If you travel a lot in any major urban center in Mississippi, you may be a frequent or, at least, casual rideshare customer. Lyft and Uber and other newer rideshare companies like Ola and Guru are becoming more and more frequently used in urban areas, or even between cities. They are easy to dial up using an app on your cell phone and are usually quite a lot cheaper than a traditional cab. You might even be an Uber or Lyft driver yourself. Granted, rideshare drivers don’t make heaps of money, (one report estimated an average of $16 / hour before expenses for an Uber driver), but it doesn’t take much capital. Anyone who has a license and a reasonable car can become a rideshare driver and make some extra cash, even if it is only part-time, to supplement a regular income. You need to understand the laws around rideshare liability.
Uber, Lyft, and the rest may sound fine, but is taking a ride in an Uber vehicle really safe? What happens if you do some Uber driving yourself and are involved in an accident? Who is liable? Before we explain some of the details behind rideshare liability, here is some more explanation of how these rideshare schemes work.
Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies do not directly employ the drivers who use their apps. If you are an Uber driver, it makes it easier to use the app to get rides and make money. There is a trade-off. You have to pay a percentage to Uber for every ride you get, but the rest is yours to keep. The same report that mentioned that on average across the U.S. Uber drivers make about $16 an hour before expenses also said that most Uber drivers expect to earn $1 a mile in profit for the rides they provide.
You can appreciate that rideshare drivers are normally in a hurry to get to you if you have called one up and get you to your destination. That’s not saying that drivers take unnecessary risks, as an accident can be costly, but hasty driving isn’t inherently safe driving.
Passenger is hurt in a rideshare accident – who is liable?
Both Uber and Lyft provide insurance for bodily damage if you are a paying passenger in one of their driver’s vehicles and the driver is at fault. If you just happen to know the person and he or she offers you a free lift, you are not covered by the rideshare company’s insurance scheme if you have an accident and the driver was at fault. Uber provides up to $1 million in bodily damage in the event that you claim through them.
If the accident is not the fault of the Uber /Lyft driver but a third party, then you would make a claim against that driver’s insurance policy.
Obviously, there are more complicated situations in which there is shared blame. Both your rideshare driver and a third party may share the blame to varying degrees for any injuries that you sustain. Then the claim may be multi-party and more difficult to deal with. This is when you really depend on the professional experience and dedication of a Jackson rideshare accident attorney.
The driver is hurt in a rideshare accident –who is liable?
All rideshare drivers are expected by state law and company policy to have their own third-party liability insurance. This is mandatory for any driver in Mississippi, anyway. If the driver is hurt in an accident caused by another driver, then the claim would be made against that driver’s insurance policy. Any personal injury claim would involve proving that the other driver, not the Uber / Lyft driver, was at fault.
A third party is injured in an accident caused by an Uber / Lyft driver
If you have been hit and are injured by a rideshare driver, you may make your claim against the driver, the rideshare company, or both, depending on the exact circumstances.
Rideshare drivers are generally not insured by the companies they work with unless they have turned their apps on and are either seeking a ride, driving to a customer, or carrying a passenger. The amount of insurance cover provided by the company is fairly minimal if just the app is turned on. Uber, for instance, provides $50,000 per person in bodily injury liability and $25,000 for property damage, with a total of $100,000 per accident. If your damages amount to more than that you may make a claim against the driver’s own insurance policy as well to close the gap.
If you have been hit by an Uber / Lyft driver when they are actively driving to pick up a paying passenger or have a passenger in their vehicle then the company liability cover rises to $1 million in bodily injury damages.
Call an experienced car attorney if injured in a Jackson rideshare accident
Transport by rideshare is on the rise and if you are a regular user of Uber or Lyft it pays to learn something about liability issues just in case the worst happens and you are involved in an accident.
If you, or a member of your family, have been injured through no fault of your own anywhere in the state, you should make an appointment with a Jackson-based personal injury attorney to discuss the possibility of filing a personal injury claim. Contact the Diaz Law Firm online or call us in Jackson MS as soon as you can at 601-607-3456.