Today, at the click of a button you can have a personal ride to any destination in a matter of minutes. Rideshare apps such as Uber and Lyft have become a popular trend and are useful to many. These types of services are fast, easy, and often cheaper than a traditional taxi.
As these services become increasingly more popular, it is important for passengers, drivers and companies to keep safety in mind. Inevitably accidents will happen, and as a paying customer you should know your rights and the legal exchanges that will occur during these events. Topics such as what to do, who is liable, and how compensation works are important to be educated on if you are a passenger in a ride share accident.
What to do
Just like any other car accident you could be involved in, it is important to make the right calls and talk to the right people while on the scene. If you need immediate medical attention, call 911. Make sure to file a police report and take photographs of the accident if possible. Be sure to speak with the driver, other passengers, and any witnesses to exchange contact and insurance information. After this, make sure to contact Uber or Lyft to let them know you were in an accident during a ride.
Since the increased use of services like Uber and Lyft, questions about liability have been on the minds of many. Unlike taxis, these services are not regulated by state and local laws and are practically free of government restriction. Over the years, this has changed and new rules have been put in place to protect all parties involved. Most states require specific insurance obligations, intense background checks, and other requirements for the company and drivers.
Pinpointing who is liable in these types of cases can be complicated, but in most instances the passenger is never liable because both Uber and Lyft carry liability insurance. The reason behind the gray area of liability is because insurance is split between the driver’s personal insurance and the company’s insurance policy. More often than not, a driver’s personal insurance will deny the claim because the driver is “driving for hire”. This is where the company insurance steps in to make sure the customer is covered.
In some circumstances, based on the status of a driver and accident details, the ride share company may deny a claim. Both Uber and Lyft cover accidents involving uninsured drivers and will take responsibility when apps are online, but if the driver causes the accident and the app is not online during a ride both companies will do anything possible to avoid the claim.
If you are involved in an Uber or Lyft accident and experience injuries, you may be entitled to compensation. Uber and Lyft both provide coverage to those injured by their drivers during this period. In this situation, a $50,000/$100,000/$25,000 policy is in place.
Author Info: Barry Levy has been practicing in personal injury law in Cincinnati, Ohio for over 27 years. He is most passionate about standing up for and helping individuals who are overwhelmed and being bullied.