If you are used to taking a taxi to get where you want to go, then you have probably noticed the growing number of ridesharing services being offered in your city. In 2015, it was estimated that eight million people around the world were using services such as Uber and Lyft, and that number is growing rapidly. The appeal of getting into a well-kept private vehicle with a friendly driver as opposed to a taxi with a surly cab driver is growing, but the situation with ride sharing is not as rosy as people may think.
When a driver engages in a ride-sharing service, their personal auto insurance policy ceases to be in effect. If they get in a car accident, the driver and passenger would not be covered by the driver’s personal policy. To fix the problem, ride sharing companies offer liability coverage for the driver and passenger in the event of an accident. Once again, it sounds great but that coverage does not mean you won’t have to consider a personal injury lawsuit if you are in a ride-sharing accident.
Is There Ridesharing Coverage?
Since we are only talking about passengers in this discussion, let’s examine what kind of liability coverage the ridesharing services offer passengers in the event of a car accident. In most cases, the insurance offered by the ridesharing companies to passengers exceeds what taxi companies carry.
The general rule for ridesharing companies is to offer $1 million of liability insurance to passengers in the event of an accident. Taxi companies have to follow the various state laws, but for most states, the liability insurance carried by a taxi is between $125,000 to $500,000. Most cab companies carry the minimum amount of insurance to keep costs down.
The other car service companies also offer $1 million in liability coverage to passengers if they are involved in an accident with someone who carries little to no auto insurance. When riding in a taxi, passengers often have to rely on their own auto insurance coverage to protect against uninsured motorists.
Can You Get Compensation If An Accident Happens?
While companies such as Uber and Lyft offer this kind of insurance, there is no guarantee they will pay out if there is an accident. Ridesharing drivers are not employees of the companies, which means that the car service companies can deny payment for damages for just about any reason.
If for example an Uber driver is not available for service and hits a pedestrian or gets in an accident, then the driver’s personal insurance would handle the damages. The situation gets complicated if the driver is either in-between rides or on the way to pick up a passenger. At that point, without an actual passenger in the car, the car companies can try to avoid paying by stating that they had no responsibility for the accident.
Even if you are a passenger in a car service vehicle, you may still find yourself being denied a settlement for accident damages for a variety of reasons. In other words, the car service companies offer great insurance coverage for passengers, but getting the companies to pay is not easy.
Who Can Be Sued?
If you are injured in an accident while in a ridesharing vehicle, you should know that you can legally sue the driver and the car service company for your damages. In most cases, it would be the ridesharing company’s liability insurance that would cover your settlement. However, you can also sue the driver if he or she was obviously negligent in your accident.
Personal auto insurance policies are not in effect when a passenger gets into a ridesharing vehicle. The coverage for both the passenger and the driver is supposed to be offered by a third-party carrier designated by the ridesharing company. If you are in an accident while you are a passenger in a ridesharing vehicle and the car service company is trying not to pay, then you need to get an experienced lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Thanks to our friends at Top Gun DUI, DUI Lawyer in Los Angeles, CA, for their contributions to this post.