Increasingly, people are relying on ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft to get them where they're going. In some large cities, many people don't even own their own vehicles anymore. They just order a car if they need to travel somewhere they can't reach on foot. Of course, ride-share apps are great when you want to enjoy a night out and not worry about getting home safely after a few drinks.
Liability for Injured Passengers
Most passengers sit back and relax or chat when they're in an Uber or Lyft and let the driver worry about the traffic. However, what happens if that driver is responsible for a crash that causes injuries? Who is responsible for compensating riders for their medical care and other financial losses and damages like pain and suffering?
If you're a passenger in an Uber, Lyft or other ride-share vehicle, your injuries will probably be covered by the company's insurance. Even though ride-share drivers are in a gray area when it comes to being "employees," the companies will generally cover accidents for which they're responsible.
The larger ride-share companies carry a considerable amount of liability insurance. In many states (California, for example), these companies are required to have a designated minimum amount of commercial liability coverage. Most also require their drivers to carry their own insurance.
Liability for Other Victims
What if you're the victim of an accident caused by a ride-share driver, but you weren't a passenger? Perhaps you were in another vehicle struck by the driver or you were a pedestrian or bicyclist who was hit. If the driver was transporting a paying passenger, he or she was clearly working for the ride-share company, and the company's liability should take over.
However, you might get some pushback from the company if the driver wasn't carrying a passenger at the time. The situation may get into the murky area of what constitutes being "on the clock" for the company.
Just as with any other accident involving a vehicle and an at-fault driver, it's essential to get as much information as possible after the crash to help build a case for compensation, should you need to seek it through civil litigation. An experienced car accident attorney in your state can provide important guidance and help you seek the compensation you need and deserve.
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