Liability in a Collision With a Rideshare Vehicle

Auto Accident Lawyer

Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft offer many benefits to many people. However, in some respect they’ve also made certain matters needlessly complicated. This is especially true when it comes to liability for car accidents.

Crashes and injuries related to ridesharing are becoming more common, and as more of these vehicles take to the road as the services become more popular, that figure is only likely to increase. There are special rules that apply in a collision with a rideshare driver.

Three-Layer Insurance Coverage

In the past, drivers for ridesharing services, who are legally considered independent contractors rather than employees, carried only their personal car insurance when working. If an accident occurred, the personal policy would not cover the damages because the vehicle was being used for commercial rather than personal use.

Since that time, Lyft, Uber, and all other reputable ridesharing companies have extended extra liability insurance coverage to their drivers that kicks in when the driver is using his or her vehicle for work. The damages that you are entitled to vary depending on whether the driver was “on the clock” at the time that the collision occurred and/or whether he or she had a passenger in the vehicle at the time. The extra coverage affords protection to passengers as well as other drivers.

Exemption for Owners

If you are involved in an accident with a driver for Uber or Lyft, you will need to obtain insurance information not only for his or her personal policy but for the extra coverage as well. One thing that you usually cannot do, however, is bring a lawsuit against the rideshare company itself.

This is because Uber and Lyft do not hire their drivers as employees. Rather, they contract with them to provide rideshare services. While an employer may be held responsible for the actions of its employees, a company that contracts with independent providers has fewer responsibilities. This arrangement is essential to the success of the ridesharing model and the profitability of the companies themselves. Only in a rare instance in which you are able to prove that Lyft or Uber was negligent in contracting with the driver in the first place can you possibly bring a lawsuit against the company itself.

With the advent of new innovations like ridesharing, the law sometimes struggles to keep up. Determining liability in a collision with an Uber or Lyft can be extremely challenging. However, one of our attorneys may be able to help clarify the matter and guide you through the claims process.

Source: Auto Accident Lawyer Deer Park, TX, John K. Zaid & Associates

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