Rideshare Accidents Are Becoming More Common In Denver
POSTED BY Scott O’Sullivan
November 18, 2021
Car accidentsDenverPersonal Injury LawSafe Driving
I am seeing more rideshare accidents in Denver. My wife and I were in a rideshare car recently (I can’t remember if it was Uber or Lyft) and there were two drivers in the car: the passenger was teaching the driver how to drive in America! He ran two red lights in the span of a few blocks and we said, “Pull over!” We got out of the car to save our own lives. We did not want to be in an Uber or Lyft accident in Denver.
Rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber are hiring so many drivers that there is no quality control over safety. Also, I’M not convinced Denver actually needs any more rideshare drivers because the ones who have already signed up aren’t busy enough as it is. Existing drivers, who often need to make a living, just face more competition as their own companies flood the market.
What happened to these companies’ ideals? When Uber first launched, it described itself as a solution to traffic. By their logic, if people carpooled more, there would be less traffic. That inspired vision has not come to pass. Instead, Uber and Lyft drivers contribute to congestion by trolling around different regions, waiting for rides to pop up. Or they sit and idle for long periods of time, spewing exhaust that should never be spewed.
Maybe worst of all, there are many more rideshare accidents in Denver. I have seen the uptick in my office and the cases are tragic. We currently represent a client who was hit by a Lyft driver who was only 21 years old. Lyft says that their drivers have to be 26 or older, but their push to hire more drivers has left their hiring standards in the dust.
I have another case of an Uber driver who ran a red light and crashed into several cars, causing major injuries to multiple victims.
Here’s my impression: more rideshare cars means more accidents. The good news for victims (if there is good news in a situation like this) is that, when these drivers are “on the clock,” they generally have good insurance. Let me explain how this works from the driver’s perspective.
Let’s use Uber’s insurance program as an example.
Uber Driver Insurance Policies
As an Uber driver, you are covered by Uber’s insurance when:
You’re on the Uber platform and before you accept a request: Uber covers you during this time but only minimally. Basically, you have liability insurance through Uber when you are online with them, before you accept a fare request. Liability insurance covers any damages you cause to another person. (It does not cover any damage to you or your car.) The amount of coverage varies by state but Uber liability coverage provides at least $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 per accident for property damage. But you’d better have your own policy on your car for any damage to your property or person. You may be waiting for a fare and working for Uber, but your car isn’t covered by Uber.
You accept a fare request and are driving to pick up your fare, and when driving your fares around. During this time, you are covered for three things:
Third-party liability coverage, which covers any damage you cause to someone else. This coverage is at least $1,000,000 per accident.
UIM or Underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage, which covers you and your riders if someone else is at fault and they don’t have enough insurance to cover all your needs and your riders’ needs. This coverage is also at least $1,000,000.
Collision and comprehensive coverage, which will help pay for damage to your vehicle whether or not you cause an accident (but you also need to have your own collision insurance in order to access this Uber coverage).
You are not covered by Uber’s Insurance when:
You’re driving your car for your own use: This is the gap that some drivers may not understand. Think about how loaded-up your car is when you’re driving for Uber or Lyft. You literally have millions of dollars in coverage once you accept a fare and drive those riders around. The instant you stop driving for Uber or Lyft, you’re back on your own policy. Are you properly covered?
I’m guessing Uber and Lyft drivers in Denver are simply on the road more than the average Denver driver, going to and from the spots where they wait to take a fare, and those times may not be covered by the rideshare company. More road time equals more opportunities for accidents.
Example of an Uber Accident in Denver
We have a client who was riding his bicycle legally and got doored by a passenger exiting an Uber car on the driver’s side. The driver parked in a bike lane to let his fare out, so the bicycle accident was the driver’s fault and Uber’s insurance will pay for his injuries and losses.