New York Lyft Accident Lawyer

On October 30, 2023, a Lyft driver drove his Honda CRV the wrong way on the southbound side of Route 100 in Westchester County. He crashed into an oncoming 2015 Mack sanitation truck near Route 35. Responding emergency medics pronounced him dead on the scene. He had a 17-year-old passenger in the car who was badly injured. The teen was taken to the Westchester Medical Center and listed in critical condition.

Ridesharing has exploded in New York City over recent years. According to research by Lucius Riccio, a Stern Business School adjunct professor who served as the Department of Transportation (DOT) boss under Mayor David Dinkins in the 1990s, Lyft and Lyft vehicles account for 43.9 percent of Midtown Manhattan traffic—more than either taxi cabs or personal vehicles.

With more ride-sharing vehicles on the road, there is an increased risk of accidents. Chaffin Luhana supports New York residents with experienced and dedicated Lyft accident attorneys. We address local ride-sharing laws, who pays for a Lyft accident, what to do following a collision, and reasons why you may consider filing a lawsuit.

If you have been involved in an accident involving a Lyft vehicle, it is always best to contact a qualified New York Lyft accident lawyer to discuss your legal options. When you speak with an experienced attorney at Chaffin Luhana, the consultation costs nothing and puts you under no obligation whatsoever.

Give our New York Lyft accident lawyers a call today to schedule a complimentary consultation at 1-888-480-1123.

Lyft Fatality Rate Increased in 2019-2020

Researchers from the University of Chicago and Rice University reported in October 2018 that the rise of ride-sharing services like Lyft was associated with an increase of 2-3 percent in the number of motor vehicle fatalities and fatal accidents. The increase was not only for vehicle occupants, but also for pedestrians, and appeared to persist or even increase over time.

According to Lyft’s most recent safety report, there were 105 motor vehicle fatalities between 2017 and 2019. And though Uber includes more details in its safety report about the fatalities—such as whether they were pedestrians, bicyclists, scooter riders, or others—Lyft provides no such data in its report.

The report also does not mention non-fatal accidents or accidents that resulted in injuries.

Common Causes of Lyft Accidents in New York

Common causes of Lyft accidents include the following.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a problem affecting almost all drivers, but Lyft drivers may be particularly susceptible. They have to manage the Lyft app as part of their jobs, and must also look up and type in information on their phones to get directions.

In one lawsuit brought against Lyft, the plaintiff claimed that she was left permanently disabled because her driver was distracted while using the app. During her ride, her Lyft driver, who was also a driver for Uber, was allegedly logged into both ride-sharing apps while transporting the plaintiff and crashed into a semi-truck that was stopped. The plaintiff suffered from brain, head, neck, back, and hip injuries.


Lyft drivers can make more money by accepting more trips each day. That means they’re interested in transporting passengers quickly so they can fit in as many rides as possible.

Lyft does conduct a screening process before hiring a driver, reviewing their driving record and criminal history. Speeding tickets, however, are usually considered minor violations unless they involve traveling 20 miles an hour over the limit. As such, they are usually not counted as serious enough offenses to block a driver from working for Lyft.


Drowsy driving is dangerous and can increase the risk of a crash. Fatigue can lead to issues like slower reaction times and worse decision-making that can increase the risk of an accident.

Lyft limits its drivers to 12 hours of driving before requiring a mandatory six-hour break. That six hours must be uninterrupted, and Lyft prevents drivers from going online with its app until those hours have passed.

According to research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), however, this may not be enough to prevent Lyft driver fatigue. Other factors that can make a driver tired include driving later at night or driving in contrast to natural circadian rhythms.

Federal regulations for commercial drivers are more rigorous than Lyft’s. Within a 14-hour window, a truck driver may drive no more than 11 hours, as compared to Lyft’s 12 hours.


Unlike other commercial driving services, Lyft does not provide any special training for its drivers before allowing them to transport passengers. The company has only a list of minimum requirements. These include the following:

  • A valid driver’s license
  • In New York City, a TLC (for-hire) driver’s license
  • Be 25 years or older, excluding New York City, where the minimum age is 19
  • Pass a driver screening, which reviews driving history and criminal background
  • Have access to a smartphone that can download and run the Lyft driver app

Requirements for the TLC license in New York include that the driver be at least 19 years old and have no more than six points on their DMV license within 15 months from the date of their most recent violation. They must also have no outstanding fines, tickets, or parking violations.

Sometimes, inexperienced or unqualified drivers meet these requirements and are approved as Lyft drivers. Such a person would not have the skills needed to properly respond to dangerous traffic conditions.

Unpredictable Driving

It can be a frightening experience to be in a Lyft vehicle when a driver starts making unpredictable or erratic decisions. Sometimes, drivers do this simply to get to their destinations. They must scan to find their passengers. Particularly if they are not familiar with the area, they may need to look around to find the right street where their passenger is waiting. This can cause unpredictable driving, including unexpected stops, sudden turns, or slow driving.

Aggressive Driving

Any driver may choose to drive aggressively. A Lyft driver may choose to do so to reach their destination more quickly. They may speed, tailgate, or make abrupt lane changes—all of which can increase the risk of an accident.

Poorly Maintained Vehicle

Lyft has a set of vehicle requirements that must be met before a driver is cleared to drive in New York. These include the following:

  • 2008 or newer (or 2007 and newer in NYC)
  • 4 doors
  • 5-8 seatbelts, including the driver’s
  • Not a taxi, stretch limousine, or non-express rental vehicle
  • Not titled as salvage, non-repairable, rebuilt, or any other equivalent classification

Lyft also recommends regular maintenance on drivers’ vehicles but does not require it. Drivers who fail to perform regular maintenance inspections put their passengers at risk. Common issues include worn brakes, tire blowouts, missing signal lights, and faulty seatbelts or airbags.

Driving Under the Influence

Lyft has a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy for its drivers, but that doesn’t mean that it never happens. Just like any driver, a Lyft driver may choose to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This affects reaction time, thinking, and decision-making, and can increase the risk of an accident.

If you notice signs that your Lyft driver may be driving under the influence, ask if they can pull you over and let you out in a safe area. Contact law enforcement and notify them, then report the driver in the Lyft app.

Unsafe or Illegal Parking

Lyft drivers may park in strange places when picking up or dropping off passengers. This can affect surrounding traffic and may put other drivers or pedestrians in danger.

How to Select an Attorney in New York for Your Lyft Accident

When looking for the best Lyft accident attorney in New York, look for the following qualifications:

Experience with Ridesharing Accidents

Ridesharing accidents are different than regular car accidents and are often more complex. You increase your chances of being successful in your Lyft accident lawsuit if you have an attorney who has experience with your type of case. There are unique laws in New York that apply to ridesharing accidents, and your attorney needs to be well-versed in these to properly represent you.


Check online reviews and ratings to see what sort of reputation the lawyer has Then feel free to ask them about their other clients, their results, and their referrals. A good Lyft accident attorney will be willing to provide references that speak to their abilities and their reputation.


When you hire a Lyft accident attorney, you hire their staff as well. They will likely be doing research and investigative work on your behalf. Ask yourself if the staff acts professionally toward you, and if they seem responsive to your questions and concerns. Do the staff members communicate clearly and politely? Is it a professional atmosphere?


There are few things as frustrating as wondering how your case is going and hearing nothing from your attorney’s office. It can be equally difficult to try to talk to your attorney about your case if all you hear is a lot of legal jargon that makes no sense to you. As you’re shopping around, take note of how responsive the firm is, and how they communicate with you.


It’s best to choose a New York Lyft accident attorney who works on a contingency basis. This means they will not charge you unless they can achieve a settlement or judgment in your favor. You may be responsible for smaller costs like filing fees and expert witness fees. Ask about the attorney’s fee process so you understand exactly what you’ll be responsible for.

What Our Clients Have to Say About Chaffin Luhana

Below is a small sampling of the testimonials we have received from our clients:

Auto Personal Injury Recovery

“It’s a shame that the insurance companies put you through this…I’m glad there are people like you out there because the insurance companies would walk all over victims otherwise.”

– Mark S., Personal Injury Client

Automobile Accident Victim

“[The firm has] done right [by] me. You did everything right. Informing me and keeping me up to date. You did a fine job. I appreciate you very much.”

– Roger J., Personal Injury Client

Automobile Accident Victim

“I didn’t know what to expect since I never needed an attorney before. You took care of everything and were there for me.”

– Vicki B., Personal Injury Client

Find more testimonials here.

Dedication to Community

Law partners Eric Chaffin and Roopal Luhana, along with their families, established The Chaffin Luhana Foundation in 2010.

A not-for-profit organization, the Foundation encourages the development of human potential and supports community empowerment through the following activities:

  • Scholarships: The Chaffin Luhana Foundation awards an annual scholarship to a student who helps us in the fight against distracted driving by submitting an inspiring personal essay.
  • Financial gifts: The Foundation awards periodic financial gifts to institutions of higher learning to support scientific research and funds educational scholarships to students.
  • Stephanie Victor Legacy Award: The Chaffin Luhana Foundation awards an annual financial gift to one deserving individual who overcame significant challenges and achieved great milestones in his or her life or career.
  • Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation: Chaffin Luhana has partnered with this organization to benefit those living with spinal cord injuries and paralysis.
  • Najee Harris Partnership: We have partnered with Pittsburgh Running Back, Najee Harris, and his Da’ Bigger Picture Foundation to support those in need in the Greater Pittsburgh area.

Firm Awards

The founding partners of Chaffin Luhana have extensive experience in fighting for plaintiffs’ rights:

  • Founder Eric Chaffin: Chaffin has handled a wide array of cases against various types of defendants, with dozens of multimillion-dollar recoveries.
  • Founder Roopal Luhana: Luhana manages the firm’s mass torts division. Throughout her career, she has served on committees in MDLs involving over-the-counter consumer products and defective pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
  • Partner Patrick Booth: Booth enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help his clients obtain the best results possible in their personal injury cases.

Chaffin Luhana lawyers have also been named to the prestigious “Super Lawyers” list several years in a row.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who is Financially Responsible After A Lyft Accident?

This is where accidents with Lyft drivers can get complex. Each driver may be  an “independent contractor” who operates under the Lyft banner. Because of that, the Lyft driver’s auto insurance policy would be liable for accident injuries.

Many insurance policies, however, refuse to cover an accident if the driver was operating in a “commercial” capacity unless the driver has a commercial driver’s license and policy.

If the driver’s insurance company denies the claim, Lyft offers liability insurance under certain conditions:

  • The app is off: In this case, Lyft will not cover any damages. The driver’s auto insurance coverage applies.
  • The app is on and the driver can receive ride requests: Lyft maintains third-party liability insurance for covered accidents if the driver’s personal insurance does not apply of at least $50,000/person for bodily injury, $100,000/accident for bodily injury, and $25,0900/accident for property damage.
  • The app is on and the driver is en route to pick up a passenger or during rides: Lyft provides at least $1 million for third-party auto liability and first-party coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists. If a driver obtains comprehensive and collision on their personal auto policy, Lyft then maintains contingent comprehensive and collision coverage up to the actual cash value of the car ($2,500 deductible)

Your options after a Lyft accident depend on two factors:

  1. Your role in the accident (were you the driver, passenger, or third party?)
  2. Which party caused the accident

Usually, the party who caused the accident is liable for damages. New York is a no-fault state, however. That means that each driver’s insurance pays for their medical bills after an accident, regardless of fault, up to a certain limit.

If you suffered other damages that are not covered by your individual insurance company such as pain and suffering, lost wages, and extensive and ongoing medical care, you may need to file a claim with the at-fault party to receive compensation for these.

Here are some examples:

  • A third party was at fault: If another driver hit the Lyft car you were riding in, you and the Lyft driver would seek medical damages from your own insurance policies. If you have other damages, you would file claims with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
  • The Lyft driver was at fault: Each person’s insurance pays for their own medical bills. For other damages—whether you were a passenger in the Lyft car, a driver in another vehicle, or a pedestrian or cyclist hurt in the accident—you would file a claim with the Lyft driver’s insurance company. Should that claim be denied, you would file a claim with Lyft’s insurance. Remember that Lyft’s rules will apply. Was the driver transporting a passenger at the time of the accident? That will affect the amount of compensation that may be available through Lyft’s insurance.
  • There was shared fault: New York has comparable fault rules, which means that each party can still recover compensation for damages even if they are mostly at fault for the accident. The amount of compensation is reduced by the percentage of fault.

These cases can become complicated, particularly when the driver’s insurance isn’t adequate and you have to file a claim with Lyft’s insurance. This is where a New York Lyft accident attorney can help.

How Do I Get Money After a New York Lyft Accident?

If you’re involved in an accident with a Lyft driver, start by filing a claim with your own insurance provider first. If your policy doesn’t provide enough funds for your needs, ask your New York Lyft accident lawyer about filing with the at-fault party’s insurance provider for additional damages.

Remember that insurance companies are most concerned about their profits. The company may try to pay you less than you deserve. A New York Lyft accident attorney will represent your interests and fight to achieve the best outcome for you.

What Types of Compensation are Available After A Lyft Accident?

When you are involved in an accident with a Lyft driver, you may be eligible to seek the following types of compensation:

  • Medical damages: This includes current and future medical bills, as well as physical therapy and long-term care if needed.
  • Lost wages: If your injuries keep you from being able to work, you can seek compensation for your lost wages.
  • Loss of earning capacity: If your injuries are severe enough that they will keep you from returning to your job, you can file for loss of earning capacity.
  • Disability and disfigurement: If you were paralyzed or otherwise disabled in the accident, or if you suffered from injuries that resulted in permanent disfigurement, you can claim these damages.
  • Property damages: If you were driving another car that was hit by a Lyft driver, you can claim your property damages. The same would be true if you were riding a bike or motorcycle, as long as the Lyft driver was at fault.
  • Pain and suffering/emotional distress: Though these damages can be more difficult to quantify, your Lyft accident attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to support this claim.
  • Loss of consortium: If you are hurt or disabled to the point that you can no longer provide the support and companionship to your partner or spouse that you did before, your partner or spouse can claim loss of consortium.

What If I Was Traveling In A Vehicle Which Was Involved In An Accident With A Lyft Vehicle?

If you were in another vehicle that was involved in an accident with a Lyft vehicle, you may be able to recover damages from the Lyft driver or another at-fault driver. The police report as well as other evidence will help determine fault. If you disagree with their findings, a Lyft accident attorney can help.

What Should I Do After I Am Involved In A Lyft Car Accident?

Your actions after a car accident involving a Lyft driver are similar to those you’d take after a regular car accident. First, seek immediate medical attention for yourself or anyone else involved in the accident that may need it. Even if you “feel fine,” it’s best to call 9-1-1 and have yourself checked for whiplash, herniated discs, meniscus tears, and other latent car accident injuries.

If you’re a Lyft passenger involved in a collision:

  • Use your phone to snap photos and videos of the crash scene and property damage, if possible.
  • Make note of the driver’s name and information and contact info of other parties involved.
  • Try to get the contact information of any eyewitnesses who saw the crash.
  • Do not assume the Lyft driver’s policy will cover your injury claim. You may need a New York Lyft accident lawyer to fight.

If you’re a Lyft driver hit by another vehicle:

  • Call 9-1-1 to file an accident report and seek medical attention, even if the damage seems minor.
  • Take photos, looking particularly for skid marks or lack thereof. Get witness contact information.
  • Get the other driver’s license plate number, insurance provider, and contact information.
  • Be careful what you say, resisting the bait to apologize or admit liability for the crash.
  • Contact Lyft to find out if you are allowed to continue driving for them during the investigation.
  • Call your insurance provider to find out who pays for the accident.
  • Contact a New York Lyft accident attorney to negotiate compensation.

If you’re driving another vehicle and get struck by a Lyft driver:

  • Get the names and contact information of all witnesses.
  • Take as many photos of the accident scene and the cars involved from different angles as possible.
  • Call the police from the accident scene to file a report, insisting that the Lyft driver stick around.
  • Contact a law firm to represent your best interests, particularly when dealing with insurers.

Are New York Lyft Drivers Insured?

All Lyft drivers in New York must maintain their own insurance policies per state law. If you are in an accident with a Lyft driver and they are determined to be at fault, start by making a claim with your own insurance company. If the payout isn’t enough to cover your injuries, you can make a claim with the Lyft driver’s insurance for damages over what your policy covers.

If that insurance isn’t adequate to cover your injuries, Lyft also provides additional insurance to cover accidents involving its drivers. The amount of compensation available depends on whether the driver was logged into the Lyft app at the time of the accident, and whether they had accepted a trip or were carrying passengers.

If the driver was not logged into the app at the time of the accident, Lyft cannot be held liable. Your only option then is to seek damages from the driver’s insurance company.

How Long Do I Have to File A Personal Injury Case Against Lyft In New York?

The New York statute of limitations for personal injury is three years from the date of the accident. Once that time passes, you can no longer seek compensation.

There are some exceptions to this rule:

  • If you want to file a claim against a municipality as well—such as New York City—the statute of limitations is shorter and special rules apply. Typically, you must file a Notice of Claim within 90 days.
  • If you or a loved one passed away in the crash, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

It’s best not to wait that long, however. In New York, you have only 30 days to apply for no-fault benefits with your insurance company. If you file after that, the insurance provider may deny your claim.

You also don’t want the facts of the case to go cold. Gathering evidence about the accident is easiest early on. After that, witnesses may forget details, videos may be erased, and other types of evidence may be more difficult to obtain.

Your Trusted Lyft Accident Lawyer in New York

The Lyft accident attorneys at Chaffin Luhana serve the New York City and New York State area. We are passionate advocates for plaintiffs who have suffered injuries in Lyft accidents and stand ready to help you pursue compensation to the fullest extent allowed under New York law.

Call us today at 888-480-1123.