Ride-sharing companies use a business model that was novel enough to throw lots of other business models off balance. One of those industries that had to adapt to make room for the concept of ride-sharing was the insurance industry. Suddenly, commercial drivers were not just truckers or bus drivers or cabbies; regular drivers could get in their passenger vehicle, put a sticker on the front windshield, turn on a smartphone app, pick up passengers, and make money.
For insurance companies, this posed a huge threat because there are insurance implications that come with the heightened standard of care that professional drivers owe their passengers. The insurance issues that ride-sharing companies have created have made it tricky for injured victims to recover the compensation they need without filing a lawsuit against someone. The personal injury lawyers at the Philadelphia law offices of Gilman & Bedigian know of and strive to inform Philadelphians of this dilemma.
Three Situations That Implicate Insurance in a Ride-Sharing Incident
Insurance is there to cover the costs of an accident. When nothing goes wrong, insurance plays no part. This leaves three circumstances that implicate insurance and create a potential issue in the context of ride-sharing.
- The passenger in a ride-sharing vehicle gets hurt in an accident.
- Someone outside of the ride-sharing vehicle gets hurt in an accident.
- The passenger in the vehicle gets hurt by the driver.
Each situation bears an explanation.
When Passengers Get Hurt in a Ride-Sharing Accident
The easiest circumstance to resolve is when a ride-sharing passenger gets hurt in an accident in Philadelphia.
In these cases, the ride-sharing company's extensive insurance policy – Uber's and Lyft's covers one million dollars in damages – should apply to your case. Even better, ride-sharing companies are incentivized into covering a passenger's injuries as a way of showing potential customers that it will take care of them, should things go wrong. Injured passengers in a ride-sharing accident are in the best position to recover compensation for their injuries.
Injured Bystanders or Motorists After a Ride-Sharing Accident
When the ride-sharing accident hurts a bystander or another driver on the road, things begin to get murky. The exact instant of the collision can make a big difference, with the crucial fact being whether there was a passenger in the ride-sharing vehicle at the time of the crash.
When there was a passenger in the vehicle, then the ride-sharing company's extensive insurance policies should cover the incident. However, records have shown that ride-sharing companies go to great lengths to escape liability and avoid covering injured people outside of its own vehicles. Ride-sharing companies care little for the well-being of injured victims if they were not paying customers, and that attitude manifests itself in its efforts to escape liability and coverage.
When there was not a passenger in the ride-sharing vehicle during an accident, but the driver was still in “drive mode” and on-the-clock, insurance issues become even trickier. The details of the incident matter, as do the particulars of the insurance policies for each ride-sharing company – each company handles the situation slightly differently. For example, Uber covers a limited amount of insurance for victims hurt by their drivers who are in “drive mode” but without a passenger. However, that insurance policy often forms a secondary coverage that only triggers after the driver's personal insurance policy is exhausted, or if it does not apply because the driver was on the road for a commercial purpose.
Passengers Who Are Hurt By Their Ride-Sharing Driver
An increasingly publicized incident in a ride-sharing vehicle has been when a passenger gets assaulted, often sexually, by their ride-sharing driver. Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft have focused on hiring as many drivers as possible in order to get as many of them on the road as possible. Unfortunately, it has become clear that this decision has come at a price: the safety of passengers as dangerous people are hired to drive ride-sharing vehicles. The background checks that ride-sharing companies do before accepting a driving application have been prone to mistakes, and drivers have the responsibility of informing their ride-sharing company of changes to their criminal history.
As a result, ride-sharing passengers are often put in the grave danger of spending time in a locked and traveling vehicle with a dangerous and untrustworthy person. Worse, ride-sharing companies market themselves as an alternative to driving for people who have been drinking – the very people who are the least able to protect themselves from an aggressive driver.
These incidents are made even worse by the fact that insurance coverage is for accidents and will rarely, if ever, cover the costs of an intentional act like an assault. When passengers in Philadelphia get assaulted by their ride-sharing driver, they often find that the insurance coverage that they relied on for an accident simply dissolves.
In these cases, a personal injury lawsuit can be the only way for victims to recover the compensation they need to move on. While the ride-sharing driver is rarely going to be able to cover the costs of a verdict against them for civil claims of assault and battery, ride-sharing companies can be implicated in the case if there was a clear reason why they should not have hired the driver but brought them onboard, anyway. If a ride-sharing company can be found liable for a victim's injuries due to their negligent hiring, the victim can get the compensation they need.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian
If you have been hurt in an accident with a ride-sharing vehicle or have been assaulted by a ride-sharing driver, the insurance coverage that you thought you could count on may be insufficient. The personal injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian can help. Whether by advocating on your behalf with the insurance companies implicated in the incident or by filing a personal injury lawsuit, they can fight for your rights and interests. Contact them online.