On-demand ride services such as Uber and Lyft have become a popular alternative to taxi services in many countries today. These rideshare companies employ their drivers as independent contractors, which means that they are using their personal cars and are responsible for their own vehicle-related costs.
People love these services as they are very easy to use, and all you need is a smartphone. Through an application, you can easily request a ride by putting in the location of your destination, and you will automatically match with an available driver in the area.
The ride’s fare will be shown to you before you accept the ride, and the payment will be made via the app after you’ve arrived at your destination.
Although the concept of these services is quite straightforward, questions may arise when it comes to liability for a car accident case that involves an Uber or Lyft vehicle. This article will address these concerns as well as providing detailed explanations.
As mentioned, Uber and Lyft drivers are all independent contractors. So, when there is a car accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, you cannot sue the company directly. Companies like Uber and Lyft are not liable for the actions of these independent contractors.
In other words, the companies only provide their drivers with an application to arrange rides with passengers, and then everything that happens on the road is out of the companies’ control. However, these companies can still be held financially responsible when there is an accident that involves their drivers, particularly when there are injuries and damages incurred.
Every driver employed under Uber or Lyft is required to have their own car insurance coverage, and the companies will augment that insurance for extra coverage.
That is because when a driver is “working,” whether they’re available for a fare or in a middle of transporting a passenger, many personal insurance providers will try to refuse coverage by arguing that the insured party was driving for hire, thus disputing the driver’s claim to personal insurance coverage.
In regards to insurance coverage for drivers, rideshare companies usually follow a three-tiered approach. The first tier includes the driver’s personal insurance, which covers the driver when they are not working or engaging in the act of a rideshare driver.
The second tier comes in when the driver is available for a fare but not transporting a passenger. Therefore, the driver may be covered by their own personal insurance, but the company’s insurance will have to step in when necessary.
Finally, the third tier applies when the driver is driving a passenger, in which the companies are responsible for providing at least one million dollars in liability insurance for their drivers.
If your claim is valid, you may be able to receive compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages can include any monetary losses due to the accident, such as the costs to repair the damaged vehicle, medical bills, and compensation for lost wages as a result of the injuries suffered from the accident.
On the other hand, you may be entitled to compensation for non-economic damages such as emotional adversity or any pain and suffering you’ve had to endure after the accident.
Do you need compensation or legal advice for your car accident? Get in touch with us today! Suddarth & Koor are trained and experienced personal injury lawyers!