For generations if we wanted to get around by car, we had three options: buy one, rent one, or call a taxi. And in each of those cases, if we were involved in a car accident there was a fairly simple analysis to determine who was financially responsible. But now in a world of car sharing services like Enterprise CarShare and ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft, things have gotten much muddier. If you suffer an injury as a passenger of one of these services, it can be confusing to figure out exactly who to hold responsible.
Car Accidents Involving Car Sharing
Car sharing, in many ways, is like renting a car—just easier and for a shorter period of time. Usually, these cars are available in urban areas for those who participate in the service to pick up and use for just a few hours or even less for a fairly reasonable fee. Obviously, most of the people who would have need of such a service do not have cars of their own, so they are unlikely to carry any auto insurance. So the question becomes if you are in an accident while driving one of these cars or in an accident where someone else is driving one of these cars, who is going to pay for the damages? Many of these companies have some degree of insurance in place for the driver. For example, Enterprise CarShare has insurance in place to cover physical damage and liability. This means that if you are hit by someone using one of their cars, that liability coverage should apply to you. But if you are the driver of a car share car and you suffer injuries in an accident that is your fault, you may have to rely on your own medical insurance for coverage.
Car Accidents Involving Ridesharing
Ridesharing services most closely resemble taxi services from a consumer perspective. You get on your computer or cell phone, request a car, and one comes to you and the driver takes you where you want to go. Instead of being a regulated taxi company and driver, however, these drivers are using their personal cars. That makes things a whole lot more complicated.
Every company has their own policy regarding insurance coverage for passengers of the service. Uber’s website states the following:
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.
The company also carries uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. As for Lyft, they require their drivers to either have their own commercial insurance policy or provides one for them, the details of which are available on their website.
As for the drivers of the ride-sharing car, Forbes Magazine reports that an organization called Peers is now offering car replacement insurance for drivers. This insurance helps drivers get a replacement car they can use for their ride-sharing job if their car is damaged in a crash, allowing them to keep working.
Have you been involved in an accident while ridesharing or carsharing? The attorneys at Davis Levin Livingston are prepared to help you seek compensation for your injuries. Call us today for an initial consultation and to learn how we can be of assistance.