Stewart Law Offices is committed to holding negligent parties accountable. You can have our auto accident lawyers review your case and discuss all of your legal options when you call us or contact us online to set up a free consultation.