Taxi cabs used to be one of the only options to get around for people who didn’t own a car. They also used to be the only option for getting home if one had imbibed a bit too much and was wise enough to avoid the dangers of drunk driving. Now, however, there is ridesharing. Companies like Uber and Lyft have popped up that provide an alternative. While there are still plenty of political debates to be had about what level of regulations should be put into place for these agencies, for those who choose to use them they present interesting questions about who is in fact responsible if one of these cars is involved in a car accident.
We decided to write this piece to keep you informed of these services. The ruling for these companies to function in Las Vegas is still in the works. The most recent ruling was that Uber isn’t going to be allowed to operate in Nevada, but we will keep you informed of any changes that come about.
What is Ridesharing?
For those who have not used it, from a consumer perspective, ride-sharing is kind of like a taxi. You usually order one using a mobile phone app; the driver then comes and picks you up and drives you where you want to go. Your credit card is charged through the app, and you also have the option to tip on your credit card, so there is no actual exchange of cash in the vehicle. However, ridesharing is very different from taxi cabs in that (1) it is nowhere near as regulated and (2) many ridesharing drivers are driving their personal vehicles.
An Example of an Uber Accident
The Daily Herald, an Illinois newspaper, reported earlier this year on a fatal UberX accident that occurred in Hoffman Estates, IL. In this case, an Uber driver had just finished giving a customer a ride when he allegedly rear-ended a cab driver. The cab burst into flames and the driver died. Police cited the Uber driver for various traffic violations. Now, the cab driver’s family is suing the UberX driver. One of the issues in the case will ultimately be whether the UberX driver’s insurance will cover his liability. While Uber provides some insurance to drivers, the drivers are not covered by the Uber policy when they are not on their way to pick up a customer, transporting a customer, or readily available to pick up another customer.
What Types of Insurance Do These Companies Have for their Drivers?
Every ridesharing company has their own policy regarding insurance coverage for passengers of the service. Uber’s website includes their policy:
If you’re taking a ride requested through uberX, some transportation providers are rideshare drivers providing transportation with their personal vehicles. Rideshare providers carry personal insurance policies. However, there’s a commercial insurance policy for ridesharing with $1 million of coverage per incident. This policy covers drivers’ liability from the time a driver accepts your trip request through the app until the completion of your trip. This policy is expressly primary to the driver’s personal auto policy. An additional insurance policy covers drivers when they are logged into the Uber app but have not yet accepted a trip request.
Lyft also carries insurance to cover passengers if the vehicle is struck by an uninsured or underinsured driver. According to their website, they provide insurance free of charge to their drivers in all states except New York.
If You Are in a Car Accident, Call Naqvi Injury Law
Regardless of the insurance in place, in some ways a ridesharing accident is no different from any other car accident. The insurance companies involved do not have your best interests at heart, and you will need a car accident law firm on your side who can fight for you. If you are involved in one of these accidents in the Las Vegas area, call us at (702)553-1000 to schedule a free consultation.