Rideshare services such as Lyft and Uber are some of the best modern innovations in mobility accessibility. These services can often be convenient ways of getting around, especially if you do not own your own vehicle. They are economically efficient and safer than getting behind the wheel at the end of a long night out. However, being in an Uber or Lyft car means that the driver is a contractor who works for the ridesharing company. This can create complications should you ever be in an auto accident. If you have been in an auto accident in rideshare like Lyft or Uber and you’re curious about what insurance is at play. Here is what you need to know.
INSURANCE TYPES AT PLAY IN A RIDESHARE ACCIDENT
The first type of “insurance” maybe one that isn’t explicitly referred to as insurance at all. Uber and Lyft do thorough background checks of their drivers to ensure that they will limit the number of potential accidents with their services. They also set standards for the condition and age of vehicles used on the platform.
If your rideshare accident happened when the driver was off duty. The insurance in question would be the driver’s personal insurance. However, if the driver was driving you or someone else while active on the app or was actively awaiting a passenger or drive, the Lyft or Uber insurance will kick in. Both Uber and Lyft provide drivers with coverage that covers the following amounts:
- $50,000 for bodily injury per person
- $100,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident.
BE AWARE THAT RIDESHARE COMPANIES OFTEN LIMIT THEIR LIABILITY
While big companies like Uber and Lyft have supplemental auto insurance for all their drivers, they can often limit their liability by classifying their drivers as independent contractors. Since they are not technically full-time “employees” employed by the rideshare company, the company’s claimed liability could be lower.
DOUBLE CHECK THE DRIVER’S IDENTITY
Make sure that when your driver arrives, you confirm their first name with them, and that you confirm that they are in the right car. This includes the make, model, and color of the car, as well as the license plate number.
HAVE THE DRIVER CONFIRM YOURS
After you’ve confirmed that you’re in the right car, ask your driver who they are picking up for. This ensures that they will have to confirm your identity as well, so you know you’re getting in the right car with the right driver going to the right destination.
CHOOSE A SAFE LOCATION FOR DROP OFF AND PICKUP
It is recommended that you stay inside of where you’re getting picked up until your ride is outside. This limits the amount of time you spend outside, alone, with your phone out. Additionally, make sure your drop off location is a safe one, whether it’s your home or a restaurant.
MAKE SURE YOU WEAR YOUR SEATBELT
This tip is a given. In any car, whether you’re ridesharing or riding with your best friend, you should always be wearing a seatbelt and using proper “car safety hygiene,” including keeping your legs off the dashboard and your limbs inside the vehicle.
SHARE YOUR RIDE DETAILS WITH A TRUSTED FRIEND
Even if you’re riding in the Uber alone, you can still share the ride. Make sure you send your ride details, including where you’re coming from and where you’re going, as well as your driver’s name, car, and license plate number with a friend. Uber also has a “share trip status” functionality that allows you to give your friend an ETA for your ride.
Many riders get carried away, disregarding the driver. You must avoid this by showing respect to the driver and other passengers if present, this is an important part of Uber’s guidelines. It also ensures a peaceful ride.
TRUST YOUR GUT
If at any point in your journey, you feel uncomfortable, be sure to end your ride. For extra measure, the app has an in-built emergency button connecting you straight to 911. The app also gives your location in real-time and the details of your trip which you can provide to the dispatcher.
Uber and Lyft are on-demand transport services that have made moving from one place to another a lot easier. With these transport services, you do not have to go out with your car all the time. In fact, you do not need to own a car. Both transport services provided as much comfort as would be enjoyed if one were to go about in a personal car. They have brought about safer rides, easy access, and reduced drunk driving drastically. Notwithstanding all these benefits, they have still been linked to traffic fatalities in recent times.
Uber and Lyft are said to have contributed to an increased accident rate in the United States. The increasing demand for these transportation services has resulted in more cars being on the road. While there has been a lot of focus on the internal benefits of making use of Uber and Lyft, how about the external factors?
HOW ARE UBER AND LYFT INCREASING ACCIDENT RATES?
Without a doubt, Uber and Lyft transportation services have been much safer and accessible than other means of transportation. Everyone who cannot afford a car can still enjoy the comfort that comes with owning one. However, a lot of attention has been paid to the positive impacts of this transportation method while ignoring its negative prospects.
While these transport services might have reported very few accidents over time, it is important to know the role they play in road accidents. As more people are beginning to appreciate and make use of Uber and Lyft, the more cars get on the road. The implications of having a lot of cars on the road are that it results in traffic irregularities which many times cause accidents – directly or indirectly.
Focusing more on the externalities, it is important to note that beyond digital excellence is the understanding of how good driving works and who a good driver is. What is the difference between an Uber and Lyft driver from other drivers? What parameters are used to measure good driving by these transport services? These are important factors to consider regarding safety on the road.
In recent years, real-time ridesharing has become a popular way for many city dwellers to get from one place to another by paying ride-sourcing drivers to transport them in much the same way they would outsource to a taxi service. Unlike most taxi services, however, these services involve private drivers using their own vehicles. The entire process is made possible through the use of modern technology like GPS navigation, social networks, and smartphones, and company networks that use algorithmic solutions to match drivers to passengers.
As might be expected, the traditional taxi industry has been generally hostile to ridesharing companies like Uber, since the new networking service is seen as a major threat to taxi service viability in many areas of the world. Some critics also cite concerns such as a lack of regulation and licensure, poor training, and questionable insurance coverage as reasons to view the new services with suspicion. In some areas of the world – most notably, European cities like Berlin – Uber has been completely banned. Safety is often cited as a major cause for concern for this skepticism, and that raises an important question: just how safe are you with your Uber driver?
BUT HOW SAFE IS AN UBER RIDE?
“Uber does not guarantee the quality, suitability, safety, or ability of third-party providers. You agree that the entire risk arising out of your use of the services, and any service or good requested in connection therewith, remains solely with you, to the maximum extent permitted under applicable law.” – Uber Terms of Service
Moreover, even on the company’s dedicated safety page on its website, there are little more than platitudes offered to those who would use the service. While the company does make an effort to remind users that it avoids discrimination based on factors like race and gender, it offers few assurances about its commitment to ensuring that customers are not exposed to potentially dangerous drivers who might place their safety at risk.
Such assurances would almost certainly be welcomed by a public that may have reason to question the safety of these largely unregulated services. There have been numerous instances in recent years in which passengers have had the misfortune of being paired with drivers whose intentions and actions were anything but safe for those riding in their vehicles.
For example, a driver in San Francisco struck one of his passengers in the head with a hammer in 2014. Another incident that year saw police arrest an Uber driver for allegedly engaging in a sexual assault of his female passenger. In early 2014, an Uber driver was arrested after being suspected of hitting a woman and her two young children with his car in Union City, California while they were walking across a crosswalk. The woman and her four-year-old son were injured. The six-year-old daughter was killed in the incident.
One problem many analysts have encountered in trying to determine the safety records of these ridesharing platforms, as well as the safety records of traditional taxi companies, is the way in which crimes like rape are tracked by law enforcement in different jurisdictions. Many of the nation’s police departments have relatively ineffective systems in place for effectively tracking where sexual assaults and similar crimes occur. That can make it difficult for outside researchers to determine just how safe Uber passengers really are from crime-related dangers.
THE INHERENT RISK
One thing should be obvious: riders are at risk whenever they climb into any vehicle with a stranger. The important thing is to keep things in perspective. While there have been accidents related to vehicles driven by Uber operators, and even some crimes committed by those individuals, the same can be said for Lyft and most taxi companies in the world.
Despite background checks and other failsafe efforts, neither Uber nor any other ridesharing or taxi service in the world can ever completely guarantee passenger safety. That places the onus on riders to remain vigilant about their own safety, avoid traveling on their own, and report any behavior that seems suspicious or out of the ordinary to Uber or relevant law enforcement officials.
What to Do if You Are in a Lyft or Uber Accident
If you were in a Lyft, Uber, or other ridesharing service accident or were in an accident with a registered rideshare driver. You may be eligible for compensation. Get the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to help you parse through your case, no matter how complicated.
Contact Herrman & Herrman P.L.L.C. at 361.882.4357
Our firm is equipped with over 100 years of combined experience handling personal injury cases across Texas. Our outstanding record of favorable settlements and verdicts includes over 20,000 successfully resolved cases. Once we take on a case, we are relentless, and you can rely on us to pursue full compensation for you.
- You can trust our attorneys to be compassionate and professional.
- We will fight hard to obtain a fair settlement for you.
- Our firm represents the injured and families who have lost a loved one due to others’ negligent acts.
- We serve as counsel in a range of injury cases – including car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, pedestrian accidents, premises liability cases, product liability cases, and medical malpractice claims.
- We have the ability to dispatch the Herrman & Herrman Accident Investigative Team to the crash scene to start an investigation and preserve critical evidence.