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Risks of Using Your Personal Vehicle for Work

Episode 71: In this episode, Calloway County attorney Jeff Roberts discusses accidents and injuries related to Uber and Lyft drivers.  He’ll also share some interesting facts about how these drivers may inadvertently nullify their personal automobile insurance policies.  He’ll discuss what passengers need to know if they are in a collision while using a ride-share service.  Jeff will talk about what you need to do if you’re hit by a ride-share driver.  We’ll also discuss similar issues involving food deliver services such as Door Dash, Uber Eats and others.  There are definite risks if you’re using your personal vehicle for work.

Insurance Issues for Uber and Lyft Drivers

If you are driving for a ride-share service or a meal delivery service, your own insurance may not apply to an accident that occurs while you are actively driving for one of these services.  In Kentucky, many insurance policies have a provision stating the policy doesn’t cover the vehicle if it’s being used in a business setting. 

So, if you’re actively engaged in a delivery on behalf of a company (i.e. delivering people to a destination or a sandwich to a customer) your personal vehicle insurance carrier could deem this to be a business use and therefore doesn’t have to pay if you’re in an accident. 

Jeff clarifies that the apps used by drivers can show a distinction, such as being available to pick-up passengers or meals, rather than having them in your vehicle at the time of the accident.  There may be leeway as to when the personal insurance would be required to cover you.  If you’re in the “available” status, because you’re not actively conveying a person or item to a destination, you may be able to argue the insurance should be required to cover you.

Uber’s insurance coverage (for Kentucky) is available online.  Jeff was able to determine that if a driver is in the “available” status, coverage for bodily injury is limited to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.  If the same driver were actively on a ride, the insurance single limit increases to $1,000,000.  This is meant to protect Uber from additional liability, in the event their driver was at-fault and the resulting injuries were extremely serious.

Attorney Jeff Roberts explains how you may void your auto insurance by using your personal vehicle for work

Excluded from Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Interestingly, Jeff points out that ride-share drivers and meal delivery drivers may not be covered under Kentucky workers’ compensation laws.  Companies engaged in these activities are referred to as “marketplace contractor” according to a 2018 Kentucky law.  The drivers are considered to be independent contractors, not employees.  Because they are not employees, they aren’t eligible for workers’ comp benefits.

Coverage if You Get Injured While Driving for Uber or Lyft

Assuming you were actively engaged in a trip on behalf of one of these companies, you would still have access to PIP benefits (“no-fault” coverage) generally in the amount of $10,000.  You would then have to rely on your own health insurance coverage. 

What Happens if You Were Not At-Fault?

Assuming you’re actively driving for a ride-share service or food delivery service and get into an accident which was not your fault, you have voided your various coverages for liability, bodily injury and property damage.  However, you have also potentially voided your under insured and uninsured motorist coverage.  This is the coverage you have in the event the at-fault driver didn’t have enough insurance to cover your damages or was driving without insurance at the time of the collision.  Again, because you’re conducting business with your vehicle, your personal automobile insurance may not be responsible.

It’s important to understand that even if you’re relying on the company’s insurance, because you are actively engaged in a pick-up or delivery, the company may have opted out of uninsured and under insured motorist coverage.  Again, you may have much more exposure that you initial assumed.

Check Your Policy for Exclusions

Jeff recommends you take time to review the specific exclusions that are part of your personal automobile insurance policy.  You may not realize the risks of using your personal vehicle for work.

What if I’m a Passenger Involved in an Uber or Lyft Accident?

If you have hired a ride-share service, such as Uber or Lyft, you are covered.  If the other driver is at-fault, you’d have a claim against him/her.  PIP (“no-fault”) coverage would also be available to you.  If the other driver’s coverages aren’t enough, you may also be able to file a claim with your own automobile insurance for under insured motorist or uninsured motorist coverage.

If the Uber driver or Lyft driver is at-fault for the collision, while you were riding in their vehicle, you’d be able to file a claim against the driver and assuming his/her policy is voided because their engaged in business, you’d be able to file against ride-share company’s insurance policy.  You’d also have access to the PIP coverage. 

If Uber or Lyft failed to properly vet the driver and it turns out that he/she should not have been eligible to drive for the company, you may have a claim for negligence against the company, as well.

If you happen to be traveling for business, at the time of the collision, you would typically be able to file a workers’ compensation claim.  This situation is commonly referred to as filing a “third-party” claim for the personal injury portion, against the at-fault driver. 

What Happens if My Uber or Lyft Driver Is At-Fault?

If you’re involved in an accident and the ride-share driver is at-fault, an important determination involves his/her status.  Were they simply “available” or were they actively engaged in providing service at the time of the collision.  Remember, assuming they’ve voided their personal insurance coverage, the company’s coverage may make a distinction affecting the amount of coverage available.

You would still have PIP coverage available.  Understand, these are paid by the vehicle you and your passengers are in at the time of the collision.  Because you are not the at-fault driver, accessing these benefits will not affect your insurance premiums.

Rely on Jeff Roberts’ Experience

Jeff has 31 years of experience handling motor vehicle accident claims, including complex truck accidents involving tractor trailers.  While claims involving Uber drivers, Lyft drivers, or meal delivery services such as Door Dash or Uber Eats may seem complicated, Jeff has the experience to effectively handle the claim and pursue litigation in court, if it comes to that.

Jeff is a trial lawyer.  If he takes your case, he’s assuming at some point, it may go to trial.  This mentality and his attention to detail are important factors in effectively gathering the evidence, explaining that evidence to the insurance company and their attorneys and presenting the facts to the judge and jury. 

The insurance companies realize this, because they carefully track attorneys to determine which of them are most likely to take a case to trial, if necessary.  They use that information in deciding how much to offer to settle the claim, before it has to go to trial.  Litigation always involves the risk.  Insurance companies try to manage that risk, especially when the victim’s attorney has a proven track record in court.

What Do Other Clients Think About Jeff?

We always encourage listeners to read the Google Reviews Jeff Roberts has received from many of his clients.  A 5-Star rating and the comments are earned recognition and demonstrate Jeff’s commitment to his clients.  As a solo attorney, he has more Google Reviews than some firms with multiple attorneys.  Jeff shares the credit with his staff at the Roberts Law Office.  Successfully representing a victim of an automobile or motorcycle accident is a team effort.  It’s why Jeff likes to say his firm offers small town service with big city results.

Jeff Roberts Represents Injured Clients Throughout Kentucky

With offices located in Calloway County and now Christian County, Jeff has a history of representing personal injury clients, workers’ compensation clients and social security disability clients across the state.  He’s represented clients from Paducah, Bowling Green, Louisville, Covington, Whitesville and many other Kentucky locations.  He’s not just a Western Kentucky injury attorney. 

We hope you found this episode insightful and helpful.  Thank you for listening!         

Is It Time to Speak with an Attorney about Your Automobile Accident Claim?

The office phone number is (270) 753-0053 or toll free at 800-844-5108.  For more information, visit This podcast is meant to provide information and is not legal advice.  Jeff’s principal office is located at 509 Main Street, Murray, Kentucky.  Co-host Jim Ray is a non-attorney spokesperson.  This is an advertisement.