As we all know, ridesharing has become prolific with Uber and Lyft proving millions of trips on a daily basis. If you are in a car wreck involving a ridesharing vehicle, there are several important things you should know, especially if you suffer injuries. The discussion that follows will hopefully help you navigate the many issues you may face.
Know Who Files More Lawsuits
What most people do not realize is that in almost every car wreck case, the litigation is directed at the insurance company as opposed to the at-fault driver. If a lawsuit is filed, it is filed in the name of the at-fault driver, but it is their insurance company that provides their legal defense and payment for damages to the non-fault driver(s) and passenger(s).
Therefore, if you are ever the non-fault driver or passenger in a car wreck, it is important to identify every insurance policy that might provide coverage to compensate you for your damages, most importantly any injury that you might suffer. In the context of the ridesharing environment, various pots of insurance are at your disposal depending upon your status in the wreck, whether you are the ridesharing driver, the ridesharing passenger, or a driver or passenger in the non-ride sharing vehicle(s). Each of these scenarios will be explained in turn.
Difference In Insurance Coverage
Before we begin that discussion, it is important to first understand the difference between liability insurance and UM/UIM insurance. Liability insurance of the at-fault driver provides coverage for damages and injuries suffered by the non-fault driver(s) and/or passenger(s). UM (uninsured motorist) and UIM (underinsured motorist) policies provide coverage for damage and injuries in situations where there is either no available liability insurance or the amounts of the liability insurance policy are insufficient to cover the damages of the non-fault driver(s) and/or passenger(s). However, in these situations, you may only look to your own UM/UIM policy, not that of others, assuming you purchased such a policy. If you are the rideshare driver, you should have a UM/UIM policy available to you through your respective rideshare company.
Is The App On or Off?
With that brief explanation, let’s now turn to the various scenarios. To begin with, the amount and source of available insurance is largely dependent upon whether the ridesharing driver’s app is on or off and whether they have accepted a ride. If the app is turned off, there is typically no insurance coverage from the ridesharing company and one would look to the ridesharing driver’s personal insurance for coverage, which, unfortunately, may not provide adequate compensation depending on its limits and the damages.
On the other hand, if the app is turned on and the driver is waiting in limbo for a ride request, there is generally some amount of coverage under the ridesharing liability insurance policy, typically $50,000 per person and $100,000 per wreck but no UM/UIM for the rideshare driver. So under this scenario, if the rideshare driver is the at-fault driver, there is likely some coverage for the non-fault driver(s) and passenger(s). If however, the rideshare driver is the non-fault driver, they and their passenger(s) may look to the at-fault driver’s liability policy for coverage. If this is a typical $25,000 per person, $50,000 per wreck policy, and the damages exceed these amounts, they can then turn to their own personal UM/UIM policy, assuming they purchased one.
How Much Insurance Does The Rideshare App Driver Typically Have?
The next scenario is where the app is on and a ride has been accepted. Here, there is typically $1 million in both liability and UM/UIM coverage under the rideshare policy. So, if the rideshare driver is at fault, the non-fault driver(s) and/or passenger(s) can avail themselves of the $1 million rideshare liability policy. And, if the rideshare driver is the non-fault driver, he or she can turn to the rideshare $1 million UM/UIM policy for additional coverage above and beyond the at-fault driver’s liability policy limits. These same coverage amounts typically apply under the situation where the driver has accepted a ride and is en route.
In summary, the amount and source of available insurance coverage depend significantly on your status as a ridesharing/non-ridesharing driver/passenger and whether the ridesharing app is on or off and further whether the ridesharing driver is actually en route. We hope this information is helpful and gives you a general understanding of the potential issues you might face if you are ever in such a situation. Given the complex legal issues involving these different scenarios, we urge you to contact an experienced personal injury attorney with the skill and background to handle your case and fight for the compensation you deserve.