How do Ride Share Accidents Differ Form Other Auto Accidents?

Ridesharing has become one of the most common forms of private transportation in metropolitan areas, such as Pittsburgh, in the last few years. Companies such as Uber and Lyft hire independent drivers to use their own vehicles as personal taxis as a convenient and cost-effective method of private transport. However, differences between rideshare companies and other forms of transportation result in unique challenges when an accident occurs. At Disney Law, our office understands the complexities that can arise with a rideshare accident claim and are here to zealously advocate for your legal rights to compensation after an accident. To learn more about how rideshare accidents differ from other auto accidents, call or text Robert Disney at 412-999-5765 today to schedule a free case consultation.


Rideshares Operate Differently Than Taxis


Many people assume that rideshare companies and taxi companies operate the same, as both involve a driver picking up a passenger and taking them to their destination. However, rideshare and taxicab companies are significantly different. While a taxi company considers all their drivers as employees, rideshare companies have consistently argued that their drivers are only independent contractors. As such, insurance and benefits do not always apply in every rideshare accident depending on the facts of the case.


In addition, the requirements to be hired as a driver are substantially different between taxicab companies and rideshare companies. Taxicab companies have rigorous testing and background checks before a person is hired as a driver; whereas the requirements to be a rideshare driver are substantially less. The only requirements to be an Uber driver are that the driver is 21 years old or older, have one to three years of driving experience depending on their age, have a valid driver’s license, a four door vehicle, and proof of registration and insurance. This has led to serious issues with the driving abilities of rideshare drivers in addition to other incidents of assault or other criminal activity. 


Timing Matters in Rideshare Cases


Unlike other types of car accident cases, the timing of when a rideshare accident occurs is a critical fact in the case. In a regular auto accident, when the incident occurred usually does not have much relevance when it comes to availability of insurance and compensation for victims; however, in rideshare accidents the companies will only provide additional coverage in very specific circumstances.


Rideshare companies only provide supplemental coverage to their drivers if the accident takes place while the app is on, a trip has been accepted, or a passenger is in the vehicle for a ride. The amount of compensation available to rideshare accident victims has often hinged on when the accident took place. The insurers for rideshare companies have routinely denied claims for accidents that took place while their drivers were running personal errands in their vehicle preparing to take rides but had not yet turned on the app. In order for a victim in a rideshare accident to be able to avail themselves to the additional insurance coverage of the rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, the accident must occur specifically when the app is on, a trip has been accepted, or if a rider is in the vehicle.


Insurance Differences


There are also substantial differences in insurance coverage for rideshare auto accidents when compared to other types of accidents. In a regular auto accident, victims can access the at fault driver’s auto insurance policy for compensation. In Pennsylvania, the minimum auto insurance requirements are $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident for bodily injury liability coverage, $5,000 for property damage liability coverage, and $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident in uninsured motorist coverage; however, many motorists do carry higher levels of coverage.


Depending on the timing of when an accident occurs with a rideshare driver, victims in rideshare accidents may be able to access additional insurance coverage through the rideshare companies. If the accident takes place while the driver is running personal errands and the app is off, the driver’s personal auto insurance company will cover the damages caused by the crash. However, if the accident takes place when the app is on and a trip has been accepted or a passenger is in the vehicle, the rideshare companies have additional insurance coverage if the driver’s auto insurance limits are not enough to cover the damages caused by an accident.


Once damages are assessed in a rideshare accident, the driver’s policy coverage is used first. If the injuries caused to the victim exceed the policy limits of the driver, the rideshare company’s insurance policy kicks in to cover any outstanding damages. Companies like Uber and Lyft carry supplemental insurance coverage that varies based on when the accident took place. If the rideshare app is on but no trip has been accepted, rideshare companies provide an additional $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for bodily injury coverage as well as an additional $25,000 for property damage. If a ride has been accepted or a passenger is in the vehicle, the supplemental coverage increases dramatically. Additional coverage from the rideshare companies in these situations stacks $1,000,000 for bodily injury liability as well as $1,000,000 for underinsured/uninsured coverage and property damage.


How a Lawyer can Help


Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is critical after a rideshare accident. Companies like Uber and Lyft have entire teams of lawyers and insurance adjusters looking to minimize any claims after an accident. You need an attorney that understands how rideshare accident claims work and what your damages are truly worth. A lawyer will protect your interests and defend your rights while you focus on what is most important after an accident – your recovery.


Call or Contact Disney Law Now


Have you or a loved one suffered injuries in a rideshare accident? If so, you do not have to navigate the complicated legal claims process alone. Call or text Robert Disney at 412-999-5765 or contact us at Disney Law today to schedule a free consultation of your personal injury case today with an experienced Pittsburgh attorney who will advocate for your right to compensation.