Ride-share services like Lyft and Uber are growing in popularity throughout the United States. Although the services are just now starting in Delaware, they have been available in areas of New Jersey and Pennsylvania for some time.
In some areas, these types of services are not regulated as heavily as taxis, which means a car accident involving an Uber car or other service like it could become very complicated.
A ride-share driver, unlike a taxi or limo driver, is not employed by the company. The services are smartphone apps that connects passengers to drivers who have vehicles they are willing to hire out for rides.
Although the driver uses his own vehicle, the passenger does not pay him for the ride. Instead, they pay through the app and the driver is paid through Uber. Passengers do not even need to tip the driver as that is included in the price paid through the app. Lyft, however, offers two forms of payment. In some areas, they offer a donation form of payment while in others they offer a set charge. Both companies offer different levels of vehicles that the passenger chooses through the app.
Both companies handle insurance the same way. Because the drivers use their personal vehicles and do not have what is known as a livery license like many taxi services do, their vehicles are not considered commercial vehicles.
Earlier in 2015, Teresa Miller, Insurance Commissioner for Pennsylvania warned drivers of Uber and similar services that their personal insurance policy may not cover damages in a car accident when they were transporting passengers for the service.
There has been considerable discussion about insurance for these types of services in New Jersey Delaware as well with Uber threatening to pull their services from New Jersey due to insurance regulation problems. Although every driver has additional insurance through the company, it is often the driver’s personal insurance that has the primary responsibility for payment in an accident.
Many personal injury lawyers are taking notice of the new ride-share services and who is being deemed responsible when there is an auto accident. Unlike cab companies, the insurance held by the company may not take effect when a driver does not have a passenger in the vehicle, even if they are on the way to pick up a rider. If someone is injured in an accident when the Uber car does not have a passenger, the company may not be required to pay and it will fall to the driver’s personal insurance. In some cases, insurance companies are denying payment and cancelling policies as personal insurance is not designed to cover commercial use of the vehicle they insured.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a ride share accident in New Jersey, Delaware, or Pennsylvania, or if a loved one has died in such an accident, contact our personal injury lawyers at Lundy Law today. You may be eligible for a personal injury or wrongful death claim. You can reach us online through our simple request form or call us at 1-800-Lundy Law to learn what rights you may have.