DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver man says his life has been flipped upside down after being hospitalized following a Lyft ride. Brian Fritts was riding in the back of a Lyft ride share when it was involved in a hit-and-run rollover crash. However, Lyft allegedly declined to take any responsibility for the more than $173,000 in medical bills he now has.
“I don’t remember a lot of (the crash),” Fritts, 32, told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “The car went off the road and I woke up in the hospital.”
Fritts doesn’t own a car nor does he have auto insurance. He relies on Lyft and Uber to get him to his work on a regular basis. Fritts was on his way to meet with a client when the hit and run occurred on northbound I-25 just south of the 6th Avenue exit. The Lyft driver was forced off the road, crashed through a fence and rolled at least one time before stopping at the edge of train tracks. The back of the vehicle Fritts was riding in was covered in blood when first responders arrived, and he was rushed to Denver Health.
“Almost every doctor told me I was lucky to be there,” Fritts said. “I broke a bunch of vertebrae in my neck and broke my jaw. They had to put a rod and six screws in my neck and fused five of the vertebrates together.”
With mounting medical bills Fritts expected Lyft to cover them. However, when his attorney Eric Faddis sought compensation Lyft declined to pay. After investigating the claim, Faddis learned there may be a legislative loophole which Lyft could hide behind.
The Lyft driver’s personal insurance policy had a clause in it which denied coverage of ride share passengers in the event of a crash, with the assumption the ride share company would carry uninsured motorist coverage. However, according to Varner Faddis Elite Legal, Lyft rid of such insurance in the first quarter of 2020, months before the crash.
“The Lyft driver’s personal policy, and the Lyft insurance policy, both of those insurance policies are claiming that their policies do not apply,” Faddis said.
Faddis claimed Lyft was pawning off responsibility on the driver of the other vehicle, who was never identified.
“Lyft has essentially tried to wash their hands of this incident,” Faddis said.
Both Faddis and Fritts said they believe Lyft should be held financially responsible for incidents like the one that Fritts experienced. Both agreed they were disheartened to see a multi-billion dollar company refuse to accept any responsibility.
“It’s one of those slap in the face,” Fritts said.
Faddis alleged that Lyft may have also denied some financial compensation to their own driver as well for his medical and vehicle repair bills.
Faddis said there was a chance his client would be left with the responsibility for the mounting bills while Lyft dodges the bullet. Because of that he is hoping Colorado lawmakers will consider creating a bill which would force ride share companies to carry uninsured motorist coverage to protect both their drivers and customers.
“We are just asking them to do the right thing and take care of the rider who was injured while using their services,” Faddis said.
CBS4 reached out to Lyft three days before this story was aired and published, requesting information on the specific incident and explanation of their overall insurance coverage policies. A spokesperson emailed back links to the company’s overall policies.
However, when the company was asked to interview or comment on the case involving Fritts, the same spokesperson declined to provide further information and deferred to a third party administrator.
“I think the way they can make me the happiest is show me they care. Show me something,” Fritts said.
*By Dillon Thomas, CBS4 Denver*