Many people find Uber and Lyft services a convenience, calling for rides to and from social engagements, traveling to the airport, or for services like taking an elderly relative to a doctor appointment. As more Uber and Lyft vehicles are on the road, the chance of being injured in a car accident in one of these vehicles also increases. Those calling for a ride do not think about injuries from an accident, but the reality is that anytime a person is in a moving vehicle, there is a possibility that injury can occur.
Unlike taxis, Uber and Lyft vehicles are not considered commercial vehicles. Most customers assume that the driver is an employee of Uber or Lyft and will be covered by the corporation’s insurance policy. In fact, Uber and Lyft drivers are required to carry their own insurance policies, but liability for coverage in a ridesharing accident largely depends on whether the vehicle was transporting a rider at the time of the accident.
New Jersey recently took the lead in setting precedents for liability in ridesharing accidents. New Jersey law requires that a driver’s personal insurance policy will cover damages or injuries that occur in an accident while the driver is not actively logged into the ridesharing app. A driver that is in an accident while logged into the ridesharing app, but not actively driving to pick up a passenger, will use a combination of their own insurance and that of the ridesharing company to cover damages and injuries. For accidents that occur when a passenger is in the Uber or Lyft vehicle, the driver, the company, or a combination of both insurance companies will provide $1 million in coverage for fatalities, injuries, and damages.
It is evident that states across the country will need to set standards for insurance liability for ridesharing service providers. Uber and Lyft escape the burden of liability in many cases because it considers drivers independent contractors, not employees. As such, much of the burden of liability falls on the contractor, not the company they are working with, to provide their service. Figuring out who is ultimately responsible for fatalities, injuries, and property damages will be left for insurance companies to battle in court if more legislation is not established.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, the experienced team of Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP can help you claim the compensation you may be entitled to receive. Call us at 800-222-8792, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, and we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.