Car Accident Liability: Who Is Liable for an Accident with a Rideshare Driver?
Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have steadily increased in popularity across the country in the past five years, with a recent study by Pew Research showing that 36% of U.S. adults say they have used a rideshare service. However, this popularity comes with some downsides. While there is some evidence that these services have led to a decrease in drunk driving incidents, other studies suggest that they may also be responsible for an increase in car accidents – especially fatal car accidents.
Accidents involving rideshare drivers can get complicated because of the relationship between the companies and their drivers. Drivers for services like Uber and Lyft are self-employed and aren’t technically employees of the company, they are independent contractors.
There has been a lot of backlash against ridesharing companies because of the way they treat their drivers and avoid liability for accidents, and some states have seen class-action lawsuits and other court cases challenging the ability of ridesharing companies to classify their drivers as independent contractors.
Whose Insurance Covers an Accident with a Rideshare Driver?
Because rideshare drivers are not employees, in the majority of cases the company is not responsible for their drivers’ actions. This allows these companies to avoid liability for most accidents and makes it very difficult to sue them for something a rideshare driver does. However, that doesn’t mean that the companies are never liable, it just means that liability can change drastically depending on the situation.
The claims process and amount of compensation you can claim usually depends on whether the driver was logged into the app at the time of the accident. For accidents that happen when the driver is not logged into the app, the driver’s personal insurance should cover the damages. If the accident happens when the driver was logged in but isn’t transporting a passenger, the rideshare company’s insurance should cover damages up to $50,000.
When a driver has accepted a passenger and is providing the service, the rideshare company’s insurance should cover up to $1 million in damages and injuries. However, regardless of the driver’s level of fault in the accident, the rideshare service’s insurance company will often deny claims due to a driver’s recklessness.
This means that it often falls on the personal auto insurance of the driver to pay a claim, and rideshare companies require their drivers to have personal insurance coverage on their vehicles. Unfortunately, most personal insurance companies will immediately cancel coverage upon learning that the vehicle is being used for commercial purposes, and they often fight paying claims in these cases as well.
Why You Need a Lawyer Who Understands the Claims Process
If all of this sounds incredibly confusing and difficult, it’s because it is, and these companies have set it up this way on purpose. Trying to figure out whose insurance company is responsible for your claim can be a long and complicated process, and rideshare companies have teams of lawyers whose only job is to make sure that they pay you as little money for your claim as possible.
If you’ve been in an accident with a driver who works for a rideshare company, the smartest thing to do is hire an experienced lawyer who can help you navigate your claim and ensure you get the money you deserve for damages to your vehicle and any injuries you may have suffered as a result of the accident.
Contact Cesar Ornelas Car Accident Lawyers
If you’ve been in an accident with a rideshare driver, don’t try to deal with multiple insurance companies and teams of lawyers on your own.
Cesar Ornelas Law has the experience needed to deal with the insurance companies and make sure you get the compensation you deserve after. Call 855.982.1742 or contact us today and we’ll arrange a free consultation with a car accident attorney.
Originally from Kyle, Texas, Mr. Ornelas is a first-generation college graduate and a first-generation attorney.
Licensed in Texas, Cesar Ornelas’s nationwide practice is entirely contingency fee-based and consists of a wide variety of catastrophic personal injury and death cases. He has represented countless victims of catastrophic accidents across the United States.