Ride sharing has become increasingly popular, especially in areas like West Palm Beach where tourists may not have vehicles and where heading out to enjoy the nightlife is a popular pastime. There are several different ride sharing services, including the two most well known services: Uber and Lyft. If you arrange your ride using these types of services, you need to know what happens if you get into an auto accident while you are a passenger in the vehicle.
What to do After an Accident Using a Car Sharing Service?
Commercial taxi and limousine companies are generally more strictly regulated than ride sharing services, and most times a taxi or limo will be driven by an employee of a transportation company. The company will have substantial insurance and could be sued if the driver caused a crash to happen.
This means if you were a passenger in a taxi or limo that got into a crash, you could pursue legal action against the limo or taxi company if the driver's negligence caused the accident that resulted in injuries. Alternatively, you could pursue legal action against another motorist who caused your crash and injuries while riding in the taxi or limo.
When ride sharing services became so popular, problems began to arise when accidents happen. Drivers for ride sharing services were traditionally hired as independent contractors, which meant they weren't employees or agents of Uber. They also drove their own cars, not cars belonging to Uber. Personal auto insurance typically would not cover injuries sustained in the course of business by these drivers, which resulted in some Uber drivers losing their insurance policies as well as situations where injured victims would try to make an insurance claim and fail.
As Uber and Lyft grew in popularity, noise began to be made about regulating them, and things began to shift. For example, Uber now maintains a commercial liability policy that provides $1 million of coverage per incident. Uber also provides $1 million of uninsured or underinsured bodily injury coverage per incident, which means there is coverage in case another driver who is at fault causes a crash with an Uber car but the at-fault driver does not have insurance to pay for it. Uninsured or underinsured coverage is also very important in case of hit-and-run accidents.
Other ride sharing services have followed Uber's lead by adding their own commercial liability coverage. This means if you are hurt while ride sharing, you can usually pursue a claim against the company that facilitated the transaction. Understanding who to make a claim against, and how, can be complicated. You should get appropriate legal help if you've been in an accident while using a ride sharing service.