Who Pays for Your Losses? Do You Have a Claim against the Driver or the Company?
There are many ways that Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare operators make our lives easier. You can get picked up and dropped off easily, you don’t have to look for (or pay for) parking, and you can save wear and tear on your car. But what happens if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident while sharing a ride? Who should compensate you for your losses? What if an Uber or Lyft driver hits you on the way to pick up a fare, or on the way home at the end of the day?
Seeking Damages from the Rideshare Company
Under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, when an employee of a company causes a motor vehicle accident, the company has liability, provided the accident occurred “in the course of” the employee’s job.
If you suffer loss, look for a responsible party with the ability to pay. In all likelihood, the rideshare company will have more resources (deeper pockets), so that may be your first thought. Unfortunately, most rideshare drivers are classified as “independent contractors,” which means they technically are not employees. Because they are not employees, the principle of respondeat superior generally doesn’t apply.
That being said, all reputable rideshare companies require drivers to have auto insurance. In addition, some rideshare companies, such as Uber and Lyft, carry their own policies of insurance to cover such contingencies. Here’s how the coverage generally works:
- If a driver was not working at the time (the rideshare app was turned off), the only coverage available is through the driver’s personal auto insurance provider.
- If the driver was available for rides (app was turned on), but did not have a ride, Uber and Lyft offer liability insurance up to $100,000.
- If the driver had a rideshare passenger at the time of the accident, the coverage is higher (up to $1 million).
Contact an Experienced and Effective Personal Injury Attorney
For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call 973-993-8787. We have office locations in Morristown and Newton but will visit you at home or the hospital, if necessary.
We take all personal injury claims on a contingent fee basis. You will not pay any attorney fees unless we get compensation for your losses.