Ridesharing through Uber or Lyft has become an enormously popular way for people to get around. All you have to do is call them on your cell phone and schedule a pick-up. But what happens if you are in an accident caused by the carelessness of one of their drivers, either as a passenger or in a completely different car?
Automobile insurance and ridesharing companies
It is the law that all ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have to have their own personal insurance to cover damages in the event of an accident. In addition, Uber and Lyft drivers each carry $1 million in liability coverage.
These drivers are not considered employees of the company – rather they are independent contractors since they use their own vehicles. Therefore, who to think about when filing a claim is the Uber or Lyft driver – not the company.
If the ridesharing driver caused the accident and you are a passenger, you can file a personal injury claim against the driver, if you are injured.
If you are in another vehicle and are injured by the fault of the ridesharing driver’s car, but he isn’t carrying a passenger, you may have a harder time collecting from his insurance for the full amount of your damages. That’s because the ridesharing driver’s personal insurance won’t cover an accident, if he’s doing business with his car. And…you can’t collect from his $1 million policy if there was no passenger in his car. It’s a real “Catch-22”.
I want to make this clear. During the time the ridesharing driver is logged on to their company’s digital app, but is not carrying a passenger, the amount of liability coverage is 50/100, or $50,000 per person and $100,000 per occurrence. However, when the ridesharing driver is transporting a passenger, the amount of liability coverage is $1,000,000.
In addition to liability coverage, ridesharing companies have uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and under-insured coverage (UIM) up to $1 million.
How safe are ridesharing drivers?
Ridesharing drivers do not have to undergo any special training to drive passengers to their destination like taxi cab drivers do, so there really isn’t any way, other than through peer review, to know if your driver is a responsible one or not. Some reviewers have written that the ridesharing companies don’t do a very good job of screening their drivers. This means that some drivers may be lousy drivers and potentially unsafe.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident involving a ridesharing driver, such as Uber or Lyft, filing a claim with the right insurance company can be challenging. Please give me a call so we can discuss your case. All consultations are free.
If you have any questions about this article or any area of personal injury law, please refer to the contact info below.
Also, if you are interested, please read my other personal injury articles at http://blog.petermillerlaw.com.
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Little Rock, AR 72206
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Attribution: Uber, Inc./creativecommons.org/license2.0