Car Accident Personal Injury Lawyer Series: Part 4 – Uber or Lyft Accidents
Ridesharing companies are becoming more abundant and Lyft and Uber currently dominate the market. With just a few taps on your phone, a car will arrive in minutes to take you wherever you need to go. However, Uber and Lyft drivers can have accidents as easily as anyone. Who is responsible in the event you are injured in a car accident? You may assume that Uber or Lyft are ultimately responsible. However, their liability is heavily dependent on when and how you were injured. In this latest Alfred Abel Law Offices post, we look at the details regarding car accident personal injury and ridesharing.
Employee vs. Independent Contractor
Uber and Lyft insist that their drivers are contractors rather than employees. The distinction is crucial because companies are traditionally liable for the actions of their employees, but contractors are another story. Uber and Lyft drivers fall somewhere in between the employee vs. contractor distinction.
On one hand, they are like employees because Uber and Lyft control whom they pick up and where they go – thereby directing their actions. On the other hand, drivers are like contractors because the drivers make their hours and can come and go as they please, using their own vehicles.
Insurance: Whose Policy Covers You?
Uber and Lyft both have insurance policies that cover their drivers in certain situations. Their policies are “contingent” on the underlying policy for the driver. Contingent policies only activate if their driver is doing something on behalf of the company. For example, if the driver is heading to your destination, you are covered by the contingent policy. However, if you are crossing the street, and the driver hits you while “roaming,” waiting for a pickup, whether you are covered by the contingent policy is a complicated legal issue. Contacting a car accident personal injury lawyer regarding your injury is a must in this situation.
Furthermore, Uber, Lyft and their attendant insurance firms are companies. Companies are in the business of maximizing profit and minimizing costs. If either company denies your request for liability, you are left with two options: (1) sue Uber or Lyft or (2) sue the driver.
Each option is complicated. Personal insurance policies expressly deny coverage if the driver was working at the time. Lyft and Uber do maintain million dollar policies to protect passengers. However, the policies only activate if the driver is picking up or driving a passenger. If there is even an ounce of uncertainty, you can count on these companies to deny coverage.
Speak to a Car Accident Personal Injury Lawyer at Alfred Abel Law Offices
At this point, you will need the assistance of a car accident personal injury lawyer. Alfred Abel Law Offices can help you cut through the confusing issues and outline your best legal options. Contact our offices today.