As the popularity of rideshare services has exploded in recent years, accident involving rideshare vehicles have tripled. It is something that occurs every day on America’s roads, but have you ever paused to think about what you would do if your rideshare driver had an accident with you in the vehicle? Who is liable? Here is a breakdown of Uber Car Accident Law.
Who Pays for What?
The rideshare contract has some limited coverage; however, the extent of this coverage depends on the rideshare service you are using and when the accident occurs. In a standard UberX or Lyft ride, where the driver is using their own vehicle, Uber and Lyft claim they have liability coverage up to $1 million. This coverage will pay out for any accident which occurs while the app is on and there is a passenger in the car.
However, this leaves gaps in the coverage. If an Uber or Lyft driver has an accident without a passenger in the car, while they are waiting for a job, they are not covered. The issue during this period is that their personal vehicle insurance is also unlikely to pay out for any accident which occurs. Because the driver is technically using their vehicle for commercial purposes, even though they don’t actually have a passenger in the car (because the app is on), their personal insurance would not pay out. They would have to have commercial liability insurance in addition to personal motor insurance, which most ridesharing drivers do not purchase.
Uber has attempted to rectify this. It now reportedly offers drivers coverage during this period while they wait for a passenger. But this coverage is limited to $50,000 worth of liability, a fraction of the $1 million offered once the driver has a passenger in the vehicle.
In Reality, What Does This Mean?
While Uber and Lyft claim to offer coverage for their drivers, in reality, because it views them as independent contractors, it can be very difficult to hold the firms accountable. They can deny liability and force you to go through the driver’s insurance policy, which often also denies liability.
If the driver has purchases rideshare insurance, and only 23% have, this will bridge the coverage gap. But with so few drivers carrying it, most accidents leave the third party in the predicament of wondering who is liable for damages.
Filing a Lawsuit
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a rideshare driver, the best legal recourse available is to have a lawyer send preservation of evidence letter to both the rideshare company and the driver. This will ensure that any evidence in the case will be preserved and accessible to you.
Then, your lawyer will most likely have to take the case up with the driver. However, if the rideshare company fails to preserve the evidence, your lawyer will have grounds to bring a case against the company as well. While not a sure-fire way of holding the rideshare firm to account, it can sometimes offer an avenue for compensation when others do not yield results.