Ride-sharing companies are thriving. A recent study showed that ride-sharing services have added immensely to traffic congestion on the roads of 9 major US cities.
Many motorists and passengers are concerned about the amount of time that Uber and Lyft drivers spend looking at their phones for directions and other information. Considering the increase in traffic, in combination with greater distractions, it is not unreasonable to worry about a higher number of auto collisions.
Since the vehicles operated by these drivers are not owned by the ride-sharing companies, it can be confusing to understand insurance liability in the case of a collision.
While pursuing a liability claim may be more complicated, the fact that the injured, not-at-fault party will have a claim against the at-fault party does not change. In making the claim for damages, the injured would still seek to prove that the other motorist (or the driver of the car they were occupying) was responsible for the collision. Additionally, the injured party would need to show the extent of their damages.
The next question is more challenging. Since the driver is connected with a ride-sharing company, whose insurance policy covers the claim?
Normally, a commercial establishment can be held accountable for any negligence on the part of its employees. However, Uber/Lyft drivers are considered to be independent contractors and not employees.
Fortunately, recent Kansas laws have imposed certain insurance requirements on these companies. As a result, there is generally up to $1 million of Uber/Lyft insurance coverage. However, there are several exceptions that can complicate a claim involving a ride-sharing driver:
- Coverage does not apply:
- – If the driver is not logged in to the ride-sharing app at the time of the collision, the company’s coverage will not apply. In the event of a collision, the driver is covered by his/her personal policy.
- Coverage applies partially:
- – If the driver is logged in to the app but has not been notified of a passenger request or has not picked up a passenger, the primary coverage is still offered by the personal policy of the driver. However, if the driver’s personal insurance does not respond adequately or does not respond at all, the ride-sharing company’s coverage provides for damages up to $50,000 per person, $100,000 per collision and $25,000 for property damage.
- Coverage applies completely:
- – From the time a driver accepts a ride request until the time that the ride is closed in the app, the driver is insured by the company up to $1 million. If the driver carries a commercial policy or personal insurance with coverage for ride-sharing, the company’s insurance applies in excess to the driver’s coverage.
- Predator alert:
- – Even after you’ve had the “stranger danger” talk with your child, don’t leave your child standing alone at the bus stop. Even when children are waiting in a group at the bus stop, it is safest to have an adult supervising them at all times.
- Ride-sharing coverage for uninsured and under-insured motorists:
- – The $1 million coverage applies when the driver is active on the app. Otherwise, Kansas law in the matter prevails, which requires all motorists to carry minimum UM/UIM coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per collision.
What should you do if you are in a collision that involves a ride-sharing (Uber/Lyft) driver?
- • First, seek medical treatment as needed.
- • Call for police assistance at the scene of the collision, particularly if the crash involves a ride-sharing driver. It is crucial to have the incident investigated by an impartial party.
- • Get the name of the investigating officer and ask for a copy of the police report.
- • Get the names of all the motorists involved in the collision along with their contact information and insurance details.
- • Collect the names and contact information of all witnesses.
- • Take as many pictures of the damaged vehicles, the collision scene, and the surrounding area from as many angles as possible.
What does this mean for other motorists and pedestrians?
If you are in a car collision that involves a ride-sharing driver, your claim will be treated just as a claim involving a non-ride sharing driver. In keeping with Kansas laws, you will have immediate benefits available through your own auto insurance policy (PIP benefits). You will be able to seek compensation from the insurance company of the at-fault motorist. As discussed above, a range of factors will affect your ability to seek damages from the ride-sharing company’s insurance provider. Given these complicating factors, it is highly advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible after a collision.
While ride-sharing companies carry commercial insurance for their drivers, the exceptions provide an incredible opportunity for insurance companies to take advantage of someone injured in collision. Get an experienced attorney on your side to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
If you have incurred significant losses in a collision, contact us today. DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers will do everything legally available to ensure that you get a fair settlement.
- – https://www.npr.org/2018/08/01/634506179/ride-hailing-services-add-to-traffic-congestion-study-says
- – https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/01/to-measure-the-uber-effect-cities-get-creative/550295/
- – https://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20180725/TRANSPORTATION/180729944/ride-sharing-causes-far-more-city-traffic-than-it-prevents-report