Whether you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft car or the other vehicle involved in the accident, things can get very complicated regarding the insurance and claims process, says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.
Because the industry of ride-sharing is still fairly new, insurance companies are still working to make sure that their policies involve some type of provision for ride-sharing coverage and options. Additionally, laws and requirements for ride-sharing companies are continually evolving and changing as they are becoming more ubiquitous.
What Exactly is a Rideshare Company?
Rideshare companies, like Uber and Lyft, are also called Transportation Network Companies (TNC). They provide drivers-for-hire sharing services to customers by contracting with freelance drivers who drive their own cars to transport customers. These contracted drivers typically do not go through the same type of training and scrutiny that other for-hire drivers (cab drivers, chauffeurs, etc.) go through, and they are not required to insure or register their cars as commercial vehicles. TNCs provide cab-like services that allow passengers to arrange for rides on short notice with a smartphone application.
The typical way that rideshare companies work involves three elements:
- A customer uses a smartphone to request a ride, set a pickup and drop-off location.
- The driver uses GPS to navigate and for the app to track and calculate a cost for the route.
- The customer uses a social media-like platform to rate the driver for other potential passengers so they know what to expect.
While there are similarities between taxis and rideshare vehicles, they don’t operate the same way. A taxi is nearly always on the road, traveling as much as 70,000 miles a year, whereas rideshare vehicles are on the road considerably less. Some rideshare drivers drive part-time, while others make it a full-time job. The rideshare apps insist that their businesses are just what an app entails – a technological start-up that is simply the middleman between a passenger and a driver, not a commercial vehicle-for-hire entity.
What Happens When There is an Accident Involving Uber or Lyft?
This is where it gets sticky. In the recent past, there have been a few bills that were signed into law that regulate the way that companies like Uber and Lyft are insured. Commercial vehicles must be covered through strict insurance policies that are governed by the state in which they are operated, but until recently, Uber and Lyft were not required to maintain that same requirement because of their modern business structure. However, due to the pressure the companies received about the growing number of accidents across the country, both Uber and Lyft adopted insurance coverage that kicks in once a driver has accepted and picked up a passenger.
It may seem that the problem has been solved. But it hasn’t. What has happened is different states have passed bills and signed legislation that questions the time frames for which rideshare drivers are covered by company insurance and at what times they are not. While laws and insurance policies are in flux, it is in passengers’ and other drivers’ best interest to work with a seasoned and knowledgeable car accident attorney if they are injured in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft vehicle.
If you or a family member were injured in an auto accident involving an Uber or Lyft vehicle in Florida, contact Boca Raton car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 293-2600 or complete the online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.
Other Resources for you:
- Learn about The Most Accidents are at Intersections Warns Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne
in our previous blog post
- Read our blog post: The Most Dangerous Highways are in FL Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne
Joe Osborne personal injury attorney