Many people traveling to Dallas and Fort Worth and residents who rely on public transportation are turning to ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft instead of taxicabs to get them around. With these services, a person can schedule a ride from a driver through an app on his cellphone. While this is convenient, it is raising many complicated, unresolved issues about what happens if an Uber or Lyft driver causes a crash resulting in serious injuries or deaths to innocent victims. Will Uber’s or Lyft’s insurance policies cover the accident?
What You Need to Know About Uber and Lyft Insurance Policies
Uber and Lyft consider their drivers to be independent contractors and not employees. These drivers are required to insure their own vehicles. Unfortunately, many do not purchase commercial insurance policies, and their personal automobile insurance policy will most likely exclude coverage for business driving.
Uber and Lyft are required to have insurance policies for crashes caused by their drivers and claim to have $1 million in coverage. However, when the insurance coverage kicks in is disputed, leaving some injured victims in a gray area where insurance coverage is questionable. The determining factor is whether the driver’s app is off or on, whether the driver is available, or whether the driver is en route or driving a passenger. Here’s how Uber’s and Lyft’s policies could work:
- App off. If the driver’s app is off, Uber’s and Lyft’s insurance policy would not cover the crash. They claim the driver is not working when the app is off.
- App on and driver is available. Uber and Lyft provide contingent insurance coverage if the app is on and the driver is available to pick up passengers. The driver’s insurance policy would be primarily liable, but the victim could seek additional compensation from Uber’s and Lyft’s liability or underinsured/uninsured policies.
- Driver en route or driving passengers. Uber’s and Lyft’s liability or underinsured/uninsured insurance coverage could cover these accidents.
These unclear rules for rideshare insurance coverage raise even further questions. For example:
- What happens if the driver’s app is off but he is really working?
- When is the driver available?
- Is the driver en route if he stops to do an errand on the way to pick up a passenger?
- Is the driver en route if he hits his passenger while slowing down to pick him up?
- Is the driver driving his passengers if he is in the process of picking them up or dropping them off when the accident occurs?
Unfortunately, it could be some time before these questions get resolved. The answers will most likely come through decisions by judges in cases where ridesharing company passengers and other victims file lawsuits after accidents caused by these company’s drivers. That’s why it is vital you have an experienced taxi accident attorney on your side.
If you were hurt in a wreck caused by an Uber or Lyft driver, we’re here to unravel these complicated issues and to fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Start an online chat today to schedule a free consultation.