Popular app-based car services like Uber and Lyft are premised on a concept called ride-sharing, which allows nearly anyone to use their own car to make money transporting passengers. In New York City, such services have become nearly as common as the yellow cab. Because some drivers have little experience with passenger transportation, they rely on Uber or Lyft to direct them on critical work-related issues. In particular problems may arise around insurance needs and determining liability in the event of an accident.
Ride-sharing companies generally insure drivers when they're picking up fares. When the drivers aren’t operating their vehicle during the course of a passenger pick up and drop off, personal insurance policies are supposed to cover them. Such incidents may include moments when those drivers are waiting for customers or after a fare has just been dropped off. Some ride-sharing companies do provide its drivers with its own limited insurance to cover liability. However, both Uber and Lyft limit their liability for victims outside the car to $50,000. This essentially means that there may be $50,000 cap on characteristically expensive medical bills in the event of an accident involving a ride-sharing vehicle. In comparison, most taxi companies insure their cars for at least twice that amount.
Furthermore, insurance and ride-sharing companies disagree on who is responsible for paying for such bills. Uber, for one, maintains that many personal insurance plans safeguard its drivers in between rides, however some of the most well-known insurers— like Allstate, Geico, Progressive and State Farm; say that these options do not cover ridesharing at any point. Moreover, they may even cancel a personal policy if they find out that a personally insured driver is taking paying passengers. This can leave injured passengers in a very vulnerable position.
Ride-sharing does offer a beneficial alternative to the tradition taxi-cab model. It is important, however, for passenger and pedestrians to be aware of the liability limitations that are still largely unaddressed within rapidly growing young industry. In complicated cases such as these, it is best to contact a personal injury attorney to determine if you are owed additional compensation.
If you or a loved one have been in accident involving a licensed taxi or a Lyft/Uber vehicle you still have options. It is important that you contact an experienced New York City personal injury attorney to learn more about how you can recover compensation for your injuries. The personal injury attorneys at Georgaklis & Mallas, PLLC provide free consultations for accident victims. Call us today at (718) 238-2116.