Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have found a niche in our daily lives. While they can be incredibly convenient for people, however, using a ridesharing company to get around St. Joseph, Kansas City, or other areas in western Missouri can have important insurance implications. While these are rarely things that you have to think about, they can have a huge impact if you get hurt in a car accident and find yourself in need of a personal injury attorney.
Rideshare Drivers Are Contractors
One of the reasons why ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft are so inexpensive is because they classify their drivers as independent contractors, not employees. By using this distinction, these companies don’t have to pay benefits.
However, by not classifying their drivers as employees, ridesharing companies are relying on their drivers to keep their cars insured. Additionally, because their drivers are not employees, the insurance policies that ridesharing companies hold might not cover your injuries in a car accident, depending on the situation.
When Drivers Might Not Be Covered
While Uber and Lyft claim to carry a million dollars in insurance coverage, this insurance only covers drivers who are on the clock. Unfortunately, there are numerous situations where it’s not entirely clear whether a driver is on the clock or not.
For example, imagine an Uber driver hitting a pedestrian. The driver didn’t have anyone in the car at the time, but was using the Uber app and was on his way to pick up another passenger.
This terrible scenario actually happened, with the pedestrian, a 6-year-old girl, losing her life. Uber was quick to rip away its insurance coverage. Instead of paying damages, Uber argued that the driver wasn’t working because he was not collecting a fare. In the end, the case against Uber got settled, but their willingness to pull away its coverage was worrying.
A Driver’s Insurance Doesn’t Fill the Gap
Ridesharing companies require that their drivers carry their own insurance before they can start taking fares. However, a typical auto insurance policy “turns off” whenever the driver is making money or driving for a commercial purpose. Additionally, the amounts available under a typical auto insurance policy are far lower, meaning you’ll likely not get fully compensated if the injury you suffer is especially dire.
St. Joseph Personal Injury Attorneys at Smith Law
Whenever you’re hurt in a car accident involving a ridesharing driver, these insurance complications can put your recovery at risk. Even if the driver’s auto insurance doesn’t “turn off” because the driver is being paid, your injuries could put you over the policy’s limits. Worse, history has shown that, if there’s one thing that you can count on, it’s ridesharing companies trying absolutely anything to avoid being tied to a car crash involving one of their drivers.
These complications showcase the need for hiring a personal injury lawyer. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, contact the car accident attorneys at the Smith Law Office online or at (816) 875-9373.