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Lyft And Uber Accidents

”lyft and uber accidents

Lyft and Uber Accidents Present New Legal Challenges

Since the founding of Uber in 2009, ridesharing services have expanded rapidly. Part transportation and part social network, these companies have proven themselves to be viable alternatives to Taxi services. However, like any new industry, a number of legal questions remain.

  • What qualifies as a ridesharing service?
  • What licensing is required for a rideshare driver?
  • Who can be held responsible for accidents involving rideshare drivers? In the event of an accident resulting in injury or death, is the driver or the company liable for damages?
  • How do ridesharing companies insure their vehicles?

WHAT IS A RIDESHARING SERVICE?

A ridesharing service is a service that arranges one-time shared rides through the use of GPS navigation devices, smartphones, and social networks.

Similar to carpooling, ridesharing services utilizes empty seats in a passenger vehicles to provide transportation to those without access to a vehicle or who may not be in a condition to drive. Unlike carpooling, these services are often set up on short notice and are done for the sole purpose of profit.

Among the leading ridesharing services are:

  • Uber
  • Lyft
  • Sidecar
  • Wingz

WHAT LICENSING IS REQUIRED FOR A RIDESHARE DRIVER?

The short answer: only a driver’s license.

Unlike Taxi services which are heavily regulated, there are no certified licensing programs for rideshare drivers. All a driver needs is a valid driver’s license and auto insurance. After meeting a few other company-based requirements, drivers are free to transport clients with no additional training or experience.

Initially, this resulted in many of these services being banned as unlicensed taxi companies. However, bans have since been lifted, leaving the companies free to operate.

WHO CAN BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ACCIDENTS INVOLVING RIDESHARE DRIVERS?

Rideshare companies have gone great lengths in order to distance themselves from legal responsibility. Uber, for example, does not consider their drivers employees and instead lists them as independent contractors.

When confronted with litigation, parent companies like Uber and Lyft will attempt to claim they only facilitate fares and are not responsible for their driver’s actions. It is then up to the plaintiff’s attorneys to prove the company’s liability.

HOW DO RIDESHARE COMPANIES INSURE THEIR VEHICLES?

Actual insurance policies will vary by company; however, all drivers are required to have their own insurance in order to be eligible to work for a ridesharing company. Additionally, both Lyft and Uber carry up to $1 million of liability company insurance, but this coverage is only in effect when at certain times.

For example, Uber’s insurance policy has three levels:

  • Uber App is OFF: Only the driver’s personal insurance is in effect.
  • App is ON and Driver is “Available”: In addition to driver’s insurance, Uber’s contingent liability coverage can now be accessed. This includes up to $100,000 for injuries.
  • Driver is on Uber Trip: Company’s full commercial insurance coverage is in effect. This includes $1 million in third party liability and $1 million in uninsured and underinsured coverage.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN AN UBER OR LYFT ACCIDENT?

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving a ridesharing service vehicle, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our attorneys have the legal knowledge and resources to handle your claim aggressively and effectively. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends. Call us now.

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