Uber, Lyft and other ride sharing service have revolutionized the way that we move around some of the world’s largest metropolitan areas. The mobile apps that are used for these services make requesting a ride convenient, and the fact that the cost is significantly lower than traditional taxis has skyrocketed their popularity. Unfortunately, many people also mistakenly believe that these rides are safer, and that may not always be the case.
Are Ride Sharing Services Safe?
When you accept a ride through Uber or Lyft, you are essentially jumping into a private vehicle with a stranger. While the services may claim that they’ve done some background checks and motor vehicle history screening, the fact remains that these are not necessarily drivers who have years of experience on the road. As a result, car accidents can and do happen.
Who Is Insured?
When it comes to ridesharing services, personal injury lawyers have had to fight for the rights of injured drivers, passengers and even pedestrians in many different cases. Who ultimately pays could depend on the type or level or service you are using. For example, if you are in an Uber X vehicle, Uber requires that drivers have a certain level of auto insurance. What isn’t so clear is that private auto insurance policies may specifically exclude coverage for ride-sharing services and any “driving for profit.” Therefore, should you be injured, your claim may be denied.
The Uber $1 Million Policy
If you are injured in a car crash connected to an Uber ride, like any large insurance company, expect to get the runaround. Being directed to contact your own insurance company for something that wasn’t your fault is completely unreasonable, as is asking the driver’s policy to cover something that is specifically excluded. However, both Uber drivers and passengers are allegedly covered by a three-part $1 million insurance plan.
Even if this coverage may be available, proving liability and getting a payment can be an entirely different story, though. For example, some have noted that Uber has been more reluctant to pay when a driver is “online” but not on a “trip” and causes a car accident or, worse, a driver who isn’t online at all and may be driving home for the day. If an insurance company finds out that a ride-sharing company or driver was involved in an accident or personal injury case, the complexity level can increase tremendously.
While these ride sharing services are growing in popularity, they aren’t without their risks. Uber and Lyft are convenient, but they are also businesses who, much like large insurance companies, don’t like to part with their money unless they have to. With regulations still uncertain in many areas, you’ll want to ensure that you have personal injury lawyers on your side to protect your rights if you are involved in an Uber or Lyft car crash.