Rideshare services like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar are becoming more and more common as a primary means of transportation for people throughout Washington state. In particular, the Seattle metropolitan area is a very popular region for these services, as they are a technology-focused alternative to the traditional taxi model.
These services require smartphones, which 80% of adults own. Some evidence shows these ridesharing apps lower drunk driving rates. And in a traffic congested city like Seattle more and more people are going car-free. Uber and Lyft are fighitng for a vanishingly small market share of people who have not used their service.
Common Ride Share Accident Legal Questions
- Can I sue Uber if their independent-contractor-driver caused an accident?
- If I am in an accident in an Uber vehicle, whose insurance company will pay my medical bills? Uber's insurance? The driver's insurance? The car owner's insurance? My insurance?
Your Legal Questions Answered, Your Legal Options Explained
Davis Law Group, P.S. founder Chris Davis is one of the most respected and recognized civil litigation lawyers practicing in Washington State. Davis is the author of the book The Ten Biggest Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Washington Accident Case. Davis Law Group has been named Best Injury Law Firm in Washington State by AI Dispute Resolution Awards.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident in Washington State contact attorney Chris Davis and the team at Davis Law Group at 206-727-4000 to schedule your free legal consultation.
Insurance Issues in Rideshare Accidents
It can be difficult to ensure that their employees are safe and responsible drivers. Uber, for example, checks out the driving history of all its applicants and Lyft requires a driving test for all potential employees, but collisions occur despite ability.
Uber requires its drivers to carry a liability insurance policy of $1 million, which would be a good source of compensation should a person be injured. In most cases, this coverage would likely be applicable to passengers inside of an Uber vehicle as well as other motorists or pedestrians who may be struck by an Uber vehicle. Uber provides this infographic to describe how insurance works:
As soon as the driver agrees to a trip with an Uber customer, the $1 million liability coverage kicks in. Lyft has similar terms when it comes to liability insurance coverage, the only glaring difference between the two is that the coverage terms for Uber apply to all 50 states, while Lyft’s apply to every state except for New York.
But if a collision occurs while the driver is waiting to be contacted for a trip but has not officially accepted one, then the insurance policy will likely not apply. However because the Uber driver was technically working, personal insurance also might not apply. People involved in these collisions might fall into the "insurance gap."
UPDATES: Ride Share Insurance News
A recently-published report from the Insurance Journal shows that Uber has reached a deal to eliminate the "insurance gap" for their drivers:
"Today, we learned from sources familiar with the deal that a joint legislative framework for ride-sharing insurance requirements will be supported both by Uber and by State Farm, Farmers, USAA and the American Insurance Association. (Lyft may also soon join the deal). The model already has been discussed in ongoing legislative debates in Tennessee, Maryland, Washington state and Kansas and could be expanded to debates in more states in the coming weeks."
Uber has also reportedly sent out messages to drivers near protests in Hangzhou, China, telling them to avoid the protests or risk contract cancellation. How would this warning legally affect American Uber drivers? The answer is unclear, but rideshare users should keep in mind that insurance companies will take advantage of these situations to increase their profits.
Also, a new ruling by the National Labor Relations Board might have made the relationship between contractors and companies a little more like the relationship between employer and employee. It is unclear how this ruling will affect rideshare services, but given the media's focus on Uber and the highly political nature of ridesharing this decision is sure to prompt further action and, possibly, legislation.
Free Legal Consultations: Ride Share Accidents
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an Uber, Lyft, or other type of rideshare accident in Washington state contact attorney Chris Davis and the team at Davis Law Group at 206-727-4000 to discuss your personal injury case with our award-winning legal team. Hiring a lawyer may help improve the chances of a successful resolution to your case.
We will review your case free of charge and help you better understand your legal rights and options. If we believe we can help, our attorneys will meet with you for a free legal consultation.