The pervasiveness of rideshare services, such as those provided by Uber, Lyft, or Side Car, has given way to new territory within the area of personal injury claims. However, it should come as no surprise that driving trips under a car service company are not immune to auto accidents, whether it be the fault of the rideshare driver, or the other driver. All customers of these rideshare companies should be aware of the insurance and legal implications of being involved in an accident as a passenger of a car-service company.
Most rideshare companies claim that they have high-limit insurance policies of $1 million dollars in place in order to ensure the protection of their passengers. The policies include liability and Uninsured Motorist coverage. This means if you are in a ridesharing vehicle under the services of a car-service company and your driver causes a crash, you and all other injured individuals have up to $1 million to cover your damages. This $1 million-dollar policy would be split between all affected parties. By the same token, if an uninsured or underinsured driver crashes into your Uber or Lyft vehicle, you and the other injured parties would still be covered up to $1 million combined from the respective rideshare company.
However, it is important to remember that an accident can occur where all the combined damages will exceed the $1 million that is covered by the car-service company. In the case that the combined claims require a rideshare company, such as Uber or Lyft, to pay more than the $1 million that they currently promise to pay, these rideshare companies may very well argue that under the agency law, their drivers are simply independent contractors of the company and not employees, which may deem the rideshare company to not be responsible for excess damages caused by the accident.
This is where having an experienced and reputable personal injury attorney will prove worthwhile. A good attorney would argue that the rideshare company should be held legally responsible for the negligence of their drivers under an array of legal theories. It should first be argued that the rideshare driver is in fact acting as an employee of the company, and not just as an independent agent. It should also be uncovered whether the car-service driver has a history of reckless driving, such as a record of past DUIs, excessive traffic tickets, previous accidents, etc. Rideshare companies have been known to at times hire drivers with less-than-perfect driving records, which may be relevant if the company acted negligently in hiring these drivers anyway, and then that driver caused a crash.
In essence, car-service companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Side Car can attempt to deny your claim for damages and recovery if they feel they shouldn’t be held legally liable. Having an aggressive and experienced attorney on your side will maximize the chances of obtaining the recovery that you deserve.
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