Ride sharing services have exploded in popularity throughout California. These services allow people looking for a ride to open an app, request a driver, and arrange transportation seconds later. While the service is convenient, the drivers that work for ride share companies in California are just as likely to get into an accident on the road as any other motorist. As such, it is important that everyone knows what to do in case they are in an accident involving a ride share driver, and how to claim compensation for any injuries incurred.
The attorneys at Willoughby Brod are ride share accident lawyers who can help sort out the confusion after these accidents, and help you claim the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled.What is a Transportation Network Company?
Uber is a transportation network company (TNC), also sometimes called a mobility service provider. TNCs match passengers through their mobile app. TNCs were once thought to provide a service similar to a taxi services to those in rural or less-populated areas, other than in major metropolitan cities. Today, they are in just about every city and town you can imagine, including internationally.
TNCs are heavily regulated in the areas where they operate, including California. Drivers are required to have thorough background checks performed on them and fares are regulated, as are licensing, the number of drivers, and minimum wage. When the drivers of these ride share companies, like Uber, do not follow these regulations, the ride share companies can be penalized.Ride Share Insurance Requirements
The California Public Utilities Commission requires ride share companies to provide annual reports, which include reports on problems with drivers, and there are specific insurance requirements above and beyond what individual drivers in California are required to maintain. California follows at-fault, or tort-based auto insurance laws. This means that if there is an accident, injured individuals must go through the at-fault driver’s insurance company to claim compensation.
The insurance coverage provided for the ride share driver will depend on whether the driver had a passenger at the time, and if they were online, or available to pick up a passenger, at the time of the collision. When the driver is not online, does not have a passenger, and is not on the way to pick up a passenger, he or she is covered by their own personal auto insurance policy, and the injured person seeking compensation would likely be limited to recovering the insurance policy limits of the at fault driver.
When the ride share driver has that company’s app turned on, and is on the way to pick up a passenger, but has not arrived at the destination yet, then he or she is covered by the ride share company’s insurance policy. Currently, Uber, for example, provides up to $50,000 in bodily injury liability and $100,000 of coverage for one accident.
If the ride share driver has a passenger in the car at the time of the accident, the ride share company will provide up to $1 million in insurance for damages caused by the incident. This coverage is provided to injured passengers and other drivers that are hurt, if the ride share driver was at fault for the accident.
Although it is helpful to know that if you are in an accident if you are a passenger in a ride share vehicle, you have the right to compensation, you may ask “what are my rights when the other driver was at fault, but does not have insurance?”Ride Share Accidents and Uninsured Motorists
While ride share companies provide insurance to their drivers and passengers, that insurance coverage changes when the other, at-fault driver does not carry proper insurance. In these instances, the ride share company’s insurance policy should cover up to $200,000 for bodily injury. However, this is the amount applied to the entire accident. For example, if there were multiple passengers in the vehicle and they each sustained an injury, that insurance policy limit is the maximum amount of money that all passengers can recover from. Retaining an experienced ride share attorney is important to ensure that those injured are adequately compensated, particularly in a situation involving limited insurance policy limits.Ride Share Accidents Involving Pedestrians
Of course, it is not always other drivers that are involved in an accident with a ride share driver. Sometimes, pedestrians are injured by the fault of a ride share driver, working for Uber or Lyft, for example. When this happens, the same insurance rules will apply. This means that if the ride share driver was at fault, pedestrians can claim insurance coverage through the ride share company’s insurance policy.
Some of these insurance claims can become complex. For example, an Uber driver may cancel a ride immediately after hitting a pedestrian. This means that at the time of the accident, the Uber driver may have been covered by Uber’s $50,000 insurance policy, because they were online but had not yet picked up their passenger. Once they cancel that ride, however, Uber may argue that the driver was not online, and not on the way to pick up a passenger, so Uber’s insurance would not apply. This is another example of the importance in choosing an experienced ride share lawyer, who can help an injured person secure the maximum amount of recovery available.
Regardless of the insurance policy limits of the ride share company and the driver, pedestrians may claim insurance coverage through their own auto insurance company. If, for example, the value of the injured person’s damages exceed the available insurance policy limits, the injured pedestrian may seek recovery through an “uninsured motorist claim” though their own auto insurance policy. Even if an injured person is walking, their automobile insurance policy can apply, so long as there was an automobile involved in the accident that caused the injury.Were You in a Ride Share Accident? Call an Experienced Ride Share Accident Attorney
Auto Accidents involving ride shares can be some of the most confusing accidents on the road. Knowing your rights is critical to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, and speaking directly with the at fault party’s insurance company is never a good idea. To understand your rights after being involved in an car accident involving a ride share, you should speak with an experienced ride share accident attorney.
If you have been hurt in an accident involving a ride share company, call Willoughby Brod, LLP at (800) 427-7020. We will deal with the insurance companies on your behalf and hold them accountable for paying you any compensation to which you are entitled. You do not have to go through this alone. Call us today or contact us online for your free consultation.