Who is Liable in a Rideshare Accident?
Posted in Car Accidents on July 3, 2018
Ridesharing has become a multi-billion dollar industry, with companies like Uber and Lyft dominating the scene. Though these are the two biggest companies to offer the service, ridesharing has become more common for buses, scooters, and even boats. People can save both money and time by utilizing ridesharing services, but the peer-to-peer model does have its downsides. Unlike cab companies, Uber and Lyft do not rigorously train or background check their employees, so accidents may be more commonplace.
Who is liable for following an accident with a rideshare? These crashes have some unique considerations. Learn how the law handles accidents involving an Uber or Lyft driver.
Establishing Fault in a Car Accident
In one sense, an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver will follow many of the same elements as a traditional accident – in other words, an injured party must show that someone was liable for his or her injuries and that he or she suffered damages as a result. The liable party will depend on the circumstances of the accident itself. For example, if a person sustains injury as a passenger in an accident with an Uber, he or she may have a claim against the Uber driver, the driver of the other vehicle involved, or both. The driver of a car may similarly have a claim against a ridesharing driver if the driver of the rideshare was indeed liable for the accident.
Where to File the Claim
Unique considerations come into play when filing claims against ridesharing drivers. An injured person may have several options when choosing where to file a claim: it may be with a ridesharing driver’s personal coverage or the company policy for the driver, depending on the circumstances.
How Ridesharing Companies Insure Drivers
First, know that ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft require certain insurance minimums as a condition of employment. In general, these policies must meet or exceed Missouri’s minimum amounts of coverage set forth by state law. However, ridesharing companies also provide coverage when a ridesharing driver is “on the clock” or actively transporting a passenger. Here’s how the process works:
- A driver is “on the clock” when he or she logs into the application, even if he or she is not actively transporting a passenger. In this case, the company provides liability coverage up to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident, as well as $25,000 in property damage.
- When a driver actively transports a passenger, the ridesharing companies offer coverage that is more comprehensive. As soon as a driver accepts a ride request, the company provides $1 million in liability coverage and property damage.
- When a driver does not log into the app and is not transporting a passenger, he or she must rely on his or her personal coverage in the event of an accident.
These policies apply to both Uber and Lyft. Smaller ridesharing companies may have different policies or coverage amounts.
In other words, when a ridesharing driver causes an accident, a victim’s avenue for legal recourse will depend largely on whether he or she was on the clock. An injured party may have to file a claim with the ridesharing driver’s personal coverage or the rideshare company’s policy, based on the criteria outlined above.
Determining liability in a rideshare – especially as a passenger – can be confusing. For this reason, many victims of ridesharing accidents find it helpful to file claims with the guidance of an attorney. This helps ensure that the injured party secures fair and full compensation for the injuries, pain, and suffering he or she incurred. We encourage anyone injured by a ridesharing driver to seek an attorney’s advice.