Liability for Ridesharing Accidents: What You Need to Know
The popularity of ridesharing services, such as Lyft and Uber, has grown rapidly in recent years. These services offer a convenient travel alternative for tourists, students, commuters, those residing in the suburbs, and larger urban centers throughout Kentucky. The process of insurance coverage and accident claims can be significantly more complicated in a ridesharing accident, however. The involvement of third parties makes the process confusing compared to a typical vehicle crash.
Notably, most rideshare companies try to absolve themselves of responsibility by stating that they merely offer people a platform to connect and exchange service-for-fee. In the past, these companies position themselves as technology enterprises and not transportation providers to avoid liability in accidents.
If you have been injured in a Lyft/Uber accident, you should consult a knowledgeable rideshare accident attorney at the first opportunity to understand who is accountable and to pursue a claim for maximum compensatory damages.
The Difference between Uber Accidents and Other Vehicle Collisions
Liability is one of the key differences between a typical vehicle crash and a Lyft/Uber accident. To be able to drive for a rideshare company, a driver must have their own personal insurance coverage for off-duty use, along with a corporate policy that becomes effective when the Lyft or Uber app is activated.
In certain circumstances, determining liability for a crash can be convoluted, such as when a driver is operating a vehicle during the job or when they are en-route to pick someone up. Also, Uber considers its drivers to be independent contractors rather than employees. Thus, they may be less willing to pay damages on an accident case and try to get the driver to offset the liability.
At present, rideshare companies face scrutiny due to their lack of accountability when drivers get into crashes. If a Kentucky driver, passenger, or pedestrian is injured in a rideshare accident, they may be able to file a claim to hold the company responsible.
Compensation for Passenger Rideshare Accident Injuries in Kentucky
When it comes to auto insurance and injury claims, Kentucky is a no-fault state. Also, no-fault insurance is associated with Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. PIP benefits offer up to $10,000 coverage for medical expenses, lost income, and other out-of-pocket expenses after a car accident. People who sustain injuries in a rideshare accident will need to understand which PIP benefits are applicable, your own insurance or the driver’s.
The Lyft/Uber driver’s insurance would offer PIP benefits to cover your personal injury expenses unless your Lyft/Uber driver chose to opt-out of the no-fault system. Besides acquiring compensation through PIP coverage, you may be able to obtain compensation through the rideshare driver’s personal policy, which must have the minimum necessary liability insurance in a single accident. The amounts insured are as follows:
- $50,000 total for all injuries
- $25,000 for injuries per individual
- $10,000 for property damage
Rideshare Company’s Insurance Plan in Kentucky
In Kentucky, almost all personal vehicle insurance policies do not include commercial activity in coverage. Operating a vehicle for Uber or another ridesharing company is classified as a commercial activity. But Uber and Lyft provide insurance to their ridesharing drivers. The company, however, has stringent requirements for when the coverage is applicable, even if an Uber driver was involved in an accident with a passenger onboard.
Lyft/Uber has pretty generous insurance coverage. Yet, there are limitations to when the coverage kicks in. To know whether Lyft/Uber’s insurance plan is applicable, you must understand the period in which your accident occurred:
If your accident occurs in a period when the rideshare driver was off-duty and not using the company app, the driver’s personal insurance might cover the crash.
If the rideshare driver is active on the app but has not accepted a ride, the rideshare company’s reduced contingent policy offers up to $50,000 per person, $100,000 per if the driver is not insured, and $25,000 for any damage to property.
If the rideshare driver accepts a ride and has passengers inside the vehicle, the $1 million insurance policy of the rideshare company will cover any damages if your driver is liable or is underinsured/uninsured.
Legal Help from Skilled Kentucky Rideshare Accident Attorneys
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Lyft/Uber crash in Kentucky, immediately consult the experienced attorneys at the law offices of John H. Ruby & Associates. You might be able to collect compensation for:
- Permanent disability/disfigurement
- Current and anticipated medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial expenses if a wrongful death occurs
- Loss of a normal life
- Current and future income loss
- Punitive damages if the recklessness that led to the incident was egregious
There is a high level of complexity in accidents involving a rideshare driver. Various levels of insurance are involved in such situations. Therefore, working with a skilled auto accident attorney is vital to protect your best interests and ensure that you receive rightful compensation for your injuries.
It is important not to sign your or another party’s insurance company’s paperwork without consulting a lawyer. Our client-focused attorneys will work hard to ensure that you collect fair and full compensation. For a free consultation, call today at (502) 895-2626.