A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Collect from A Rideshare Accident
Rideshare companies, such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, connect passengers looking for a ride to drivers wanting to use their personal vehicle to make money. While many people love the convenient and affordable transportation options rideshare companies facilitate, there are substantial risks that both passengers and drivers need to consider before connecting to their favorite rideshare app. Rideshare companies only offer a limited amount of insurance protection for accidents that involve their service. These insurance limitations can make it difficult for the victims of rideshare accidents to receive adequate compensation for their injuries. A good personal injury lawyer is the best way to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve in an accident involving a rideshare vehicle.
In an article written for the legal website Lexology, Natalie Baughman explains how rideshare companies often try to deny responsibility for accidents because their drivers are considered independent contractors. As a general rule, Baughman says that rideshare companies deny responsibility 1.) when their app is off, or 2.) when the app is on, but there are no passengers in the vehicle. A few states, including California, require that rideshare companies have full insurance for the second of these scenarios. However, these payouts are minimal and only cover the costs not paid out by the driver’s insurance. In other cases, the rideshare company might accept responsibility, but their insurance companies will refuse to pay out. When the insurance of a rideshare company refuses to pay out, responsibility then falls back to the drivers, whose insurance policies are often inadequate or have “livery exclusions” that deny coverage when the vehicles are used for ridesharing purposes.
People suing rideshare companies have had success in court. In July 2016, Uber reached an undisclosed settlement with the family of Sofia Liu in the case of Liu et al. vs. Uber Technologies et al., 14-536979. Liu was a 6-year-old girl who was struck and killed by a driver who had his Uber app on en route to pick up passengers in San Francisco on New Years Eve 2013. In the immediate aftermath of the accident, some wondered how the Liu family would be compensated. As Marc Lifsher and Salvador Rodrigues of the Los Angeles Times explain, the Liu case made a prime example of why traditional taxi services oppose rideshare companies. By limiting their liability costs, companies, such as Uber, can charge rates that are around 30% below those of traditional taxi services.
Cases involving rideshare vehicles are complex. If you have been injured in an accident involving rideshare vehicle, then it would be wise to contact a personal injury lawyer. A good personal injury lawyer can help you collect the maximum compensation you are entitled to for a ride-sharing accident.