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Uber / Lyft Accidents

Virginia Uber and Lyft Accident Lawyers Advocate for Victims

Firm pursues full compensation for injuries stemming from ride-sharing collisions

Over the past decade, ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft have increased in popularity, especially in college towns like Charlottesville + Harrisonburg where young riders have practically grown up with the service. Ride-sharing advocates claim the services make the roads safer by, among other things, cutting down on the number of drunk drivers. However, vehicles used for these services do get into accidents, and the victims might be left wondering who is responsible. At Tucker Griffin Barnes P.C., we cover Central Virginia from offices in Charlottesville and three other locations. Our attorneys advocate strongly for victims of ride-share accidents and other vehicle crashes. With more than 30 years of auto accident experience, we have the knowledge and skill to take on major corporations and deliver impressive results for our clients.

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The pros and cons of ride-share services

Ride-sharing services provide more opportunities for riders to get from point A to point B, and usually at a lower cost than traditional taxi services. For this reason, cab drivers in Washington, D.C., and the Commonwealth objected strenuously to Uber, Lyft and others being allowed to operate freely without the heavy regulations taxi operators face. There were also safety concerns covering drivers who might not be properly vetted and vehicles that might not be regularly maintained. After much wrangling, Virginia passed a ride-share service law requiring:

  • All drivers undergo a background check
  • Minimum driver age of 21
  • Valid driver’s license
  • All vehicles registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles

Even with the law, ride-share regulation is not nearly as extensive as the rules that must be followed by taxis and limousines. This enables ride-share services to operate with less costly overhead. The law also did not address major concerns, such as passenger safety, accident liability and insurance coverage.

Who pays for a ride-share accident?

Initially, ride-share companies claimed they could not be held liable for injuries caused by their drivers’ negligence because these vehicle operators were independent contractors, not employees. After controversial accident cases throughout the country, Uber and Lyft backtracked, developing similar insurance plans to cover their drivers. The coverage depends on the activity the driver is involved in at the time, as follows:

  • The ride-share driver has accepted a fare or is carrying a passenger — Uber and Lyft both provide a $1 million insurance policy to cover ride-share drivers, passengers, other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Driver app is on, but driver has not accepted a ride — Uber and Lyft provide contingent liability coverage of up to $50,000 per person and $25,000 for property damage.
  • Driver app is off — Off-duty drivers are personally liable. They must have at least the state-mandated minimum level of liability coverage for accidents that occur when they are not accepting or carrying passengers.

Under these plans, your ability to recover full personal injury compensation may depend on whether the driver was engaged in activity that benefits the ride-share company.

Other areas of liability, such as assault by a ride-share driver, are less clearly defined. You should speak to an experienced ride-share injury lawyer immediately to be informed of your rights.

Contact our Charlottesville Uber and Lyft accident lawyers today for a free consultation

Tucker Griffin Barnes P.C. advocates on behalf of ride-share accident victims throughout the Blue Ridge area of the Commonwealth. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 434-973-7474 or contact us online. We have four offices conveniently located in Charlottesville, Palmyra, Harrisonburg and Staunton.

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