Ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, and SideCar recently obtained the blessing from Nevada state legislature to operate lawfully within our communities. Unlike taxi services, which require certain licensing and insurance standards, ridesharing services have far less regulation at this stage of their existence. The lack of regulation is concerning to both drivers and passengers alike; the drivers are not protected by benefits or the possibility of workers’ compensation, and there is a substantial question regarding what protections are afforded to passengers in the event they are injured due to a ridesharing driver’s negligence. Successful injury claimants receive compensation from the negligent driver’s insurance carriers, but the business model of Uber and similar companies is making it difficult for injured parties to receive the compensation they deserve.
The Insurance Problem
As the use of ridesharing services increases, the frequency of accidents involving ridesharing drivers has also increased. Accidents may occur while there is a passenger in the car, or a ridesharing driver may hit a pedestrian or another driver, causing injury. In a “normal” car accident, the person at fault is usually the one responsible to pay. These funds, especially in the instances of significant bodily harm, are generally paid out by the negligent driver’s insurance company and/or the injured party’s insurance if the negligent driver is uninsured or underinsured.
With ridesharing accidents, most ridesharing companies will pay up to $1 – $1.5 million to their driver’s injured passengers in the event of injury. However, this policy only covers drivers when there is a passenger in the vehicle. As such, if a ridesharing driver gets into an accident, for example, on the way to pick someone up, there is a question as to whether the driver’s personal insurance provider should pay or if the ridesharing insurance company is on the hook.
These “grey-area” questions are creating significant litigation throughout the country. A driver’s personal auto insurance carrier may refuse to pay, stating the driver was engaging in commercial (business) activities, which violates most personal insurance company terms. On the other hand, the ridesharing company insurance companies are defending claims by stating their drivers are independent contractors, not employees, and they should not be held responsible when there is not a passenger physically in the vehicle. These arguments can make it difficult for an injured party to recover in a timely fashion from any insurance company, and these types of cases require experienced personal injury attorneys to advance the injured party’s cause in court.
Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyers
Regardless of whether you are injured as a passenger in a ridesharing vehicle or if you or the vehicle you are driving in is hit by a ridesharing driver, the Las Vegas personal injury attorneys at Greenman, Goldberg, Raby and Martinez can help you navigate your legal claim against the ridesharing company as well as the driver or any other responsible parties. We understand you want to resolve your claims quickly and with the best result possible; our experienced personal injury lawyers are knowledgeable in insurance claims, negotiations, litigation, and reaching settlements. If you or anyone you know has been injured in an auto accident involving a ridesharing driver, call our office at 702-388-4476 to learn more about your potential legal claim.