It’s no secret that ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have exploded in popularity in recent years. Ridesharing offers a number of attractive options over traditional taxi service such as shorter wait times, a tech-based system, and newer, cleaner cars. However, no one ever thinks about what happens if they are injured in an accident while riding in an Uber or Lyft vehicle. Taxi companies are heavily regulated and have strict insurance requirements in order to protect customers in the event that something goes wrong. Ridesharing, given that it is relatively new, is still developing these standards.
In the event of an accident, the first question that arises is who’s insurance is going to pay the claim. Interestingly, ridesharing companies are actually subject to more onerous insurance requirements than taxi companies. A taxi driver is not required to carry more than the minimum amount of insurance required of private drivers: $25,000 for injury or death of a single victim and $50,000 for all victims in a single accident. The situation for rideshare services changed dramatically in 2015 when Georgia enacted House Bill 225. That law specifically mandated that rideshare services carry the following policy minimums:
- $300,000 for times when the driver is between fares (referred to as a contingency policy)
- $1,000,000 for when the driver has an active fare and a passenger in his or her vehicle
If you are injured as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, the service’s insurance is primarily responsible for any injuries you may have suffered. However, it’s more complicated if the driver was between fares. As you probably know, Uber and Lyft drivers are driving their own personal vehicles, and the service’s insurance may not provide coverage if the driver was driving for his own personal use. As you might imagine, there can be considerable debate as to whether the driver was between fares or totally off the clock. In addition, the insurance company may deny that their driver was at fault or look for other ways to reduce its potential liability in the event of an accident.
The Primary Cause of Uber and Lyft Accidents
Uber and Lyft accidents are just like other car accidents in that they are typically caused by driver error, such as speeding, failure to stop at stop lights or stop signs, or failure to account for weather or traffic conditions. However, rideshare drivers are more susceptible to distracted driving, as the driver has to pay attention to his rideshare app, his GPS service, and might be talking with his passengers.
Fatigue is another common factor in ridesharing accidents. Many drivers work for Uber and Lyft as a way to make extra money. They are driving late at night and are tired after going to school or working another job.
Contact an Atlanta Uber/Lyft Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a ridesharing accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Unfortunately, these claims can be fairly complicated, so we recommend that you hire a personal injury attorney. The lawyers at Slappey & Sadd have been representing accident victims across Georgia since 1992. Unless we win, our clients pay no fee. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call at 404-255-6677 or send us an email.