Ride Sharing Accident Attorney Scranton
Ride sharing may be a relatively new concept, but hundreds of personal injury claims have been filed already against Uber and Lyft for car accidents and other damages. The claims process can be confusing for victims after any accident, but ride sharing accident claims are particularly difficult to understand. There are many questions about who will pay your medical bills – the driver, the company, your own insurance? When you need trustworthy legal counsel after a ride sharing accident, the Wilkes-Barre area attorneys at Rosenbaum & Associates are here for you.
Who Is Liable for a Ride Sharing Accident?
Depending on the circumstances of a ride sharing accident, liability can change significantly. Uber and Lyft offer $1 million in liability insurance, but in many cases, the companies do not assume legal responsibility for the actions of their drivers. In most situations, when your accident is the fault of a company employee during job-related tasks, the law will hold the employer responsible based on the legal theory of strict liability. In the case of Uber and Lyft accidents, however, drivers are not employees. Instead, in most states, the two companies classify their drivers as independent contractors.
As independent contractors, ride sharing drivers are legally responsible for their own actions and behavior on drives. They are their own bosses. Therefore, if you get into an accident where the Lyft or Uber driver is at fault, you would turn to the driver’s insurance company for compensation for injuries. If another driver or a third party were at fault for the accident, compensation would stem from their insurance companies, or a combination of third party and the driver’s insurers. If the other party doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to compensate you fully for your medical bills and other damages, your own insurance may cover the gap.
Many insurance companies will deny claims that arise when a driver uses his or her vehicle for commercial purposes – i.e., ride sharing. You may encounter a situation where the at-fault driver’s insurance company cancels the driver’s policy when it discovers that he or she used a personal vehicle for commercial ride sharing at the time of the accident. In these situations, we strongly recommend you hire a lawyer. Ride sharing claims are complex, and Uber and Lyft will use lawyers to minimize your compensation. Seek professional counsel if a ride sharing driver caused your accident.
When Are Uber and Lyft Responsible?
After an accident, you may hold the ride sharing company itself responsible for compensating you in some situations. Both Uber and Lyft address their own liability for accidents on their websites. Uber’s insurance policy, for example, covers drivers and passengers with a three-part plan, but only in specific circumstances:
- The driver is available to pick up passengers, but the vehicle is empty at the time of the accident. The driver’s private insurer will cover most damages, but Uber offers additional contingent liability coverage of $50,000 per injury and $25,000 in property damage.
- The driver is carrying an Uber passenger. Uber’s liability policy covers both passenger and driver in this situation, but victims will find that it’s difficult to get the company to pay, due to the employee/independent contractor situation.
If Uber or Lyft deny responsibility for your ride sharing accident, you can sue the company or request compensation from the driver’s personal insurer. Your options moving forward will depend on whether you were a passenger, a pedestrian, or the occupant of another vehicle. After an injury involving a ride sharing vehicle or company, please contact Rosenbaum & Associates. During a free case evaluation, we can assess the merit of your claim and help you understand your rights and options for pursuing compensation.