In many ways, a rideshare crash is just like any other auto accident. Drivers and passengers suffer the same types of injuries, like broken bones, soft tissue damage or concussions. But while the accidents may be no different, the dynamic of fault and compensation is, creating a sometimes-confusing experience.
Drivers involved in crashes with Uber or Lyft contractors may find themselves dealing with a combination of insurers, individuals and multi-billion dollar companies. That’s why if you’re injured in a rideshare crash, you need help from an experienced attorney to ensure you get the best compensation possible.
Who is responsible for rideshare injuries?
If you’re driving and a rideshare vehicle causes a crash, you have the same rights to recovery as any other accident. If you’re a passenger in a rideshare crash, you also have the right to pursue a claim against the driver’s insurance company. However, most private insurance companies do not allow driving for hire, meaning rideshare drivers are usually not covered by their own policies when they have a fare.
That’s why Uber and Lyft have to provide insurance coverage for their contracted drivers. This coverage is complicated and depends on whether the driver is with a passenger or not. When a driver has a passenger or is picking one up, their third-party liability coverage is at its highest, with up to $1 million of coverage, as required by Georgia law. If they are signed into the app but haven’t yet accepted a ride, their coverage is less. And if they’re not signed on to the app, they are only covered by their own policy.
This means that if you’re a passenger, your driver is obviously on the clock and therefore will be covered by Uber or Lyft’s insurance. If you were involved in a crash with a rideshare driver, however, it might not be immediately clear whether you’ll be working with the rideshare company’s insurer or the driver’s own insurance company.
Are Uber and Lyft responsible for driver negligence?
While a $1 million policy limit may sound generous and is often more than many taxi companies offer, it is per accident, rather than per person. This means that in serious crashes, or crashes involving multiple vehicles, it’s not always enough.
Unfortunately, the way rideshare companies classify their drivers makes it challenging to recover compensation beyond insurance payouts, even if their driver was negligent. Uber and Lyft classify drivers as independent contractors, not employees, a distinction that allows them to argue they are not responsible for the drivers’ actions. This is a questionable classification, and some states are challenging the idea that drivers are not actually employees. Georgia, however, has tended to side with the companies’ defense that they are not responsible for their drivers’ actions.
The bottom line? In crashes involving rideshare drivers, there are many pieces, including the driver, the rideshare company and their respective insurers. In such a complicated situation, it’s a good idea to work with a personal injury attorney with experience in rideshare accidents.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney at The King Firm
If you’ve been hurt in a rideshare accident, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. At The King Firm, our team has the experience and knowledge necessary to pursue the best possible results for your case. Contact us today at 229-515-8585 for a free case consultation.