Out of the most important issues that are prevalent in ride-sharing incidents in Baltimore, insurance issues are probably the most common and the most likely to drastically impact the outcome of a particular case. Whether or not there is insurance coverage and whether or not that coverage will be enough to fully compensate you for your losses will determine whether or not you will also need to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover what you need and deserve.
The personal injury lawyers at the Baltimore law offices of Gilman & Bedigian can help victims of ride-sharing accidents and incidents, regardless of whether or not there is adequate insurance to cover your losses.
Insurance Issues After a Crash Caused by a Ride-Sharing Driver
An increasingly common situation involving ride-sharing companies is when a ride-sharing driver causes a car accident. Because they log so many miles, have a financial incentive to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible, and are constantly looking at their phone for the next potential passenger, accidents are not exactly unlikely. The majority of these crashes are often the fault of the ride-sharing driver precisely because they are more likely to be driving recklessly and/or distracted.
However, if you get hit and hurt by a ride-sharing driver, the fact that they are making money by driving others around does not necessarily mean that you will benefit from strong insurance policies. In fact, there are times when an accident can fall between the cracks of insurance policies and leave innocent victims in dangerously precarious situations.
The precise details of which insurance policies will cover a particular incident depend on the ride-sharing company that has been implicated in a crash. Lyft, Uber, and Sidecar all have their own policies about when and how their company's coverage will cover an accident.
Most of them, though, provide insurance policies with high liability limits, but they only apply after a driver has picked up a passenger and only until that passenger disembarks. During the latter window of time, accidents are supposed to fall under the purview of the ride-sharing company's insurance policy. However, ride-sharing companies have shown a disturbing willingness to utilize whatever means necessary to escape liability in these situations.
When a ride-sharing driver is on the road but is between passengers, things get murky. Different ride-sharing companies treat this situation differently. Uber, for example, provides a much skimpier coverage for these situations when their driver was at fault for the crash. However, the driver's own personal insurance company could cover the situation, as well, altering the liability limitations that could be available to you.
There is also an unfortunate reality to innocent victims who have been hurt by ride-sharing drivers: Because these victims were not the ride-sharing company's customers, they are going to be the most likely to receive poor treatment during negotiations with the insurance company. Ride-sharing companies want to be seen fighting for their customers. Other people they hurt, however, are low on their list of priorities.
Injured Passengers Benefit from Ride-Sharing Company's Insurance Coverage
Passengers who are hurt in ride-sharing vehicles benefit from:
- strong liability coverage;
- the ride-sharing company's interest in coddling them; and
- protecting their interests after a crash.
However, this protection only applies to accidents. Passengers who have been assaulted or put in danger by intentional conduct – often by their driver – may find out later that their insurance protections have changed dramatically.
Insurance Issues After Being Assaulted by a Ride-Sharing Driver
Because ride-sharing companies insist that they are merely responsible for the smartphone apps that connect riders with drivers, they work only to ensure the drivers that use the app are not dangerous people. Ride-sharing companies often perform the bare minimum to vet their drivers, typically by contracting with a third party to run background checks on driver applicants. It is not uncommon, therefore, to discover that a ride-sharing driver has a dark past and a long criminal history.
Passengers have little they can do to avoid this outcome because they are unable to vet their driver in the short amount of time before they have to get in the vehicle and because they are assured by the ride-sharing company, time and time again, that the process is safe.
This spells bad news for ride-sharing passengers who are picked up by the wrong driver. As ride-sharing becomes more and more common in the Baltimore area, stories are emerging of ride-sharing drivers who sexually harass their passengers, rob them, or assault them. Numerous other drivers treat their passengers poorly if they decide that their passenger is the wrong race, religion, or sexual orientation.
When a ride-sharing passenger gets hurt as a result of intentional conduct on behalf of their driver, the insurance protections of the ride-sharing company frequently disappear – now that the injuries were not accidental, and were instead the result of intentional or even criminal conduct by the driver, the insurance policy recognizes an intervening act that dissolves its liability to cover the losses sustained. In these cases, injured victims who want to recover the compensation they deserve for their losses often have to turn to a civil personal injury lawsuit against the driver – who rarely has the funds to cover the verdict – or against the ride-sharing company for negligent hiring.
Gilman & Bedigian Represent Those Hurt by Ride-Sharing Companies in Baltimore
Ride-sharing companies have transformed some of the ways people can get around in Baltimore. These novel developments, however, have not come without costs: Innocent people are put in harm's way every day because of how ride-sharing companies operate.
While insurance is designed to protect people by providing an avenue for compensation after they have suffered an accidental injury, there are numerous situations where that coverage can fail in the ride-sharing context. Should this happen in your case, you could be left to face terrible injuries that you did not deserve, but are now expected to pay for. A personal injury lawsuit could be your next option, and the lawyers at the Baltimore law offices of Gilman & Bedigian can help. Contact them online.