Car sharing and ride sharing services offer many advantages for those who don't have a valid license, don't enjoy driving, or simply wish to avoid the expense of car ownership. However, these services can sometimes create liability questions when an accident occurs.
Types of Accidents
There are four main types of car sharing or ride sharing service accidents:
- You're injured while riding as a passenger in a car being driven by a ride sharing or car sharing contractor.
- You’re hit by a driver carrying passengers for a ride sharing or car sharing service.
- You're hit by a driver who isn't currently carrying passengers but is on his way to pick up a fare for a car sharing or ride sharing service.
- You're injured as a driver for a ride sharing or car sharing service while carrying passengers, picking up passengers, or dropping off passengers.
In each scenario, the driver for the car sharing or ride sharing service might not be at fault, could solely be at fault, or could be partially at fault. Determining fault is the first step in assigning liability for injuries.
Car sharing and ride sharing services use drivers who are considered independent contractors. This means they set their own work hours and don't have access to traditional employee benefits.
Normally, independent contractors aren't covered by a company insurance policy. However, the major car sharing and ride sharing services have opted to voluntarily carry insurance policies that cover their contractors.
Uber carries a widely publicized $1 million liability policy for drivers who have accepted a trip. They also have a $1 million uninsured/underinsured motorist policy and contingent collision and comprehensive coverage.
Lyft drivers are also covered by a four-part insurance policy if they're actively using the app. Coverage includes contingent liability coverage while a driver is waiting for a ride request, primary automotive liability, contingent collision and comprehensive coverage, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Specifics vary according to the driver’s location, but general limits are similar to what Uber carries.
It’s important to keep in mind that car sharing and ride sharing companies only offer coverage when a driver is actively using their app. If that driver is not logged in and shown as being available for a ride or currently transporting a passenger, the only coverage available is his own personal insurance.
Types of Compensation
There are several different types of compensation that can be obtained from a personal injury claim, including:
- Past medical expenses, emergency care, surgical care, follow-up care, rehabilitation, and prescription medications
- Future medical expenses, if you've been injured to the extent you'll require ongoing treatment
- Loss of wages, if you were unable to work during the recovery period
- Loss of earning potential, if you're considered permanently disabled and unable to work or working in a lower paying occupation
- Pain and suffering, including physical pain as well as the emotional trauma of the accident
In a fatal accident, the deceased person's family members can file a wrongful death claim. This is a type of personal injury suit that includes compensation for funeral and burial costs, as well as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Most personal auto insurance policies only cover passengers when the driver is operating his vehicle for personal use. Picking up fares to earn money is specifically prohibited. Therefore, you may have difficulty getting your expenses reimbursed if you're injured while the driver isn't correctly logged into the car sharing or ride sharing app.
To protect your interests and streamline the process of obtaining a personal injury settlement, hiring a skilled attorney is a must. Since personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, there is no upfront cost associated with securing quality legal representation. This leaves you free to focus on your recovery while your attorney advocates for your needs.
The dedicated legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to helping Louisiana residents who've been injured as the result of another party's negligence receive the compensation they need to move forward with their lives. Please call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.