What Happens If I Am Hurt In A Collision Involving Uber, Lyft Or Another Ride-Share Company?
Ride-share companies (like Uber and Lyft) have created a system of car and driver for hire. They are becoming more popular than taxi companies as a preferred mode of transportation. But ride-share drivers have accidents, too. People who have been injured in ride-share collisions are facing new legal challenges. The experienced injury attorneys at Jacobs & Dow, LLC, can advocate for you if you and work to maximize the amount you recover.
Usually, the ride-share passenger uses the app to contact a driver who is “online.” Once the passenger is in the rideshare car, he or she is usually covered by the company’s auto liability policy, which has high limits and provides underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage. The two well-known companies say they provide $1 million of coverage.
This coverage protects the passenger, whether or not the rideshare driver is at fault for the accident. It will also apply to the driver of the other car, or passengers, if the rideshare driver (a) has a passenger and (b) is at fault for causing the accident. Here are some possibilities:
- A ride-share passenger could be injured by the ride-share driver’s negligence or fault.
- A ride-share passenger could be injured in a two-car collision, where it is NOT the ride-share driver’s fault.
- A ride-share driver could be injured, either while “online” using the app, with or without a passenger, or offline, alone in the car.
- A driver or passenger in another car could be injured by a ride-share driver, while he is “online” driving a passenger, or is between passengers, or is “offline.”
- The ride-share driver could hit a bicyclist or a pedestrian.
Steps To Take After A Ride-Share Injury Accident
If you were injured in an accident involving a ride-share driver, you may be covered by the rideshare company’s insurance policy, as well as the driver’s personal auto insurance policy and possibly your own underinsured motorist coverage. However, in addition to who was at fault for the accident, your claim may be met with rideshare company defenses and insurance company defenses.
Rideshare companies try to classify their drivers as independent contractors, rather than employees. Generally, an employer is responsible for the actions of employees during their course of employment, but a company is not responsible for the actions of an independent contractor. The rideshare company may try to use an independent contractor defense to deny liability for the actions of a rideshare driver.
Ride-share company coverage may also depend on whether the driver is online or offline.
The ride-share company’s insurance may be available if a rideshare driver is online with the app, has been matched with a rider through the app and is carrying a passenger.
If a ride-share driver is online yet in between trips and waiting to be matched with a passenger, then the company’s large policy may not apply. In addition, the driver’s personal auto policy may deny liability if it has a coverage exclusion when a personal vehicle is being used for commercial purposes. Ideally, ride-share drivers will have their own commercial auto liability insurance policy. The ride-share company may also provide some secondary liability insurance with limits of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.
If the ride-share driver is offline, the ride-share company’s insurer will probably deny liability. Coverage may be available only through the driver’s personal auto insurance policy. This policy may deny liability if it finds that the driver has failed to disclose that he or she was using the car as a ride-share vehicle.
We Are Ready To Protect Your Rights
If you were using a ride-share company, such as Uber or Lyft, and you were injured in an accident, the experienced attorneys at Jacobs & Dow will help you deal with the insurance coverage issues so you can recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries, medical expenses and lost wages as the result of the accident.
Call (203) 772-3100 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. We only collect if we help you recover compensation, either through a negotiated agreement or a court judgment.