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Lyft Accidents in Chicago

WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER A LYFT ACCIDENT?

Over the past few years, rideshare companies such as Lyft have exploded in popularity. Lyft provides users with a quick and easy way to get where they want to go without the need for any advance planning. However, the rideshare experience’s nature is that users must place their lives in the hands of strangers. Not surprisingly, Chicago Lyft accidents are not uncommon and seem to be increasing in frequency. As is the case with other Illinois car accidents, those injured in a Lyft accident may be eligible for compensation for the injuries they have sustained.

Increased Risk from Rideshare Companies


Lyft-Accidents_3

SHARING THE ROAD WITH LYFT

Lyft has over 1.4 million drivers and 23 million riders and is available in over 640 cities across the United States and Canada, with over 1 million Lyft trips completed each day. Lyft has about a 35 percent market share of the U.S. rideshare market. The increase of drivers on the roads has affected accident rates. According to a 2018 study conducted by the University of Chicago and Rice University, rideshare companies are responsible for a 2-3 percent increase in the total number of fatal traffic accidents. This amounts to as many as 1,100 fatalities per year. The study also found that Lyft and Uber drivers spend 40 to 60 percent of their time “deadheading,” driving around without a passenger waiting for a fare.


CAR ACCIDENTS IN ILLINOIS

In 2018, there were nearly 320,000 Illinois car accidents. About 67,500 or 21 percent of these accidents resulted in at least one person being injured, and over 13 percent of the crashes caused incapacitating injury. Around 950, or about one percent, of the collisions involved a fatality. This amounts to 874 crashes per day, three fatalities per day, and ten people injured per hour

The presence of rideshare companies increases the number of cars on Illinois roads each year. In 2019, Lyft was estimated to bring in nearly $3.5 billion in revenue, and Lyft claims to be able to pick up 95 percent of the people in the United States.

Lyft-Car-Accidents
car accident lawyer

Notably, there is no practical component requiring drivers to demonstrate that they are comfortable driving in various traffic and weather conditions. As a result of these lax requirements, anyone looking to make extra money can likely become a Lyft driver. Indeed, inexperienced drivers are one of the leading causes of Chicago rideshare accidents.

Using Lyft in Chicago

Those looking to use Lyft need only download the app and put in their credit card information to set up an account. Once an account is created, users can plug in any address in their city and get an instant quote, as well as an estimated time of arrival. Usually, drivers arrive within a few minutes, confirm that they have the correct passenger and begin their trip. It truly is a simple process; however, the concept also raises some serious concerns.

To some, the concept of getting into the car with a stranger sounds unwise. Indeed, Lyft riders must have total trust in the company and its drivers. However, many riders are surprised to learn how lax the requirements are to become a Lyft driver. All vehicles used to transport passengers must:

  • Be 2004 models or newer
  • Have four doors and between five to eight seats, including the driver’s seat
  • Have a valid in-state or out-of-state license plate
  • Not be on the list of ineligible subcompact vehicles, such as a Mini Cooper, Kia Accent or Ford Fiesta

Chicago Lyft driver requirements:

  • Have a valid driver’s license (in-state or out-of-state licenses are accepted)
  • Be at least 21 years old with at least one year of driving experience
  • Pass a driver screening (a review of the applicant’s driving history and criminal record)
  • Have a smartphone that can run the Lyft app

Common Causes of Chicago Lyft Accidents

As mentioned above, inexperienced Lyft drivers are among the most frequently cited causes of rideshare accidents in and around Chicago. Any accident involving a Lyft driver may be covered by the company’s insurance policy, and, even if it is not, the driver’s personal policy may provide coverage. Other common causes of accidents include:

Speeding

Lyft drivers know that their customers want to get to where they are going in a hurry. Not only that, but Lyft drivers are paid per ride, meaning the faster they can pick-up and drop-off a passenger, the more trips per day they can make, which will result in more money. Thus, Lyft drivers are commonly cited for speeding, often with passengers in the car. This puts the passengers and others on the road at risk.

Fatigue

One of the appeals of driving for Lyft is that it does not require a large time commitment. Lyft drivers often have other jobs. Many Lyft drivers start to drive after they have finished a shift at their other job. Often, Lyft drivers start their shift tired, and that fatigue worsens as time goes by. Fatigued drivers have a slower reaction time and reduced decision-making ability, increasing the risk of causing an accident.

Distraction

Drivers rely on the Lyft app to direct them to their next passenger. Once a passenger is picked up, drivers typically use Google Maps or Waze. These apps help the driver efficiently find the best way to get to the rider’s selected destination; however, they can also distract drivers.

Traffic Violations

Lyft drivers often find themselves transporting passengers to all parts of the city, including areas that the driver is not familiar with. When someone is driving in unknown territory, they need to be especially attentive to road signs and other traffic signals. It is not uncommon to see Lyft drivers turning the wrong way down a one-way street.

Filing a Claim After a Chicago Lyft Accident

Lyft accidents come in many forms

The potential sources of compensation for accident victims depend on how and when the accident occurs. Lyft advertises a $1 million insurance policy to encourage riders (and drivers) to use the company’s services. However, that $1 million policy does not extend to all Chicago Lyft accidents. The Lyft insurance policy breaks down the rideshare process into three distinct phases:

Phase One: Personal Driving

In the event of an accident that occurs when a Lyft driver’s app is not open or is not currently accepting rides, Lyft’s insurance policy will not provide coverage to any accident victims. For accidents occurring during the first phase, the Lyft driver’s insurance policy would be the first – and potentially only – place for an accident victim to look for coverage.

An important point about Lyft accidents is that not all Lyft accidents involve injured passengers. Many Chicago Lyft accidents occur while the Lyft driver is “deadheading,” or driving around waiting for a rider. These accidents often involve pedestrians, bicyclists or other motorists. Again, accidents that occur while a driver is deadheading will not fall under Lyft’s insurance company. However, if the injured person has an auto insurance policy, they may file a claim with their insurance company if the at-fault driver’s policy is insufficient or otherwise unavailable.

Phase One Personal Driving

Phase Two: Waiting for a Request

Phase two begins when the Lyft driver opens the app and waits for a ride request. During this phase, the Lyft driver’s insurance policy is the first source of coverage. However, Lyft’s insurance policy will provide additional coverage in the amount of $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident. This coverage is third-party coverage, meaning that it applies to all accidents in this category, meaning that it will cover passengers, pedestrians or other motorists who are injured due to the Lyft driver’s negligence.

All motorists must purchase bodily injury liability coverage of at least $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident in Illinois. However, personal insurance policies typically contain exclusions for accidents that occur while the insured is transporting a passenger for a fee. Thus, Lyft drivers can (and should) purchase rideshare insurance. However, not all drivers opt to take on this additional expense.

Lyft Driver Looking For Passenger

Phase Three:

Once a Lyft driver is paired with a passenger, the third phase begins, and the company’s $1 million insurance policy kicks in. This coverage remains in effect until the passenger is dropped off. The policy includes coverage for the following:

• $1 million in third-party liability
• Uninsured or underinsured motorist protection of at least $250,000
• Contingent comprehensive and collision

Not surprisingly, determining the availability and extent of any insurance coverage is one of the most commonly encountered issues facing Chicago Lyft accident victims.

Lyft Accident Lawyer

Lyft Accident Frequently Asked Questions

Negligent Causes of Car Accidents

Whether a third-party, non-passenger such as a pedestrian is covered under Lyft’s policy is somewhat arbitrary. If the Lyft driver is on their way to pick up a passenger or has a passenger in the car, an injured pedestrian would be covered. However, if the driver is merely waiting for a ride request when they strike the pedestrian, the pedestrian cannot file a claim with Lyft’s insurance company

Do Illinois Rideshare Accident Victims Need an Attorney?

After being involved in a Lyft accident, one of the first questions that may pop into an accident victim’s head is whether they need to hire an attorney. Pursuing a claim for compensation against an at-fault driver or an insurance company can present many difficulties. Insurance companies are for-profit companies that can only stay in business if they take in more each month in premiums than they pay out in claims. Thus, insurance companies often deny valid claims or try to settle claims for far less than they are worth.

Studies have shown that, on average, those who have been injured in an accident receive settlement offers that are 40 percent larger if they work with an attorney. In part, this is because insurance companies tend to take claims more seriously when an attorney is involved. A dedicated Illinois injury lawyer can also request the full spectrum of available damages, ensuring that nothing is left on the table

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Contact an Experienced Chicago Lyft Accident Law Firm

DEDICATED ILLINOIS INJURY LAWYERS

If you or someone you care about has recently been injured in a Chicago rideshare accident, the dedicated Illinois injury lawyers at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg can help. Our attorneys represent injured parties and families who have lost loved ones in all types of personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death and workers’ compensation cases. Our firm has over 30 years of experience advocating on behalf of Chicago car accident victims, and we know what it takes to succeed on our clients’ behalf. From the moment you invite us to work on your case, we diligently investigate your claim, seeking to uncover all potentially liable parties and theories of liability. All cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means that we will only accept payment if we successfully obtain compensation for you or your family. To learn more, call 1-877-595-4878 to schedule a free consultation today.

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