There was a time when you called a taxi if you needed a ride to get somewhere. Times are changing though, and taxis are no longer the only option. Riders now have a choice, and many are opting for app based ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. These companies are not only changing transportation, they are changing insurance as well.
As ridesharing has gained popularity over the past few years, lawmakers have had to step up and create laws that cover the unique circumstances that these services present. This can leave passengers somewhat confused, wondering who is responsible in an Uber or Lyft accident. They want to be compensated for their injuries and property loss, but they aren’t sure where to start. This is why it is so important to get a personal injury lawyer to handle a ridesharing case.
Insurance is a major concern for rideshare drivers as well as passengers and the rideshare industry has brought about some important changes in how the vehicles and their passengers are covered. Under Maryland law all drivers are required to carry the minimum level of coverage and are responsible for purchasing their own insurance in order to be able to drive. The minimum insurance coverage that is required for every driver in the state is 30/60/15, or $30,000 bodily injury per person, $60,000 per accident for two or more people, and $15,000 property damage.
Commercial drivers are typically covered by the insurance policy their employer carries. However, Uber and Lyft drivers have a unique work situation. They drive their vehicles for personal use but also drive the for work. This means that different insurance policies cover their vehicle depending on whether they are on duty or off duty.
If they are off duty, their personal insurance will apply in the event of an accident. On the other hand, if they are on duty and get into an accident, the company’s insurance coverage will apply. Both Uber and Lyft have Maryland insurance coverage and it applied the moment the car goes on duty until they go off duty. This means that the moment a passenger accepts a ride, the company insurance kicks in until drop off. So, if there is an accident during that time, the company’s insurance will handle any claims.
Accidents happen, even to Uber and Lyft drivers. In fact, statistically speaking, drivers for rideshare companies are more likely to get in an accident simply because they are spending more time behind the wheel than regular drivers. Distracted driving is also an increased likelihood because of this, not because they are texting, but because they are looking at their GPS or smartphone for directions or getting information from the rider on where they are going. At pick up points they may be searching for the rider instead of paying attention to other vehicles that are nearby.
Driving in areas that are unfamiliar can also pose an accident risk for rideshare drivers. They may not be aware of blind intersections, unique traffic patterns, confusing intersections and traffic patterns, or one-way streets. This can lead to accidents.
If you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft and the drivers gets into an accident, both the drivers and the company may be held liable. You may have physical injuries that incur expenses like medical bills, lost wages, and future medical costs. Pain and suffering may also be involved. You would file a claim with the rideshare company’s insurance as soon as possible.
Rideshare situations are unique and very complex from a legal standpoint. While the company insurance for Uber or Lyft does provide coverage while the car is on duty, the drivers are still independent contractors. They are not actual company employees. This means that the insurance coverage can have certain limitations that can cause the claim to be denied. For instance, if the driver was acting reckless and caused an accident intentionally (i.e. road rage), or if they were driving under the influence (DUI), it could cause the claim to be denied.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and a rideshare vehicle was involved, you need the personal injury attorney in your corner. You could be entitled to compensation for your loss and injuries and a good lawyer can help you recover it. At DuBoff and Associates, we have the experience and knowledge to handle these complex rideshare cases. Call us today for a free consultation. We’ll walk through your case with you, give you honest, direct feedback, and make our recommendations on how to proceed. We care, and we want to see you on the road to recovery. Let us handle the insurance company; you concentrate on healing.Filed Under: