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The Unknown Risks and Liability of Rideshare Accidents

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on November 15, 2016

With the rapid increase of ride-sharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, accidents involving drivers from these services are also on the rise. Unfortunately, as detailed in this feature from Fortune Magazine, there are still many questions that remain unanswered concerning the insurance policies of these companies.

If you have been involved in an accident in which either you were a passenger in a ride share, or the other driver was on duty for one of the ride-sharing companies, then you probably have many questions over who will be held responsible for any future compensation you might be owed. Because Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) are still relatively new, there is a lack of adequate regulations in place to deal with every eventuality.

That means, if you or a loved one have suffered an accident involving an Uber driver, you probably have a lot of questions that you need answered. Your questions might include:

  • Are Uber driver’s insured by the company or are they responsible for having their own insurance?
  • Will I be covered under their insurance?
  • How much will I be able to collect in the event of an accident?

The fact is, drivers for Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing services are independent contractors. Although they have gone through minimal background checks and a vehicle inspection, there is little in the way of driver training. Riders have no way of knowing if their driver is actually safe.

When specifically looking at Uber, the insurance process looks like this: once a driver has turned on the Uber application, but doesn’t have a ride request, he is insured on his own personal insurance plan. As soon as he accepts a ride request, he is covered by Uber’s liability plan. Uber’s insurance extends through to the point when the rider is dropped off and the driver terminates the ride. There is the potential for a serious oversight because while the driver has the app turned on but hasn’t accepted a ride request, they are essentially working for Uber. If the driver’s personal insurance company discovered they were in an accident while using the app, both they and Uber might deny coverage.

That spells trouble for anyone who’s been in accident with an Uber driver, especially if it occurred during that point in time when both insurance companies would deny responsibility. No matter what the circumstances, because of the multiple parties involved, there is a high potential for a conflict of interest.

If you’ve been injured in an accident with an Uber driver, or any other ride-sharing app, you need someone on your side who can give you a clear idea of what compensation you are entitled to and who will advocate on your behalf. Contact the Seattle Uber accident attorneys at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. today, and schedule a free consultation by calling (888) 228-3860.

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