Each year, ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber expand to more and more cities across the US, providing competitive pricing for getting around without your own car. These services allow individuals to use their own personal vehicles to give people rides and charge them for the service using an app on their phone. Although these ridesharing services have exploded in the past few years, cities, states, and insurance companies are still learning how to monitor, evaluate, and litigate accidents that occur while Lyft and Uber drivers are operating.
Insurance for Ridesharing Services
Uber and Lyft both clearly advertise on their website that they provide all of their drivers with $1 million of liability coverage per incident. This means that, as a passenger, if your Uber driver causes an accident and you are injured, you would file a claim with Uber's insurance company. If the other party caused the accident, you would file a claim, as usual, with the other driver's insurance company.
However, if you are hit by an Uber driver, you are not so well protected. In fact, only if the Uber driver is currently carrying a passenger, on a service trip, will you be able to file a claim under the $1 million insurance policy. If the driver does not have a passenger, and even though driver's status is set at “available," you will have to file a claim with the Uber driver's personal insurance policy. Unfortunately, some insurance policies explicitly state that they will not payout for claims if the driver was logged onto a ridesharing app.
For Uber, drivers who operate under UberBLACK, UberTAXI, and UberSUV are also required to purchase their own commercial auto insurance, which is more expensive than regular insurance but also covers more scenarios. Lyft's insurance policy is very similar to that of Uber's policy.
There are multiple situations in which you might have to deal, either directly or indirectly, with the insurance policies provided by Lyft or Uber. For example, you might:
- Sustain an injury while riding in a car operated by a Lyft or Uber driver;
- Be hit as a pedestrian or cyclist by a Lyft or Uber driver;
- Collide with a Lyft or Uber driver who is on the clock at the time of the accident and sustain personal injuries or property damage; and/or
- Own property, e.g. a business, damaged by a Lyft or Uber driver.
In these circumstances, it can sometimes be difficult to ascertain which insurance provider should compensate for damages. An experienced auto accident attorney can help you determine how best to pursue compensation in your particular circumstance.
Commercial Auto Insurance
Unlike Lyft and Uber drivers, taxi drivers are usually employed by a local business, cooperative, or local branch of a national company. Most cities and states require that taxi drivers purchase what is known as “commercial auto insurance.” Commercial auto insurance differs substantially from individual policies in multiple ways. First of all, it is more extensive than a personal policy because it covers injuries to passengers, pedestrians, and to other drivers and their property. Secondly, it is usually a company policy, meaning that the employer or taxi company can be held liable for the actions of all of their employees, usually drivers, for any accidents or injuries they may cause.
If you are a passenger in a taxi and injured in an accident caused by your driver, you will likely be able to collect compensation from the taxi company's insurance policy. If another driver caused the accident, the at-fault driver will be liable for your injuries, the injuries of the taxi driver, and any damage sustained by the taxi. In this case, the taxi's insurance policy might compensate for any injuries that the other driver's insurance does not cover.
Legal Assistance for New Mexico Victims
If you or someone you love has been injured in an auto accident involving an Uber, Lyft, or taxi, there may be heightened complications associated with your case. Collecting compensation from commercial sources can often be more time-consuming and difficult than collecting from individual insurance policies because corporate insurance policies and practices are designed to prevent payouts whenever possible. Insurance companies for ridesharing companies may deny liability and direct claims to other sources, such as personal policies. For a complete case evaluation and assistance in analyzing your options for compensation while you recover, call Revo Smith Law today at (505) 293-8888 or contact us online.