What Happens if You’re Hurt while Using a Ride-Sharing Service?
Posted on : July 24, 2017
by : Carlos Alvarez Tostado
San Diego is a beautiful city with some serious traffic. Many San Diegans who are tired of battling through traffic and paying exorbitant prices for parking when going out in the Gaslamp or Pacific Beach are saving themselves the hassle by using ride-sharing apps such as Lyft and Uber to get around town. If you’ve ever been in a Lyft or Uber and had a close call involving another vehicle or some dangerous maneuvers on behalf of your driver, you may have wondered whether you’d be compensated for your injuries if you were hurt in a ride-share accident. Read on to learn what happens when an Uber or Lyft accident results in injuries.
When Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and other ride-sharing apps first started gaining in popularity, lawmakers immediately began wondering what would happen in the event of an accident involving the Uber driver. Would the driver’s private insurance policy cover the expenses involved in an accident? What if the policy had a prohibition on using the vehicle for commercial purposes and the carrier denied the claim?
These are the questions that the California Public Utilities Commission sought to resolve with a law enacted in July of 2015. Under the law, companies known as “transportation network companies” which connect passengers with drivers must obtain an operating license from the state, perform background checks on all drivers, train their drivers, and carry insurance coverage of at least $1 million per incident.
However, the amount and availability of coverage varies depending on when the accident occurs, a fact which can directly affect the amount of coverage available to you if you’re injured by an Uber or Lyft driver. Passengers driven by ride-sharing vehicles will always be covered by the $1 million policy. Non-passengers injured in an accident caused by a ride-share driver will face different coverage at different times. If the ride-share driver has not yet turned on the app, which indicates that they are available to accept fares, then their normal insurance policy is in effect. If you are driving your own car and are injured in a crash with a ride-share driver who has already accepted a fare or is carrying a passenger, then your injuries will be covered by the minimum $1 million policy. However, if the Uber or Lyft driver has turned on the app but not yet accepted a fare, coverage is provided differently. The ride-share driver’s own insurance will not be available, nor will the $1 million policy provided through the ride-share company. Instead, the driver will be covered by a policy provided through the ride-share company that offers only $50,000 in death or bodily injury benefits for a single person, up to $100,000 per incident if multiple people are injured. Due to the complexity involved in these claims and the possibility of needing to prove whether and when a driver turned on their ride-share app relative to when an accident occurred, it is recommended that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney after an accident with an Uber or Lyft vehicle.
If you’ve been hurt in a crash in Southern California, get help seeking the money you’re owed for your injuries by contacting the knowledgeable and dedicated San Diego automobile accident lawyers at the Banker’s Hill Law Firm for a consultation, at 619-230-0330.