Rideshare services have made getting around the area much easier for some individuals. While the service is valuable, it has introduced a grey area into the law. This is because the liability in these crashes isn’t always immediately evident.
The issue that you might run across if you’re involved in a rideshare accident is that the driver is working for the rideshare app. The driver is almost always considered an independent contractor and not an employee of the company. So, which of these entities is held liable if there are financial damages due to a crash? That’s the big question if you choose to seek compensation.
What makes determining liability difficult?
One of the primary issues that can make determining liability in a crash difficult is the insurance coverage. In an ideal situation, the rideshare driver will report their gig to their insurance company and ensure that they are covered if something happens while they are working. This, however, doesn’t always happen. In some cases, the driver only holds a basic policy, which might not adequately cover a rideshare user if there is an accident.
In the absence of adequate insurance coverage by the driver, does the liability fall on the company? There’s a chance that it will, but this is something that is not crystal clear. One factor that can have an impact here is that rideshare companies aren’t necessarily considered common carriers, so they aren’t bound by laws that govern common carriers.
Many rideshare companies claim that they are like a matchmaking service and just put people who need rides together with individuals who are willing to offer them. By classifying the drivers as independent contractors, the rideshare companies may effectively negate their liability if something happens.
How can liability be determined?
Because this is a relatively new area of the law, there is some dispute about exactly who holds the liability in cases like this. A good place to start is by reviewing the terms of service that you agreed to when you first signed up for the service. Working with someone who is familiar with rideshare accidents might also be beneficial because they can keep up with the current laws and precedents set in this new area of the law.
If you suffer a wreck in a Lyft, Uber or another rideshare vehicle, you may need medical care. Be sure to obtain this, but don’t neglect to get the important information about the driver and the event. This might prove beneficial if you need to seek compensation for the financial damages you incur due to the crash.