Rideshare vehicle services are changing the way Americans get around, but entrusting your safety to an app car driver has its risks. Companies like Uber, Lyft, Via and Juno make it relatively easy for anyone to enter the pick-up business without any experience or training. Whether or not this increases the chances of an accident, it is important to know what remedies you have when one occurs.
If you are hurt in an accident involving a rideshare vehicle, either as a passenger or a pedestrian, knowing whose insurance will pay for your injuries can be tricky. In West Virginia, any person who is found to be at fault for an accident is legally responsible for the injuries that result, as long as the injured person is not more than 50 percent at fault. So, if you were the passenger in a rideshare car that was in a collision, you have potential causes of action against both your driver and the driver of the other vehicle. However, there still may be difficulties in recovering damages.
Rideshare drivers are independent contractors, not employees of the rideshare company. Like any car owner, they must carry their own automobile insurance of at least the minimum coverages required by state law. In West Virginia, those minimums are very low: $25,000 for bodily injury per person ($50,000 per accident) and $25,000 for property damage.
Fortunately, Uber and Lyft cover their drivers with commercial auto liability insurance that can pay as much as $1 million per claim if the accident occurs during the course of a hired ride. If the the accident occurs while the driver is logged into the Lyft or Uber app but before he has picked up a rider, their insurance may cover up to $100,000 for bodily injuries per accident and up to $25,000 for property damage per accident. The insurance provided by Uber and Lyft may also kick in for injured passengers if a driver of another vehicle was at fault but was uninsured or underinsured. In instances where the full cost of an accident exceeds the insurance coverage, the driver may be held personally responsible for the rest of the damages.
From our office in Bridgeport, West Virginia, the experienced auto injury attorneys at Kaufman & McPherson, PLLC help people hurt in rideshare accidents get compensation for medical bills, car repair costs, lost wages and pain and suffering. To learn more about how we can assist you, call us at 304-842-4300 or contact us online. Your initial consultation will be free of charge.