Liability in Ridesharing Service Accidents Can Be Murky

uber driver caused an auto accidentSummoning a ride used to involve calling a cab company directly or standing on the side of the road and trying to flag down passing taxis. Now, thanks to ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft, users can request a ride in just seconds via a mobile smartphone app.

Ridesharing services are becoming more and more popular, and it's easy to see why. They offer convenient and inexpensive transportation at any time of the day or night, making it easier than ever for people without
vehicles to get from one place to another.

Also, ridesharing services are often even available in suburban and rural areas, and other places where traditional taxi cab services are scarce or nonexistent.

The benefits of ridesharing services are undeniable, but using a ridesharing service can also have drawbacks. For example, drivers for ridesharing services may not be screened well, or as trained as professional taxi cab operators might be. Also, like other motorists, rideshare drivers can also get into accidents and when they do, they cast injured accident victims into murky legal waters.

Whether you were injured in an accident while using a ridesharing service or injured in an accident caused by a rideshare driver, understanding your rights can help you decide if taking legal action is right for you.

Common Ridesharing Accident Scenarios

Liability issues surrounding ridesharing accidents are extremely complex in part because the party liable for the crash-related damages can vary between accident scenarios.

The most common ridesharing accident scenarios are:

  • A passenger using a ridesharing service is injured while in a car operated by a rideshare driver.
  • A motorist is hit by a rideshare service driver who is currently carrying passengers.
  • A motorist is hit by a rideshare driver traveling to pick up a fare.
  • A rideshare driver is injured while picking up, transporting, or dropping off passengers.

Determining which party is liable for ridesharing accident injuries and other damages can be difficult. Fortunately, knowledgeable personal injury attorney with experience handling ridesharing accident cases can help.

Company Liability vs. Driver Liability

Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare service drivers are considered independent contractors rather than employees of the rideshare service for which they drive. Independent contractors have more freedom, but fewer benefits than employees. For example, they can set their hours, but may not be covered by a company insurance policy. This means if you're injured while using a ridesharing service, the company may not be legally liable for your injuries and other accident-related expenses.

Accident victims who are unable to seek compensation from the ridesharing service itself may opt to pursue compensation from the rideshare driver, but here's the rub: Many personal car insurance policies contain clauses expressly forbidding the policyholder from picking up fares. If the driver was logged in to the ridesharing app at the time of the accident, her insurance company may choose to deny your claim.

Fortunately, both Uber and Lyft voluntarily carry insurance policies to protect both independent contractors and passengers. For example, Uber drivers who get into an accident after accepting a fare are covered by a $1 million liability policy, as well as $1 million in uninsured/underinsured coverage, contingent collision and comprehensive coverage.

Lyft drivers who are actively using the ridesharing app are covered by a comprehensive insurance policy that includes primary automotive liability coverage, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and contingent collision and comprehensive coverage, as well as contingent liability coverage when waiting for fare requests.

Sevenish Law Can Help You Protect Your Rights

Were you injured in a ridesharing accident? Don't let the complexity of the legal issues surrounding ridesharing accidents prevent you from fighting for the justice and compensation you deserve. If you're considering a ridesharing accident insurance claim or lawsuit, Randy Sevenish of Sevenish Law can provide the honest, yet aggressive, representation you need. Contact Sevenish Law's Indianapolis law office today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your potential ridesharing accident case.