Uber & Lyft: Who Is Liable When A Rideshare Accident Occurs?
The popularity of rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft has exploded in recent years. Seen as a more convenient alternative to taxis, people of all ages are taking advantage of this revolutionary mode of transportation. However, this does not mean that you do not take a risk by getting into a car with an Uber or Lyft driver. If a motor vehicle collision occurs, it may not be immediately clear who is liable. At Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler, PLLC, we advocate for those injured in rideshare accidents to ensure that they receive the compensation they deserve.
Insurance Coverage Is Confusing
In the beginning, companies like Uber relied on drivers, who are not employees but independent contractors, to rely on their own personal auto insurance policies. However, many insurers denied coverage since the drivers were using their vehicles for commercial use. Over time, the industry has evolved and insurers have adapted. Under the current model, who is liable depends specifically on what the situation was when the accident occurred. Coverage may come through the rideshare company, the driver, your own personal auto policy, or some combination of those.
As long as the driver is online through the company’s app when you are a passenger in the car, the company’s insurance should cover the accident. This is beneficial to users since the coverage through a company like Uber likely has much higher limits than a personal policy issued to an individual driver. Therefore, accepting a ride from a driver who is not online may not be a good idea.
Things Can Still Go Awry
Companies and drivers having insurance is no guarantee that everything will go smoothly and you will receive the payment you are due. Insurance companies are big corporations who will deny claims and try to place the blame on other parties to avoid having to make a payout. Because these situations are so complex, it is crucial to have an experienced injury attorney on your side.