By Barrie E. Bazarsky, Esq., Birzon Strang & Associates
Several years into the rideshare revolution, I finally got a chance to experience LYFT. However, I wasn’t anywhere near an on-demand car or driver. Despite being a seasoned personal injury attorney who has seen a broad array of mishaps, I had my first encounter with a LYFT vehicle case this week. My client had been a passenger in a LYFT SUV when that vehicle was involved in a two-car accident.
Of course, my immediate concern was filing no-fault. There were many questions I began asking myself. Among the more obvious: “Where do I begin?” and “Who is the primary carrier?” I asked around to the “usual suspects” in my circle and even posted the questions on iLaw. The responses were uniform. My colleagues were clear that the insurance carrier for the host is primary. Regardless, I did a bit more research and found it’s not quite that simple. In many instances, the host policy does not have a “shared ride” or similar endorsement. In that case, San Francisco based LYFT becomes the primary carrier.
I had more questions and the answers proved somewhat elusive. I learned that you must go online via Google Chrome and type in Lyfthelp.com to report an accident. Soon after, your phone rings. The file then gets assigned to someone who is charged with contacting you via email. The process may look efficient on paper, but, as in most cases, it is more than meets the eye. I’d already used a web browser, the phone, and e-mail and I barely started. I still had to follow up – ok, hound them – to make sure my client was getting appropriate attention. The case was finally assigned to a BI (Bodily Injury) adjuster, but I still had to ask that adjuster to have a PIP (Personal Injury Protection) file opened, which had been my initial request.
Eventually, I figured it out and seem to have successfully answered the key questions. It seems that Zurich insures LYFT, and the file is handled by York as a third-party administrator. Based upon my past experiences with York I don’t anticipate pure joy, but at least I’m now confident that Lyft is in no position to take me or my client for a ride.