Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are everywhere, and these ride apps are nothing if not convenient. Rideshare accidents happen, though, and they are anything but. Rideshare apps are new to the scene, and the applicable laws are taking some time to catch up. There are some basics, however, that do apply, and better understanding these can help you move forward with greater confidence after a rideshare accident.
Ridesharing vs. Ride-Hailing
Ridesharing actually refers to one car that picks up more than one passenger, and that drops each passenger off at his or her requested destination along the way. Ride-hailing, on the other hand, is the term that refers to one passenger hopping in an Uber or Lyft and being ferried to his or her destination. Nevertheless, the term ridesharing is commonly used to refer to the industry at large. The rideshare business involves passengers who hail drivers with an app on their phones. The drivers are independent contractors with the rideshare companies, and these drivers ferry their passengers in their own vehicles. As you can imagine, this is where things can become difficult in the event of an accident.
The State of Texas recently began requiring rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to carry rideshare insurance to help cover drivers who do not have supplemental insurance related to driving for a rideshare company. Further, rideshare drivers are required to purchase additional liability insurance that is intended to go into effect when the rideshare app is on, but the driver has no passenger and is not en route to pick one up. Most drivers, however, have failed to procure said insurance. Some Texas cities have their own rules and regulations in place, and the rideshare companies themselves implement different policies, procedures, and liability limits, which all serve to further complicate the matter.
Your Rideshare Accident
If you have been injured in a rideshare accident that was caused by a negligent rideshare driver, you are going to process your claim through an insurance company, but knowing whose policy to pursue can be extremely complicated. The following breakdown generally applies:
- If the rideshare driver was on the app and had a passenger or was on the way to pick one up, the rideshare company’s insurance coverage should be in play.
- If the rideshare driver was on the app but had no passenger and was not in the process of picking up a passenger, it is a more complicated issue, and it might be a tossup as to whether the company or the driver’s personal coverage will apply. If the driver’s insurance is not adequate to cover your damages, however, you may have to rely upon your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
- If the rideshare driver was not on the app at all, the accident will proceed in exactly the same way that any other car accident would.