Filing a lawsuit after a Lyft accident in Colorado is often necessary to recover compensation for your injuries. The process is more complex because you can implicate the ride-sharing company in some situations. In others, though, you will have to rely on insurance to cover your:
- Medical bills,
- Lost wages,
- Reduced earning capacity,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Loss of consortium suffered by your family.
Recently passed laws in Colorado make it more likely that your losses will be covered without the ride-sharing company’s involvement. This can lower the stakes and the stress of filing a Lyft accident lawsuit.
In this article, our Colorado personal injury lawyers explain:
- 1. What are Lyft accidents?
- 2. How can I file a Lyft accident lawsuit in Colorado?
1. What are Lyft accidents?
You can be the victim of a Lyft accident in the following situations:
- You were a passenger in the Lyft vehicle when your driver caused an accident,
- You were a passenger in the Lyft vehicle when someone else caused hit you,
- You were in another vehicle when a ride-sharing vehicle hit you, and
- You were a pedestrian or biker and got hit by a ride-sharing vehicle.
2. How can I file a Lyft accident lawsuit in Colorado?
The process of filing a Lyft accident lawsuit depends on a variety of factors. These factors include:
- Whether you were a passenger in the ride-sharing vehicle at the time of the crash,
- The extent of your losses, and
- Whether the ride-sharing company is directly responsible for the accident by negligently hiring the driver who caused it.
2.1. If your lawsuit is for less than $7,500
Lyft accident lawsuits for less than $7,500 can go through small claims court in Colorado. Small claims court is a faster, less expensive, and much simpler process than a normal court case. It is also less formal, with victims often pursuing cases on their own.
Different small claims courts in Colorado have slightly different procedures. However, they would all follow the same basic outline for ride-sharing lawsuits:
- You file a complaint with the court, laying out how you got hurt and why you should be compensated,
- You pay the filing fee,
- You serve the complaint on the Lyft driver or the Lyft company,
- You receive a response from the defendant, arguing why they are not liable for your losses, and
- You present your case at the trial in front of a magistrate judge.
2.2. You were a passenger in the Lyft vehicle at the time of the crash
If you were a passenger in the Lyft vehicle, then the company’s insurance should cover your losses.
Because you were a paying customer, ride-sharing companies often make a point of covering all of your costs.
You may have to file a lawsuit, though, if the insurance company acts in bad faith. Bad faith insurance happens when insurance companies refuse to provide the coverage they promised in their policy. If you think the ride sharing company’s insurance is underpaying your claim or wrongly denying it, you can:
- Write a bad faith letter to the insurance company to remind them of their obligations, and
- If the insurance company continues to refuse to cover you, you can file a lawsuit.
Bad faith insurance lawsuits can recover compensation for your losses, plus:
- Attorney fees,
- Court costs, and
- Emotional distress and punitive damages, if the bad faith insurance was willful or wanton.1
2.3. You were not a passenger in the Lyft vehicle
If you were not a passenger in the Lyft vehicle at the time of the accident, you will probably have to rely on the driver’s insurance coverage. Luckily, changes in Colorado law have made this a more viable avenue to recover compensation.
CRS 40-10.1-604 requires ride-sharing drivers to have primary car insurance coverage of at least:
- $50,000 in bodily injury coverage,
- $100,000 per accident, and
- $30,000 property damage.2
This insurance coverage is legally required of all Lyft drivers. Ride-sharing companies are supposed to deny applications by potential drivers who do not have this much coverage. If the company fails to deny someone, it can make them liable for a later crash.
This coverage also applies whenever the Lyft driver is accepting rides. It does not only get triggered when there is a paying passenger in the vehicle.
If you get hurt in a crash caused by a ride-sharing driver, this insurance coverage will be your first line of compensation. If the insurance provider is underpaying you or wrongfully denies your claim, you can send them a bad faith letter and then file a lawsuit if they do not adequately cover your losses.
2.4. If Lyft should not have hired the driver
Ride-sharing companies have a history of failing to vet their drivers. If you get hurt by a driver who should not have been hired, you can file a negligent hiring lawsuit against the ride-sharing company, directly.
Negligent hiring lawsuits claim that the company put you in danger by hiring the person who hurt you. The lawsuit would seek compensatory damages to cover your losses. It could also recover punitive damages against the company for its poor conduct.
Call us for help…
Filing a Lyft accident lawsuit is not easy. If done incorrectly, you may not recover compensation for your injuries and other losses. Reach out to our Colorado personal injury lawyers for help. Contact us today to get started on your case. For Uber cases, please see our article on Uber accident lawsuits in Colorado.
- See Vanderbeek v. Vernon Corp. 50 P.3d 866 (Colo. 2002).
- C.R.S. § 40-10.1-604(3)(b)(II).