People who regularly use Uber or Lyft probably do not think twice when they request a ride. After all, it is a useful service that provides quick, inexpensive rides. However, like all other motor vehicles, Uber and Lyft vehicles can get in car accidents. When an Uber or Lyft driver is involved in an accident, who is liable for injuries to passengers or other drivers involved in the crash?
Drivers are Independent Contractors
Both companies do not actually hire their drivers; they contract them to do the driving, thus drivers are considered independent contractors. Passengers use apps to set up the rides, and pay set prices through their phones. Prices depend on distance, time of day, and whether the ride is being shared by other riders.
Since the companies contract out their drivers, they make sure they have auto insurance that is in line with their states’ minimum requirements for liability. However, the majority of personal auto insurance policies rule out coverage if the policy holder is driving for hire.
Both Uber and Lyft give liability coverage to their independent contractor drivers, although the specifics can vary. If the driver is not logged in, there is almost always no coverage.
If they are logged in, but have not yet accepted the rider, the companies will supply liability coverage, which is usually $50,000 per person injured/$100,000 total injury/$25,000 property damage. Once the driver has accepted the ride, liability coverage goes up to one million dollars.
There have been calls for better driver training, including from the survivor of a March 2018 Uber crash in Toronto in which her boyfriend was fatally injured. The driver had dropped his phone, and pulled over to get it, without checking for other vehicles. The car was hit from behind. The survivor believed that the driver was inexperienced, nervous, and not trained well enough to be driving passengers in an Uber.
What Happens After a Rideshare Accident?
After a typical motor vehicle accident, those involved get police reports if needed, and turn the details over to their insurance companies. A passenger or driver in the Uber/Lyft or other vehicle involved could have a difficult time getting reimbursed from the rideshare’s insurance company, especially if it is unclear as to who was at fault.
Once medical needs are attended to, passengers should contact the police for a report, see if there are witnesses, and record accurate insurance information from the vehicle and driver. Taking pictures on a smartphone can be a wise move as well.
Passengers and others involved in these crashes can expect to be contacted by the Uber/Lyft’s insurance company to determine who was at fault. Before making any statements, it is best to contact an experienced car accident lawyer.
If the driver is injured, they may run into separate difficulties, since they are an independent contractor. This does not afford them the protection that working as an actual employee does. Rideshare drivers are not entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Represent Victims of Uber and Lyft Car Accidents
Ridesharing is still a fairly new industry, and many of the legalities regarding liability and insurance are still being worked out. The Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. have solid experience representing all types of car accident victims and drivers, and we can help with your case. Call us today at 888-999-1962 or contact us through our online form. From our offices in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, and Pinehurst, we represent accident victims in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and North Carolina.