Rideshare services, such as those provided by companies like Uber and Lyft, are becoming more and more popular. In fact, Statista reports that in 2018, 36% of U.S. adults were using these services, which is more than double the number of people hailing rides just three years earlier.
Although ridesharing offers a convenient way for people to get around, especially if they've had a night on the town, the proliferation of these services means that there is an increase of drivers on the road to meet the demand. What's troublesome about this is not only are the streets more crowded, but almost anyone can become a rideshare driver without having any formal training. For instance, to drive for Uber or Lyft, a person need only meet a certain age requirement, have a 4-door vehicle, have a valid driver's license and insurance. Prospective drivers must also pass a screening, but that's about it.
With more rideshare drivers transporting passengers from one destination to another, it's likely that car accidents involving these drivers will increase. And if or when they happen, who's liable for damages if the rideshare driver caused the collision? The answer to that is it depends on what stage of the trip the driver was in.
The Three Drive Stages and Insurance Coverage
Several rideshare companies require that drivers have their own vehicle insurance that meets the state's minimum requirements before they can begin accepting passengers. Companies like Uber and Lyft each have their own insurance that provides liability coverage that kicks in when the driver is logged into the app and/or transporting passengers.
The drive phases and policies for Uber and Lyft are similar and include:
- App Off Phase: This is when the driver is not logged into the app and driving on their own time. If they cause an accident, they may be liable, and you may file a claim with their insurance company.
- App On, Waiting for a Passenger Phase: When the driver logs onto the app and is waiting for a ride request for a passenger, either Uber's or Lyft's liability insurance coverage will apply (if the driver's doesn't). The coverage amounts for both companies include up to $50,000 per each person who suffered bodily injury in the accident, up to $100,000 for bodily injury per accident, and up to $25,000 for property damage per accident.
- Ride Accepted Phase: After an Uber or Lyft driver has accepted a ride and is either en route to pick up the passenger or is transporting them to their destination, the rideshare company's insurance will also kick in. Both companies have coverage of up to $1,000,000 for third-party liability.
If you were injured in an accident caused by a rideshare driver, it's crucial to know where to file your claim to seek just compensation. This requires thorough research and an examination of records to determine what phase of the trip the driver was in. The entire process can be most effectively handled with the help of a skilled attorney.
At the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C., our Norman, OK, personal injury lawyers have extensive legal experience and can help you navigate the complex claims process. Get in touch with us by calling (866) 590-8173 or filling out an online contact form today.