Car Accident With an Uber or Lyft Driver
May 19, 2014 • Auto Accidents
Companies like Uber and Lyft Present Auto Accident Law Questions
When technology and industry advance at a rapid pace, sometimes the law can fall behind, resulting in loopholes that leave innocent victims unprotected. When an insurance company is involved, it can be even worse because insurance companies will look for any possible reason to deny your claim. Uber, a company that allows individuals to use their software to “call” for a driver, has recently announced that it will be expanding its service in Omaha, and Lincoln, Nebraska. The service (and others like it, including Lyft) employs drivers (who use their personal vehicles) who are then notified using the company’s software of a passenger in need of a ride. Passengers contact drivers through Uber’s app, downloaded onto their phone or device.
Creative integration of technology and a need for local transportation, right? Sure. But what happens when there is an accident? Whether it was the Uber driver’s fault or another driver’s fault matters not to the passenger: it certainly wasn’t their fault. So whose insurance protects the driver? Who will pay for their medical care, pain and suffering, or lost time from work? Surely their own insurance company shouldn’t be on the hook.
Unfortunately, Uber passengers who are injured while utilizing the service can sometimes be left in an insurance no-man’s land. The Uber driver’s insurance company will deny the claim because the driver was technically employed at the time of the accident, and therefore should be carrying additional commercial carrier insurance, like that required of a taxi cab. But many Uber drivers don’t know that they need this additional insurance and don’t purchase it. And Uber maintains that their drivers are merely licensees of their software, although it is looking into providing a fail-safe insurance policy to assist passengers who are not otherwise covered.
So what should you do if you were injured in an Uber vehicle? Here at the Law Offices of Matthew G. Miller, we understand that it is very difficult to try to stay current on all of the changing laws concerning insurance and personal injury. That’s our job. If you are stuck in any kind of situation where insurance companies are denying your claim, you may have a difficult road ahead, but with an experienced attorney on your side who knows how to convince a court that you should not be denied coverage, you will have a fighting chance at not being left out in the cold by insurance companies who all point the finger at someone else.
If you’re thinking about using Uber or Lyft, ask some important questions and do your homework before utilizing their services. Will you be covered in the event of an accident? Does the driver have the appropriate insurance to be transporting commercial passengers? And if you find yourself stuck in insurance company no-man’s land, don’t hesitate to call an attorney. Sometimes what we need to get the law moving in the right direction is a lawsuit that exposes the loopholes in the current system.